Bringing Two Channels Together: Paid Social & SEO
From a digital perspective, there’s a bunch of hype around integrating marketing with a omni-channel approach. But what does this mean? Omni-channel is simply integrating multiple channels (Organic, Paid, and Print etc.) in your marketing mix. Typically people think omni- channel as SEO + Paid Search or Paid Search + Paid Social. But you don’t hear too much about SEO and Paid Social. We’re challenged the status quo and asked why not?
Independently, SEO and Paid Social are powerful channels and Paid Social has grown significantly over the past few years. For us, integrating the two channels was a no-brainer. The fact of the matter is, if you include your Organic traffic (SEO) into your Paid Social tiered traffic system, you can create the end-all-be-all in terms of a marketing funnel.
Organic traffic is essentially free (on the basis you are not paying per click) and Paid Social is the follow up phone call. If Power Digital received a call from a potential prospect for internet marketing, would we call them back? Of course we would.
Understanding The Customer Journey
If a new user visits your site from an Organic non-branded keyword, they had an intent - whether it was trying to solve a problem or buy a product. Most likely know what they want or have a pretty good idea at least (caveat, this is not always the case - more on that later). So, as the marketer you just need to tell them why your brand is the best solution or product for their problem/need.
Note: to keep things simple, we’re going to use “product” and “sale” but this can be interchanged with service or solution as this approach applies to both lead gen and ecomm sites.
As we all know, different products require different objections to the sale. If a product is super expensive, potential customers are going to conduct plenty of research to determine if the product is the right fit and worth the price point. Email marketing or retargeting is a common follow up.
The challenge and goal all businesses and marketers have is how to stay top of mind and convert, whether that’s a lead or purchase. How we do drive users through the funnel?
This is where the integration of Paid Social and SEO comes in.
Reflecting the Customer Journey - Paid Social
In regards to Facebook advertising, we often find that retargeting converts the highest. After all, if a user has visited your site, they should theoretically have a higher awareness of your brand and be more influenced to convert. We generally label this traffic as “warm” as they have some awareness of your brand and are most likely in the middle of the funnel.
For Facebook Ads, we want to reflect the customer journey and retarget this warm traffic which hasn’t converted. It’s critical to make sure that the Facebook Ad speaks to the intent of the problem/need the prospect was trying to solve. For example: If a user hit’s a particular product page but DIDN’T convert, we would retarget the user and push that product to the particular users’ Facebook feed to stay top of mind.
The Handoff Between SEO & Paid Social
It’s All About Keywords & Intent
It starts with the top traffic driving Organic keywords and their ranking URLs. Use your keyword tracking software and think about the website’s goals. Is it to drive leads, calls, purchases?
Choose keywords that are driving traffic and have a clear intent. (Strong long-tail keywords would work great). We want to target keywords that are as close to the bottom of the funnel as possible.
NOTE: Just because you have the keyword, make sure you understand the intent behind the keyword AND make sure the ranking page aligns with the search intent. From an SEO perspective, this is where we often see website missing the mark. Just because you understand the query one way does not mean users have the same understanding. ALWAYS do a quick incognito search of the keyword and review the top ranking results. This will give you a good indicator of the intent of most users. (Remember, the goal of search engines is to provide the best, most relevant results.)
Retargeting off bottom funnel keywords should be the keywords with the lowest hanging intent. For example, if someone landed on your page by searching “buy soccer shoes”, it’s pretty clear they are in the mindset to buy soccer shoes. Alternatively for lead gen sites, if someone found a service page through a search “home remodelers in San Diego” we know that they are most likely researching remodeling companies in San Diego and we need to sell them on why we are the best remodeling company and can address all their needs.
Use Paid Social to Align Intent & Customer Journey
Now, with the keyword(s) and URLs in mind, it’s time to loop in the Paid Social channel. (Of course, you should have had some initial strategy conversations before this.)
First and foremost, make sure the Facebook Ads pixel is installed.
