Imagine you’re a contractor and you need to build a house. Do you use just one person to do everything from start to finish? Of course not. You use a team of people: carpenters, electricians, plumbers, roofers, painters, landscapers who have the skills and know how to work together to get the house built in a timely fashion.
That’s not to say one person couldn’t do it on their own, but don’t expect the house to get built as quickly or as well as it would with a team of people working simultaneously. The same can be said for a marketing strategy. You could use any individual marketing channel: PPC, social media, blogging, SEO, email and others to generate leads or promote products or services, but if they’re not working together, it’s going to take time to see any results.
A better approach is to use integrated marketing. Each channel has its own skills and strengths that they bring to the table much like each type of laborer has their own set of skills to help build a house. By working together, marketing channels work like the laborers to generate results fast and efficiently only instead of a house, the results are leads, conversions, sales or whatever your marketing goals may be.
If you’re utilizing a marketing campaign, chances are you’re already using some type of marketing channel, if not several. The question is, are they working together and working efficiently to help build your metaphorical marketing house? If not, then it might be time to change your strategy. So let’s take a look at how integrated marketing can work for each channel to help generate faster and better results and how you can use these ideas to change your own strategy.
Blog Content and SEO
When developing content, it’s important to look at the broader picture. Content should be structured with the intent of having it be seen by as many people as possible. So when writing content, keywords play an important role in increasing how much you’re seen.
Let’s say one of our clients want to increase enrollments for their HVAC program, so we would write a blog article discussing some tips from HVAC technicians to prepare a home heating unit before the winter. The focus needs to be on HVAC technicians in some way, so the content should support that. The blog gives specific tips to homeowners about how to warm up their furnaces but also mentions the HVAC technician program for the school for those interested in learning more. Not only is the content relevant to the program but it uses the keywords ‘HVAC technician.’ Utilizing keywords is crucial to helping optimize search results, so it only follows that your SEO and blog should be working together to help achieve this. This is where integration comes in to play.
If our client wants their HVAC technician program to be noticed, then having it rank high in search results is key. By optimizing our blog article with the term ‘HVAC technician’ we are increasing the ranking for that term in search engines. It’s all about being seen by as broad an audience as possible and ranking on the first page of search results increases the chances of being seen, so integrating our blog content with SEO helps reach more people and generate more interest.
Now let’s take this integration of SEO and blog content a step further. By using the targeted keywords ‘HVAC technician’ we are increasing the ranking of our blog on search results pages which in turn generates more traffic, but now we want to give this an extra push.
We can build on this integration of SEO and blog by adding a pay-per-click campaign that features the HVAC technician program offered by our client. The use of blog content already aids in optimizing search results, but having the PPC campaign work alongside it can drive more clicks and conversions for our client’s program. The PPC works as sort of a call-to-action by playing off the work already accomplished by the SEO and blog content and also gives the extra oomph to get more traffic and more inquiries.
Ranking high on search results pages is one very effective way to reach your audience, but it’s not the only way. Social media channels play a major role in helping distribute content to more people.
In the case of our client’s HVAC technician program, we would use social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to promote our blog article by including excerpts and links to the entire content. This ensures more people are directed to the content than just those who are finding it in search results pages. Alternatively, we can use social media to support the HVAC program by promoting follow-up content such as related articles or graphics. Our client may want to distribute videos of students in the HVAC program and what they’re learning or promotional materials for the program, and social media helps to distribute that quickly and broadly.
The use of social media also encourages more interaction. For instance, if someone has been directed to the blog article and is interested in becoming a HVAC technician, they may have questions. Social media provides an outlet for interested parties to get questions answered which, in turn, can generate more interest and more conversions.
Similar to social media, email plays a vital role in distributing and promoting content in our integrated marketing strategy. Automated emails can inform subscribers of new blog articles or content posted to our client’s website. Much like social media, this method reaches out to a wider audience than one that is merely searching for information on HVAC technicians.
We can use emails to promote the blog article and provide more information on the school’s HVAC technician program, but we can also utilize it as a follow-up. For example, say a prospective student is led to the school’s website via a social media post about our blog article. He or she is then interested in getting more information, so they fill out a request for information form on the school’s site. For whatever reason though, the prospective student doesn’t follow through right away or forgets about the program. Emails provide the perfect means of following up by reminding the prospective student of their interest or encouraging him or her to obtain more information or even enroll. In this way, email works to back up the work done by the other marketing channels.
Even traditional marketing methods such as print and television have a role to play in integrated marketing. For our client’s HVAC program, we may utilize direct mail or television commercials promoting the school and their HVAC technician program. The direct mail or commercial may contain social media call-to-actions encouraging prospective students to follow and share as well as the school’s website address for more specific information. In short, the traditional methods work like social media to reach a broader audience and pull them into the loop. Once they’re in, any of the marketing channels can work to provide them with more information.
Probably one of the most overlooked channels in integrated marketing is analytics. Although it doesn’t necessarily work directly like social media or emails, analytics still plays a major role because it helps tie all the other marketing channels together.
Analytics is what shows us which channels are pulling their weight and which ones are not. For instance, by looking at analytics we can see whether social media is driving more traffic to our client’s HVAC program or whether our blog articles are helping our client’s SEO. We may find that there is more interaction and inquiries being generated from social media so then we decide to shift more resources into that channel because it performs better. Integrated marketing is a constant ebb and flow and each channel needs to be monitored so that the focus can be shifted on those that drive results.
Going back to our analogy of building a house, think of analytics as the foreman who monitors what everyone is doing and how well they’re doing it. Analytics can show where weak links are in our integration and what we can do to make sure our metaphorical marketing house is built successfully. The more we monitor how each channel is performing, the better and more quickly we can generate results.
While these certainly aren’t the only ways to integrate your marketing channels, these do highlight the benefits of how integrated marketing can work to improve results for a marketing strategy. Each channel has its own strengths and weaknesses and any one of them on their own can generate results, but by having them work together, the results can be faster, more efficient, and greater in number. Just remember the idea of building the house. You can use one channel or multiple ones working independently, but wouldn’t it be better to use a team working together to get results? We think so, and so do our clients.