Like almost any retailer, a large health and beauty organization faces growing competition and search CPCs. The performance marketing team realizes that they cannot continue to pay increased costs to acquire the same levels of revenue from repeat customers.
At the same time, the team recognizes that it can better coordinate its strategy on other channels. Retargeting, email, and direct service can work together more cohesively to drive customers to purchase once they’re in the door, or back in the door, of search.
They developed a new strategy to fight Google Ads, focused on identifying and treating new customers differently than returning customers. The ultimate goal is to achieve more granular return goals for new customers versus repeat customers, with repeat customers generating much more effective return than in the past.
This scenario is not an isolated case. Many performance marketing teams in the retail industry want to understand how a new or returning customer model works for search. Some of the most common questions are: what do we need to know about this approach? What is the process to implement it? How would we measure success?
Here are some best practices.
1. Realize the war for the wallet will be won at the top of the funnel
A new/returning customer strategy can make a lot of sense in today’s competitive climate. Here’s why:
- Retailers can no longer compete for the bottom of the funnel. CPCs continue to rise in direct response channels like search. Average retailer CPC in Google paid search (text ads) increased 14% in 2018, reaching $0.71, according to Sidecar’s 2019 Benchmark Report: Google Ads in Retail. Google Shopping’s CPC averaged $0.57 in 2018, up 4%. Competition in research is at its height. Retailers are shifting the battle to the top of the funnel because they’ve realized the downstream benefits it offers to attract search-stage customers.
- Most retailers own their customers less and less. Consumers have more options than ever when it comes to where and when to shop. As a result, most retailers have fewer customers and need to work harder and smarter to build loyalty. With that in mind, consider this: if someone who just bought from you is now searching for products you sell using generic terms in a competitive space like Google, is that really your customer? Or is this a prospect you need to reacquire at the top of the funnel?
Both of these accomplishments speak to the growing importance of the upper funnel. Likewise, acquiring new customers requires you to strengthen the top of your marketing funnel. And to strengthen the top, in turn, you need to strengthen the middle and bottom of your funnel, so leads move on to converting.
2. Define what “customer” means to your business
Here’s one of the biggest pitfalls marketers Bulgaria Phone Number face when developing an audience strategy: they overlook the step of defining what constitutes a customer and how that definition translates into their campaigns. of research.
This definition can vary widely between marketing departments. Some define a customer as any visitor who has made a purchase within the last six months. Others define a customer as a visitor who has purchased at any time. Yet others view a customer as a recurring visitor who searches only using branded keywords.
Your definition of a customer should match how you want to treat past buyers. This thought goes back to the idea that “most retailers own their customers less and less”. If someone bought from you four years ago and hasn’t bought since, would you still consider them a customer and treat them the same as someone who bought from you a month ago? ?
Let’s say two people bought you yesterday. Theoretically, your brand is still fresh in their minds. But today, a buyer searches for the types of products you offer using a generic term. The other buyer uses a brand term. Do you consider them active customers? Or would you say you need to reacquire the buyer who used the generic term?
Here are some philosophical considerations to help you define your client. The other factor is data. Analyze your transaction data to identify trends in redemption cadence. When is it highly unlikely that the customer will return? A month? Three months? A year? More? These results can help determine whether it makes sense to define a client based on time and what that synchronization threshold should be.
3. Understand your customers’ buying journey
Search is generally a new customer acquisition channel and you can find new customers at different cost levels. As you progress through the search marketing funnel, it tends to cost more to acquire new customers.
However, if you have a good understanding of your customers’ buying journey, you ideally know that a higher cost is justified because you can see that your other channels – like email, affiliates, direct, etc – come into play to nurture customers buy.
Gaining this understanding has a lot to do with your attribution model. Having a cross-channel attribution model is key to visualizing performance across your channels, which also makes it a key best practice with a new/return customer strategy.
Most retail audiences interact with the brand using multiple channels. A multi-channel attribution model allows you to more accurately assess the role of these channels. This knowledge can translate into critical information for determining the size of your investment and your ROI goal, channel by channel.