Best Practices for Integrating eCommerce Services: Building Trust and Increasing ROI

Ruthie Careyby Ruthie Carey

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In today’s digital ecosystem, retailers have more choices than ever regarding how, where, and when they wish to promote their products.

When considering how to increase ROI and boost a brand’s market share, many sellers tend to silo their marketing tactics. Some will opt to run email marketing campaigns, while others will focus on social media and adjusting for SEO success. Others still will sink their dollars into running PPC campaigns on Google.

However, a segregated approach to marketing is not the most effective approach. Instead, when looking for how to increase ROI and maximize marketing potential, merchants should consider an integrated approach.

To help retailers understand this concept and how an integrated marketing strategy can serve to enhance the outcome of each individual campaign type and produce a significantly higher ROI, today, we will take a look at how integrated marketing achieves these aims.

However, before we get started, let’s go ahead and gain a general understanding of what integrated marketing is and the benefits that can be gained from its deployment.

What Is Integrated Marketing?

Integrated marketing is the practice of utilizing different marketing modalities to work in tandem with one another and strategically serve business goals. Integrated marketing aims to take the information, insights and data harvested through one marketing channel and apply that information to another area to enhance performance outcomes.

For instance, merchants might integrate PPC and SEO, passing keyword information back and forth to optimize each campaign.

The main goal of integrated marketing is to eliminate knowledge gaps and disparities among departments in terms of marketing insights and how data is shared across disciplines to improve overall performance.

Therefore, it is important to understand that integrated marketing efforts use a multi-pronged approach, running various campaigns (email, SEO, social media, PPC, etc.) in tandem, allowing the outcomes to inform the direction the other campaigns take.

However, this does not mean that these campaigns cannot differ in their prospective goals. For instance, if sellers are attempting to generate more awareness with an SEO campaign, the advertising department can still use the information gained to write ads that convert.

That said, what retailers must understand is that running individual campaigns tends to be far inferior (in terms of outcomes) to running integrated marketing campaigns. The reasons why these types of efforts are more impactful and profitable include:

  • Data sharing enables more significant optimization across disciplines
  • Integrated campaigns tend to reach a wider, more targeted audience
  •  A brand has a greater chance of being seen on multiple channels, thereby keeping the company top-of-mind
  •  Integrated marketing saves money in the long-run

The plain fact of the matter is that when considering how to increase ROI for marketing endeavors, an integrated approach is second to none.

With that said, let’s go ahead and take a look at how integrated various marketing tactics work and the results that can be produced through their usage.

Integrating SEO and PPC

As will be a running theme throughout this piece, it is essential to understand that data is the driving force behind all good marketing efforts. Without data, sellers cannot gain objective insights into the effectiveness of their tactics and which steps should be taken to enhance marketing performance.

That said, in the digital era, data is plentiful. Therefore, merchants should rely on this kind of information whenever possible, as leveraging data is the key to more profitable results.

As far as SEO and PPC are concerned, Google itself provides retailers with tons of valuable insights through its Analytics and Search Console platforms. Moreover, there are a multitude of third-party tools that sellers can access to gain even more information about campaign performance.

Nonetheless, while many regard PPC and SEO as entirely separate, the data that each provides is invaluable for increasing the effectiveness of its counterpart.

Therefore, when contemplating how to increase ROI for marketing efforts, it is critical for SEO and PPC data to be passed between teams frequently, thereby enabling a greater level of transparency as well as a higher level of campaign optimization. The plain fact is that when teams have more data at their disposal, they will be capable of making better, more profitable decisions.

This sort of unified, integrated approach to marketing is quickly becoming a critical necessity in today’s interconnected, omnichannel eCommerce ecosystem, where the consumer’s path to purchase is anything but linear.

That said, let’s go ahead and take a look at how to increase ROI by integrating SEO and PPC campaigns.

Employ PPC Keyword Data for SEO Optimization

In the past, many retailers relied on Google’s Keyword Planner as a research tool for uncovering valuable keywords to target with their on-site optimization efforts. However, several years back, Google opted to begin throttling Keyword Planner data for “low-spending accounts” and those who were not active advertisers.

