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29 Mar

How Offline Retargeting Can Make Your E-commerce Marketing Smarter

Author: Allen Abbott

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Retargeting

How Offline Retargeting Can Make Your E-Commerce Marketing Smarter

Retargeting is a valuable tool for marketers because it allows companies to reach out to consumers who have already voiced their interest in a given product — whether by doing an on-site search or reading product reviews on your E-commerce site. Retargeting can provide timely reminders to consumers about a product they’ve viewed, or offer them incentives to come back and make a purchase. However, the execution of retargeting has been less than perfect. Annoying banner ads and emails only serve to alienate motivated consumers, as opposed to encouraging them to complete their purchases.

Taking retargeting out of the conventional online environment and into the offline world of postcards can be more than just a very effective E-commerce marketing tool. In fact, it might be the game-changer you’ve been looking for. Here are 6 ways offline retargeting can make your E-commerce marketing smarter.

Refine Your Audience Segments

On the surface, consumers generally believe marketing is about compelling advertising and creative ways to entice them to make a purchase. That’s true in one respect, but there’s been a shift in the marketing mindset. Marketing is moving toward creating compelling, thoughtful and relevant messaging that helps improve the consumer's life. it’s impossible to create this content without a thorough understanding of your audience. This comprehensive knowledge of your customer base is as important, if not more so, than your actual message. Even the best marketing materials are worthless if they’re not distributed to the right people.

Taking a closer look at retargeting will help you to refine your customer base and determine which groups are really worth retargeting. While it might be tempting to put a full-court press on anyone who visits your site, this approach is both invasive and expensive. Instead, your efforts should be focused on the identifying the people who are most likely to convert through retargeting efforts. Look at customers who have visited your website in the recent past and have demonstrated interest in a given product or set of products.

Additionally, you can target individuals who have never visited your site before, but have a similar profile to a profitable segment of customers. Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media channels have “lookalike” audience targeting, which allows you to target an audience who shares demographic, likes and interests with your target audience. This allows you to expand your reach and gain exposure to audiences who will most likely be interested in your company.  Again, the only way to gain these insights is with data about your audience.

Learn why E-commerce marketers must rethink the consumer experience and their role in delivering effective marketing at every touchpoint.

Offline retargeting can help you to learn even more about your customer base. In this instance, offline methods like programmatic postcards are simply more effective versions of tried-and-true retargeting efforts. The difference is, you can use the information you obtain to see who responds to a direct mail approach, opening your business up to further direct mail marketing opportunities.

Understand Audience Behavior with Intent Data

The most exciting part of today’s marketing climate is the ability to track data derived from every marketing action. Every email, every social media post, every banner ad is trackable, making it easier than ever for you to determine what works — both for you and your customers.

The real key to the data-driven approach, though, lies in intent data. Moving beyond simply looking at what people do, and beginning to understanding why they do it, is crucial to your success as a marketer. The more you’re able to make these connections, the better you’ll be at predicting what a customer might do next. This not only makes it easier to market to that individual customer, but it’ll help you as you approach your entire audience. In a world where customers demand personalization at every turn, understanding the “why” is a must for any effective E-commerce marketing operation.

Utilizing offline retargeting can help you fill in some of the gaps in a consumer’s data profile. While an ad-blocker can negate a digital retargeting strategy, you can use offline retargeting to ease an individual down the typical path to purchase that you’ve spotted through intent data.

Use Marketing Channels More Effectively

Another major perk of modern-day marketing is the sheer number of platforms available to marketers. This is both a blessing and a curse. While there are indeed many ways to reach a customer, marketers often feel pressure to be everywhere at once. For example, instead of mastering one social media platform, businesses struggle to maintain a sub-par presence on a half-dozen social media sites, simply because they feel as though they must be on every platform.

The good news is that there’s no one way to do marketing right in 2017. Using different platforms — and tracking your success across these different mediums — will help you zero in on your most effective marketing methods for your audience. You may be surprised at how your actual results compare with your perceptions.

Using offline retargeting can be highly effective in driving consumers to act online. The response rate on direct mail pieces sent to house lists is more than 5 percent. The judicious use of offline marketing methods, in conjunction with the digital marketing you already do to support your E-commerce business, will help you to optimize business performance

Define Smart Conversion Paths

The fragmenting of marketing channels in the modern world has made creating a comprehensive marketing strategy extremely challenging. Marketing teams can’t work in silos. Any consumer touchpoint can be highly influential in convincing a person to make a purchase, and marketers must consider every conceivable way in which individuals interact with their brands as they approach their most frequent paths to purchase.

Retargeting, when done correctly, is a highly significant touchpoint. And taking retargeting offline is a sound idea for many reasons. First, you want to make sure your retargeting is actually seen by the consumer, something that’s far from a given in digital retargeting where many people develop banner blindness and other ways to tune out your advertising. Second, the mail approach just might be a great way to nudge a consumer along the buyer’s journey. Incorporating an offline element into your E-commerce marketing strategy could be a tremendously beneficial way to engage your audience. But it’s always best to have a reason to reach out to your audience offline, and there’s no better impetus to send direct mail than when you have tangible proof that a given customer has strong interest in a particular item.

Build Smart Retargeting Scenarios

Perhaps the worst thing about retargeting as we know it is the lack of creativity exhibited by most companies that employ the strategy. Instead of a real appeal to an interested consumer, we usually see a static banner ad that does little to provide value or encourage us to give that item a second look.

Instead of sticking with a retargeting approach that is becoming increasingly less effective, it’s never a bad idea to make your retargeting smarter. After all, you have a potential customer who has seen your product and may want to make a purchase. Why not give that consumer your best effort?

There are many ways to retarget to your audience, most of which offer far more value to the customer than the traditional banner ad. For example, a postcard with a promo code for the item in question is always a great way to encourage the recipient to act. Another idea is to include information about the product that reinforces the product’s benefits, or even addresses a misunderstood feature that might be perceived as a shortcoming. The sky’s the limit, and the open-ended platform of offline retargeting is a great way to open your mind to the numerous possibilities at hand.

Create Individualized Marketing

By now, you know the downside of retargeting via banner ads. Here’s another negative aspect of this approach — while the banner ad might purport to be individualized, it’s actually anything but. For one thing, the item in question is broadcast all over the Web, which could have negative consequences. If you’re shopping for a gift for your significant other, the last thing you want is for your chosen gift to appear on every website they visit.

More importantly, the marketing message itself isn’t tailored to the specifications of the customer. It’s just there. Truly individualized marketing doesn’t just sit on a banner ad, waiting to be seen. It comes to your audience on their terms, and it abides by those terms based directly on the stated preferences of your customer base, as well as the data that supports your marketing actions.

This isn’t to say that a retargeting banner ad can never be effective. There is a time and place for banner ads and digital retargeting (generally near the top of the sales funnel), but offline retargeting allows you to send something unique to each individual customer. It’s an opportunity you should take very seriously. An individualized marketing piece, delivered to the mail box, may be the tipping point that turns a potential customer into a long-term brand advocate.

Make Smart Retargeting Part of Your E-Commerce Strategy

The emphasis on smart retargeting is more than just another random marketing idea. It’s a major step forward that can have a serious impact on your bottom line. A Digiday study showed a nearly 30 percent increase in ROI and a boost in customer activity of more than 270 percent as a direct result of smart retargeting. Today’s customers expect and deserve more than a generic approach, and offline retargeting is one way you can effectively meet or exceed their expectations, while at the same time delivering a high response communication that will increase sales and profits. It’s a great strategy that will undoubtedly lead to more effective E-commerce marketing, and a more loyal customer base.

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