by Jayson DeMers
Search engine optimization (SEO) and content marketing are natural complements. Producing high-quality content for your content marketing strategy helps you optimize for more keywords, establish new pages that can rank in search results, and attract more inbound links. Focusing your strategy to improve your search rankings brings more people to your site, meaning your content gets more exposure and more popularity.
But there are other, less intuitive strategies that can complement both content and SEO—like email marketing.
So how does this seemingly all-powerful strategy fuel your SEO and content marketing campaigns?
First, I need to address the enormous cost-efficiency of email marketing. With email marketing showing an ROI more than four times higher than the next-highest marketing strategy (social media), there isn’t much to lose on a campaign. You can feasibly start an email campaign with a free or inexpensive mailing platform, a few dozen subscribers, and a few good ideas. It’s highly scalable, especially once you have a system established, and will never eat up more than a few hundred dollars at a time.
For that reason alone, it’s worth pursuing.
One of the main benefits is content promotion. Emailing your followers gives you a chance to highlight some of your best and most recent work. For example, let’s say you published an article of original research, but haven’t gotten any traffic on it yet; email can be your mechanism for driving your first few hundred views (especially if you have a loyal audience).
Assuming they enjoy your content, they’ll be inclined to engage with it and share it further. Since email blasts are cheap and happen instantly, it’s a no-brainer for an initial push.
It’s almost impossible to get ahead in SEO without a strong link profile; after all, inbound links pass authority to your site, and without that authority, you’ll be easily outcompeted in organic search results.
Email marketing boosts attention to your most valuable content posts, meaning more people will be able to read and share them. That increased attention, provided your content offers original information to cite, should lead to an influx of new links.
Depending on how you present the article, you could even call for citations; for example, you could announce your latest original research and encourage your readers to share some facts with their own audiences.
Customer Loyalty and Brand Reputation
Because you can send emails out at regular intervals, and in response to various company events and new publications, there are few channels better for encouraging further customer loyalty and improving your brand reputation. Loyal customers are more inclined to invest in your content strategy and advocate on behalf of your brand, which will make it easier to get featured in high-authority publishers (and can drive up your readership rates as well).
Social Media Followers and Engagement
If you embed links to your social media accounts in your email blasts, you can encourage people to follow your brand on social media channels, and possibly influence greater customer engagement on those channels.
While social media followers and activities won’t improve your SEO results directly, they may indirectly help improve your SEO by increasing your content’s visibility and reach, thereby increasing its potential to earn more inbound links.
All these benefits can be boosted even further if you know how to support your campaign. Include opportunities to subscribe to your email list everywhere, including throughout your website and social media profiles.
As long as you keep churning out great content and engaging with your loyal followers, you’ll keep attracting a bigger subscriber base. For ideas on how to grow your email list, see 50 Proven Ways To Grow Your Email List.
The hardest part is getting started. Once you develop a rhythm, your email marketing strategy can (almost) run on autopilot.
Here are some tips to get you started:
Cultivate a strong initial subscribership. The bigger your email list is, the greater potential reach your content will have. This realization tempts many newcomers to buy an initial email list far larger than what they’d be able to reach naturally. However, this is often a mistake. If those users didn’t sign up for your list and they start getting emails from you, they may interpret your messages as spam, reducing the value of your campaign and putting you at risk of being red flagged as a spammer.
Prioritize the value of your messages. All your email messages should offer some value to your users. That could be showing them your best content, offering discounts, or letting them in on news they won’t find elsewhere—whatever it is, it needs to mean something to your target audience.
Avoid spamming your users. Again, you might be tempted to send out as many emails as possible to maximize your results, but less is more here. If you email too frequently, your users will feel spammed, and they may unsubscribe or stop paying attention to your core content.
Experiment and focus on results. Don’t just pick a strategy and stick with it indefinitely. Try new things, including different designs, types of headlines, and offers. You’ll learn more about your customers’ needs, and will be able to provide even better content in the future.
If you use it correctly, email can be a powerful complement for both your content marketing and SEO campaigns. Each strategy can, individually, help you earn more sales and retain more customers, but together, they’re even more valuable than the sum of their parts.