Email Marketing and Integrated Marketing Strategy
Reading Time: 12 minutes
Integrated Marketing Strategy
Integrated marketing strategies are used by many successful marketers. Integrating your marketing channels does not mean repeating the message that appears on one channel verbatim. Instead, each marketing channel is used according to its strengths, delivering a coherent message building towards a pre-defined goal.
There are many different elements involved when creating an integrated marketing strategy and this post will guide and advise you on the elements you require.
Capabilities of Marketing Channels
The strengths of each marketing channel vary hugely. The requirements of a user when they engage with a brand through a marketing channel are specific and unique. An integrated approach takes this into account and creates content according to the strengths and functions of each channel to build a coherent and powerful marketing message. Before we discuss how to integrate each marketing channel, we will quickly outline each.
Although not strictly a marketing channel, the website is the focal point of a business online. Websites are used to communicate the products and services that a company offers. Each marketing campaign that you run is likely to relate or link back to the website in some way.
Email is a flexible marketing channel which can be used for many purposes. In recent years, email platforms have evolved to allow rich media features such as GIFs and animations. These new features have allowed email to develop as a marketing channel, giving greater flexibility for campaign creation. Email integrates well with other marketing channels because of the diverse range of features that are available.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
SEO techniques are used by marketers to boost the visibility of a website through search engines. Each webpage that is published is ranked by Google according to the quality of its content. Webpages with good quality original content receive a higher ranking in the search engines as a result. This marketing strategy is a cost effective way to drive traffic towards a company’s website.
With content marketing, focus is placed on creating content that is created to increase awareness and interest around an issue or product. With this type of marketing, content does not directly focus on selling the product or service on offer, instead intending to give value. Content marketing pieces include:
- Blog Posts
These resources are generally stored on a company’s website and can also boost SEO efforts.
Social Media Marketing
Social media is a great marketing channel to engage customers and like-minded individuals. It can be used as a tool to provide customer service, start conversions on topical issues or to increase the reach of your marketing collateral. Social media is a great way to show the personality of your brand and to engage with other brands on relevant issues. Social media platforms include: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
Paid Social Marketing
Marketers pay for advertisements to appear on social media sites. Paid social advertisements can be set to show to targeted audiences and on specific sites. Paid social can be used to boost the visibility of social media posts as organic reach has declined in recent years.
Companies pay to have their adverts hosted on specific websites across the internet. When the advert is clicked by a visitor, the company pays a small fee to the hosting website(s). This is effective for targeting people who fit into demographics similar to your existing customer base.
There are two main types of PPC:
Display Network: These target users on websites across the network. These ads are targeted based on an individuals demographics, location or the website they are visiting. Marketers can set up display ads to re-target users who have previously visited their site.
Search Network: Ads appear when users actively search for a specific term or item in a search engine. The result shows on search engine results pages (SERPs) when the keyword is included in the search query. To gain maximum effect, adverts should appear at the top of search engine results pages.
Why Integrate Channels?
Adopting an integrated strategy gives marketers the opportunity to take advantage of the benefits of each marketing channel in their own right. These channels can be used to drive and reinforce a marketing message to increase conversions. Campaigns should transition smoothly from one channel to the next giving visitors a seamless experience. The output of each marketing channel is related to email in some way.
In the following section, we outline how you can align the main marketing channels with your email marketing strategy.
Email Marketing and Your Website
Each email campaign is sent for a specific purpose. There are a large number of reasons why a marketer may want to send an email. For many purposes, the email acts as a vehicle to drive the user towards an action which takes place on a website or landing page. Integrating the email campaign with the company website gives the user a seamless experience.
In order to ensure that your email campaigns convert, you need to ensure that your website and landing page experience build on your email campaign and vice versa. Getting your subscribers to click from your email is half the battle. Once they leave the confines of your email campaign, you need to make sure that they convert.
The layout of email campaigns and their corresponding landing page should be closely matched. Once an email recipient has clicked from a campaign, they are likely to want to fulfill a definite purpose quickly and easily.
To ensure that the user converts, content should be structured in an easily scannable and actionable format. One content structure that we have identified in successful campaigns is the inverted pyramid. The inverted pyramid structure attracts users towards the call to action which appears under a striking headline and supplementary text designed to drive a conversion.
You can also use your website to build your company’s reputation. Posting comprehensive and authoritative content on your specialist subject has the potential to increase trust in your brand. The reverse is also true. According to Search Engine People, companies who regularly have their emails marked as spam are likely to be punished by Google in their search rankings. This encourages companies to create good quality email content.