As a result, merchants were forced to turn to a variety of different tools for their keyword research efforts, many of which do not offer accurate search traffic figures.

However, those who are still “paying to play” with Keyword Planner, as it were, still have access to essential keyword data to guide their PPC campaign efforts.

Moreover, this means that advertisers know which keywords are converting with customers. By passing this data to SEO teams, retailers can significantly elevate their SERP performance in a couple of different ways.

Firstly, if sellers so choose, they can double down on their highest-converting keywords, opting to target them in PPC campaigns and on-site optimization efforts in a bid to monopolize search engine results pages for those phrases.

Alternatively, merchants can pull back on their PPC efforts, opting to target different keywords that might still produce generous results, thus passing keywords that have been identified as profitable to the SEO team for targeting.

Utilize SEO Data for PPC Savings

As far as SEO teams helping out PPC advertisers is concerned, the inverse situation is largely true as well. The fact is that SEO professionals are holding tons of data that can be extremely useful and benefit paid search campaigns immensely.

As most are aware, running PPC adverts can be a costly practice, particularly for those in highly competitive niches like eCommerce. As Google Ads industry benchmarks reveal, the cost-per-click for eCommerce retailers is approximately $1.16. While this is relatively low when compared to other industries (as consumer services top out at $6.40), the fact of the matter is that no matter what an industry’s average CPC is, advertisers want to get the most out of their eCommerce marketing budgets.

By having the SEO team share its data and knowledge with PPC pros, organizations can optimize their PPC outcomes by:

  • Improving Quality Scores: A campaign’s Quality Score can have a significant impact on the cost-per-click of keywords and the placement of ads in the SERPs. Given that SEOs are charged with optimizing landing pages for organic search, they can also positively impact PPC efforts by ensuring a match between ads and landing pages and the keywords target for each.
  • Pausing Unprofitable Phrases: If a keyword is too costly for a campaign’s budget, it will significantly reduce the return on ad spend (ROAS). Therefore, by pausing expensive keywords and allowing the SEO team to target those terms, retailers can improve PPC ROAS and maximize paid advertising budgets.
  • Uncovering Lucrative Long-Tail Terms: SEO data can also be leveraged to pinpoint high-performing long-tail keywords that can be applied to PPC efforts to enhance campaign performance by targeting user intent. Given that long-tail keywords are often more affordable, this strategy will also help to maximize advertising budgets.
  • Increasing eCommerce Sales: Using SEO and PPC together also enables merchants to elevate sales levels as each strategy serves to complement one another, ultimately helping to drive consumers deeper into the sales funnel.

While there are tons of benefits to using SEO and PPC together, these are not the only disciplines that can be integrated to achieve higher ROIs.

Integrating Content and Email Marketing

Most marketers are well-aware of the fact that email marketing and content marketing are two of the most impactful methodologies that a brand can utilize.

While content and email marketing have both been around for quite some time now, their potency has only increased with time. While many like to pontificate that “email is dead” or that “content marketing is dead,” the truth of the matter is that these two tactics deliver some of the best ROIs out of all marketing strategies.

For instance, email marketing campaigns have shown time and again to deliver up to 4,200 percent, with an eMarketer study from 2016 showing that the median email marketing ROI is 122 percent.

As far as content marketing is concerned, as Neil Patel details when discussing the ROI of content marketing:

“Remember that blogging consistently will help you generate 88 percent and 67 percent more leads respectively, for B2B marketers and B2C companies and will give you back that content marketing ROI… 41 percent of marketers confirm that content marketing has a significant ROI. In fact, content marketing can generate a staggering ROI if you do it the right way.”

Understanding this, it naturally stands to reason that content and email marketing are a natural pair as content can be used to generate more leads, earn email more subscribers and guide consumers through the sales funnel. Email marketing serves as a vehicle to deliver the right content (and deals) at the right time, ultimately securing the sale.

That said, the most challenging part about integrating content marketing and email campaigns is likely how difficult it is to produce great content that drives revenue. The reality is that the gap between mediocre content and good content is much smaller than that of good and great content.

