December 26, 2013
Case Study

B2C Marketing: Top takeaways of the year on mobile optimization, retargeting and behavior-based personalization

SUMMARY: As you prep for a new year of challenges, we've "wrapped up" a little gift to aid your efforts.

To celebrate the final MarketingSherpa Consumer Marketing Newsletter of the year, we've bundled up our most buzz-worthy B2C pieces of 2013. We recapped our most shared articles, garnished with the year's top takeaways covering mobile optimization, retargeting and behavior-based personalization.
by Allison Banko, Reporter

As the days dwindle in 2013, we'll take a look back at our most shared B2C articles over the past 12 months. Read on for our top-tweeted case studies, how-tos and blog posts that form the mold for four key takeaways for consumer marketing. From optimizing your site for mobile to tapping into behavior-based personalization in marketing campaigns, we've got you covered.

Takeaway #1. Optimize for mobile

Earlier this month, comScore released data showing smartphone ownership in the U.S. is at an all-time high. Nearly 150 million people owned smartphones from August to October, up 4.1% from July's stats.

The MarketingSherpa 2012 Search Marketing Benchmark Report — PPC Edition illustrated 42% of marketers are buying mobile PPC ads, proving many are taking action on optimizing for mobile.

In the case study, "Mobile PPC Advertising: 25% more calls, 103% more conversions using these 5 tips," we featured the mobile efforts of King Schools, a website that provides home-study courses for pilots to help prep them for aviation exams.

Pamela Olson, Marketing Manager, King Schools, told us nearly half of the site's traffic comes from paid search and its traffic from smartphones was growing. In two years, Olson targeted mobile users with search ads to learn more about their preferences and behavior. She outlined her top tips when it comes to mobile PPC advertising:
  1. Weigh the opportunity — Check your website analytics and gage the size of your audience to ensure it is large enough to result in a good ROI. Also, take note of how many visitors are coming to your site on smartphones versus tablets.

  2. Use click-to-call links — Resources are often scarce, so creating a mobile site is unrealistic for some. However, you can connect with your mobile audience in other ways like via click-to-call buttons.

  3. Add site links — This is a feature that allows marketers to include several links to their sites beneath the ad copy, fostering people getting the information they want faster.
    King Schools used the site links:

    • "Your guarantee" — link to a description the company's money-back guarantee

    • "Legendary instructors" — link to a description of the company's founders

    • "ATP courses" and "CFII courses" — links to specific aviation courses

  4. Target broader keywords — Target mobile PPC ads to searches containing broad matches as opposed to phrase matches. This allows results that are generally related to your product versus only those matching a specific string of words.
    "Mobile users are not searching for long intricate sentences," Olson said. "I stay away from the phrase match unless it's a phrase that is a signature phrase everyone uses."

  5. Adjust landing page design — Ensure landing pages are easily navigated on a mobile device. King Schools implemented fewer links, a bigger call-to-action and optimized the page with a video formatted for playing on mobile devices.

In that two-year span, Kings Schools experienced a 50% annual increase in conversions as a result of the above implementations.

Takeaway #2. Don't give up — retarget

You almost had 'em. A consumer started his journey through your sales funnel, but for one reason or another, dipped out before the final sale. So, on to the next one? Well, not so fast. As a marketer, this is an opportune time for you to retarget and re-engage that consumer.

The how-to article, "E-commerce: What is Internet-based retargeting, and how can marketers use it?," serves as a goldmine for retargeting tactics in the B2C realm. We reached out to four expert sources who shared these eight ideas:
  1. Use retargeting for conversion rate optimization on abandoned shopping carts

  2. Develop profiles to retarget to potential customers who don't reach the cart

  3. Use "burn pixels" to turn retargeting campaigns off

  4. Use personalization and dynamic email content for retargeting

  5. Retarget to specific situations

  6. Retarget with logical product triggers

  7. Use display ad retargeting campaigns to convert at a higher rate than standard search campaigns

  8. Use a spreadsheet to organize retargeting campaigns

Our sources also illustrated examples of retargeting campaigns as well as the successful utilization of a number of channels including banner ads and paid search.

"Remarketing has actually been one of the best performers as far as lead generation and new product sales," said Mark Barrera, Chief Search Officer, Buzzshift.

Takeaway #3. Behavior-based personalization pays off

Perhaps your existing customers are no longer dancing to your music. However, your marketing campaigns may just need some fine-tuning. By tailoring marketing tactics to customer behavior, you can reap in revenue while re-engaging, too.

In the case study, "Email Marketing: Clothing retailer lifts average open rate 40% via customer segmentation campaign," women's clothing retail site SwayChic shared its keys to succeeding with this strategy in email.

