The Google Display Network (GDN) enables you to connect with customers using a range of ad formats across the Internet. At present, the network spans several million websites and is believed to reach over 90% of Internet users. Display is one of the two most important AdWords networks; Search is the other.
You will use Search when attempting to reach people who are interested in particular goods and services and have already searched for them. The point of the Display Network is to grab the attention of the prospect much earlier in the purchasing cycle. If you use it correctly, it can significantly increase the reach and revenue of your business; read on to find out how to get your GDN campaign spot on the first time around.
Target by Demographics
You can narrow down your target audience by dividing them into different demographics such as Age, Gender, Interests and much more. For example, if you’re selling weightlifting supplements, you know the most likely group to target are 18-34-year-old males with an emphasis on 18-24-year-olds. When you’re on the Display Network, choose Demographics – Targeting to get started.
You should play with this a bit to learn even more about your potential target audience.
Create Ads in Various Formats
This is anathema to many marketers and goes against conventional wisdom and the 80:20 rule. For instance, why should you spend money on image ads when you know that text ads outperform them consistently? Alas, you’ll find that some websites only support one format.
There are a lot of marketers who hate text ads and would never include them if possible. However, they know that some placements can only support text ads. They also know that if they are the only ones with a specific format, it will yield crucial exposure for their clients/businesses. For best results, create text and image ads but split them into separate ad groups.
An estimated two-thirds of ads on the GDN are text ads, so you clearly need to invest in more visual ads. The best ads are simple, easy to read and visual. If you lack the bandwidth to make visual ads, use Google’s display ad builder.
Which Targeting Method Should You Use?
There are several forms of display ad targeting although the following three are probably your best options.
A lot of marketers still prefer to go with this targeting method. If you wish to follow suit, select 10-15 keywords that best describe your business and its products/services. The tricky aspect of keyword targeting is finding the right phrases; they shouldn’t be too specific or too broad.
For instance, ‘plane tickets’ or ‘airline tickets’ are too general; a better example is ‘low-cost air tickets.’
Most marketing experts recommend that you start with remarketing first. Use Google Analytics or AdWords to place cookies on your site. When visitors leave, these cookies follow them around and provide them with targeted ads based on their online behavior.
This option gives advertisers an element of control over where their ads are placed. You can pick and choose the exact sites where you want the ads displayed. To begin, look for 5-10 websites that relate to the products/services you’re offering and serve ads on these placements.
Successful GDN Campaigns Stay ‘On Brand.’
Assuming you use image ads (and you should), it is important to ensure they match the look and feel of your website. A simple trick is to use a screenshot from one of your product pages to advertise the item. Otherwise, make sure the colors on your ad are the same as what you use on the site. It is pretty basic marketing; you want consumers to look at the ad and immediately link it to your website.
ABT – Always Be Testing!
The Google Display Network is enormous which means your reach is almost unlimited. Also, Google is continuously releasing new targeting methods and other features, so if you aren’t utilizing them, you could be missing out. First and foremost, you have to set a budget; if you have some money left over after your ads, use it to test. Most marketers recommend setting aside 10-20% of your total budget for the testing process.
Possible testing options include:
• Multiple landing page concepts.
• Analyzing the performance of different targeting options. An example would be how Keyword Targeting works against Placement Targeting.
• Split-test ad variations. This may involve using different copy, layouts, and images.
The sheer reach and potential of the Google Display Network mean you should put your faith in it and start increasing your company’s reach. It is eminently affordable and even if you have a relatively small budget, you could enjoy fantastic success because your target audience is on there just waiting to be wowed by your company.
Retargeting is a form of advertising designed to bring back visitors who have left your site. It is often used interchangeably with the term ‘remarketing’ although some experts suggest there are slight differences. Technically, ‘remarketing’ can be used to describe email marketing messages to those who have abandoned your shopping cart. However, it is okay to use ‘retargeting’ as an all-encompassing term.
It is an incredibly powerful marketing tool when done correctly as it can significantly boost your revenue. On average, only 2% of visitors to your website will become customers. With a great retargeting campaign, you could increase this to 10-15%. The practice involves placing cookies on a user’s browser which you can use to ‘follow’ them around the Internet anonymously.
