Content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO) and marketing automation – you probably know them as three essential elements of a thriving marketing ecosystem. SEO attracts your leads to the sales funnel through keywords and phrases aligned with their behavior and interests. Marketing automation delivers targeted information to your prospects at the right time to coax them through the sales funnel, from initial engagement to purchase. Content marketing is the high-value magnet that keeps your targets interested and engaged.
So what do they have to do with each other? Everything, as it turns out. The connection might not seem obvious at first, as many people compartmentalize SEO, content and marketing automation as separate processes. But the truth is that they can – and should – function as one synergistic and mutually beneficial system. It’s not an exaggeration to say that marketers who keep them separate are leaving ROI on the table.
Consider it like this. The way SEO, content and marketing automation work together is similar to starting a campfire. In order to successfully get your campfire going, you need three things: fuel, oxygen, and a source of ignition. Now think of the fire as the return on your marketing, including engagement and conversions. SEO strategies are the ignition, your content is the fuel and marketing automation is the oxygen.
SEO: Your Ignition
Think about starting your campfire. It’s all about the right conditions; you need good material for burning and plenty of oxygen to stoke the flames. But none of that on its own can spark a fire. Instead you need a transformative element like a match to ignite the first flames.
SEO is the match that starts it all. When you use SEO, you’re probably hoping for two benefits: boosting your site visibility and visitor conversion. Your specific keywords ignite the customer lifecycle by helping you rise in search engine results pages (SERP) to capture attention, and by luring site visitors to other content, such as a video or white paper, to draw them deeper into the funnel. Through careful SEO practices — creating ongoing relevant content, avoiding keyword stuffing and making content readily available to search crawlers — your keywords are that first spark that catches the attention of the right leads and launches the beginning of the buying process.
Content as Fuel
Just throwing a match on a pile of logs isn’t going to start a roaring fire – and no fire will last long without good material to keep it burning. Instead you need fuel that’s easy to ignite like leaves and twigs to get things going, sticks and branches to grow the fire, and big logs to keep it burning a long time.
Similarly, you’ll want to use different types of content as an enticing platform to house your SEO. Content that hooks your audience right out of the gate is like tinder, while the content that increases their interest is the sticks and branches. Your logs are the heavier and more persuasive educational elements that convert leads and build long-term customer relationships.
A fire consisting only of fast-burning ‘twigs and leaves content’ is going to burn out quickly; it’s vital to have a variety of fuel to keep prospects and customers interested and progressing through their journey. The best way to do this? Look at your data to understand your audience. That will help you craft the right tone and choose the right subject matter to create content that’s valuable and relevant to your targets.
Marketing Automation as Oxygen
Here’s another truth about campfires: they go out if they’re suffocated. Oxygen keeps a fire burning but it’s also a convenient way to control a fire. Limiting the oxygen can keep things low and slow, while increasing it will stoke the flames into a roaring inferno.
Similarly, marketing automation is the infrastructure that determines how fast your fuel is consumed. By working interactively with SEO and content, marketing automation can control the depth and intensity of your outreach. Think of it this way; if you have some warm embers going and throw a massive log on them, the fire will probably go out. But if you add some tinder and sticks to those embers, blowing on them to increase airflow, you can quickly coax the flames back up into a roaring bonfire. Marketing automation provides you with that same control, allowing you to monitor a lead’s status and adjust your efforts as needed.
For instance, by identifying the origin of your leads or the most effective types of content, your marketing automation can help you step up your efforts in those areas. Your system should also capture search behavior data and offer reports that allow you to connect keywords to closed deals, helping you tailor your SEO strategy and future asset development. If a certain keyword is performing above all others in driving traffic and converting leads, you can utilize that phrase in other ads, email campaigns or newsletters to fan the flames even higher.
Building the Perfect Marketing Fire
So how does all of this interdependence work in action? Let’s look at a landing page as an example. You could just publish an ordinary landing page and hope for the best – but your returns probably wouldn’t be that impressive. Instead you create a dynamic landing page where all three elements work together. First you develop memorable and compelling content for your page, and optimize it with traffic-generating keywords. Then you design the page to change in response to whatever ad or search phrase led the reader there, so that each reader experiences tailored and relevant content, ultimately boosting conversion rates.
And there you have it – by integrating your SEO, marketing automation and content marketing strategies, you’ve maximized their influence on each other and built a roaring ROI campfire. To keep the conversation going, check out A Winning Triumvirate: Content, Marketing Automation and SEO.
Meet Justin Gray
Justin is a serial entrepreneur and the CEO and founder of LeadMD, the world’s largest revenue operations agency having implemented over half of the Marketo user base. Justin has made a career of launching successful companies and scaling them, with successful exits of over 200MM+ in the last decade. Justin’s latest endeavor launched in 2016 when he co-founded Six Bricks an online learning startup designed to combat employee and customer churn through experience-based education. Over the past 10 years, Justin has emerged as a strong voice for entrepreneurship, marketing and culture. As a recognized speaker, Justin has been published over 350 times in industry publications and holds his own column, Tribal Knowledge in Inc., while writing for Entrepreneur, Tech Crunch and others. Justin and his wife Jennifer met over marketing and three years later welcomed their son, Grayson, into the world in April of 2017.