In the first two articles of my luxury search marketing series, we discussed the consumer mindset, what motivates and drives shoppers to purchase, and then the strategies and tactics that can be used to reach those shoppers and maximize results.
Now, I’m going to tie everything together. In the third and final article of the series, we’ll discuss the importance of an integrated marketing communication (IMC) campaign in the luxury goods industry and why it’s a must if you want to survive in today’s ultra-competitive and highly fragmented search landscape.
What is integrated marketing and why do luxury brands need it?
Today’s consumers are bombarded with messaging from many different marketing channels. Integrated Marketing cuts through the clutter by delivering a unified and seamless brand experience for consumers across channels. Integrated Marketing delivers a seamless experience with one clear message that is relevant to consumers no matter what channel they are using.
In the second article of my series, we discussed how the luxury consumer craves an experience. Luxury shoppers search online to find the luxury items they want, discover new experiences, and to engage with their favorite brands wherever, and to make their purchase whenever they want1. Therefore, creating seamless experiences along the customer journey is especially critical for luxury brands.
Understanding the consumer decision journey is crucial
The consumer journey is no longer a linear path-to-purchase. It has evolved into a complicated and dynamic process during which consumers interact with many different touchpoints along the way. Reaching consumers at the moments that most influence their decisions should be our goal as marketers. McKinsey’s Consumer Decision Journey applies touchpoints for these different opportunities to influence consumers.
The consumer decision journey is a circular decision-making process with four phases:
- Initial consideration
- Active evaluation – information gathering, shopping
- Closure – the moment of purchase
- Post-purchase – ongoing exposure to the brand
For search marketers to leverage the consumer decision journey, you need to find ways to get your brand into the consumer’s initial consideration set. We can do this through SEO and integration with other marketing channels.
Integrated marketing and SEO
Search marketers strive to maximize brands’ and companies’ visibility through top search engine rankings. This visibility is key to making it into the consumer’s initial consideration set. I’ll share some integrated marketing strategies that will help improve your SEO and overall business results.
1. Integrate organic and paid search marketing
Numerous studies2 have illustrated how SEO impacts the number of clicks that paid ads receive. Google has shown that when a site has strong organic results, the site is likely to see an increase their click-through-rate for paid search ads on the same search results page. Other studies have shown that the reverse is true – paid search can improve the results of organic search campaigns.
Putting it into practice
Align organic and paid messaging: You want unified messaging, not conflicting messaging. All messaging should be aligned and customer-centric. One way to achieve this is to include top-performing paid ad copy into your organic meta descriptions. For example, one of my paid search counterparts at our agency identified that the term “award-winning” performed the best in their ad copy. We have incorporated it into our meta descriptions to improve organic click-through-rates and to present a unified message to the searcher. This maximizes SEO performance while delivering a seamless experience for the luxury customer.
Improve pages with low-quality scores: Identify the pages where you have a low-quality score and work to increase it. Higher costs-per-click can be reduced by improving landing page experiences and page load times. Identify paid keywords that need organic support. Improving organic content for these keywords can help to drive your paid search campaigns and improve your campaign’s efficiency.
2. Capitalize on events
Leveraging event marketing3 is another way to reach potential customers and build brand awareness. You can leverage specific event types based on your industry to build brand awareness, and as an additional benefit, drive direct and referral traffic. Recurring seasonal events, fashion shows, and international fairs are likely to have strong search volume. These types of events present a great opportunity to increase your brand’s visibility during key moments throughout the year among a highly engaged audience.
The luxury watch brand, TUDOR, created a dedicated page on its website for Baselworld, an international watch and jewelry industry event. This dedicated page is optimized for “New TUDOR Watches – Baselworld 2017” and the content speaks to the new models of watches that would be debuted at the show. This type of page offers another avenue to generate organic visibility and traffic to the website.
