As the old saying goes, when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail -- and search is one excellent hammer. But the fact is, like every tool, there are some things search just does not do well on its own. Let’s explore some of the shortcomings of our favorite channel:
Creating a need
Search is used best when reaching people with intent, who know what they want. If you are the first to introduce a product category, you cannot expect people to search for something they haven’t even imagined yet. Search can’t create a want that does not exist, unless you want to bid on the term “the next big thing.” Reaching out to consumers without existing intent is more in the realm of display and video ads, as well as good old fashioned PR.
Rekindling existing relationships
Building loyalty and driving customers back is not search’s strongest suit, either. Search is great at driving people through the funnel, but after they become customers, it takes more than search to nurture those relationships. Creating loyal customers should be a priority, and if a customer returns to search when he needs your product or service, it just opens an opportunity to lose him to a competitor. Email is the obvious choice to reach users with whom you already have a relationship.
This will not come as a shock to you, but search ads are not pretty. Yes, they can be creative, clever and extremely effective. But search ads will never win artistic awards. No one will frame your three lines of text. While we love search because it is utilitarian, it does little to stir the emotions. Visual channels are better suited to do that.
Making a bad site or offering better
Even the most successful search campaign will fail if your site experience is poor or your offering is ill-matched to your targets’ needs. Marketers also need to optimize their site experience and make sure the offering is compelling and matches market needs.
What search is good at
Of course paid search is good at many things. When you want to reach users who have intent and even a small idea of what they want, very few tactics are better than paid search. Search is one of the best ways to reach mobile users. And hand in hand with mobile is local marketing. Search makes it easy to target and message users with local intent. In the end, driving leads into and down the conversion funnel is where search earns its keep – many times over.
Your toolbox =Integrated Marketing
And while search is great for a lot of things, marketers need to approach search as just one tool in their tool box. The tool box itself should include a diverse and powerful mix of channels and strategies. By integrating your marketing, you can work off each channel’s strengths. Together the different tools can work together, and in the areas where search cannot lead efforts, it will then work as a complement to other channels to drive success. Search continues to be an amazing marketing channel – and is made even more effective in concert and lockstep with complementary marketing efforts.