Research from Google shows the modern consumer journey involves anywhere between 20 and 500+ touchpoints. These take place across search, social and an increasing number of channels, which means marketers can no longer think in term of separate strategies for content marketing, SEO, PPC and social media.
To maximise results across the entire consumer journey, each strategy needs to reinforce the others. Every marketing channel has its strengths and weaknesses, but you can strategically combine them so they cover each other’s weaknesses and enhance their strengths. In this article, we’ve got five strategies for combining content marketing and PPC that’ll boost results across every channel.
#1: Promote lead generation content with social advertising
While paid search campaigns generally target primary conversion goals (purchases, downloads, signups etc), social advertising provides a platform where you can maximise the reach of your organic content.
This doesn’t end with publishing those blog posts on Facebook though.
Instead of going right for the sales pitch, you can use platforms like Facebook and Twitter to promote your lead generation content. This captures leads before they’ve made serious buying decisions and gives you the opportunity to influence those choices further along the consumer journey.
#2: Increase SERP visibility and drive organic clicks
Studies have shown that PPC ads drive organic clicks by increasing your visibility on the SERPs. The best scenario is to have your ad in position one of the top pack and an organic listing also in the top position for the same results page. This leaves you dominating the SERPs and it subconsciously tells users you’re the top brand in this niche.
However, you can also use this strategy to boost your organic listings in searches where you’re not ranking in position #1. By having an ad in the top pack, your organic listing jumps out of the page when users see your brand name once again. The higher your organic listing is, the more effective this will be. It also helps to make the message in your ad and organic listing as similar as possible.
#3: Negate the impact of algorithm updates
We touched on this strategy in our recent post looking at the Possum 2.0 algorithm update. It always takes time to figure out exactly what’s being targeted in an algorithm update and, as appears the case with Possum 2.0, you can’t always optimise your way out of them. Sometimes Google simply makes changes to the way it ranks pages/content and marketers have to adapt.
Either way, getting hit by an algorithm update can tank traffic numbers and it takes time to recover (if you can at all). In the meantime, you need to try and get that lost traffic from elsewhere and paid search is the only channel where you can literally pay for more traffic.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to get the same kind of traffic but the key strength of paid search is that you can target high-intent users who are close to making the purchase. Even as a short-term fix, this can save a business from the immediate impact of an algorithm update.
#4: Target mobile users who can’t see your organic listings
It’s no secret that organic listings are getting pushed further down Google results pages as the search giant increases the number of ads and introduced more dynamic results formats. This has an obvious impact on the visibility of organic results, which is even more extreme on mobile devices where everything is narrowly stacked in a vertical column.
In many cases, users can only see the first ad in mobile SERPs above the fold, which means they could have to scroll past another three ads and possibly other search features like the local pack before they see a single organic result.
To regain visibility, marketers need to create mobile PPC campaigns and compete for those top spots on mobile results pages. Rather than using PPC ads to increase the number of clicks on organic results, this strategy aims to recover lost visibility where organic listings are pushed further down the page than users scroll.
#5: Capture low-intent leads and nurture with remarketing campaigns
Remarketing campaigns are one of the most effective search strategies for guiding users along the buying process. With remarketing lists, you can target users with ads based on their position along the consumer journey. Combine this with event measurement in Google Analytics, and you can automatically deliver relevant messages to users at each stage of the buying process, as they complete different actions.
Best of all, you can target organic traffic with remarketing campaigns too. Which means you can capture low-intent leads through your SEO/content marketing efforts and nurture them along the buying process with automated remarketing campaigns. So, instead of hoping blog readers will come across your brand again in the future, you can take the active step by keeping your brand present and giving them incentive to take that next step.
By combining content marketing with paid advertising, both strategies can achieve greater things together. They enhance each other’s capabilities and allow marketers to reach consumers at a greater variety of touchpoints, which means being able to deliver more relevant messages at key moments.