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Three ways to improve e-mail marketing using search

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For many e-mail marketers, it's important to consider how search marketing can make their efforts more effective. Search marketing can help e-mailers reach out to potential customers beyond their current opt-in lists. It can also serve as an introduction for a brand and help build credibility and trust with your target audience.

Further, supporting e-mail marketing efforts with search is likely to raise ROI for both programs. Here's how it's done:

1. Drive search traffic to e-mail opt-in points. Take advantage of opportunities to move traffic toward opt-in points, where you're creating a chance to continue communication with visitors once they've left your site. For example, if you publish a weekly update, a monthly e-newsletter or an exclusive white paper for download that you're offering via e-mail, these all would be appropriate pages toward which to target your search traffic. Ensure that these opt-in points are highly optimized to receive the qualified traffic you're looking for.

By driving interested traffic to these opt-in points, then delivering valuable content, you're creating a positive experience with your brand and your ongoing communications.

Another thing to think about when it comes to driving search traffic to your e-mail opt-in points is just how powerful search ads can be. Purchasing ads on search engines can be an extremely effective technique for introducing your brand and growing your in-house mailing list. Ensure that you create a campaign that targets potential visitors in the research portion of their experience, when they're in the process of gathering the information they need.

2. Turn search click and conversion rates into e-mail marketing gold. If you've ever taken a look at your Web site analytics, you might be amazed to see the variety of topics, keywords and phrases people use when searching to find your site. And it's worth skimming past the top keywords that always show up to take a closer look at some of the long-tail keyword phrases that may have lower search volumes but are still gaining ground.

Taking a cue from search, note which e-mail calls to action lead to higher levels of interest and greater average time on site, in addition to which offers or links created the greatest number of conversions. This kind of information will be valuable as you're planning for future e-mail and search marketing campaigns.

3. Track and segment e-mail lists. Smart e-mail marketers understand just how powerful list segmentation can be, especially when it comes to lists created as the result of specific search ad groups. Segmented lists allow you to fine-tune your campaigns and ads to speak directly to the needs, wants and preferences of your audience. But before you can accurately segment, you have to have the right tracking parameters in place.

Savvy marketers build campaign and ad group data into both their e-mail and search marketing offers so that it is easy to identify repeat customers who convert again. Understanding which e-mail campaigns and search ads lead to repeat business will give you the valuable information you need to groom more customers to visit, and convert, again and again.

Setting up tracking might be as simple as using unique landing page URLs, with the source keywords from your search ads embedded into the URLs. Then, you'll be able to better target those visitor segments with e-mail offers relevant to the keywords they originally converted on. You'll also be able to track the behavior of repeat customers to determine the true success of your combined search and e-mail marketing campaigns.

When done the right way, e-mail marketing can inform, direct and refine your search marketing efforts, and vice versa. As you're creating e-mail campaigns in the future, remember the different ways that your search marketing efforts can help you achieve your e-mail marketing goals. I'm certain you'll find many other areas where search and e-mail marketing have synergy and create incredible results.

Blaine Mathieu is CMO of Lyris Inc. (www.lyris.com). He can be reached at bmathieu@lyris.com.

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