Of all the potential customers in the world, which are my ideal customers?
How can I reach them with my brand’s advertising?
And serve their needs when they want more info?
Today we bring you three companies that answered key questions like these in our latest article. Read on for examples from Autobahn Indoor Speedway, a home improvement website, and an online wine store.
This article was originally published in the MarketingSherpa email newsletter.
Where in the customer journey should you introduce your price? At the customer’s maximum moment of motivation, according to Flint McGlaughlin in Pricing Strategy: Leveraging customer psychology to maximize average customer value (McGlaughlin is CEO and Managing Director of MECLABS Institute, parent organization of MarketingSherpa).
Just one example of the importance of understanding the nature and geography (in the customer journey) of customer motivation and tapping into that motivation at the right moment(s) in your buy process.
To help you improve your customer understanding, we bring you three stories from your peers in this MarketingSherpa article. First up, a home improvement website that identified its ideal customer segments. Then, an online wine purveyor that mapped advertising campaigns to purchase intent. And lastly, a family entertainment business that replaced phone calls with AI-driven automation to better manage pre-purchase customer conversations.
“Prior to using analytics software, we used to run Facebook and Google ads targeting demographics we believed would use our home maintenance plans. We thought all homeowners would be interested in our offering,” said Robin Mathew, Co-founder, SkilledHub. After running some ads, the team quickly realized they were not getting the conversions they were hoping for.
“We decided to integrate the HotJar plugin to visualize user interaction with the website. Google Analytics was used to monitor traffic and identify our best-performing channels,” Mathew said. This helped the team gauge customer engagement and improve its offering. They learned that seniors above the age of 65 and first-time home buyers (below the age of 30) were spending more time on the website.
“We then conducted surveys using SurveyMonkey to get some early feedback on the website. Amazon Mechanical Turk was used to further conduct focus groups and gather data in order to figure out customer pain points,” Mathew said. This gave the team some insight into why these two target demographics were more interested in the home improvement plans.
They developed conversion funnels targeting seniors and first-time homebuyers, tailoring the messaging with a care package for seniors and a yearly home maintenance checklist for first-time homebuyers.
The team improved the click-through rate from an ad a landing page where they offered a lead magnet from 3% to 11%. Opt-in email conversions for the lead magnet increased by 50%, ultimately resulting in more sales.
Advertising wine online is awash with complexity. That’s partly because alcohol is a highly regulated industry. But it’s also due to the vast range of purchase intent consumers have when discovering and searching for wine online.
Some consumers know exactly the bottle they want, down to the producer, region, vintage, and varietal. Others stumble upon options, browse them, and narrow down searches to find a bottle to buy. All that is to say: it’s critical for wine retailers to align intent to products to ad spend, so they can drive return on investment (ROI) from search and social.
Gary’s Wine & Marketplace understands this imperative firsthand. The family-owned business offers some 3,000 wines and wine accessories. About a year ago, the retailer’s small marketing team had enough bandwidth to support a few simple Google and Bing Shopping campaigns. Remaining resources went to other priority channels, including email, direct, comparison shopping engines, and social.
Traffic to the shopping ads varied greatly in terms of value. Expensive, generic queries generated clicks, but few conversions. Branded and longer-tail terms were more lucrative. But the retailer didn’t have a way to actively capture and focus on them.
Issues also arose around bottle size and price. Ads for the retailer’s 1.5-liter bottles were appearing alongside competitors’ 750-milliliter bottles of the same wine. The 750-milliliter bottles are not only cheaper, they’re usually what most wine shoppers want. Gary’s Wine was losing conversions because it struggled to ensure the accuracy of its product feed and drive price competitiveness in Google and Bing Shopping.
“We didn’t have the resources to sort through thousands of wines, determine how to better structure Shopping campaigns, and strategically bid products,” said Mike Fisch, Director of Innovation, Gary’s Wine & Marketplace. “We also weren’t in a position to add onto other efforts that would expand our digital presence, like search campaigns and paid social.”
What’s more, Gary’s Wine recognized that any channel is never a set-it-and-forget-it proposition. “Shopping preferences change with the seasons,” said Fisch. “Rosè picks up in the summer, while premium wines and champagnes pick up over the holidays. We also run two annual sales where we heavily promote existing inventory to prepare for the upcoming season. But we didn’t have time to adjust campaigns and bids with these fluctuations in our business.”
