If you haven’t been using email marketing tactics to support your SEO efforts, now is the time to start. In today’s episode of Whiteboard Friday, Cyrus explains how to use the complementary powers of these strategies over and over again, so that each becomes bigger and more powerful the more you do it.
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Howdy, Moz fans. Welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. I’m Cyrus Shepard. I hope you’re enjoying this video no matter which day of the week you’re watching it on. Today I want to talk about SEO and email marketing, specifically five simple tips for SEO and email marketing flywheels.
What is a flywheel?
So when I talk about SEO and email marketing flywheels, what do we mean by flywheel? Well, that’s where we’re using the power of SEO to grow our email marketing list and conversely using our email marketing list to grow our SEO for more website traffic. There are actual ways you can do that and doing it over and over and over again so that each becomes bigger and more powerful the more you do it.
So it’s like a flywheel. It’s really hard to get started. But as you get going, it gets easier and easier and easier, and everything grows a little bit more effectively. So if you’re an experienced SEO and email marketer, this video may not be for you. But if you primarily do SEO and you’re looking for ways to improve your mail marketing, or you’re primarily an email marketer and you’re looking for ways to grow your SEO, these are the tips for you.
So let’s talk about our goals. What are we trying to accomplish with this email SEO marketing flywheel? First of all is simply more visitors, more visitors to your website content, because more visitors usually leads to more links, sharing, and things like that. The links and sharing can be positive SEO signals to Google, which actually lead to higher rankings.
So if we can get more people to our content through our email, the downstream effect of that could be higher rankings and more traffic generally naturally generated through Google search results. But also we want bigger and more powerful email marketing lists because your marketing list is one of your best marketing channels, especially if you segment users, which we’re going to talk about in just a little bit.
Ultimately, we want more conversions and sales. Whatever your marketing and business goals are, that’s what we want to achieve with this flywheel effect.
How to achieve those goals
1. Incentivize sign-ups
So let’s talk about the specifics, how are we going to get into it. First of all, we want to get more sign-ups from our content, from our website material. So we want to incentivize sign-ups.
Now the important thing to realize is you don’t have to incentivize sign-ups just through SEO. You can do it through any marketing traffic channel. That’s direct traffic, social media traffic, and referral traffic. Any way that people are visiting your content, you want to target those to incentivize for sign-ups to your email marketing list. So one of the ways I like to do this through SEO is through what a lot of people call content power-ups.
That’s where you’re incentivizing sign-ups by offering bonus or exclusive content in exchange for people to sign up for your list. For example, this is “5 Simple Tips for SEO and Email Marketing.” What if at the end of this post I would offer five additional bonus tips in exchange for signing up for exclusive content? The idea is that you want to offer something that they can’t find on the website. That could be a tool, some additional content, downloads, any sort of free bonus, a coupon, whatever you can think of, something exclusive to incentivize those sign-ups from your content.
Second tip, we don’t want to dump everything onto the same large email list. We want to make sure that we’re segmenting those sign-ups by topic and interest.
Unless your site is very narrowly focused, you generally want to segment your list among different topics. For example, here at Moz, we cover SEO, but we cover many, many different types of SEO based on user interest. So there’s local SEO, there’s technical SEO, there’s copywriting, there’s link building, all these niche interests that we want to segment users by.
So there’s a couple different ways to segment. One is self-segmentation, where people can check a box and say I’m interested in this and this and this. But a little bit easier is automatic segmentation based on the type of content that people are visiting. So on your technical SEO pages, if that’s what you were doing, you would put people onto a technical SEO sign-up list and make it clear that they’re receiving technical SEO tips.
Always make it clear what they’re receiving. But this segmentation is going to come in useful in just a little bit.
3. Content promotion
So the third thing, the third tip, and this is where we’re getting into the meat of it, is content promotion. This is where we’re using our email list to send traffic back to our website. When people think about SEO and email marketing flywheels, this is what they typically think about.