7 Effective Retargeting Methods
There are a variety of retargeting methods you should consider during your campaign. For example, you should target individuals:
1. Based on searches conducted on Google, Bing and Yahoo!
2. Based on the products/services they viewed and the actions they took or did not take. For instance, individuals that abandoned a shopping cart.
3. Based on how they ended up on your website.
4. That interacted with your email programs.
5. That visited one of your ‘partner’ sites.
6. That interacted with distributed content.
7. That consumes similar content to your existing customers.
Finding Your Audience
The first step is to analyze your data to come up with a strategy. To launch an effective campaign, you’ll have to decide on the type of visitors you want to retarget in the first place. The most common way to start is #2 above where marketers target visitors based on product pages they visited, how far they got during the purchasing process and the products pages they did not visit.
You can also look for a more advanced customized strategy where you target people who visited one page but not another. An example would be individuals who made it as far as the first page of the checkout process but did not make a purchase.
Setting up the Codes
Once you’re satisfied with your target audience, look to generate the unique code that’s necessary to place cookies on the computers of your website’s visitors. It is now easier than ever to do this. It can be done on Google AdWords or Analytics and involves the placement of a ‘run of site’ code. This means one single code is placed on every page of your website.
No matter how you decide to generate the code, you need to put it on every page of the site and build custom combinations and audiences using URLs. For small businesses, it is best to use Google Analytics to set up the codes because it is free and easy to do which we will show you now.
Go to the Admin section of Analytics and click on Remarketing – Audiences and you’ll see some options.
Give your list an appropriate name and proceed. You may have to change the Analytics code.
Can I Only Place Retargeting Pixels on my Website?
There are tools such as ClickMagick which enable you to add a Perfect Audience, Facebook or any other retargeting pixel to any tracking link. This means you can add pixels on sites you don’t own when promoting affiliates. While companies like ClickMagick promise to make ‘every click more profitable,’ you have to careful not to overdo it.
A survey by InSkin Media in the UK revealed what the general public thinks about display retargeting. Just over half of the 1,600 respondents said they found retargeting ads useful at first but 55% admitted they would be less likely to purchase products if they come across the ads multiple times.
It is crucial that the retargeting ads you use are directly related to the products/services you sell. Otherwise, customers become furious:
As you can see, public irritation kicks in after the third such ad. As a result, you should check out the Frequency Capping feature in Analytics to ensure your users are not bombarded by ads.
If you’re new to retargeting, it is best to keep it simple at the start. Perhaps focus solely on visitors who abandoned the shopping cart or left after viewing a particular number of product pages. When you get used to the Retargeting feature in Analytics, you can try something more advanced with custom combinations.
Email is the #1 communication tool for most working professionals which is why email marketing is such a successful technique. The problem with email is that mistakes are extremely easy to make and they can have serious repercussions. While minor mistakes hurt productivity, major mistakes can cost you valuable clients or even your job. This article is all about what not to do with email so when you’re about to make an email blunder, you’ll be able to pull back from the brink of disaster!
Sending To The Wrong People
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard about individuals or businesses who sent an email complaining about a client… to the client! The result was a lot of anger and lost revenue. In email marketing, another example is sending irrelevant content to people on your mailing list. For example, you may send an email with the subject line ‘Ladies Night’ to the men on your list. The simple solution is to double-check the ‘to’ field because it’s extremely rare to be able to retrieve a sent email.
The Wrong Tone
It’s risky to use email to be humorous or sarcastic because it’s too easy to misunderstand. A University of Chicago study recorded sarcastic or funny messages and transcribed them into emails. Less than 60% of the email recipients in the study understood the tone of the message. Therefore, leave out the sarcasm when sending emails because the recipient probably won’t ‘get it’.
Only Sending ‘Needy’ Emails
Most people only send emails when they need or want something. Successful email marketers know that what they send has to provide value to the recipient so they typically have email campaigns where the content is designed to inform and only the final email in the sequence tries the ‘hard sell’. When you successfully use email to nurture relationships, people will look forward to hearing from you and this will only help to drive sales.
