E-commerce Link: A Custom Fit
Search marketing is a double-edged sword; it both gives and takes away in the multichannel environment. As you pour cash into traditional media, a variety of parties leverage search engines to intercept customers en route to your site. They're capitalizing on your offline investments and enticing customers away from the path to purchase online.
Savvy marketers are fighting back by investing in gutsy, new tactics. They're publishing and syndicating customized content. As a result, they're attracting and netting customers. They're dramatically increasing affiliate, e-mail and search program ROI, too. Here's how you can do it on a shoestring.
Problem: Search Is Navigational
Whether you use catalogs, direct mail, call centers or broadcast media, today's Web-savvy customers are more likely to use search engines when they're ready to buy than ever before. That spells trouble in a world where search is a navigational agent. Why? Because it enables everyone, from your affiliates, marketing partners (like comparison shopping engines), competitors, knockoff manufacturers and others, to make a grab for your marketing dollars and customers.
Microsoft's Young-Bean Song recently stated, "The issue we have with navigational search is that ... it completely obliterates the value we're creating from other digital marketing we're doing ... the idea that search is this magical fountain of customer acquisition—in many cases it's not."
Solution: Fight Fire With Fire
Marketers should establish and enforce business rules for affiliates, search agencies and marketing partners to follow, but more is needed to solve the customer poaching issue. It's time to reach beyond comfort zones to net new, incremental customers/leads/sales at a manageable cost. It's time to fight back with custom publishing.
Here's the strategy: Produce and syndicate high-quality, authentic, trusted, emotionally focused content that ultimately drives qualified customers to your Web site and landing pages. Tactically, use new (blogs) and traditional (e-mail) publication and syndication tools.