After two years of thinking about it, I realized that now was the perfect time to discuss the valuable free ads businesses sometimes overlook in this sophisticated era of AI and marketing automation. With the surplus of data for business intelligence to manage, savvy marketers recognize that maximizing free impressions and using them to optimize organic web presence for B2B engagement is incredibly important.
And yes, I said free! These impressions already exist for your business but are sometimes not recognized as legitimate ads. The two hidden gems you may be overlooking are organic search ads and email subject line + preheader combos. With the proper marketing strategy, these ads should be maximized to generate a stronger web presence.
1. Organic Search Ads
These can be found in the page titles and meta descriptions that are no longer scoring you points for on-page SEO. But that doesn’t mean they’re worthless! When these two items are grouped together, they serve as an organic ad for your business page. The next time you update them on your check–off list for your on–page SEO, be sure to assign them to a professional copywriter who can bring the same level of value and urgency as the ad placement in your next conference program.
When objectively written and properly executed you’ll find that more people will click through to, and spend more time on your page. And there’s nothing bad about that. These can and should count as impressions to your executive team and your board. What’s more, since 57% of B2B marketers are saying that SEO has the biggest impact on lead generation, it’s probably worth the time and effort to jump all over that.
So basically, the ad shows up in the search listing. A good length to stick with is 40 characters for the title and 140 characters for the description. We like to end all of our ads with a double arrow indicator that says “go this way”.
Here’s an example for you.
Please keep in mind that as of 2019 there isn’t any guarantee that your meta description will get picked up by the Google algorithm. Sometimes it will. And other times Google decides what search result snippet to show based on the searchers’ query.
2. Email Subject Line + Preheader Combos
This overlooked ad is even more astonishing than the last. Email marketing was around long before SEO and we’ve been tracking open and clickthrough rates as well as determining how these two key metrics are tracked well before the arrival of page titles and meta descriptions. Yet time and time again, B2B emails continue to be sent with subject lines that lack specificity, personality, and relevancy without a well thought out follow up preheader text.
You want to be sure your subject line is catchy and engaging without being clickbait. Also, consider the fact that the average business employee receives about 121 emails per day and you need to stand out from the pack. With an average of 35% of those emails being opened based on the subject line alone, it’s important that this be strategically executed.
Preheaders are really similar to the Organic Search ad with a slight tweak in character length—under 30 characters for your subject line to ensure they appear in full on mobile, and a solid preheader is between 85 and 100 characters. Here are some subject line + preheader combos that performed well above the benchmark open rate for the Corporate Services industry.
It goes without saying that there are so many lost opportunities on the email newsletter that you send out each month to a contact list north of 20,000. Look at it this way, each email that makes it to the inbox counts as an impression. So, not only will taking your subject line and preheader combo to the next level increase your open rates, the number of impressions that your report each month to the board will increase too. And, the best part: that increased number of impressions comes at no additional cost.
A Side Note About List Hygiene.
It’s important to mind your list hygiene because emails don’t count as impressions unless they actually make it to the inbox.
Which means that deliverability really does matter.
So, you may want to rethink your inactive strategy. I don’t recommend that B2B marketers keep spamming the same people over and over when they havenʼt shown any signs of life for two years. These may be abandoned accounts that people havenʼt logged into for two years. If that’s the case you will get dinged, or worse blocked, by the ISPs if you continue emailing them, and that will affect your ability to deliver to those who do want your email.
You can use Briteverify to clean your list. Briteverify will flag abandoned accounts that you can remove from your list. Mindful monitoring of your list every six months or so makes good sense and will help you avoid getting dinged by the ISPs as you maximize your organic free ads.
What I‘m saying is that as long as a person hasn’t unsubscribed from your list, consistently showing up in their inbox with a thoughtful subject line + preheader combo ad will contribute to your goal of staying top of mind.