Therefore, the first step in the process of integrating content and email marketing is to learn to craft top-notch pieces that people will want to consume as they are entertaining and provide legitimate value.

However, even if a brand is generating amazing content, if the site doesn’t regularly garner thousands of readers on a regular basis, it can be incredibly challenging to create content that drives revenue.

This is where email marketing comes into play.

The fact is that email can serve as a powerful vehicle for delivering content to consumers who are already aware of the brand and have potentially purchased its products before. Moreover, since existing customers tend to account for more of a company’s profits than prospective or new customers, content and email marketing can be incredibly lucrative.

For those who are unaware, as a Bain & Company report detailed on company’s cutting costs:

“A five percent increase in customer retention produces more than a 25 percent increase in profit. Why? Return customers tend to buy more from a company over time. As they do, your operating costs to serve them decline.”

Therefore, when considering how to increase ROI, delivering persuasive content via email is a powerful tactic for boosting a brand’s bottom line.

That said, let’s take a look at how retailers can successfully integrate content marketing and eCommerce email campaigns.

Delivering Content via Newsletters

Newsletters have been around for quite some time and still serve a significant purpose in today’s marketing ecosystem. Retailers, bloggers, and other types of organizations use newsletters to engage email recipients, educate consumers, retain eCommerce customers and drive revenue.

The most common usage of newsletters is to deliver pieces through a content roundup. Using this strategy, many companies will compile their best content for the week or month and send those pieces out to their audience.

However, while this is a viable strategy for combining content and email marketing, there are some disadvantages to be considered. Some of the downsides sellers might encounter with using newsletters in this way include:

  • Too many CTAs can distract consumers and result in fewer clicks
  • Trouble crafting intriguing subject lines due to the diversity of topics included in the newsletter
  • Sending consumers content that they are not interested in reading, potentially resulting in people unsubscribing

One way to combat this is to send out post-based newsletters where the email is dedicated to a single piece of content.

Another strategy for avoiding these pitfalls is to curate content according to consumer interests, which leads us to our next point.

Segment Newsletter Content Based on Demographic Information

The fact of the matter is that the more relevant the content is to a consumer and their interests, the more likely they are to engage and act on the information.

That said, segmenting email subscribers properly will enable sellers to better optimize their email campaigns, ultimately serving to boost eCommerce revenue and email marketing ROI.

Therefore, based on the information that merchants have gathered on their customers and email subscribers, they can segment them into meaningful groups to help cultivate more relevant email campaigns. Retailers can segment customers by their gender, location, interests and various other dynamics.

As far as how to increase ROI goes, when examining revenues driven by emails, research from the Data & Marketing Association shows that segmented campaigns generate 58 percent of all email revenue.

However, demographics are not the only way that sellers can segment email to elevate the ROI of email and content marketing integration practices.

Base Email Content on Consumer Behaviors

Similar to sending out email content that aligns with the demographic makeup of certain customers, retailers can also cultivate emails based on user behaviors.

Using this strategy, merchants can analyze their shoppers’ website usage, purchase histories, email engagement, social media interactions, and other behavioral data points to curate content topics that align with the actions and interests of consumers.

By going to this length to segment email campaigns, consumers can see that the brand values them, listens to them, and wants to develop the most personalized emails possible.

That said, to effectively utilize this integrated marketing concept, merchants might have to get a little creative with their content production efforts. For instance, if sellers notice that consumers are searching for bridalwear on their website, then it might be wise to generate a blog or infographic on choosing a wedding dress, sending to such customers via email.

Similarly, retailers can also segment their users based on the content topics that they interacted with in previous email campaigns. By examining the subject matter in which users are interested, site owners can begin creating topic clusters to aid their email, content, and SEO performance.

By studying the engagement analytics of each campaign, sellers can determine how different users engage with various topics, ultimately serving to create audience segments and a focus for the content department.

Integrating SEO and Content Marketing

As it stands, there seems to be a decent amount of confusion in the marketing area about the very critical but distinctly different tactics of search engine optimization and content marketing.

