Project for New Year 2017

By Brendan Tugnao,

The holiday shopping season is one of the most lucrative times of year for retailers. Beyond the increased sales, this time of year also offers a great opportunity to engage new customers, foster ongoing relationships and build loyalty. As shoppers browse for the perfect gifts, they’re providing valuable insight into how you can reconnect with them in the future. What approaches are savvy retailers using to convert seasonal shoppers into year-round brand loyalists?

One tactic consistently proving added value to the marketing mix with its ability to supercharge loyalty-building campaigns is retargeting: the strategy of following qualified leads around the internet to continue capturing their attention.

Your online marketing foundation is stabilized with search engine optimization and pay-per-click strategies, pulling in those visitors who are searching for words and phrases related to your brand. These tactics create the initial introduction to your company and products. Retargeting comes in to close the deal, capturing qualified visitors who are clearly interested.

Seize the opportunity

Retargeted ads help keep your brand at the forefront with potential customers. When done well, retargeting gives a gentle, relevant and helpful nudge to a visitor who expressed interest in your product or service and encourages them to return to your site to complete a purchase or reorder.

However, every interaction is not equal – there are visitor behaviors that indicate clear interest and there are those that do not. Effective retargeting doesn’t waste resources on marketing to visitors who aren’t likely to buy from you. Instead, it zeroes in on those who have shown the strongest interest in what you’re offering.

With these thoughts in mind, we’ll explore three simple ways to turn seasonal shoppers into long-term, loyal customers.

Timing matters

Retargeting should be personal and relevant to each customer you’re trying to reach. The idea is to pick up where that visitor left off by continuing the story for him or her. User-intent data (information that reflects the intention of a person’s activity) gives you the ability to craft tailored messages and time them optimally.

An abandoned shopping cart is a common occurrence in online shopping – especially at this time of year. In fact, nearly 60 percent of US online shoppers admit to having abandoned a cart within the last three months, with most citing the reason as “they were just browsing.”

Ads that specifically remind those browsing customers of the items they deserted, possibly with a discount offer included, could be the small nudge they need to return and complete their purchase. Without retargeting, only about 8% of customers are likely to come back to finish checking out, but a well-placed reminder boosts that rate to as much as 26%.

Another simple and effective group to retarget is past customers. Reengage previous shoppers at well-timed intervals following their initial purchase (30, 60, or 90 days are good starting points). That’s a great time to introduce a new product or service offering, remind them to reorder if the product is a consumable, or suggest an item compatible with their prior purchase.

And don’t forget about email marketing. It’s still one of the most effective ways to keep your business top of mind with past customers and share purposeful, personalized and timely messages.

Set goals

Measurement matters. An informed strategy needs solid benchmarks against which to gauge results – and they need to be reviewed often to see where adjustments may be needed. Don’t be fooled by impression counts as they’re a nearly useless measure of an ad’s success – what really matters is if the ad is stimulating action.

Adjust your strategies for the highest click-through-rate (CTR). Test ads with varying copy, images, and calls to action and tweak based on which ones perform best. An ad that isn’t being acknowledged is a waste of resources; if it doesn’t garner clicks it’s not touching on the right message or it’s misdirected. When you find a message that is resonating with the audience as intended, you’ve found the sweet spot.

Bag the mobile shopper

Recent statistics show that mobile accounts for approximately 30 percent of all e-commerce, and that figure is rapidly increasing. With that in mind, your ad strategy absolutely must be mobile-friendly.

Mobile users simply don’t have a long attention span, meaning your ad has to be concise and immediately captivating. Limit wordiness and use eye-catching imagery. Give them a clear, succinct call to action with a specific intent. Particularly when it comes to mobile, retargeting must provide an instant, compelling reason to revisit your brand.

Tie it all up

Retargeting is the proverbial bow that ties your online marketing efforts together by creating opportunities to foster ongoing relationships with customers as they travel around the internet. With an informed strategy that reconnects with people in the right place at the right time, and convincing reasons to visit again, you’ll be reaping the benefits of the holiday boost well into 2017 and beyond.

Brendan Tugnao has more than 10 years of experience in marketing execution and strategy with Fortune 500 brands across multiple industries, such as Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Sears & Kmart. He is currently a Product Manager with G/O Digital