Putting it into practice
Create a dedicated event page: You can create a page on your website that’s dedicated to a specific event type. For example, brand.com/eventtype-2019. This page can be used for PR and shared on social networks to help build search authority and brand awareness. Make sure that the brand message you share is consistent across all customer touchpoints.
3. Utilize visual social networks
Don’t limit your SEO to just Google. Visual and social networks4 like Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube present a significant opportunity for brands to generate awareness and visibility. Pictures and videos are powerful mediums capable of evoking the aspirational emotions associated with luxury purchases. Don’t forget, one of the primary reasons people buy luxury goods is to display status. Brands should be taking advantage of this by publishing content that helps luxury consumers fill this need.
CHANEL frequently creates this type of content. The “Inside CHANEL” campaign is a great example of how you can leverage images and videos. “Inside CHANEL” gives people an exclusive look into the brand’s history and it does this by sharing the brand’s story through pictures and videos. In addition to the “Inside CHANEL” website, the campaign’s videos are hosted on YouTube making it easy to share them among your social networks.
Putting it into practice
Create visual, aspirational content for social networks: Think about the type of content that people will want to share to impress their friends and peers. When creating this content like pictures or videos remember that it should evoke the types of emotions that make people want to share it.
Content creation tips
- Define your target audience and ensure that they are searching on the channel where you want to publish your content – Are they females and/or making the buying decisions? If so, Pinterest can be a good fit.
- Ensure this content has an exclusivity aspect to it. Ensure that people feel like they have access to something special. It should be original and unique.
- Make the content easily sharable across your social networks. The last thing you’ll want is to have a great piece of content that’s difficult for people to share.
- Ensure that the messaging is seamless across channels. Remember, the hallmark of an integrated marketing campaign is messaging that is consistent across channels.
- Ensure your content is optimized using descriptive image alt text. Make sure you are using the right image format and file size that is optimal for the channel. Each social channel has different tips to maximize visibility within their platform. Make sure you consult their guidelines.
We’ve covered a lot of ground in this luxury marketing search strategy series. To wrap things up, let’s summarize some of the key points for successful SEO and search marketing in the luxury industry.
The first article discussed the reasons why we buy luxury goods—because of how they make us feel and because we crave an experience along with the exclusivity. Let’s not forget about the role of dopamine in the process, which is where the anticipation of the reward comes in.
The second article covered the SEO importance of creating emotionally fulfilling content and keyword intent research. We also discussed why you need to invest in your meta description to make it more enticing. It’s important to win the click and entice consumers to learn more about your brand, and ultimately, convert.
Finally, the third article covered the role of integrated marketing for luxury brands and the benefits of a consistent brand theme/message across all customer touchpoints. Aligning your paid and organic search efforts, capitalizing on events, and creating visual, aspirational content that can be shared across social networks is a must.
As marketers, our goal should be to support the organization’s vision, mission, and values, and work hard to improve the company’s bottom line, regardless of the channel. It’s a collaborative effort between multiple marketing channels. It’s all too easy to default to a siloed approach, so we constantly push ourselves to think outside the box and develop inventive solutions for the challenges facing our customers. That’s where our real value as SEOs will shine through.
- The Meaning of Search Engine Optimization for Luxury, LuxeDigital – https://luxe.digital/digital-luxury-speakeasy/search-engine-optimisation-seo/
- How Organic SEO and PPC Impact Each Other, Brightedge –https://www.brightedge.com/content/how-organic-seo-and-ppc-impact-each-other
- Why Luxury Brands Should Capitalise on Events, Luxury Society – https://www.luxurysociety.com/en/articles/2018/03/seo-strategy-why-should-luxury-brands-capitalize-events/
- 10 Marketing Strategies for Luxury Brands that Deliver Results, VentureHarbour – https://www.ventureharbour.com/luxury-brand-digital-marketing/
Jennifer Kenyon is a Director of Organic Search at Catalyst (part of GroupM). She can be found on Twitter @JennKCatalyst.
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In the data set that I used businesses were found via non-branded searches 70% of the time vs. 30% of the time via a branded search.