One of the most common questions we get asked at Grow With Studio is, “Which digital marketing strategy is right for my business?” While the answer is situation-dependent, there’s often a key detail missing from the “Either/or” line of thinking: the impact of different digital marketing disciplines on each other.
The truth is, it takes a whole village of marketing services to raise a business baby (sorry about that one). It takes momentum to get a digital marketing strategy off the ground, and that momentum can pick up most easily when digital strategies are leveraged against each other. It also reduces the chances that you’ll be wasting money on a service because other parts of your strategy aren’t solid enough yet (for example, an SEO strategy won’t take effect for long if your visitors aren’t actually engaging with your site, which is a problem if you haven’t worked on your site design). The good news: when you do use multiple digital marketing strategies you’ll often find yourself looking at a total that is greater than the sum of its parts.
How does each strategy work with the others specifically? Below, we’ve listed four popular web marketing strategies — SEO, Digital Advertising/Paid Search, Social Media, and Design/CRO — and we’ll walk you through how each one interacts with the other strategies.
If we were drawing lines between each strategy to note their connection to the others, SEO would be the one with lines connected to everything. That’s not true for most of the others, making SEO an interesting animal. Is it really an independent strategy, or is it a full-services marketing strategy in disguise? It’s a bit of both. There are some technical strategies that only make sense from an SEO perspective, but the other tactics that make up a complete SEO strategy would benefit your business even if they did nothing for your SEO. Here’s how SEO can amplify the benefits of the other strategies:
How SEO Helps Digital Advertising/Paid Search: You would think that SEO would have no impact on running a successful paid media campaign, given the very nature of the medium: you’re paying for your traffic! For some types of advertising that can be true, but PPC and other algorithm-based advertising mediums are deeply connected to SEO. Google will let you pay for ads all day, but it doesn’t want to send its users to a useless or irrelevant site; so if you fall into that category for a particular keyword, you’ll be paying a lot more for the keyword than everybody else. If you’ve already put work into building out your SEO strategy — which focuses specifically on increasing a website’s relevance and usability — the results will pay off on the PPC end with magically affordable keywords.
How SEO Helps Social Media: It’s more about how social media benefits SEO, which we’ll get into later. That’s why social media strategies are often folded into SEO strategies directly.
How SEO Helps Design/CRO: Ditto for design, to a large extent. However, SEO tactics also uniquely help conversion rate optimization strategies. Imagine targeting the wrong keywords and sending traffic to the site that isn’t interested in your brand or what you sell. Even the best conversion optimization strategies can’t win over an audience that’s miles away from your target. On the flip side, the type of relevant traffic that SEO is invested in also happens to be a huge win for conversions.
Digital Advertising/Paid Search
How Paid Media Helps SEO: There are two ways to answer this. First, there’s the sheer practicality of using paid media to sustain traffic and revenue while you wait for your slower-building, long-term SEO strategy to yield results. Second, ads can give your SEO a kick-start by sending engaged, interested traffic to your site. Those engagement signals will help Google deem your site trustworthy a lot faster than waiting for engaged visitors to find you.
How Paid Media Helps Social Media: If you’re a business, social media is a pay to play space. Sure, you can set up a profile and post for free, but social platforms don’t have a huge incentive to share that content. Ads and sponsored posts are the name of the game for businesses that want to pick up steam on social media — so much so, in fact, that professional social media strategies are just as well-versed in managing ads as they are at creating content.
How Paid Media Helps Design/CRO: Like SEO, digital advertising helps ensure that your CRO strategies actually make a difference by sending relevant, brand-friendly traffic to the site.
How Social Media Helps SEO: Contrary to popular belief, links from social media are not a ranking signal. However, Google’s stance on this has always been a bit vague. What we know for sure is that “mentions” are a ranking signal, or instances of people mentioning or talking about your brand in any context. Most commonly, this sort of conversation happens on social media. Google assumes (probably correctly) that brand mentions are a better indicator of organic interest than social media links, because people who mention the brand without linking to it aren’t likely to be marketers (that said, links won’t hurt; they’re just not where the focus is).
How Social Media Helps Paid Advertising: It wouldn’t be quite accurate to say social media helps paid media, but most social media ads perform better when the brand already has an active and engaged audience. Theoretically, well-placed retargeting ads could also win you new social media fans. Over on the PPC end, there’s not much crossover with social media.
How Social Media Helps Design/CRO: A big part of website design is brand storytelling: what values and personality do you want to express? In addition to your on-site content, social media is the crucial place to actively demonstrate those values and share your brand’s full, sincere personality. Doing this will help you naturally attract your tribe, and they’re the ones who will be a perfect fit for your website. It’s a match made in CRO heaven.
Website Design/Conversion Optimization
How Design/CRO Helps SEO: It’s huge! So many of the factors that influence Google are tied to your site design, from trustworthiness to speed, usability and mobile optimization. A great website design can also keep people engaged and interested, and that’s what Google loves to see.
How Design/CRO Helps Digital Advertising/Paid Search: Pop up to “How SEO Helps Digital Advertising/Paid Search” in the SEO section and give it a read. A similar rule is at play with design. Relevant, interested traffic reduces your ad spend. Custom landing page design (and site design in general) is a critical way to accomplish this.
How Design/CRO Helps Social Media: Your on-site design won’t make a direct impact on your social media efforts, but it will reinforce brand fit and convince your followers you’re worth their time. Additionally, a lot of on-site brand assets and merchandising (promotional banners, featured products, and any visual content you’ve built out) can be repurposed for social media posts without much trouble at all.
At Grow With Studio, we’d much rather build customized, budget-friendly plans than rigidly fit our clients into one box or another. If you’re interested in finding your website’s perfect fit, give us a shout!
About The Author: Meg Nanson
Meg Nanson is Grow With Studio's Content Strategist and Wordsmith-at-Large. She comes fully-equipped with 8 years of experience in content strategy & SEO, and has helped businesses of every size find their voice and scale their organic strategies.
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