Not Asking For What You Need
The recipients of your emails are not mind-readers so it is essential to make clear requests. In marketing terms, this means telling your mailing list precisely what you want them to do in a concise yet clear call to action. The modern consumer is a busy individual and doesn’t have time for puzzles and games; get to the point or lose another sale.
The email blunders mentioned above happen in everyday life as well as in the world of marketing. Use these tips for better email communication whether you’re contacting a colleague or a customer.
In basic terms, the sales funnel describes the sales process from first content to purchase. It is used as a visual aid and resembles a leaky funnel where sales opportunities are dropped into. There will be occasions when these opportunities need to be taken away from the funnel because the customers are either uninterested or deemed to be outside your target audience. The stages of the funnel refer to the likelihood of a customer making a purchase and the sales opportunity increases the further down the funnel you go.
Developing your Sales Funnel
When a sales opportunity presents itself, your goal is to remove all road blocks preventing a possible sale. After removing this barrier, you move on to the next stage and closer to the final goal. These issues include customer uncertainty about your brand, the value of your product and whether or not it is within their budget. By developing sales metrics appropriate for your business, you will be able to manage the sales funnel.
Sales Funnel Stages
- Lead: This refers to someone that fits into your target audience but you have not yet been in contact with.
- Prospect: This is a potential customer that has expressed an interest in what you have to offer. This means you have had a conversation and the prospect has been given information on what to do next in the process.
- Qualified Prospect: This is the most testing part of the funnel as it involves you verifying that the prospect has a need for your product, has the budget and sees value in what you sell.
- Commitment: By now, the prospect is a committed customer and has made verbal agreement to make a purchase.
- Transaction: This is when the deal has been signed, sealed and delivered!
Going back to the qualified prospect part of the sales funnel, you need to use lead scoring in order to rank and prioritize your leads. For example, you may find that those who register for your webinar are more likely to pay for your services than those who sign up for email newsletters. In this case, you will pour more resources into the webinar than you would have done otherwise.
Basic personal information is necessary of course but you should also look to get details of the professional occupation, location, company size and budget. ‘Score’ each visitor’s interaction with your brand; the closer someone moves towards a purchase, the more points you assign to that customer.
With a well-drawn out sales funnel, you can quickly get rid of irrelevant leads that will end up costing you money in marketing and focus on those who are likely to become paying customers. This reduces costs, increases ROI and allows you to become more dedicated to prospects that will prop up your business.
It’s a mistake to believe that your email marketing efforts end once you have converted visitors into paying customers. In fact, you should believe it is only the beginning because once you have customers; it is much easier and less expensive to retain them than to bring in new custom. In fact, it can cost 7 times more to bring in new customers than to keep old ones yet companies habitually shift their focus away from customer retention.
What Is Customer Retention?
This process isn’t just about keeping customers; it involves actively trying to keep them happy by ensuring they have a great experience which coerces them into spreading the word about how great your products/services are. When you focus on existing customers then bringing in new consumers almost takes care of itself.
This is where triggered email marketing comes in; it is a way to identity what is troubling these customers (pain points) and make a difference. Behavioral marketing involves the personalization of marketing based on the data you collect relating to the activity of users. Here are a few ways to use this strategy and retain a high percentage of your existing customers.
- Advocacy Program: Send an email to new customers inviting them to join and offer reward points for signing up. Make sure the advocacy program has expiry dates to ensure the recipients of the email take quick action.
- Promo Code: This classic strategy still works! Offer a thank you gift or special coupon code once customers have made a purchase. The gifts on offer depend on your business and what you can afford. If you sell something with an annual plan for example; you could offer 20% off.
- Holiday Gifts: Holiday marketing is extremely popular so offer a gift inside the email to make sure your company stands out from the rest. Corporate giants such as Amazon and Starbucks send e-gift cards to customers so if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for everyone else!
- Market Research Survey: As well as gaining important insights into your company through customer input, these emails can be great ways to retain customers. Simply ask customers for their opinions in a short survey (shorter emails of this nature tend to have better response rates) and offer them a spot in a draw for a big prize like a $500 voucher or vacation in the Caribbean. This gets customers excited about your brand and may even cause them to spread the news about your generosity.
