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Four easy tips for getting more marketing mileage from your site search solution – Marcus Law, SLI Systems

by on October 18, 2013 in Apps, Apps & Software, CRM, Ecommerce, Email Marketing, FaceBook, Gadgets, Google, iPhone, Lead story, LinkedIn, Metrics, Mobile, Mobile Marketing, Mobile/Tablet, Online Advertising, Online Video, Pinterest, QR Codes, Research, Retail, Retail News, Search Marketing, Small Business, Social Media, Twitter, Websites

By Marcus Law, Marketing Manager EMEA SLI-Systems

Search has become such an automatic part of our online experience, it’s no surprise how often we rely on search engines and site search to get through the day. Google handles about 100 billion searches every month, so every one of us Google users is likely responsible for at least a couple dozen of them daily.

Site search has become a must-have element for online businesses of any size. Without the ability to quickly search your site for content or products, impatient online visitors will leave abruptly and may never return.

For more information about SLI Systems, visit www.sli-systems.co.uk

While solid website search capabilities are a critical addition to any online marketing arsenal, marketers should also realise search can provide much richer benefits to their overall strategy than just the core value proposition of search.  For example, insights on visitor habits and buying behaviour can be gleaned from site search data. And, products and content can be merchandised within search to provide new ways to touch customers and encourage a purchase.

Here are some important insights into ways marketers should be thinking about site search and the increased value it can add to the marketing machine:

Sell with search

Selling in the real world gives merchants a few ways to promote products even when shoppers aren’t right in front of the display, like signs in windows and in store displays. Online, you have even more places where you can touch customers and remind them to keep browsing, and search is one of the best locations on your website to do this kind of marketing. For example, as visitors are reading through search results, you can use search-related banner ads to promote similar products and content to what they’re searching for, or suggest similar items. These targeted banners use shoppers’ search terms as keywords that trigger the display of highly relevant messages or calls to action. During the holidays, you can use banners to highlight shipping or gift-wrap deals – or, if the visitor types in a brand name, you can highlight the brand and your associated product range in the banner.

Sniff out trends

What your online visitors are searching for can tell you a great deal about how you promote your products, and which products and content you should be showcasing. It can also tell you which search terms perform well and which ones perform poorly in terms of conversions.

If holidays (is “holidays” the right terminology here?)  are important to your business, right now is a good time to prepare for the coming holiday season by examining  site search data to see if customers are searching for an item you don’t carry – and could easily add to your inventory.  Also, you might discover that shoppers are using an entirely different search term for a product – like searching for “Kindle” instead of the generic term “e-reader” – and you haven’t accounted for the alternate term. Or they might be commonly misspelling a brand name.

In some of the cases above, a customer could very well be getting a “no results” page for their search, when in fact you have the products they want. If the keywords don’t match and valid products don’t appear for that search term – you’re looking at poor conversions and/or click-throughs.  On the other hand, these searches might inform you that your customer base is getting excited about a brand or product that you should be carrying. And, a good look through site search data can give you an early tip-off about this trend.

Boost SEO effectiveness

It’s a difficult job getting people to land on your site via organic search, so you want to make their visit highly compelling from thestart .  Data culled from site search queries can help better understand the language people are using to get to your site. The terms they are using to find you, should also be incorporated into the website terms to remain consistent. In addition, landing pages that are customised to the visitor’s search term can make a big difference in conversions and time spent on your site.  Advanced site search solutions can create these landing pages (eliminating extra work for your IT team), which are indexed by search engines.

When a visitor ends up at one of these landing pages via a search engine, they’ll be presented with a selection of relevant products, or perhaps a brand showcase – helping drive engagement just as the visitor is looking for a specific item.

Satisfy mobile customers

Mobile users are a tough crowd. They’re using devices with limited screen space and often suboptimal online access. Yet, they want answers to product questions within only a few seconds of searching.  And if you have real-world store locations, you’ll find that many mobile users are searching for information when they’re right in front of a product – for instance, looking up reviews.

Fast and easy-to-use mobile site search is critical for mobile marketing and e-commerce. When executed properly, it will keep customers coming back for more. Making the search box the most prominent item on the mobile page, and using large navigation buttons, will allow mobile shoppers to find what they want even under adverse browsing conditions.

When website visitors use site search, they’re telling you in their own words what they want. That’s powerful information for your marketing campaigns. With the insights above, you can put this knowledge to good use and get more mileage out of the search solution you may have previously only used in the traditional sense for its namesake – search.

Marcus Law, Marketing Manager EMEA SLI Systems

Marcus completed a BA in Business Management and Marketing at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand in 2007. He began his career in New Zealand as a Marketing Assistant for SLI Systems in 2008. After travelling the world, Marcus reconnected with SLI in 2011 employed as a Customer Success Manager in the London office.

He worked in this role for over a year and in 2012 he was promoted to his current position as SLI System’s UK Marketing Manager. His specialties include, E-Marketing, Digital Marketing, Online Marketing Strategy, Planning and Tactics, B2B Marketing, Lead Generation, Product Marketing, Partner Marketing, Copy, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), E-Commerce, Search, Email Marketing, Account Management, Social Media and Event Management.

Company Information

SLI Systems provides full-service site search, navigation, merchandising, and user-generated SEO, and is the top SaaS-based site search provider to IR 500 and IR 1,000 retailers. Unlike traditional search software, SLI Systems’ patented technology continuously “learns” from the behaviour of visitors over time to deliver more relevant results.

This learning-based search and navigation technology empowers retailers and content sites to enhance customer satisfaction by helping site visitors find the products and information they seek as quickly and efficiently as possible, increasing site conversions and average order value. SLI Systems is a privately held company, with offices in San Jose, CA; London, UK; Melbourne, Australia; and Christchurch, New Zealand.

 

For more information about SLI Systems, visit www.sli-systems.co.uk

 

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