Companies that want to drive sales need to look closely at how they promote the benefits and features of their products or services. To get conversions, businesses must effectively and successfully plant just the right messages into the minds of their target consumers, and this is done through a “promotional mix” of strategies. Traditionally, a marketer turned to 5 tactical areas when reaching out to consumers: advertising, public relations, sales promotion, direct marketing and personal selling. Today, we would add a 6th element to the promotional mix that’s essential to effectively communicate with a target audience – SEO Strategy.
Inbound Marketing has grown over the last decade as a tactic to organically attract attention and then get permission to market via email to the target audience. Inbound Marketing has traditionally been see as an extension of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), since it originally grew out of that practice. However, we now see the disciplines as having different uses and applications, with SEO Strategy now being a support for all 6 of the promotional tactics.
Why Use a Promotional Mix?
Even the greatest product on earth doesn’t sell itself. It takes marketing brains behind the good or service, implementing techniques in the 5 categories of the promotional mix, to get a product into hands of those who want or need it.
Your promotional mix is the various, appropriate and interacting ways you communicate your product’s benefits and features to potential customers. As a business, you should be engaged in the practice of persuasion across all channels. You want a targeted audience to know what you sell and why they should buy it from you. To do this, you must have a solid marketing framework that creatively conveys your message and that is well received.
As you approach marketing, remember that no part of the promotional mix should be left out. And, realize that your goal is to deliver a clear and compelling message for a buyer. You might offer many products and services, but your promotional outreach needs to focus individual attention on each offering and communicate individually how you meet the needs of the potential purchaser looking for that offering.
Additionally, you should understand how your target customers want to ingest your communication. For example, someone looking to purchase an expedition ocean adventure cruise may not see or react to your advertisement if it’s in a general interest publication.
- Advertising as part of the promotional mix allows you to engage with potential buyers without any direct contact. Ads can be any kind of paid media communication, including print advertisements in newspapers and magazines, TV and radio announcements, billboards and web ads.
- Public Relations. Through public relations, you foster a positive image of your brand and you create goodwill with consumers. This is in effort to increase sales, and it can be done through media coverage, charity events sponsorships and special events among other tactics.
- Sales Promotions. Promoting your goods and services through in-store displays, different contests, demonstrations and price incentives are effective sales promotions techniques.
- Direct Marketing. This form of advertising directly targets customers (typically at their workplace or home) and it asks them straight out to take action by placing an order or visiting a store.
- Personal Selling. When you are face to face with a consumer, you can communicate the features and benefits of your product or service, as would someone offering helpful and caring advice to a friend.
There are many ways you can deliver your message in each realm of the promotional mix, and you should be using different techniques from each area with perhaps more focus on one category or another as it pertains to your business.
Sometimes, within a sea of competing and bombarding advertisements and sales pitches, consumers respond better to features and benefits being delivered when they’re in digestible and enjoyable form. Blog posts, web articles and even various types of print content that a reader gets value from, even if they’re not ready to purchase, are perfect inbound marketing opportunities.
Content that you produce to inform a target reader of your goods or services, in a casual and informative manner, is a type of inbound marketing and it’s a strategy you can use to plant seeds with consumers even before the buying stage. Do this wisely and they’ll turn to you when the time to purchase comes.
Today, successful businesses must have an online presence and produce SEO-focused content, even if it’s a simple website with less than a handful of pages of text. Through the production of Internet content and well-planned search optimization, or lack thereof, companies are known or they remain unknown. What’s more, SEO is now essential to incorporate in all aspects of marketing.
Implementing SEO Strategy in the Promotional Mix
It’s wise for businesses to look at SEO Strategy as a marketing tool not just to be associated with inbound marketing separate from all other tactics, but as a fluid strategy that can enhance and capture conversion throughout all promotional mix elements, on-page and off. Google’s algorithm rewards companies that naturally communicate with their customers, and this leaves plenty of options for focusing marketing strategies around keywords and key concepts online and in other scenarios that lead the consumer online.
Implement SEO Strategy into your promotional mix and you’ll see great results, including higher rankings and more customer engagement for your shop, service or other business with a web presence. This is simply a by-product of being a real brand building a real and authentic relationship with the consumer away from the Internet.
- Integrating SEO in an advertising campaign is as simple as naturally focusing print advertisements, radio spots and other traditional ads on researched keywords and key concepts. We know that TV networks will often prepare their search presence for particular phrases coming from their future shows and ads. Always think of the keyword takeaways from your advertising copy – even if it is radio and TV.
- Public Relations. Planning publicity to highlight your brand catch phrase can drive a lot of search traffic. For example, we have seen companies drive a particular phrase to be the first term highlighted in the drop Search Suggest of Google. This creates awareness and traffic!
- Sales Promotions. Optimize for mobile, using keywords to target consumers using coupon apps while they shop or searching for local businesses to patronize in real time, such as restaurants offering a 2-for-1 dinner deal. We have seen companies drive in-store sales at Target with print promotions that caused people to search “Target Coupons” and they had the #1 search result.
- Direct Marketing. Use SEO to boost your response rates by integrating direct response advertising and digital. Harness your keyword research results to get into your potential buyer’s mind, and craft direct mail messages or TV ad copy that speak directly to this target audience. We have had clients see dramatic declines in phone response rate, but recover their business by capturing the search driven by their ads.
- Personal Selling. If you cold-call an executive or an executive assistant, what do you think the first thing they will do if they are interested in what you have to sell? The minute they get off the phone, they will look you up online. And look up what you sell and who you compete with.
SEO is the essential support for all areas of promotion for your company. The fine details of integrating search optimization into a promotional mix may differ somewhat from company to company, but the sound strategy’s core concept must be adhered to if a business hopes to properly communicate features and benefits and make a sale.