One of the weakest areas of modern tactical marketing is the integration of online activity. The finest website and the most carefully planned search engine marketing campaign are both significantly hobbled if they aren't tightly interwoven.
Search engine marketing has work to do
Search engine marketing communicates a message and drives action. If a search engine result can pull someone to your website, the opportunity to communicate in a targeted fashion is enormous. But that means that your listing in the search results and your website have to work together. That link must lure them in and the website must present the information visitors came for. Now, some people are going to tell you that search engine marketing is a branding vehicle, and that you can't judge its success by its pull. We think that's pure nonsense.
Of the all search engine listings we've reviewed very few of them take visitors to a page on their website that contains explicit calls to action (visit, call, learn, contact, etc.) Once a call to action appears, your listings effectiveness must be based on whether that action is taken. From that point on, the branding argument becomes the branding excuse for search engine marketing that fails.
What should happen is that these visitors should be sent to a unique page on your site, where they are presented with graphical and verbal information that relates directly to the message they responded to. It should talk about the same specific topic relating to the keyword they searched on. And it should itself contain further calls to action (which may be nothing more than links to other equally focused content on your website).
The Web is not a dumping ground
Truth is though, in most cases, visitors from search engine listings are often unceremoniously dumped into the public pool of all visitors and left to swim for themselves. This occurs without any content visible that relates to the search engine listings they're responding to.
Judge for yourself
A great deal of online marketers use the home page as the web address to link to when they drive people to their site. Why spend so much time and money to deliver a message, and then bring a visitor who responded to it, to a page that has no specific relevance (either graphically or textually) to that message? Some marketers do use unique web addresses, but they're wasted since they're established only to do 'hit counts' to determine pull. In some cases they immediately redirect to the home page. This is the "ask for the receptionist" mentality, and it's most foolish.
It's not rocket science to do this right
And all this is inexpensive to do. Building a few static HTML pages, and applying some changes to copy isn't a blip in even small budgets. With sophisticated content management systems often in place this can even be done in-house. All it requires is a little extra effort and a little extra thought and you have search engine marketing activity integrated and targeted from tip to toe.
However, integration doesn't stop there. What we've explained above is one simple example. Search engine marketing can be integrated with email to help remind and convert visitors and you may also want to consider how it can be integrated with your off-line efforts. How easy is it for users to remember your web address, and, are you confident that if they do a search for your business in a search engine - will you come up at the top?
Damon Lightley is Director of Site Visibility Website Promotion, an agency specialising in driving online customer acquisition and retention. http://www.sitevisibility.co.ukhttp://www.sitevisibility.co.uk