Everyone who works in online marketing knows what SEO (search engine optimization) and SEM (search engine marketing) are. They have become large businesses with hundreds of millions (SEO) or billions (SEM) being spent each year. SEO and SEM are the tools a marketer uses to get customers or potential customers to visit his or her website via search.
But many marketers don't realize there are similar tools for getting customers and potential customers to see their email messages. As Matt Blumberg, CEO of our portfolio company Return Path, points out in this post, there are very similar tools available in the email world.
SEO is all about the things you do to make your website optimized to show up in the organic (aka free) search results. In email, the equivalent is "reputation monitoring and management". As you work on your email reputation, the likelihood that your email will get into the inbox goes up. And like SEO, there are both consultants you can hire and tools you can use to do this.
SEM is about buying traffic via search. In email, the equivalent are whitelisting services. If you have a good email reputation, then you can pay to be on various whitelists that are like "EZ Pass for email".
Just like SEO and SEM, you really should do both. Start with optimizing and then move onto paid services. If you want to learn more, Return Path is the leader in providing both "reputation monitoring and management" and whitelisting. You can learn more on their website.