Today’s SEO lesson: Branding vs. performance.

In some respects, branding is always an aspect of any type of marketing you do, including performance marketing. However, strictly speaking, branded marketing has more specific goals that are at another stage entirely from performance marketing.

Here’s a brief look at what the two types of marketing entail, why they are used, and how they can help you meet your goals:

Branding

Brand marketing is meant to help companies or websites that are just getting started to get the word out about what they have to offer.

In some cases, brand marketing can also be used to get exposure for a company that has been struggling to attract attention or customers. The company could have been operating for months or more without any results and wants to make a concerted effort to establish brand recognition.

Companies can also start a brand marketing campaign when they want to redefine their image.

The primary goal of a brand marketing campaign is simply to establish more widespread recognition of the company name, its products or services, and its values.

For example, when people talk about women’s shoes, you want them to be thinking about your brand name if you sell women’s shoes. The goal isn’t necessarily to get customers to buy those shoes right now, but rather to associate your brand name with women’s shoes so that anytime the discussion comes up, they think about your company.

An SEO campaign would focus on a combination of both brand name and keywords. The goal would be to get the company to come to the top of search results whenever someone looks for terms related to the products or services the company provides.

Over time, seeing that name often enough will cause customers to automatically think of the brand when those products and services are mentioned.

This type of campaign should also include social media. That means using plenty of on-page SEO for social profiles, posts and ads. The more people engage with your profiles or talk about your brand, the bigger the boost your branded marketing campaign will get.

Performance

After you have established a strong brand reputation, you will want to focus on moving customers through the sales funnel. At the end of that funnel are sales, which is where performance marketing comes in.

Performance marketing has specific goals, and it can be measured with specific metrics.

The goal for performance marketing cannot simply be “more sales.” It must be a specific number or percentage of sales over a certain time frame. For example, you may want to increase sales by 10 percent over the previous quarter.

It is also better to narrow your focus to sales of a specific item or service. You can focus on sitewide sales, but that will require a much larger SEO campaign and a much bigger financial investment. Narrowing your focus allows you to get results faster and with fewer resources.

Your SEO campaign should focus on primed keywords when you are engaged in performance marketing. Therefore, instead of using keywords like “gold rings” or “sapphire pendants,” you would use keywords like “gold rings for Mother’s Day” or “sapphire pendants for sale.”

These keywords will be used by people who are primed to buy, not just to get information about a topic.

Performance marketing should include a mix of organic and paid SEO.

Organic SEO efforts should include creating landing pages that are optimized for your sales-ready keywords and that have strong calls to action. Every element of the page should be created with your sales goal in mind, and every aspect of your SEO should be created to position that page at the top of search results.

Title tags, meta descriptions and headlines should all be written with the goal of motivating the user to not only click through but to also purchase.

Ads should supplement SEO results. The ads can get more exposure faster, and they give you an opportunity to promote special offers. You can highlight a product or service for sale and include different offers, such as different prices, different discount amounts and different free gifts.

Using a PPC campaign alongside your SEO campaign will also allow you to run split testing to see which elements help you get results faster.

Ultimately, branded marketing and performance marketing can be seen as two sides of the same coin. Branded marketing creates exposure yes, but in the end, the goal of that exposure is more sales. Performance marketing just measures how well you’re doing once you’re ready to move once your branding is in place.

If your performance marketing isn’t doing well, you may need to look at how well your branding is defined and what kind of exposure you are getting. You may need to engage in further branding before you can focus on pushing sales again.

Search SEO Lesson: Branding vs. Performance