Then, using Facebook’s Business Manager Account, create a custom audience for all traffic that has visited the specific URL. (For example, if our keyword ranks for the Power Digital SEO service page, we will want to use that URL.)
When setting up the custom audience make sure to add an exclusion. After all the goal is to stay top of mind for prospects who have not converted. Retargeting visitors who have converted is a waste of ad spend.
We like to create different audiences based on time as we can vary our retargeting strategy based on how long since the prospect visited our site and converted. We set up audiences for 30, 60, 90, and 180 days (since visiting the website page).
Keep the intent top of mind throughout the entire setup process. Remember, the goal is to stay top of mind and move the user through the funnel.
Next up, create the campaign and Ad set. In this case you’re retargeting website traffic.
Once you have the Ad Set created, add the Audiences.
Now you’re ready to create the Ad!
The ad should reflect where in the funnel the user is and how long the sales cycle is. For example for sites with a long-sales cycle, retarget prospects with tips or useful information that would help keep the brand top of mind.
Ongoing Testing & Optimization
As with any campaign you want to be continually testing and optimization your ad. Test conversion points - does a form or click-to-call convert better? What about the cost-per-click?
Additionally you can test using short vs. long form content. If they came through intent, you have their attention and they would most likely respond well to a longer form article.
Keep the end goal in mind. Drive users to the next step, whether that’s a conversion point or next phase of the buyer’s journey.
Paid Social + SEO: Putting It Into Action
For the sake of our exercise, we used one of our clients that specializes in in a high-end home service. As a higher priced service, the sales cycle is relatively long as buyers need to move from consideration/research to purchase - perfect for continued nurturing through Paid Social.
Additionally, Paid Traffic has never been used to drive to this website and Organic Social wasn’t driving much traffic. As a result the majority of traffic should have came through the direct or Organic channels.
We decided to retarget their top priority and traffic driving page (aside from the Home Page) as the page ranked for multiple bottom funnel keywords. Visitors that hit this page have a degree of intent and need to be taken to the next step.
After all, they are most likely researching the different brands as this is a big purchase and big decisions take time to make. We want to stay top of mind by following up via a phone call or email for when they’re ready to make a decision. This is a key step in the buyer's cycle that is often overlooked in SEO.
As the home space is highly visuals, the Facebook slideshow ad was the perfect option. It’s highly visual and we were able to use images to show different versions of the client’s work to appeal to a variety of prospects.
Help Them Choose the Next Step
Now that they came to your website from intent, you want to take them to the next step. What value could you provide the user? A download? A phone call w/a sales rep? An email with a sales rep? In this particular case, we’re pushing them to a contact us page or a local call extension.
Because the cookie pool is relatively small (hundreds of thousands of people did not visit the page) we capped the budget at $10 a day. Even with such a low daily spend we reached a few hundred unique visitors with strong engagement and low $1 CPC.
As a high priced service we fully expect the conversion rate to be on the lower side, but if we can get just 1 person to close that came to the website, then our ad costs would be more than paid for. The AOV greatly exceeds the small ad cost in the long run.
Be a Thumb Stopper
From an attention perspective, if we’re retargeting off of a page that received only natural traffic, we must remember we have more of the user’s attention.
They found the page you’re retargeting off of because they had intent behind the search. They are already aware of the problem they are trying to solve. Keep these tips in mind:
- Now it’s time to show the voice of the brand
- Social is an opportunity to reflect the tone of your brand.
- Slideshow Ad is a great visual option
- It stands out and moving images helps us catch users attention.
Wrapping It Up
As we mentioned, you typically hear about the overlap between Adwords (Paid Search) and SEO but you don’t typically see the integration between Organic and Paid Social. While Facebook Ads and SEO is not the typical match, if SEO introduces the brand, Facebook is the perfect nurturer to drive prospects to the next step.
So far, our test campaign has far outperformed our expectations and the extremely low CPC will pay for itself with only one closed sale.
There is tremendous potential when integrating SEO and Paid Social. It’s time to think outside the box and with minimal spend close more sales.