During my tenure on the Customer Success Team here at WordStream, I consulted for hundreds of marketing teams. One of the most common problems I saw was that each member of each team was working in a silo.
The paid media guy was responsible for paid media. The SEO woman was responsible for SEO. The Lead Nurturer was responsible for email marketing.
You get the picture — no one had a clue what anyone else was doing.
The reality is, the more cross-functional communication you have, the stronger your marketing programs become. Here at WordStream HQ, we’re making a conscious effort to enact this and it’s definitely paying off, particularly in the realm of email marketing and paid search.
Here are the top six ways your paid search and email marketing programs can work hand-in-hand:
1. Use paid search to fuel your email list
Paid search is the perfect way to re-fuel your funnel with brand new, qualified prospects. Through pay-per-click (PPC), you can display your ads to searchers who are actively looking for your products and services.
If they click through to your website, you can attain their email details one of three ways:
- Set up an email address sign-up form as your primary conversion goal. You can do something simple, like “sign up for more information,” or go the extra mile and offer an incentive like a whitepaper download, complimentary trial, or free quote.
- Capture your buyer’s email address during the purchasing process. You convinced someone to convert right off the bat? Nice — just don’t forget to snag their email as they check out. This is the perfect way to create a list to target for upsells, cross-sells, or replacement purchases in the future.
- Didn’t convince them to convert during their initial visit? Don’t despair! You can include a secondary call to action on your landing page to solicit their email address for future nurtures. Entice them to fill out the sign-up form by offering to keep them in the loop on upcoming sales or providing free shipping on future orders.
Constant Contact customers can easily add a sign-up form to any page of their website to make it easy for people to opt in to their list. Find out how.
2. Test your calls-to-action and offer with paid search
Your emails may have incredible open rates, but if they don’t include a compelling call to action (CTA), you’ve wasted a great headline. Because CTAs are the most crucial component in driving email conversions, our team here at WordStream has devoted a great deal of time and research to crafting persuasive CTAs. However, we don’t just guess whether or not they will be a slam dunk with our target audience — we test.
At this point we’re pretty good with the predictions, but there are definitely times that we miss the mark. To avoid these frustrating flops, we now test all new CTA/offer ideas on PPC landing pages before we use them for emails. This strategy is fairly low-risk because it doesn’t hit a huge group of people at once. Instead, we can monitor their behavior and pivot quickly if the test does not yield positive results.
A few years ago, our go-to CTA was “sign up for a free trial of WordStream Advisor.” Definitely not the most star-studded offer, but we felt like it was getting the job done just fine. Then, we had the brilliant idea of building the AdWords Grader, a free tool that analyzes an AdWords account and spits out a report card showing users exactly which sections of their account need a little extra love.
We were pretty confident that “Get Your FREE Report Today” would be a more compelling CTA, since the offer was directly in-line with the help most people were looking for, but plenty of people were skeptical of the change. We knew that rolling it out across the board was a risky move, so instead we opted to test the waters by running it in a paid search campaign. At a 5X conversion rate, results were so stellar that we had all of the data we needed to get the green light to offer it in our email campaigns.
You can test different calls to actions in your email marketing, as well. With an email marketing service like Constant Contact, you’ll have access to valuable metrics like opens and clicks to see how you’re different calls to action are performing. Learn more.
3. Upload your email lists to run identity-based PPC ads
Identify-based marketing is all the rage nowadays. In fact, now that it’s available on various networks, our founder Larry Kim goes as far as to say that it’s “the most important trend happening in PPC today.” I must admit, I’m inclined to agree. It’s the perfect convergence of PPC and email marketing.
Here’s how it works:
If you’re currently running email marketing campaigns, you’ve probably already segmented them into specific groupings based on their stage of the purchase journey. You can export these lists from your email marketing accounts and reuse them for your PPC campaigns and voila, you’ve cut a huge chunk of time out of the setup process!
4. Leverage remarketing ads to hammer your offer home
As tempting as it is to pummel your prospects’ inboxes with offers, it usually just earns you an “unsubscribe” or an “automatically move to junk mail” label. In fact, I have refused to talk to sales guys who clutter my inbox, even if I was originally completely gung-ho about their product. That said, data shows that people are more likely to follow through with a purchase if they see a brand’s name repeatedly. This creates a tough challenge for email marketers, who are desperate to keep their brands top-of-mind for prospects without driving them crazy.
Rather than spamming their inboxes to stay fresh in prospects’ minds, run remarketing campaigns so your ads appear while they are browsing the internet (you can target anyone who has visited your site!). These ads are less intrusive than emails and have proven to be incredibly effective. As you can see below, the more someone sees these ads, the more likely they are to complete a conversion.
If you rely on remarketing for branding purposes, it’s safe to reduce your email frequency. Prospects will no longer be jaded by your incessant emails and will be more likely to read the few high-quality messages that you send.
Here are some tips for finding the right email sending frequency.
5. Test visuals with paid search
If you’re a WordStream fan, you’re probably very familiar with the squadron of “PPC kids” featured on our website and in many of our ads and our email communications. Why the obsession with cute kids in costume? It all started with Rocketboy, who was featured in one of our PPC banner ads. These ads had such a high interaction rate that we started including him in email promotions, too.
Nowadays, when we use imagery in emails (we only do it for a select few), we only use images that have proven to resonate with our audience through Facebook, Twitter, and Google Display Network ads.
6. Use email performance to drive Gmail Sponsored Promotions (GSP) messaging
With GSPs, you can target prospective clients based on their Gmail account activity. If the keywords you’re bidding on exist in their inboxes, your ad will be eligible to appear in their Gmail account. Pretty clever, huh?
Ads for GSPs have two components, a teaser “collapsed” ad and an expanded ad unit, which is similar to an image ad.
Since the teaser line is similar to a closed email, we know that we want it to read like an email subject line. So, for copy inspiration, our paid search manager turns to email headlines that have yielded high open rates for our email marketing campaigns. While we weren’t seeing great results with GSPs in the Wordstream account originally, we are seeing that our “tried and true” headlines have generated a lift in click through rates.
Are you leveraging your paid advertising and email marketing data to boost each other’s success? If not, give one of these ideas a try today!
About the author: Erin Sagin is a PPC Evangelist and Community Manager at WordStream, a provider of online advertising software and services as well as the award-winning free AdWords Grader. She was recently named the 3rd Most Influential PPC Expert of 2015 by PPC Hero. You can follow Erin on Twitter.