By Paul Morris
I was surfing the great WWW recently looking for some wording that defined a certain element of online and offline integration. I was surprised to find so little truly useful integration information (I found real pearls of wisdom such as ‘Search doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Integration matters.’ = Wow!) hence as a result, and to enlarge upon my attribution Mr. messy post, decided to give some pointers on how to integrate Search & Social & Offline Marketing.
Take charge – Marshalling different acquisition channels can be like herding cats! Someone needs to take charge to ensure the relevant groups are talking to one another regularly, they understand each other’s objectives and they work with each other to achieve the overall objective.
Key phrase ranking – If you are focusing on a ‘catch phrase’ or are using the same ethos/ wording repeatedly in your offline marketing activity make sure you rank well for those terms on search engine optimisation (SEO) and pay per click (PPC) and are monitoring (and of course engaging) social media for those terms (use something like Radion 6).
Mirror and apply learning’s – Following offline campaign timing and messaging with your PPC for select terms can also be a good idea. I.e. when a major advertising tranche goes live consider changing some PPC ads to complement it.
Not only should Search & Social mirror Offline but the reverse should also be the case. Apply learning’s (what are people searching for? What elicits a response? What converts? What is the competition doing? etc) to your offline activity. Ensure you also apply seasonal and sector variance e.g. geo-targeting learning’s to your offline marketing.
You did what?! – Plan ahead and tell/ integrate each channel what you are doing and when. Remember that whilst PPC can be turned on instantly SEO cannot. Before launching the ppc campaign make sure you know from the offline marketing team the promotional calendars and offline marketing assets.
Halo Effect – There is no one size fits all answer as to integrating PPC, SEO and Social together. E.g. if you are position 1 in natural search for ‘Widget A’ do you appear in position 1-3 for ‘Widget A’ to maximise the halo effect, go for position 4-7 to cover a different ‘type’ of search or save your cash for another term you appear nowhere for SEO? The simple answer is test and see what gives you the best holistic result.
URL – Mention the website address and/ or facebook and/ or twitter @address prominently in your offline marketing.
Branding – Refine but generally use the same branding messages online as you do offline.
Measure – You can measure the impact of offline activity online via the use of expensive surveys or you can go down a cheaper route and measure increases in general search traffic, direct load traffic, brand traffic, conversion rate and sales to show the impact offline advertising is having online. I generally do not recommend the use of a ‘trackable’ url in offline activity as few people use them and the results garnered lead to speculation.
ROPO (research online and purchase offline) is another challenge to integrate. It helps if you use trackable phone numbers, ask people where they heard about you, use unique coupons/offers, conduct surveys, etc and if the online activity is significant then the real world will ‘feel it’ however you just need to come to terms with the fact that not all digital impact is trackable to the nth degree.
Personas – Ensure everyone is aware of your targeted personas. If you are targeting a certain persona type offline and you want to target this same group online, then online will be able to refine activity accordingly. E.g. targeting Search terms that maximise ROI from that demographic, the use of PPC ads that ‘talk to’ those individuals, Social media engage in blogger outreach to those demographics, etc.
Search and Social Integration – Make sure Search and Social Media complement one another, they do not duplicate tasks and you consider the halo effect. I believe there are 10 key areas you need to focus on for Search and Social Media integration: article syndication, reputation management, crisis management, competition and promos, online pr, press releases, blogger engagement, tech optimisation (anchor text, keyword density, etc), copy creation and text link acquisition.