SwayChic segmented existing customers based on open-time of emails and purchase history. By executing personalized sends around this data, the e-commerce site:
  • Increased average open rate by 40%

  • Doubled average clickthrough

  • Tripled revenue for each campaign

"Marketing for us is really, really based on timing and making sure that you can follow a customer’s behavior," explained Cheyanne Sequoyia-Mackay, Project Manager, SwayChic. "It has helped us really hone in and keep a keener eye on how to recognize those behaviors and utilize them to make more money."

A speaker at MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2013 also found big benefits through behavior-based marketing tactics. "Email Marketing: E-commerce company's behavior-based marketing tactics increase CLTV 416% in 14 months" highlights an excerpt from the session of Jermaine Griggs, Founder, Hear and Play Music.

In Griggs' presentation, "How an Online Music Teaching Company Harnessed the Power of Email Automation & Behavior-based Marketing to Increase Conversions," he unveiled how Hear and Play applied behavior-based marketing to its CRM system.

Takeaway #4. Consumers are hot, and then they're cold

At the beginning of 2013, we presented a piece that showed consumers are more like teenage girls than not when it comes to how they feel about your tactics.

Our blog post, "B2C Email Marketing: Consumers are fickle" outlined research conducted by Emailvision and YouGov on consumer opinions in regards to email marketing. The surveyed set of 2,001 adults revealed the following findings:
  • 75% reported they would resent a brand after being bombarded by emails

  • 71% cited receiving unsolicited messages as a reason to become resentful

  • 50% felt getting their name wrong was a reason to think less of the brand

  • 40% remarked that getting gender wrong would have a negative impact

While better targeting and segmentation can avoid the above drawbacks, the same surveyed group revealed they were unwilling to give basic information about themselves:
  • Only 28% indicated they would be willing to share their name

  • Only 37% would be willing to share their age

  • Only 38% would disclose their gender

To make sense of all this, we talked to expert sources: Leah Anathan, Corporate Marketing Director, Emailvision, and Stephanie Miller, Vice President of Member Relations, DMA.

Anathan said the survey results were surprising, given how reluctant subscribers were to disclose the smallest bit of information yet their resentment can build if a marketer gets that information wrong.

"On the other hand, we were also surprised that a full 8% seemed willing to 'overshare,' saying they'd even tell marketers their underwear size!" she said.

Anathan explained given the findings, it is crucial for marketers to provide customers value with email campaigns. Offer customers clear benefits to providing more information, communicating that the brand will send more relevant and personalized marketing to them.

However, if you can't get the information you seek, pay attention to subscriber behavior — brand purchases, relevant products, product lifecycles — to tailor email campaigns. She offered the following practices for building trust with consumers:
  • Use the insight you have about your customers through all of your digital channels to create and send relevant and engaging communications.

  • Collect customer feedback, measure multichannel responses and employ strategies that help you understand how your customers like to interact with your brand.

  • Test, measure and monitor your email campaigns to see how different messages resonate with different segments.

  • Practice good list management. Review how you are collecting your data, review the sign-up forms, and regularly clean up your email list

"If someone is not providing them with the right offers, value and relationship, they will quickly switch to another brand," Anathan explained. "The key to success for marketers is contained in the intelligence and actionable information that comes from their customer data."

Miller also advised marketers to use data wisely in email marketing by being responsible with that data. She said that while marketers have tons of data on subscribers, using it in a legal, respectful way is crucial. She shared these tips to crafting an effective email campaigns:
  • Define the value proposition of your messaging from the subscriber viewpoint.

  • Collaborate on the content, messaging strategy and data approach so that both the art and science of your program are truly subscriber-centric, as well as focused around achieving that value proposition.

  • "If you say you are going to delight me with great offers and deals, then doing that as frequently as I tell you is OK with me. I tell you either at point of collection or by my behavior," Miller said. "If you say you are going to send me news and information, send me stuff I like, and don't send me offers."

  • Be an editor as well as a marketer. The role of the editor is to help us find things we didn't know we wanted. How can you add that bit of surprise to the program content?

  • "Maybe it's a recommended product on sale," Miller advised. "Maybe it's a bit of content that is outside what I usually read, but that might stretch my engagement. Maybe it's content from a social program, even if I'm not engaged with your brand on social."

  • Lather, rinse and repeat. Test continually and use the data you have to innovate on content, frequency and message type.

She honed in on the importance of having permission from the recipient with each email campaign via opt-in, however she said the engagement past the stage of that permission is of utmost importance.

"Email marketers have to earn permission with every message, which is measured by behavior and engagement, not a check box," Miller shared.

For case studies and how-to articles delivered right to your inbox every other week, subscribe to the free MarketingSherpa Consumer Marketing Newsletter.

Related Resources

comScore Reports October 2013 U.S. Smartphone Subscriber Market Share

E-commerce: 10 case studies to help you excel in content marketing, social media and website optimization

Download a free excerpt of the MarketingSherpa 2012 Search Marketing Benchmark Report — PPC Edition

Customer Connection: Does your entire marketing process connect to your customers' motivations?

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