To be frank, the puzzlement is somewhat understandable given how frequently the two show up in online blogs and discussion posts as separate entities, which they are indeed.

However, the reality of the matter is that SEO and content marketing were seemingly born to be integrated marketing partners as one serves the other and vice versa.

Therefore, it is not a question of SEO or content marketing. Instead, it is a question of how to increase ROI by improving the visibility of content through SEO strategies and how to elevate SEO performance through fantastic content marketing.

Here are some ways for merchants to achieve that aim.

Design Content for Consumers and Search Engines

This point is likely to cause some consternation given that the mantra of content marketers over the past several years has been “write content for the audience, not search engines.”

While this point is largely true, and merchants should not seek to stuff their content full of keywords like it’s 2007 again, the fact of the matter is that content marketers must have an understanding of how search engines work to rank well.

Therefore, optimizing content for SEO means that retailers must strategically utilize keywords in specific areas and break the content down into small subtopics using headers, getting as narrowly focused as possible.

Think of it like this: No matter what a merchant sells, they won’t want to produce content that is just a massive wall of text. The reasons for this are that:

  • Such a structure is unappealing to readers
  • The lack of subheaders makes it more difficult for Google to understand the content and rank it accordingly

That said, when producing any content piece, particularly those utilizing the skyscraper technique, it is important to optimize content to be easily digestible for readers and search engines.

After all, if a piece is super valuable but unintelligible to Google bots, then it won’t rank well and will rarely (if ever) see the light of day.

Maintain Content Consistency

As far as how to increase ROI with an integrated approach to content marketing and SEO is concerned, it is essential for merchants to understand that consistency is key.

While maintaining a steady flow of content largely falls under the content marketing umbrella, there are elements of SEO involved as well. For instance, search engines examine how often sites publish new content. Therefore, if sellers crank out a bunch of content one month and then completely fall off for the next three, their SEO rankings are not likely to improve.

The fact of the matter is that each new piece a site publishes sends signals to Google, letting the search engine know that the site is still generating fresh, relevant content.

Moreover, maintaining a consistent publishing schedule means that merchants are adding pages that target topics and keywords that are of interest to their audience, thereby helping to increase authority which can help boost SEO performance.

When looking for how to increase ROI via content marketing and SEO integration, it is vital that retailers utilize the analytics tools at their disposal to ensure that they are filling in potential keyword gaps with new pieces of content.

Examine Link Value

When it comes to earning SEO backlinks, most retailers are aware that there are tons of sites out there that they would rather not liken to their content as these destinations can potentially damage SEO performance.

Therefore, search engine optimization knowledge is essential for understanding which publications merchants do and do not want links from and pursuing those ends accordingly.

For instance, if an athletic wear retailer finds that one of their blogs is being linked to an auto repair shop, that is likely not a link that will help SEO performance and could even serve to reduce the blog’s visibility in the SERPs.

Therefore, merchants will not only want to include high-value, relevant internal and external links in their content, but they will also want to conduct a backlink audit of their site to determine if any toxic links are harming their content marketing and SEO efforts.

The fact of the matter is that there is a synergistic relationship between SEO and content marketing. Each of these strategies should work in tandem with one another to help reach users with valuable, relevant content.

For online retailers, educating consumers on the finer points of their products requires a solid SEO strategy. However, given that content is the backbone of SEO, an effective content marketing strategy is necessary to support SEO ambitions.

While these two tactics are often viewed as separate, the fact is that merchants aiming to increase their ROI cannot have a great SEO blueprint without solid content and content cannot be solid without SEO optimization.

Integrating PPC and Email Marketing

While integrating email marketing and content marketing efforts can be an excellent way for retailers to increase campaign ROIs, another tactic for boosting profits is to combine email marketing with PPC advertising.

The plain fact of the matter is that integrating PPC with email marketing can significantly elevate a retailer’s open rate and click-throughs, thus helping to boost website traffic and sales.