The above is just a handful of retention email strategies you can use to keep a loyal fan base and ensure you are forced to spend less on new customer marketing campaigns.
For all the talk about ‘customer loyalty’ being an essential part of marketing, few companies ever launch successful loyalty programs. Most consumers see through transparent loyalty points/cards programs and believe it isn’t worth their while. So what are the real barriers to loyalty and more importantly, how do you overcome them? Read on to find out more below.
1 – The Feeling Of Being Overlooked
Existing customers quickly get fed up with companies offering great deals to ‘new’ customers only. This is an acquisition program that alienates existing customers and usually ends in disaster. Remember, it takes 10+ new and uncommitted customers to make up for losing a loyal customer. To overcome this, simply offer special rewards for loyal customers; perhaps offer freebies or discounts once they buy a certain amount of your merchandise.
2 – Biased Data
It is very hard to collect data that is representative of your customer base without showing bias to one segment. Fail to engage the core customer with your loyalty program by making it difficult to sign up or utilize your card etc. means you won’t get a complete picture of your customers. A multi-channel approach is critical and you also need to get end-to-end behavioral data while also ensuring customer preference is subject to relevance.
3 – Using Customer Profitability As A KPI
Relying on customer profitability to discover their value is likely to be an inaccurate mode of measurement. For instance, is a customer who makes one purchase of $1,000 in two years more or less valuable than one who makes 10 purchases worth $800 in the same period? While the first customer spent more, the second customer is probably more ‘loyal’ and likely to use you when he makes a big purchase. You need to get a better understanding of customer ‘behavior’ to drive profit.
4 – Leaving It Up To Marketing
Most companies believe its marketing department is responsible for driving loyalty. However, for real success, only businesses where the CEO and executives are involved will succeed at becoming a genuinely customer-orientated organization which ensures the customer is #1.
5 – Opting For Loyalty Programs & Not A Loyalty Approach
In simple terms, a program can be part of a loyalty approach but a true loyalty approach is not part of any ‘program’. Instead, this approach should be the way you do business as your organization is dedicated to pleasing customers in a variety of ways. Companies that rely on loyalty programs will be dismissed as opportunistic whereas businesses with a loyalty approach will be deemed as ‘genuine’ by customers and this will lead to long-term loyalty.
In order to be a success, it is essential for a business to ask ‘how are we loyal to our customers’? To enjoy customer loyalty, you must place the customer at the center of your marketing approach instead of just adding in programs as an afterthought.
The most basic reason to use image personalization in your email campaigns is to make them more appealing to customers. We all receive a huge amount of spam and junk mail in our inboxes and a host of dull and unappealing emails as well. These don’t stand out and even though they may be from genuine companies, we dismiss them as spam too because they are so generic in nature. With image personalization, you not only add a bit of color to emails, you also cater to the individual tastes of each recipient.
It seems strange that the television device of sending messages based on exact times hasn’t really gathered steam when it comes to email marketing. We are of course referring to those adverts which state that there is a sale in 5 days time. The reason why it is not used in emails is because most marketers assume that the message will be opened and read soon after receipt and will then never be read again. However, one set of clever marketers thought otherwise and created an email that displayed a dynamic countdown, in this instance for Christmas. These marketers banked on the fact that the email would be opened repeatedly and recipients saw a different countdown time whenever they open the email.
What happened is that the marketers managed to create an email where the image changed every time the email was opened. If the subscriber opened the email once a day, they would see a new image and a different countdown time on every occasion. It was even possible to change the time displayed in the email depending on where the recipient was viewing it from. For example, if a consumer in Paris and one in New York opened their emails at the same time, they would see a different message. If this seems like a lot of work for a single email, it is worth noting that in our example above, the company enjoyed a sales increase of approximately 40% and each email was opened more than 5 times on average.
What does this prove? That thinking outside the box can be extremely rewarding. While your email campaign does not have to be as innovative as the one we just outlined, you should be using dynamic images in order to get the best results from your email marketing. No one is interested in dull, bland emails that lack a bit of style. Image personalization is clever and breathes new life into each and every email you send.