They think about the content promotion aspect. Now the important thing is we’re not trying to promote all of our content. No, we want to promote our best content, because your website, your visitors are coming, they’re doing a Google search. They’re not necessarily aware of what your best content is, and that’s why you want to deliver your best content. Importantly, you want to personalize it with the segmentation.
You’re not promoting all your content to all your visitors. You’re personalizing it based on their interests because you already segmented them out based on the type of content that they consumed. So if we’re sending out a technical SEO newsletter, we’re sending the best of our technical SEO content to those people who have already indicated an interest in technical SEO.
One of the most important things to remember, you don’t have to just promote your new content. It’s okay to promote the best of your old content as well, because again your users aren’t aware of what that is. So oftentimes in an introductory email, maybe the first email they receive in a series, you can promote and highlight old posts or even do it in a series.
“This is our best content over the last five years. Make sure you don’t miss this.” That old content, if it’s truly the best, will oftentimes outperform your newer content. So that’s how you can personalize and segment and send out your best content to get more promotion and more eyeballs on your best SEO content and hopefully more links, sharing, and all that to keep the flywheel going.
4. Incentivize sharing
So not only did we incentivize sign-ups, now that we’re in the email part and sending emails out, we want to incentivize sharing. That’s my fourth tip, incentivize sharing, because we don’t only want people to visit and read the content, we’re hoping that they’ll share it with their audience as well. One of the ways I like to do that is to segment my best sharers.
Now what do I mean by this? I’m not only segmenting by interest, but I’m segmenting by influence. So I might put together a list of influencers or people I know in my particular industry that have signed up. Maybe I’ve targeted them. Just like I offer people exclusive content to sign up for the email list, I’m offering my sharers exclusive content before I share it with the rest of the world.
So I might email my sharing segment and say, “Hey, we just published a post. We haven’t told anybody. We’re going to announce it on social tomorrow. But I wanted to let you know about it ahead of time if you want to share it with your followers.” Because we made it exclusive, we haven’t shared it with our followers, it gives our influencers something to share and it makes them feel special and sharing it out with their own audience.
There are different strategies that you can use to do that. But it is often an effective tactic to segment your best sharers. It’s a little advanced, but that can incentivize sharing and hopefully help out your SEO.
5. Keyword research
Finally, when we talk about SEO, we talk about keyword research. Keyword research is one of those SEO areas that works really well in incorporating into email.
Now, here at Moz, we have a tool called Keyword Explorer. There are other tools out there. But millions of keywords suggestions. Traditionally, in SEO, you use keyword research to determine your content, targeting keywords that your audience has interest in. We have lots of guides here at Moz on how to do that, how to target content around keywords.
But you can also use that keyword research in your emails. One of the most important places to use them is your email subject line. If you know the interest that your audience is interested in, through your segmentation, you can start to understand the keywords that drove them to their content, and using those same keywords in your email subject lines can improve your open rates. But that’s not the only place.
One of my favorite places to use keywords is in the sign-up CTA. So when you have a sign-up form on your website, you can use a generic sign-up form, like, hey, sign up for our newsletter. Okay, that’s not very effective. But if you use the keywords, the targeted keywords sign up for our technical SEO tips or our local SEO or our best dog food recipes, the keywords that people use to find your website are going to be the best keywords to incorporate into your CTAs to get them to sign up. You use keywords in your email subject lines to get them back to your content and so on and so forth. It’s another part of the effective flywheel.
Bonus: turn your best emails into content
So finally, bonus tip, I want to make sure that you don’t forget to turn your best emails into content. Your content doesn’t have to live exclusively in separated channels. If you’re writing killer emails to your audience, that get a lot of engagement, that have super high open rates, those are emails that you can turn into content for your website.
Or if you have a popular newsletter, you can simply archive all your emails into HTML so people can search. You may not want to do that for certain reasons if the quality isn’t very good. But if the emails are actually good, go ahead and turn them into content, because that’s going to help your SEO as well.
All right. I hope you enjoyed these tips. If you have any questions about email or SEO, please reach out to the team here at Moz. We’re here to help. Hope you enjoyed it, everybody, and please share this video. All right, thanks.