Silverpop - 3 Tips for Retargeting Without Seeming like a “Stalker” Brand
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3 Tips for Retargeting Without Seeming like a “Stalker” Brand

by: Mandy Hummel (@IBMforMarketing)
28 July 2015

When you shop online, do you ever notice a pair of boots you viewed once following you around every social media and newspaper site you visit? Do you find it a beneficial reminder to head back to purchase them, or are you tempted to browse elsewhere because it feels too heavy-handed knowing the retailer is watching your every move?

In today’s marketing world, “big data” is a popular conversation topic. Data is everywhere, and consumers are more aware that companies have information stored on them ranging from their last purchase to their shoe size (sometimes literally). With that in mind, a key question marketers should be asking themselves is, “How can I use this data to personalize and improve the customer experience without seeming overbearing or intrusive?”

When developing your digital retargeting campaigns, there’s often a fine line you have to walk to ensure you deliver the right level of relevance without being too specific. Customers are savvy and understand you know a little about them, and at some level they expect you to use that data, so the key is to be smart with the information you have.

For example, we know that companies, at a minimum, have our purchase information, which should enable them to target based on geography, purchase history and demographic information. As a consumer, then, it’s frustrating when a company sends repeated emails on products you’ve never searched or in a category you’ve never purchased from.

The flip side of the coin is retargeting that hits too close to home. We’ve all experienced brands that, after one visit to their website, serve you the same product you viewed on your next several browsing sessions and fill your inbox with email reminders about said product. This can create a sense that the retailer is lurking around every corner and create an unpleasant customer experience.

Here are three tips to help you use your data wisely and avoid the “stalker” effect with your potential customers:

1) Target based on categories versus specific item searched.

If you’re using your Web tracking software to its fullest potential, you’ll have the data to be able to target the customer on the specific individual item they have been researching. In most cases, though, it’s best to generalize the data and target a category versus an individual item. This will show the customer you’re listening to them when they’re showing interest in “boots” and keep your brand top of mind for their final purchase decision.

2) Rotate and test your creative.

Keeping the message and images fresh can help you avoid brand fatigue. This also allows you to test and retest to see what creative and messaging is delivering the highest conversion. This applies across channels – make sure you’re refreshing email images throughout a retargeting campaign sequence.

3) Cap the number of times you retarget.

Keeping your brand top of mind is the ultimate goal of retargeting, but you run the risk of crossing the line and becoming that annoying brand that keeps interrupting browsing sessions and crowding inboxes. Depending on your product and frequency of purchase throughout the customer’s buying cycle, you’ll need to fine-tune the number of emails that hits that “sweet spot” of conversion without increasing unsubscribes.

To that end, track conversions based on retargeting efforts. If you see you’re driving sales, then continue testing and expanding the function. If your audience doesn’t seem to care much, then maybe decrease frequency or try other paid media networks. In the end, it’s not worth the customer annoyance, time or expense if it’s not driving sales.

Related Resources:

1) White Paper: “15 Post-Purchase Emails That Build Loyalty and Drive Revenue

2) Blog: “Browse Abandonment Emails: How You Can Use Them to Bring Browsers Back

3) Ebook: “2015 Email Marketing Metrics Benchmark Study


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