Unfortunately, the assumption that auto companies still rely heavily on TV, radio and newspaper advertising is true! While these traditional methods of marketing still have their place, the truth is, they are very expensive and have a pretty low ROI. According to BBC Worldwide America, over 50% of viewers watch shows on DVR and an incredible 97% of them skip the advertising content!
Given the growth of online marketing, Smartphones and social media, sticking rigidly to old fashioned marketing is a recipe for disaster. Some dealerships are finally getting to grips with email marketing and now realize it is arguably the most effective mode of advertising for their businesses.
Collecting the email addresses of customers is a priority and can be achieved in a variety of ways:
- At Racing Events.
- At the Dealership.
- At Car Shows.
- At the Service Counter.
- Through Their Website’s Sign-Up Page.
- As a Pre-Requisite For Test Drives.
Once you have a customer’s email address, the next step is to learn how to use it correctly and this is what we examine below.
A huge percentage of your email marketing messages will remain unread if you persist with generic content sent to the wrong people. Email segmentation enables you to provide content your audience is actually interested in. The key is to find what interests different subscribers; then you can create tailor-made emails they will click on and read.
Here are some ways to segment:
- Customer Profile Characteristics: Age, gender and geography for B2C and size of company and industry sector for B2B.
- Current & Predicted Value: This is a way of finding your most valuable customers in order to gain their loyalty.
- Customer Lifecycle Groups: The online loyalty ladder involves customers passing through various phases; moving customers from the first to the second purchase is a big challenge. You need to identify consumers at different stages of the ladder before creating specific promotions to encourage further purchases.
- Current & Predicted Behavior: This involves capturing visitor interactions with different communications such as pages visited on site and email clicks.
There are some interesting statistics relating to how segmented emails perform against non-segmented messages. For example, segmented emails get 14% more opens, over 10% unique opens and over 59% more clicks.
There is no point sending carefully crafted emails if they never reach their intended destination. You need an email provider with an excellent track record of ensuring every phase of sending activity is in accordance with email marketing best practices. This means having anti-spam precautions integrated into every email. Simple ways to avoid ending up in the spam pile include:
- Asking Subscribers To Add You To Their Contact List: This is a quick and easy way to ensure your email makes it to their inbox.
- Be Consistent: Make sure your sending frequency is consistent; in other words, don’t send 1 email a month then suddenly start sending them every 4 days. For the record, 57% of auto-dealerships send out emails monthly while only 9% send out weekly email newsletters.
- Don’t Add Attachments Or Large Images: Adding attachments to email marketing messages tends to raise a red flag with Internet Service Providers.
Short Subject Lines
Most subject lines fall into one of the following categories:
- Price Discount.
- Special Offer.
- Exclusive Product/Service.
- Limited Time Offer.
- General Information.
Given the competition in the automotive aftermarket industry, special offers and discounts are typically the most commonly used subject lines. The ‘sweet spot’ for a subject line in terms of length is 8-10 words. Writing something compelling enough to elicit a response in the form of an Open is a tricky task; but that’s what you pay copywriters for!
Avoid the use of ‘spammy keywords’ and always ensure your subject line is representative of the email’s content. Use of misleading subject lines will quickly get you into trouble.
Finally, try to ‘personalize’ the subject line as the recipient is more likely to open when they see their name.
It’s best to keep your marketing emails short and to the point; anywhere from 200-400 words is reasonable but try and remain closer to 200 than 400 words. Use clear ‘non-salesy’ words when communicating with the reader and always ensure the message contains something of value to the reader.
This could mean the promise of a discount on their next purchase, an offer exclusive to your subscribers or even important information relating to the automotive aftermarket industry. Make sure you conclude the email with a clear Call-to-Action; research suggests that Orange and Red are the most eye-catching colors to use for your CTA button.
It appears as if the automotive aftermarket industry has been slower than other industries to embrace email marketing but it is finally catching on. Once you have gained the emails of prospects, the next step is to gain their trust. The best way to do this is through carefully crafted email newsletter content that increases customer loyalty and boosts your reputation.
