How to Marry SEO with Email Marketing and Catapult Your Rankings
The inbox has long been an intimate medium of communication with customers. As the GetResponse email benchmarks report shows, welcome emails can get as high as 84.22% open rates.
On the other hand, SEO remains one of the most reliable sources of driving website traffic and brand awarenesses. Among the major marketing channels, SEO and content marketing have the lowest cost per lead (CPL).
But, what if you can marry the two?
As you’ll see later in the article, the clicks from email subscribers trigger a positive cycle of engagement on your website. It can lead to a cascading effect of more links, more referral traffic, more brand visibility, and higher search rankings.
So let’s get cracking with few ways to creating a compelling marketing strategy at the intersection of SEO and email marketing. Here we go!
Start a waterfall of engagement through your list
Shreya Dalela, a B2C content marketer, had a client in the cosmetics industry with a list of over 20k subscribers. However, the brand only sends them promotional emails.
When Shreya suggested the client to send educational blog posts over email, she faced a huge resistance. The stakeholders of the brand believed that email is solely for offering discounts.
Is the brand missing out on engaging traffic?
Well, most content marketers know that the returns of their content marketing and email marketing efforts are compounding. Hence, they deepen their relationships with their subscribers by serving them value (which might mean sending helpful information instead of discount coupons).
Indeed, the email opens from your subscribers don’t solely result in one-time clicks and feedback on your blog posts. Quicksprout has found that email audiences tend to leave more comments than other traffic. The reason is that email subscribers are more “loyal, engaged, and vocal.”
The subscribers that like your content will comment, share the article on social media, and bring new visitors to your site. The engagement from your list triggers a traffic cycle.
And what do more social shares and more discussions on your blog posts mean for your search rankings?
It might result in lower bounce rates, higher time on page, and more comments. These positive engagement signals help your content rank. Also, there’s a positive correlation between social media shares and your ranking.
So start with sharing your latest articles with your email list. A small intro to the subject with a link to the post works well. Remember that repeat visitors are more engaged and likely to buy from you.
Large email list, several segments
Do you have a large list? Or, are you serving different types of audience?
Then, it makes sense to segment your list. It ensures that you send relevant content to your email subscribers. Remember, the goal is not merely to hit the inboxes of MORE people. Instead, it’s about earning higher engagement with every email you send.
For instance, Pat Flynn puts up a question at the end of his emails to let this audience describe their current stage of business. It helps Pat categorize his subscribers into buckets and send them helpful content as per their situation.
Actionable takeaway: Regularly send your latest blog posts to your email subscribers. GetResponse allows you to tag your subscribers (invisible to the contact). You can also create automated workflows and add the tag actions in them. It’s useful to tag subscribers that began a new course.
GetResponse also has advanced search and segmentation options. You can use them to segment your list based on factors like location and engagement score. It ensures that you reach the inboxes of contacts interested in your content.
Pro Tip: Add UTM parameters to your email campaigns to track their effectiveness
If you want your message to be tracked even more precisely, then go to GetResponse Integrations tab, and configure the Google Analytics form.
Conduct surveys of your audience to plan your content
Loosely put, SEO involves publishing high-quality content that satisfies user intent. Then, building backlinks from high-authority websites to that page. Usually, marketers plan their content calendars by relying on keyword research. They search for keywords with low-competition and decent search volume.
However, this doesn’t take your existing email subscribers into account.
Every day new people that search for solutions to their problems find your content (targeting relevant keywords) and they, in turn, become your audience.
While that’s great brand exposure, to build a sustainable business, you need a loyal audience that happily engages with you. For that, you need to serve their informational needs.
Indeed, 90% of the most successful B2B content marketers put their audience’s informational needs first. It makes sense to seek the participation of your existing email subscribers in your content creation efforts. Let me share a few examples.
