With these guidelines and the right tools, behavioral marketing can be an exciting opportunity for your company.Creating high-quality content that works with your overall marketing strategy to bring in customers is no easy task. Every customer is unique, and in today’s uber-competitive markets, customers have come to expect a highly personalized buying experience that is tailored to their specific needs and wants. How can you possibly provide that sort of individualized attention to your entire customer base? Behavioral marketing can help.
Adopting a behavioral marketing strategy is all about discovery: you need to find out who your customers are, what they’re interested in, and how you can guide them to your products and services that will best fit their needs. In this guide, we’ll teach you how to optimize your current marketing strategy using behavioral marketing in 4 easy-to-follow steps:
Before jumping into behavioral marketing, take some time to think about your current marketing strategy. Think beyond individual customer acquisitions to pinpoint your long term goals. No matter what business you’re in, you don’t just need customers to buy-- you need them to keep buying. Or even better, you want them to convince other people to buy, too. What do these types of goals look like for your unique company? How will you determine whether your strategy has ultimately been successful or if it still needs to be adjusted? These are all important things to keep in mind as you reimagine your existing marketing strategy.
Consider the example of a department store website. Here are a few goals a company like this may want to address with a revamped marketing strategy:
The goals you set will probably rely on your company’s size, market, and overall business strategy. If you’re having trouble setting goals for your company, there are plenty of resources out there to help you get started.
If you want your behavioral marketing strategy to be effective, you have to understand how different customer cohorts and personas interact with your company, your product, and your website. To do this, you must be objective, setting aside personal hopes and opinions to think critically about what the data is actually telling you. You must also tap into your intuition to understand customers on a deeper level, allowing you to give them what they really want.
As you work through this process, you should focus on answering two key questions:
If you haven’t created personas for your customer base, now would be a great time to do it. Personas are “composite sketches” of key segments of your audience, and identifying them is extremely useful if you want to tailor your strategy to meet your customers' specific needs. Keep in mind that while each of your personas may navigate your site in a totally unique way, their behaviors might also overlap, and this is something you’ll want to consider as you examine your customers’ behavior.
To develop a deeper understanding of who is visiting your site, ask yourself these questions:
The key to getting an accurate picture of your customer is basing inferences off of the cumulation of their interactions with your site, not just a single interaction.
Think back to the department store website. Let’s say a particular customer receives an email indicating a massive sale on womens’ shoes that are ordinarily very expensive, and they click through to the website. On the website, they view product pages for several different pairs of womens’ snow boots before leaving. Based on this information, we can draw several conclusions: the customer is likely a woman, has a lower budget or is otherwise interested in less expensive options, and lives in a region that experiences cold weather. Any of these points would not mean much on its own, but together, they reveal a much clearer picture of who this customer is.
The way that customers interact with your site doesn’t just reveal who they are. It also reveals what your customers’ interests and values are. The actions your customers take should reveal values that align with the products or services that your company offers.
To identify what customers are looking for, answer these questions:
Let’s expand the department store example a little bit more. Imagine that the store’s marketing team has identified 3 personas that represent categories most of their customers fall into:
What if customer who checked out the womens’ snow boots also visits a lookbook on the website that shows off the season’s hottest trends and reads an article about winter fashion as a means of self-expression? Now we know that this customer is also somewhat of a fashionista and wants to stay on top of trends. In combination with what we already know about this customer, this data hints that she might fit into the Fashion-Forward Francis persona. Understanding how personas interact with your site is essential because it allows you to tailor your marketing to fit the needs of your major demographic groups. But more on that later.
Pay particular attention to your best customers, the ones who not only buy your products but are repeat customers. Understanding how these customers navigate your site can help you tailor your strategy to target customers with similar behaviors, hopefully getting you more best customers. It can be difficult to be objective here, but if you put aside your expectations here and think critically about the data in front of you, the payoff can be huge.
Some important things you should ask yourself about your best customers include:
It’s important to note here that even if most of your customers engage in a certain behavior, it may not necessarily be significant to their journey through your conversion funnel. Weed out insignificant behaviors by comparing the behavior of customers to noncustomers, or people who don’t ultimately convert.
For example if 95% of your customers subscribe to your email list, you might be tempted to think that this behavior plays a big role in the chances that they’ll convert. But what do your noncustomers do? If 90% of noncustomers also subscribe, you may want to keep looking. Behaviors with a larger difference between customer participation and noncustomer participation are the most important.
Imagine that, after reviewing the behavior of hundreds of customers, our department store determines that 85% of their customers across all three of their personas follow this conversion path:
This information maps out how site visitors become customers and what milestones are central to that process. Notice that the process occurs in three distinct phases:
Keep in mind that in many customer journeys, there can be more than one milestone in each phase. For example, maybe a customer both reads a blog post and watches a promotional video during the consideration stage. By determining the milestones that define each of these phases in your own customer journey, it becomes possible to figure out why some customers don’t make it through to conversion.
Now that you know who your customers are, what they’re looking for, and what behaviors correlate to conversion, it’s time to bring it all together using objective analysis and a little bit of intuitive storytelling. You’ve finally got everything you need to map out what the customer journey looks like for your site.
The journey you’ve identified should be your new foundation. Your content strategy allows you to fill in the gaps between milestones in your journey, which is where the magic really happens. Doing this effectively can tell you more about your customers, speed up conversion time, and push your customers through the conversion process, preventing them from getting stuck.
To ensure that a customer who exits the site after viewing a product returns to the process, we might send an email reminding the customer of their interest in the product. When sending triggered emails like this, it’s a good idea to acknowledge the customer’s action in the subject line:
Filling in the gaps in your customer journey with customer-specific content like this allows your customers to build a unique relationship with your brand. The customer gives you information about what they want by engaging with your content, and you respond.
As a general rule, each piece of content you push out to customers should accomplish the following:
After reviewing the data, the department store we’ve been working with decides to supplement their customer journey with friendly reminder emails tailored to each potential customer’s persona. After asking for the visitor’s email address on their homepage, they might:
Automated marketing tools can help you turn these discoveries into action, but not all automated marketing tools are created equal. Your platform should support several key functions that will allow you to implement your behavioral marketing strategy effectively. It can be very difficult to switch platforms later on, so it’s a good idea to invest the time now and make sure that you’re choosing the right tool for your company to begin with.
Try to find a platform that allows you to:
One or more solid analytics platforms should also be in your marketing toolkit. Make sure that your analytics platforms allow you to:
Behavioral marketing can be tricky-- it’s not the sort of strategy you can set up and forget about. It takes some time and attention, but behavioral marketing can really take your marketing strategy to the next level. Do you use behavioral marketing? Do you have any tips or thoughts to add? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!