If you are a regular Response Wise reader then you’ll already know that the ROI earned from email marketing can be astronomical. According to a report by VentureBeat, email marketing could provide marketers with an ROI of $38 for every $1 spent! Clearly, this will not be the case for every single email marketer but it does provide an insight into the kind of success it is possible to achieve.
Email marketing is constantly evolving so you need to stay on your toes to keep up with these changes. What is working for you right now may not be effective 12 months down the line for example. However, it is possible to enjoy fantastic results by making a few simple additions to each email with the goal of optimizing them.
Segment To Provide Value
Your subscribers could be receiving dozens of marketing emails a day so creating a generically designed email with a less than compelling message spells doom for your campaign. Deliverability rates tend to suffer when subscribers believe the emails are irrelevant to their needs so you need to segment your list to ensure the right person receives the right message.
You can segment according to age, gender, location and interests among other things. No matter how well written your email is, if it isn’t about a topic that interests the recipient, it provides no value and is therefore of no use to them.
Include Several CTAs
Adding a single Call-To-Action at the end of an email won’t cut it. A cleverly designed marketing email will contain multiple CTAs that flow seamlessly within the content and don’t seem overly ‘salesy’. The fact is, the more links there are to click, the more likely it is that readers will click on one.
Your emails should contain content that is easily ‘sharable’ across different marketing channels with special attention paid to social media sites. All it takes is a handful of brand advocates to transform a company’s fortunes and when you give these loyalists the option of sharing your content on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc., good things will happen.
When designing your emails, make sure there are clearly defined areas where subscribers can share the text via social media and email.
Ultimately, the success of your email marketing campaign will lie in your ability to effectively segment your target audience and create content that benefits them. Yet there are a couple of simple additions that can really boost your click-through rate and this will inevitably lead to more sales.
There seems to be little evidence that email marketing will lose its effectiveness; indeed, all evidence points to the contrary. An email statistics report by Californian based technology market firm The Radicati Group says that there were 4.11 billion email accounts worldwide (2.6 billion email users) in 2014 and this will increase to over 5.23 billion (over 2.9 billion users) by 2018.
At present, over 90% of Americans have at least one email address that is checked on a daily basis and over 70% of email users provide marketers with their primary address when signing up for marketing offers. Of course, the modern consumer expects high standards from email marketers so if you want to turn subscribers into customers, read the following tips on optimizing your emails.
Make Them Mobile Friendly
If your emails are not mobile responsive, you are missing out on a huge chunk of the market. Basically, this means ensuring your email is crisp, clear and easy to read no matter what device is used by the recipient.
By the end of 2014, approximately 53% of emails were opened on a mobile device, a figure certain to increase by the end of 2015. Depressingly for those yet to optimize emails for mobile devices, over 70% of mobile users will delete any unoptimized emails. Don’t make the mistake of shrinking the screen to fit; this only makes emails look bad on larger screens.
Get Your Timing Right
The global economy can make things tricky when attempting to send messages at the perfect times. The best way to do this is through the use of segmentation; you will ideally invest in automation software for this purpose. With detailed analytics, you can find out the time period where recipients are most likely to be checking their email.
You also need to pay attention to email frequency, sending too many emails puts you at danger of being marked out as spam; too few causes subscribers to forget you. Avoid daily emails unless they contain special offers; most marketers tend to send out a weekly email.
Subject Line & Preheader Text
The best subject lines tend to be less than 50 characters long yet they contain an interesting tidbit that compels the recipient to keep reading. Including a quick stat that benefits the reader is a great way to get their attention.
The next step is to customize your preheader text; this is the short summary that comes immediately after the subject line. Too many marketers ignore it and the result is generic text. You can change all that by using the preheader text to provide a teaser of your email content, provide an incentive to open, expand on the subject line and instil a sense of urgency. The 3 seconds it takes to read the preheader text could make or break your email marketing campaign so don’t forget it!
While we believe the above tips will remain relevant for quite some time, it is important to note that email marketing is growing and evolving. This means you must keep abreast of the changes to ensure you don’t use outdated tactics. I hope to continue bringing you up to date information to keep you at the front of the queue.