A decade ago, David Siteman Garland started his company, Create Awesome Online Courses. He teaches people how to create and sell courses online. It has crossed $10M in yearly revenue and is #938 on the Inc. 5000 list.
Surprisingly, you won’t find blog posts on his website that target keywords related to online course creation. Indeed, he hardly has any organic traffic on his website.
However, he regularly creates exclusive podcasts and content for his existing customers (that includes me). He regularly engages with his email list with updates about his life and ties the conversation back to course creation.
Does the success of CAOC highlight the importance of engaging with your existing email subscribers and customers?
Here’s another email I received from star blogger, Adam Enfroy. He mentions the way forward for his blog based on the feedback from his subscribers. His latest five blog posts are also based on it. He ends the email requesting the subscribers to reach out if they want him to cover other specific topics.
Generate organic traffic from your audience interests
You can take Adam’s idea a step further. After surveying and finding the topics that interest your subscribers, you can tie them to the keywords that have decent search volume.
Suppose you find that your subscribers want an article on starting a freelance writing business. You find that the keyword “freelance writing jobs” has a huge volume and decide to target it.
You know that your audience consists of English-as-a-second-language (ESL) speakers.
So, you create an article titled: 25 ways to get freelance writing jobs for ESL speakers.
It targets the keyword “freelance writing jobs” and makes your content relatable to your audience. When you share it with your subscribers, it will resonate, get better engagement, and more social shares.
Remember what user engagement does to your search rankings?
Are you worried that making your article relevant to a niche audience will limit its popularity and prevent you from ranking?
Then look at the likes of Ryan Robinson. He writes about side hustles on his website. Hence, his article on starting a blog used the angle ‘on the side’ to keep it relevant to his audience.
Did that prevent his article from ranking for the keyword “how to start a blog?”
Instead, he ranks for 14K other keywords and gets upwards of 25K visitors every month.
Here’s Ryan’s take on limiting his audience:
I’m actually excited to limit the audience I’m writing for. Over the years, I’ve come to really feel strongly that when you try writing for everyone, you often end up writing for no one – which is why I love to niche down in my audience targeting. I choose to write specifically for people who are starting and growing a side business because it’s something I can personally relate very closely to with my ten years of experience in that world. I know their problems, challenges, motivations so intimately that I can connect well with that type of person, so it gives me a strong competitive advantage when I do write for them.
Actionable Takeaway: Choose a feedback tool and get regular feedback from your email subscribers. Ask them for ideas on content and their other needs.
You can also create surveys using GetResponse. Choose “Forms and surveys” from the menu and click on the “Create a new Survey” button.
You can use the drag-and-drop tool features to create different types of questions.
Once you have answers from your audience, then use a keyword research tool like Ahrefs. And try finding relevant keywords for your audience interests.
Generate more leads from your top-performing content
Do you create content every week? Orbit Media found that the bloggers that published every week are 2.5x more likely to report “strong results” than those published every month.
However, once you have a repository of great content on your blog, it makes sense to slow down and focus on optimizing existing content. For most websites, a few pages make up most of the traffic. For instance, Neil Patel generates 28.7% of his search traffic from .1% of the pages on his site.
To capitalize on the success of your existing content pieces, you can repurpose and distributing them to reach more people. One email marketing strategy that most bloggers rely on to drive evergreen traffic to their top posts is…?
As welcome emails have the highest open and click-through rates, sending your best content starts your relationship with new subscribers on the right note. Here’s an example of a first email from Nat Eliason that shares his most popular articles.
Another simple strategy to convert your top-performing content into a smoking hot lead magnet is creating an actionable email course. You can attach a task at the end of each lesson to help your audience progress towards their goals (for which they subscribed in the first place).
For example, Ryan Robinson offers a free course ‘Start a Profitable Blog in 7 Days’ in his top-performing article on the same subject.
What’s awesome is that after the free seven-day course, Ryan pitches a paid course to these new subscribers. It helps Ryan generate a little extra revenue.
