Cross-Pollinate Search and Email

February 11th, 2009

Email marketing and search marketing have often been looked at as being at opposite ends of the digital marketing spectrum. Email used as a loyalty and retention tool, with search used as an acquisition tactic.

But that thinking prevents the results from those marketing efforts informing and improving one another, and the opportunities in that regard are significant.

The Funnel is Dead

The key to using search and email together is to mentally eliminate the idea of a classic conversion funnel with prospects at the top, and customers at the bottom. Instead, recognize that search and email (plus social media and many other components) all compromise different elements of the conversation between your brand and its customers.

Effective Search and Effective Email Look A Lot Alike

Winning email marketing and impactful search marketing share 3 primary characteristics:

  1. Timeliness
  2. Linguistics
  3. Relevancy


To leverage timeliness across both search and email, measure when you receive most of your clicks and conversions from SEO and PPC. Test sending your emails during those times.

Here at Convince & Convert, most of the first-time visitors to the site come between 7am and noon. Yet, I send my emails announcing new blog posts in the afternoon. I need to fix that.


Customers respond to particular words at a disproportionate rate. (For a social media spin on that, see Dan Zarrella’s interesting study on which words get the most retweets).

Recognizing that certain words or phrases are more successful at getting you clicks and conversions, why aren’t you using that information in a cross-tactic fashion? Examine your visits by keyword report. Look at your internal search report. Are there phrases that could be incorporated into the subject line or body copy of your email campaign? I’ll bet there are. Why are you writing your emails blind, without the benefit of that data?


Why are email and search separate departments? They both rely on the right message at the right time. Why not test email offers in PPC, and test PPC offers via email? When I worked at Mighty Interactive, we created a 16-way email test, and used the results to create a smashing PPC program (and then used the PPC results to make effective banner ads).

You have so much data at your disposal. Are you using it to your advantage?

These ideas and the slides below are from my participation on a panel at the Email Evolution Conference.

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