Relationships are the heart and soul of online marketing success; ultimately, they have the power to make or break a business. But in the modern age where masses of consumer data are accumulated and readily available to advertisers, it’s easy to bombard potential customers with ad material. And, while rationale may convince some advertisers that frequency and volume will entice customers to make more purchases, statistics point to the contrary.
The fact of the matter is, online consumers tend to be inherently paradoxical—they’re wary of sharing private information, yet they want an ad experience that is catered to their unique interests. Ironically, these custom tailored ad campaigns rely on the extremely individualized data that customers don’t want to share. In order to navigate this narrow pathway to online marketing success, there are a few things that advertisers can do to make sure that they are captivating their customers rather than annoying them.
1. Get To Know Individual Customer Preferences.
The first step to any successful online marketing campaign is understanding your customers on an individual level and marketing to them specifically. By taking advantage of available data such as social media interactions, former purchases, and online habits, advertisers can identify a buyer’s preferences and develop more targeted ad strategies. Understanding the unique online behavior of individual customers allows marketers to build strategic campaigns and avoid overwhelming their customers.
2. Sort and Manage Your Contact List.
With the information about the online preferences and buying patterns of your customers, you can ensure that relevant ads are getting to those in your network by sorting your contact list, which will hopefully drive down cost per action. Information like where customers are accessing sites, what types of products they are purchasing, and the way in which they are making those purchases (mobile, tablet, desktop, etc.) can be extraordinarily helpful in managing contact lists and sending appropriate material to unique customers.
3. Be Proactive and Engaging With Your Ad Material.
Another way to increase campaign success is to compound on the aforementioned unique customer information by regularly interacting with customers via offers or recommendations for products that are relevant to their interests. For example, if there’s data that a customer recently bought the new Batman DVD, a good way to further the relationship with that customer is to offer them suggestions or discounts on similar movies or Batman related products. One way to do this would be through an email that includes a “recommended for you” or “people who bought this, also bought this” section. Not only can a specialized approach like this help boost recurring sales, it may help facilitate cross sales and establish a good relationship between buyer and seller.
While the ultimate goal is making sales, understanding individual customer identities and creating ad material that’s relevant to those profiles is how advertisers will establish brand loyalty for successful future relationships. Consumers are no longer willing to tolerate the email carpet-bombing ad campaigns of the past, and are quick to take their business elsewhere if they feel overwhelmed or annoyed. Also, ISPs have begun monitoring and cracking down on spam mail, ensuring that users are only receiving the emails that they want to receive, which makes list emailing a difficult and unsuccessful practice. Thus, by knowing unique consumer interests and online buying habits and intelligently marketing tailor-made ad material to specific customers, advertisers are able to create more successful ad campaigns and drive down costs per action and boost sales.
Are there any other practices that you think are especially useful, most notably when it comes to email marketing? In what areas do you think email marketing is successful and when does it fail? Let us hear your thoughts in the comment section.
Murray Newlands is an online marketing industry veteran, and the founder of TheMail.