Integrating with Social Media Strategy
Your social media channels should present a consistent message with the rest of your marketing strategy. Although it may be tempted to loosen the reigns on language use, grammar and tone, this should be done with caution. Social media channels should give value in addition to other marketing materials.
It is important to recognise the impact that a poor review on a social media website can have on a business. According to Moz, negative reviews account for a 22% loss in revenue for companies with an online presence. It is important to counter these negative reviews with a wealth of positive feedback as over 67% of customers are influenced by reviews and feedback.
Social media channels should be seen as an extension of other marketing collateral. Customers turn to social media to get quick responses to queries they have about products and services. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter may also be used by customers to give feedback on the service they have received.
One example of an effective social media strategy is Innocent. The health conscious smoothie-making company successfully convey their fun and light-hearted approach from their website to their social accounts. This is consistent with the company website where similar language is used. This approach drives a high level of engagement with their brand, boosting their popularity and brand visibility.
Brands can also encourage social sharing and engagement in their email campaigns. Many email campaigns now contain links to a company’s social media channels where the users can engage with the company further. Some email campaigns even make use of social sharing buttons within the email body to encourage users to share the whole email or even just a snippet with their followers.
Social sharing has the potential to significantly increase the reach of your message without increasing cost. An email marketing campaign that is shared can also attract new subscribers to your contact list.
Giving Readers a Reason To Share
In order for your email recipients to share your email campaigns, you first need to create content that people want to share. Reasons why people may share an email include:
– Self-Interest: Content that is particularly interesting or insightful will naturally encourage users to engage with it. If a user has a specific interest in a subject, they are more likely to share your content. To ensure that you are creating interesting content, consider the segment of your email address that you are addressing with each send.
– Community Engagement: Recipients may also share emails because they think it will be useful for their social followers. Email campaigns that may encourage this type of sharing include information rich content and content created with a broad audience in mind.
– Special Offers: Including a special offer in your email encourages users to share the content so that many people can benefit. If the campaign contains an offer that the recipients friend or family member may be interested in, this may trigger a social share. In a recent blog post, we analysed an email campaign from Papa John’s which encouraged the recipient to share the email with their friend who could also benefit from the special offer enclosed.
Integrating Email with SEO
Creating content that your contacts are likely to share has the potential to boost your website’s rankings on Google. If content is shared multiple times, the ranking of the webpage it is hosted on is boosted. When your website receives traffic resulting from an email source, this is recognised by Google. Google takes traffic that you receive from email campaigns into account when calculating SEO rankings. Being more prominent when people search for terms relating to your website presents you with more opportunities to encourage subscriptions to your email contact list.
Offline Marketing Channels
Of course, not all marketing channels are online. You may wish to advertise your company using offline methods such as billboards, TV adverts, radio adverts, fliers, leaflets and brochures. In order to fully integrate your marketing efforts, you also need to consider the message you convey with these channels.
Offline marketing materials can be used to encourage a viewer to engage with the brand through another channel. For example, a billboard which encourages the use of a hashtag may trigger the user to visit a company’s social media page.
In order to engage with the brand, the marketer may encourage users to reply to the campaign by email or drop them a tweet, thus linking these offline and online marketing channels.
The Importance of a CRM
We have previously discussed the importance of a CRM for data driven marketing however, the CRM is also important for integrating your marketing strategy. The CRM is a central location where data on all of your customers is stored. You can use this central hub of data to analyse and plan your campaigns based on customer behaviours. As a result, your marketing campaigns are likely to be more closely aligned to the needs of your customers.
When implementing an integrated marketing strategy, there is a wealth of data to analyse. To analyse all of the data from each of your marketing channels would take a lot of time and effort. It would also be confusing to try and amalgamate the results of your disparate marketing campaigns and keep in mind historical performance. This could lead to misinterpretation of results and decision making errors.
The CRM collates all this data and allows you to view it in a format that is easy to interpret. This saves both the time and effort required to analyse data meaning that marketing professionals have more time for strategic decision making.
Benefits of Integrated Marketing Strategies
By using an integrated marketing strategy, you can build upon the message that you want to convey. Each marketing channel that you have delivers a message which contributes to an overall marketing purpose.
Increased Performance: Creating content across channels in an integrated approach improves the performance of your marketing campaigns. This results from an increased familiarity and recognition of a brands message. If a customer has a positive opinion fo a company as a result of a good quality marketing campaign, the effectiveness of their overall marketing efforts will be boosted as a result of the Halo Effect.
Team Cohesion: Each of your staff members needs to be on board with your marketing strategy. By focusing your team on the same goals you are likely to see an increase in the unity of your marketing department.