You can also repurpose your guest posts and case studies as lessons inside your email course. A few months ago, Nat Eliason launched an email course taking us behind the scenes from his Cup & Tea Leaf blog project. He didn’t shy away from repurposing his Ahrefs guest post on updating content in the last lesson.
Doesn’t it feel awesome to reap MORE benefits from your top-performing content?
In 2015, Buffer conducted no new content for a month experiment. During that time, they repurposed their highest-performing content into email drip campaigns, Medium posts, LinkedIn Pulse articles, Ebooks, etc.
60% open rates (that’s terrific engagement) and over 18k signups on their email drip campaigns.
As you grow your email list and improve your relationship with them, you get more clicks and engagement on every article you publish.
That, in turn, is the ticket to…
Higher search rankings.
Also, in the optimization process, you generate more leads and help your bottom line. What’s not to like?
Actionable Takeaway: GetResponse has some simple and effective templates under the Automation section for designing your “Welcome Email.”
You can also use the autoresponder to create email courses.
Start a curated email newsletter
To rank higher in search engines, you need backlinks from authoritative websites. They count as a “thumbs up” by other websites for your site. And generating links comes down to building relationships.
Is there a way to network with industry professionals without writing detailed blog posts?
Yes, you can choose thought-provoking articles that you’ve been reading and share insightful tidbits from them.
If you regularly hand-pick and compile such links and package them into an email newsletter, you become irresistible. You create anticipation in your subscribers.
Can you see how curating email newsletters is an excellent strategy? It’s a great way of finding a place in the inbox of industry professionals and remaining at the top of their heads.
For example, content marketer, Jimmy Daly, has maintained a weekly personal newsletter for a few years now. He shares links to a few interesting articles, a tweet of the week, some random links, and sponsored stories.
The newsletter has built up an excellent reputation for his personal brand as it reaches folks at Google, Apple, Harvard, and more. Ahrefs shows that his website has racked up over 100 backlinks that include a reference to his newsletter “Swipe File.”
He has even landed mentions from authors writing for websites like Entrepreneur.com (which in this case are fellow content marketers deriving value from his newsletter).
A few other marketing folks that send weekly newsletters include the likes of Kevin Indig and Nat Eliason. It’s crazy how they manage to send value-packed emails on the side of their full-time jobs. However, the newsletters have helped their authority.
And as we’re talking about curated newsletters, how can we forget the 5-Bullet Friday? It’s a weekly email newsletter curated by Tim Ferriss and reaches over 1.5 million subscribers.
Tim delivers five things he has enjoyed over the week. Even the 25th most popular link of the newsletter last year managed to get more than 42,000 clicks. The reason why his recommendations can spark off so many clicks is the way he adds context to the things he shares. The updates are personal and relevant to his niche and audience. Here’s an example:
Occasionally, while curating such a newsletter, you can also plug links to your articles. Freelance writer, Elise Dopson, sends a bi-weekly newsletter on content marketing. Under the section of content marketing resources, she shares links to her latest work.
That’s how a curated newsletter can help you build relationships, and even convert into more tangible results like backlinks.
Actionable Takeaway: Save the best content that you read every week using a tool like Pocket or Evernote. Then, use the drag-and-drop GetResponse editor to convert them into an email newsletter. Did I mention that you can choose from over 500 newsletter templates inside the tool?
I hope you learned a few ways to let your email subscribers’ feedback improve your content marketing as well as SEO efforts. You can also repurpose your existing assets and convert them into digestible email lessons for extracting more juice from your content.
While they may seem unrelated at first, SEO and email marketing together are a very powerful combo. So whether you’re a new brand or a well-established business, integrating the two can deliver massive business results.
Are there any other ways you’re using email marketing to help your SEO efforts? Let me know in the comments below.
Author: Chintan is a writer and an ROI-focused content marketer. Join him at Elite Content Marketer and learn how to grow your business through content.