As for how to increase ROI using an integrated approach to PPC campaigns and email marketing, some strategies that retailers can employ include:

Use PPC Campaigns to Grow Email Lists

Maintaining a brand’s list of current email subscribers and adding new (quality) ones is a challenging task. This is particularly true given that email databases decay at a rate of 22.5 percent annually.

As it stands, many retailers gain new subscribers through on-site signup forms. However, those who opt to integrate PPC advertising into their email marketing efforts can easily boost those figures. The reason for this is PPC ads tend to enjoy decent click-through rates.

In fact, when examining what makes people click on search ads, Search Engine Land reported:

“In a survey of 506 people who said they have clicked on a paid search ad in the past month, 75 percent said the ads make it easier to find information they’re looking for. That’s a good indication they think the ads are relevant to their searches.”

Therefore, running PPC adverts to help attract clicks from those who are actively seeking the products or services offered by the company can help to bolster a brand’s email list.

By running ads and sending paid traffic to a landing page that informs them about the brand and offers them an incentive to sign up for the company’s mailing list, merchants can broaden their audience and elevate email marketing ROIs.

Employ Email Lists for Retargeting Campaigns

As unfortunate as it is, the vast majority of shoppers will abandon their carts before completing a transaction. However, the pure knowledge of this can be used as a guiding light for how to increase ROI.

By utilizing a sound email-based retargeting strategy, merchants can bring back a significant number of potentially lost sales.

Moreover, email retargeting works the same way as when running a traditional retargeting marketing campaign. However, using this tactic, merchants will be targeting email subscribers in specific. When it comes to how to increase ROI, this technique can be incredibly powerful given that, as Social Media Today details:

“Browsers who see retargeted adverts are also 70 percent more likely to convert on a website than those who don’t – meaning that retargeting performs 10x better than your run-of-the-mill display banners.”

Moreover, retargeting ads tend to be less intrusive as they usually surface on social media websites or search engine results pages, as opposed to just cluttering a consumer’s inbox, potentially turning them off from a seller’s brand.

By integrating PPC retargeting and email marketing efforts, merchants can successfully increase their company’s marketing ROI without pestering consumers via constant email blasts.

Test CTAs and Promotional Offers with Paid Search Ads

If a retailer’s email headlines don’t contain a compelling call-to-action, they are likely generating subpar open rates. The fact of the matter is that CTAs and subject lines are some of the most vital components for driving conversions via email.

Understanding this, it is critical for sellers to establish strategies for driving the highest number of click-throughs and engagements.

Fortunately, merchants don’t need to rely on guesswork to see if their CTAs or promotional offers will have the intended effect. By utilizing PPC landing pages to experiment with different calls-to-action or proposals, sellers can avoid pushing out email campaigns that flop.

The process for achieving this is simple, as retailers merely need to create two PPC adverts with different CTAs or special offers.

For instance, on the first ad, merchants might utilize a FOMO-inducing phrase like “limited time offer” or “supplies are limited.” Meanwhile, the other ad could be used to test out addressing a specific pain point customers likely experience.

By running the ads side-by-side for a week, retailers can A/B test their advertising efforts to determine which elements will perform best among email recipients, thereby serving to help improve open rates, email engagements, and conversions.

Final Thoughts

The fact of the matter is that marketing does not happen in a vacuum. In today’s omnichannel ecosystem, marketing campaigns are already overlapping to some degree or another.

The only variable is if merchants are doing this intentionally to increase their campaign ROI or accidentally, thus missing out on a considerable amount of campaign optimization opportunities.

By integrating various marketing methodologies, retailers have the potential to significantly increase their return on their marketing efforts and substantially increase sales.

If your brand is interested in exploring how to increase ROI through integrated marketing strategies, reach out to Visiture to consult about a Commerce Transformation.

Our Commerce Transformation program serves to elevate a brand’s marketing efforts by integrating various services such as SEO, content marketing, paid media, email, and similar strategies to achieve more remarkable results than any could produce on their own.

Moreover, Commerce Transformation has a proven track record of making the most of a company’s marketing efforts, with clients seeing up to an outstanding 23.64 to 1 ROI.

Get in touch today to see how to transform your brand’s marketing ROI.

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