Consistent Messaging: An individual needs to see your message seven times, on average, before they take action. Integrating your marketing channels increases and strengthens your main message. When an individual views any of your marketing material, they are likely to be more convinced by your message if it is reinforced several times. Marketing channels have varied delivery methods and limitations which changes the way the message is received.
Improves Brand Engagement And Loyalty: Individuals have an increased number of opportunities to engage with your brand. If managed correctly, this represents a significant opportunity for the company to increase customer loyalty. You can develop an affinity with your customers which is likely to lead them back to your company in the future.
Campaign Tracking: Tracking gives you the opportunity to analyse which parts of your campaign are working. Specifically, you can check to see which channel your customers visit before they convert. You can feed this information back into the system to create a more streamlined and successful future campaign.
Shared Assets: Sharing assets from one marketing channel to another means that less pressure is placed on design teams. Designers can create one set of uniform resources rather than several sets of disparate resources. These can be adapted quickly for each marketing channel that the company uses. Sharing assets across marketing channels also gives the marketing collateral a uniform appearance.
Drawbacks of Integrated Marketing Strategies
Although an integrated marketing strategy has many benefits for marketers, there are some drawbacks. Before integrating your channels, you need to consider the drawbacks of this strategy for your company:
Incorrect Messaging: When using an integrated strategy it is essential to ensure that your message is well received by your contacts. Creating a message which your contacts are not engaged with is a recipe for disaster as it will transcend each of your marketing channels.
Rogue Staff Members: Each member of your team needs to be engaged with the message that the company want to convey. Staff members who are not onboard with your strategy can potentially undermine the company’s efforts. To ensure all of your team members are working together, hold regular meetings and encourage staff members to give feedback.
Flexibility: Once you have focused all of your time and resources towards one, integrated marketing approach it can be difficult to change tact. Creating content around one message can be the catalyst for success. However, in cases where the marketing strategy doesn’t work, integrated strategies offer little flexibility. Staff members may be reluctant to change their focus if a lot of time and effort has already been spent creating one particular message.
Creating an Integrated Marketing Strategy
There are many steps that you need to follow to create an effective integrated marketing strategy. When creating your strategy, it is important to keep in mind the way you wish to portray your company overall. We have outlined the main steps you need to take below:
– Identify the Goal: When creating any new marketing strategy, you need to decide why you are creating it and what you want to achieve. Goal setting is an important consideration for all businesses. SMART targets structure goals in a format which gives marketers a tangible target to work towards.
– Consider Drawbacks: Although an integrated strategy has many benefits, you need to prepare for the obstacles and challenges that you will face. Thinking about these potential drawbacks in advance gives you the opportunity to plan how you will counter them.
– Define Your Audience: Outline who it is that you are targeting with your campaign. Every audience that you identify will have different needs and requirements and should be targeted accordingly. Using buyer personas focuses your marketing efforts further, enabling you to create laser targeted content.
– Analyse the Competition: Take a look at what your competitors are doing and what they have achieved with their approaches. You may be able to identify successful strategies and tactics that you can adapt for your own business.
– Create Your Message: Now it’s time to create your message. Be creative and unique. Your marketing message should stand out from the crowd. As you have analysed previous successful campaigns and your competitors performance, you can create a killer campaign.
– Create Content: Each piece of content you create should focus on one element of the overall marketing message. It is useful to break the message down into digestible chunks. Content should be created for a range of purposes: to inform, engage and to drive conversions.
– Optimise For Mobile: Ensure that each marketing channel is optimised for mobile. If an individual receives a mobile optimised email campaign but then lands on an unoptimised website, they are unlikely to convert. Test that the user experience is consistent across all marketing channels.
– Brief Your Team: To create an effective integrated strategy, all your team need to be on board. From your social media executive to your copywriters, each member of your team needs to be briefed. It may also be useful to discuss ideas of how the marketing message can be adapted for each channel.
– Analyse Performance: Once you have created your strategy and implemented it in the form of campaigns, you need to monitor results. Analyse how your strategy is performing by regularly checking analytics. Identify the metrics you will look at to identify whether your campaign is successful.
– Refine Your Strategy: After you have checked your campaign performance and identified areas where you can improve, you can refine your marketing strategy. Making intelligent decisions based on your data means that your future marketing campaigns are likely to produce improved results.
Integrated marketing strategies can boost the performance of a company’s marketing department if implemented correctly. Although they take a long time to plan, the potential benefits of integrating your marketing channels are exciting.
We hope you have enjoyed reading about integrating email into your marketing strategy. To learn more about how to create an email marketing strategy that works, download your free copy of The Complete Guide to Email Marketing.