The retailer decided to work with Sidecar to manage Google Ads, Bing Shopping, and Facebook ads.
“We were getting overwhelmed by the number of marketing channels out there, and the complexities involved in managing them,” said Fisch.
The retailer’s search strategy now centers on mapping campaigns to purchase intent. This approach ensures the retailer is spending aggressively on high-intent shoppers and conservatively on low-intent shoppers, with the ultimate goal of meeting an efficient return on ad spend (ROAS) target.
For instance, ads appearing in ZIP codes near the retailer’s store locations have custom copy that promotes free same-day delivery and one-hour pickup. Using paid search to drive local search efforts has been the easier and successful alternative to local inventory ads for Gary’s Wine.
Creative Sample #1: Gary’s Wine national ad
Creative Sample #2: Gary’s Wine local ad
Additionally, the retailer wanted to maximize retargeting opportunities with Facebook Advertising. Google and Microsoft do not allow alcohol retailers to run retargeting campaigns on their platforms, which made Facebook Advertising a critical part of Gary’s Wine’s strategy.
If a shopper added a product to her cart in the last 10 days and visits Facebook, she gets served the appropriate product ad. An ad for a past customer, on the other hand, will trigger much later.
Because paid search was a new channel for Gary’s Wine, the team spent conservatively in the first month and grew the spend methodically over the next couple months to reach the retailer’s ROAS goal. The strategy of focusing on user intent gained so much momentum, however, that nine months into paid search, the retailer’s ROAS averaged 24% higher than its goal.
Gary’s Wine continues to meet and exceed its return goals across all managed channels. Now, 12 months in, Google Shopping ROAS remains on average 24% above the retailer’s goal. Bing Shopping ROAS on average exceeded the retailer’s goal by 44%. Additionally, year-over-year growth in Google Shopping for the 12-month period includes: revenue (+54%), orders (+39%), and impressions (+58%).
Gary’s Wine has also achieved a competitive impression share in search, ranking among the top three wine advertisers every month. This performance is a result of the retailer making the most of high-intent (branded) search terms. The retailer’s top 10 search queries, by conversions and by volume, are branded terms. As the strategy emphasized these terms, while downplaying generic ones, the budget was spent efficiently.
The retailer’s Facebook revenue has reached all-time highs. In the first nine months since launch, the team was able to increase revenue eight times due to the expanded reach and improved efficiency of the retailer’s retargeting campaigns.
Autobahn Indoor Speedway is an indoor electronic go-kart racing track, hosting thousands of racers each year while also providing a spot for community activities including business events, meetings, and parties. Autobahn offers a number of different experiences including axe throwing, arcade games, summer camps and field trips.
The family entertainment business has gained 10x more leads by leveraging an AI-powered (artificial intelligence) chatbot.
In 2018, the organization had an increasing number of phone calls that were difficult to handle, which raised a critical question – why does a customer want to call a location rather than send an email or use the contact form on its website?
The team also encountered a problem with mishandled, obsolete, and incorrect documents being delivered to clients.
They decided to test chatbot automation by using Botsify on AutoBahn’s website as well as its 11 Facebook pages (the entertainment business has 11 separate venues, each with its own collection of features and information).
Creative Sample #3: Automated chatbot on Autobahn Indoor Speedway website
After a year, the chatbot has automatically engaged more than 200,000 users and gathered nearly 10,000 warm leads via conversational forms, all of which have been seamlessly synced in Autobahn’s PipeDrive CRM.
The automated chatbot can:
Creative Sample #4: Example of automated chatbot flow for Autobahn Indoor Speedway
So far Autobahn has had 224,729 customers use its automated chatbot which responded to 671,541 messages.
The bot’s dashboard thus claims it saved customers 335,772 hours (I will note this is based on the assumption of saving customers 30 minutes per interaction. In this reporter’s humble opinion, that is an overestimation of time savings. But I provide all the data here to you to allow you to make your own opinion. And, in fairness, it was probably still a significant time savings for customers who would prefer an automated chat conversation versus a phone call).
The average chat lasted for 1.27 minutes. The chatbot has helped the team lower the cost per lead to four dollars.
“I immediately noticed a higher level of customer loyalty because we weren't leaving them on hold and the information given was still 100 percent correct. In addition, after using the chatbot, I see a 5x return on investment,” said David Larson, Managing Partner, Autobahn.
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