The forgotten goal that converts better than SEO

It’s no secret that search engine marketing offers one of the best return on investment in any marketing.

In most industries, ranking or bidding on the right keyword can be like printing money.

But even seasoned search engine marketing veterans sometimes forget that search is more than just direct selling.

In my experience, there is only one channel that outperforms search engines in terms of ROI.

And when the search is combined with that channel, a charged ROI machine is created.

This channel is the opt-in email list.

The magic of opt-in email lists

One of the things that makes search engine marketing work so well is that the potential customers that come to your website have been actively searching for your product or service.

This is in contrast to traditional and other forms of online marketing, where your message is presented to an audience that hasn’t necessarily shown interest in what you’re trying to sell.

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Opt-in email lists are even more focused.

In a well-designed registration list, you send messages to people who have actively expressed interest not only in the product or service you sell, but also in your company.

This is how you can send special offers to your most valuable customers.

You can focus your business on those who matter most – real prospects.

You can even segment the members of your registration list.

Segmentation allows you to offer the best content or even offers to the right customers.

For example, if you split your email list into those who actually bought from you and those who just showed interest, you can customize your message to encourage first-time customers to buy and to encourage existing customers to buy more to buy.

SEO & Opt-In Lists: A Powerful Combination

We have found that opt-in lists offer an amazing return on investment.

However, the success of a registration list depends on the quality of that list.

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If your list is full of mediocre prospects who signed up to win a competition or get a one-time deal (think Groupon), the return on your list won’t be that big.

However, if your list is full of potential customers actively searching for your product or service, the sky is the limit to the amount of money a list can make.

One of the best ways to build a high quality opt-in list is through search engine marketing efforts.

You can create lists using both paid and organic search marketing.

By directing search engine visitors to subscribe to your subscription list, you are creating a quality list of potential customers who have expressed an interest in your product or service.

However, many companies hesitate to use their search marketing efforts to build their lists.

Why?

Because they don’t know how to track the ROI of their SEO efforts without selling directly.

Opt-in list rating

It can be difficult to quantify the value of a list, let alone the value of an individual list member.

Over time, understanding how your list is responding to your offers will make it easier to see the value of your list.

When building a list for the first time, it is difficult, if not impossible, to focus on accurate monetization metrics.

Even looking at averages in your vertical is very suspicious.

The value of a list depends on the offers that you can offer and the immediate needs of each list member.

If you need to start with a rating for your list to justify your list-building efforts, one of the best practices is to use your general lead rating metrics for a lead generation site.

For an ecommerce website, use your general conversion metrics.

For example, if you get a sale of 1 in 10 visitors on a lead generation website, an initial estimate would be that for every 10 people you add to your sign-up list, you would get 1 sale.

The same principle applies to e-commerce. Instead, just use your conversion metrics.

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Of course, to get down to a dollar number you need to understand what your average sale is worth.

Over time, you will find that your sign up list is a gift that you keep giving.

The lifetime value of a list member is far higher than the one-time sale made through traditional search engine marketing.

So if you are creating an initial list rating based on current sales metrics, then in the long run you should create a conservative rating based on customers’ lifetime value.

Opt-in audiences and search

In most cases, the search behavior of those interested in opt-in lists matches the search behavior of traditional interested parties.

With opt-in lists, however, you are not limited to bottom-of-the-funnel searches.

Typically, most search engine marketing programs try to find a customer who will be ready to buy very soon.

This works great for many lead generation and ecommerce games, especially when convenience is more important than price or other considerations.

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What could be nicer than buying from the first listing you see in search results?

The more thought is given about buying, the less the bottom-of-the-funnel approach works.

Opt-in lists light up here.

Optimizing for subscribers to opt-in lists is about targeting topics that are more geared towards top-of-the-funnel prospects.

For example, if you sell big screen TVs, for quick sales, the best thing to do is to appear at the top of search results for a specific TV model.

You may even be able to get a sales ranking for specific television greats or brand names.

But for those just starting out with a TV purchase, there are several questions about a wide variety of topics.
It searches for screen types, processor speeds, comparison searches, and a lot more.

If you can optimize your brand so that it shows off in as many topic queries as possible, you will brand yourself as an authority in the SERPs.

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And there’s a good chance you’ll get those prospects to click on your content.

Getting these prospects to sign up for your sign up list gives you the option to set the description for buying a TV.

You can even slide them through the funnel until they are ready to sell.

Conclusion

Don’t just look for a last click sale when measuring your search engine marketing results.

Look for ways to get other marketing channel results using SEO and SEM.

Get creative. The sky is the limit.

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