Retention marketing, the mysterious form of marketing that seems to be popping into your favorite ecommerce blogs, podcasts, and even into conversations with your other merchant friends. The whisperings have started, but do you really know what retention marketing is?
What is Retention Marketing?
Retention marketing is a new form of marketing that is becoming more and more prevalent in the ecommerce world. The focus of this school of marketing is to create engaged customers that return to your store to shop again. It is a shift in focusing only on the acquisition of countless new customers, to also focusing on the profitability of those you already have!
Why Start Retention Marketing?
Some of you may be asking yourselves, “If this is so profitable, why am I just hearing about this now?” Great question! We, as humans, tend to only discover things when we are presented with a need.
In the past SEM and social media were cheap and effective ways to drive traffic to our ecommerce sites. You could afford to sell to someone once and never speak to them again. Unfortunately this isn’t the case anymore. These traditional ads are more expensive and less effective than they were in the past.
Effectiveness of Retention Marketing
The effectiveness of a retention marketing strategy will vary depending on what you sell. Dish washers are not going to be purchased as frequently as coffee, for example. So you will not see the same results in different situations. But if you sell cosmetics products or services that you can invite your loyal customers more than once, this is exactly for you.
Retention Marketing vs. Acquisition Marketing
Retention marketing is never going to completely replace acquisition marketing that is focused on bringing new customers to your store. The two methodologies need to be used in tandem. Think of ecommerce marketing as a sport. Some teams are good at offense, and some are good at defense. But will a team ever win only playing one or the other? Retention is your store’s defense and acquisition is your offense, play both to truly dominate the game!
Remarketing vs. Retargeting: What’s the difference?
There are two main terms you hear when talking about this approach; Remarketing and Retargeting. Since they pretty much sound the same, let’s explore the differences between the two, the various tools that are available to execute these campaigns, and talk about the use cases in which each tactic is useful. Retargeting is most often used to describe online ad placements and display ads, served based on a user’s activity on your site. A user comes to your site, a cookie’s set and you can now target ads to them on other sites they visit, hence the term retargeting. What makes retargeting so appealing is that it’s done through third party networks like AdBrite and the Google display network, giving you the opportunity to reach users wherever they are, on millions of sites. While you may hear retargeting tools referred to as remarketing tools (ahem, Google), “remarketing” is typically the term used to describe re-engaging customers with email.
In our world, remarketing is used to describe shopping cart abandonment email campaigns, upsells/cross sell emails (think those very personalized Amazon emails you get after you’ve bought a product) and lifecycle marketing emails. An example of an Amazon upsell remarketing email is based on your browsing history….
How does Google remarketing work?
It’s quite simple really. Remarketing works by placing cookies on your website visitors device(s) when they meet your criteria. Their cookie ID is added to your remarketing audience list. You can have multiple lists with a range of different criteria.
For example you may wish to target visitors that viewed a particular page or section on your website but didn’t make a purchase or complete and enquiry form.
Each cookie has a unique ID which is automatically added to your remarketing list. You can have multiple lists with a range of different membership periods, goals and criteria.
There are a number of advertising controls including the period of time that a cookie ID stays on your remarketing list, impression caps on how many ads per day are shown to an individual and the ability to block ads on certain websites. You can also set criteria to control the targeting of your ads, for example: by age, gender, location and interests based on your browsing behaviour.
The Google remarketing feature has recently been through a revision and Google has added more features and controls for advertisers. The remarketing feature now allows more flexibility through using upgraded Google Analytics code. This allows for lists to be created and managed without the need to place specific code on the website.
What do I need to be aware of?
There is a minimum threshold of 100 cookie ID’s on each remarketing list before a campaign can become active.
To be successful it’s important to a) make sure your ad is highly relevant to what you know visitors are looking for and b) contains some form of enticement to encourage them back to your website. For example you could display a special discounted offer on that item.
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