Optimize Paid Traffic to Attract the 5 Types of E-Commerce Shoppers
Deciding where to invest your money in paid traffic can sometimes feel like a shot in the dark. There is a lot of trial and error that goes into finding the optimal strategy to fit your unique business; a trial period most startups have limited funding for. Finding the perfect equilibrium where you’re staying within budget and seeing a solid return on investment can seem difficult to achieve, but by segmenting your e-commerce audience by life cycle stages, you can run specialized paid traffic campaigns to more effectively target customers. Fortunately with some great tips offered by paid traffic expert Ezra Firestone, and insightful information by CEO of OptiMove, Pini Yakuel, the right strategy seems well within reach. I will draw from the following people and combine them with my fashion retail background to give you actionable points that you can begin implementing on your next paid traffic campaign.
Phase 1: “The Browser”
Target: Prospective customers who have landed on your site, who have set up an account or have added to your email subscription, but have yet to make a purchase. According to Yakuel, his data shows that, “80% of all customers make their first purchase with an online retailer the same day they register for an account or provide their email address. 7% of shoppers will make their first purchase within a week of registering, but after that your chances of converting them drop significantly.” In order to capture the Browser and convert them into customers, it is essential to get them to make a purchase within the first 7 days of contact with your site.
Paid Tip: Before you can turn this group into customers, you first have to expose them to your brand. Pinterest is quickly becoming the next big social platform for advertising because it provides much greater quality of traffic with far greater conversion rates. Ezra explains how, “Pinterest really does drive purchase behavior in a way that other social sites don’t because people are really there to look at products and show interest in things they’re interested in buying.” Currently usership is dominated by women at 70%, making it ideal for beauty, fashion, housewares, design and pet products. Paid advertising on Pinterest is still relatively new, so it’ll be interesting to see how things develop when the quality of scale improves. Once customers have landed on your site, offering an incentive on their first order will stimulate purchase, allowing you to convert them within the ideal 7 day range.
Free Tip: If you have your products for sale on Pinterest, try putting an item on a flash sale each week. This will alert the people who have “pinned” your product and Boom- more visibility
Phase 2: “The New Customer”
Target: Customers who have completed their first purchase. After their first purchase, it is critical to get them to repurchase as the likelihood of them becoming brand loyal drastically increases with each subsequent purchase.
Paid Tip: Investing in Direct Email Marketing & Google Retargeting Ads are among the best tools to activate a second purchase. Sending direct email’s to customers featuring “like” items and placing re-targeting ads reminding them of new products and special offers should stimulate revisits and hopefully translate into conversions. Another strategy stated in the previous section is incentivizing purchase. Here, we look at incentives that will drive multiple item purchase, like: free shipping with a $75+ purchase, when the average priced good on your site is $50. Research shows that people who order multiple items in their first purchase are more likely to repurchase from that brand.
Free Tip: Use Mailchimp to track if customers are clicking on the Promo banner ads.
Phase 3: “The Active Customer”
Target: Customers who have made multiple purchases, and are considered engaged due to the recency and frequency of their purchasing behavior. Yakuel further adds that, “You should segment your Active Customers using RFM (Recency, Frequency and Monetary) clustering. This helps reveal who your highest-value and lowest-value customers are, which customers are at high risk of churning, and more.”
Paid Tip: For this group, implementing a strong Instagram campaign would be an effective strategy. Due to the nature of Instagram, it is hard to assess its contribution to site visits and conversions. But one thing about Instagram is undeniable, users are extremely engaged; with usership seeing tremendous growth and continuing to stay on the incline. Instagram’s paid traffic is still in beta testing, so your best bet is paid sponsored posts by influential Instagram community members. This idea scales the concept of word of mouth referral; by having influencers naturally integrate a product within their lifestyle conveys a sense of trustworthiness unlike with explicit advertisements. This leaves users with a feeling of having an organic relationship with the brand, which is a great for maintaining engagement with active customers and also for acquiring new customers.
Free Tip: Follow your biggest competitor and see the “suggested accounts” that show up after you’ve followed. Compile a list of competitor accounts and begin targeting their audience.
Phase 4: “Churned Customer”
Target: Active customers who haven’t made a purchase beyond a designated time period since their last purchase. If too much time passes before a customer makes a new purchase, getting them re-engaged could prove to be challenging. On the upside, you can leverage your previously acquired customer data to better target, and it’ll be easier to grab their attention due to their pre-existing knowledge and familiarity with the brand.
Paid Tip: Here is when to utilize arguably the best source for paid traffic, Facebook. Facebook is great for re-targeting because it offers the highest quality at scale and has rolled out a number of new features to improve conversions and analytics. They have plans to introduce one-click purchasing, similar to Amazon, where users can store their payment information and buy directly through Facebook. Tools like Power Editor (similar to AdWords Editor) allows you to target your customer through a set of filters; refined as narrowly as type of feed, operating system and type of device, example: mobile news feed, IOS, tablet devices. The great thing about setting such specific targets is that you can play around to see where you’re getting the most bang for your buck. If your product is a higher end good, then setting targets that only deliver to tablet devices might yield a greater ROI than desktops, as prices on per-click rates significantly drop between desktop and mobile devices. Facebook has also introduced the Audience Insight tool which helps you learn more about your target audience, including aggregate information about geography, demographics and purchase behavior.
Most e-commerce retailers are familiar with traditional query based traffic. It’s really easy to sell someone something when they’ve already been looking for the product or service you have to offer. So how do you generate traffic outside of query based searches? Ezra suggests that, “You can’t really make sales on Facebook by sending people directly to your e-commerce product page… the way that’s working right now the best is we’re sending people to a piece of content, and it’s a pre-sell article. The article is related to the problem that our product solves.” An example of a pre-sell article for anti-aging cream could be a blog post on 5 Beauty Tips for Older Women, which then incorporates your product. The idea is that you promote an article that engages your audience in a story that then alludes to a solution (your product). Ezra states, “we actually are getting much cheaper clicks because content is what Facebook wants. People share content, they engage in it.”
Your retargeting ads should be selected based on the number of skews your site carries. Google and Facebook retargeting ads should be selected for businesses with fewer skews, while AdRoll and Perfect Audience should be utilized for businesses with 1000+ skews. The cool thing about AdWords is that you can choose to retarget an audience based on a number of filters. You can choose only those who added items to their cart but never checked out, or those who spent more than 20-30 seconds on your site. This ability allows you to increase your ROI and decrease ad spend.
Free Tip: IF you can’t afford to re-market, consider writing targeted blog posts and inserting them into the comments section of other brands and bloggers where it might be relevant.
Phase 5: “Reactivated Customer”
Target: Reactivated customers are those who were previously marked as churned, but have since returned to make a new purchase. Reactivated customers operate similar to new customers; they have the same spending and retention behaviors. Although they function similarly, they are easier to engage because they’ve had a prior relationship with the brand.
Paid Tip: Since the window to get reactivated customers back to being active shoppers is so small, it’s critical to move quickly. Direct Email Marketing is a great way to customize engagement with this extremely valuable customer segment. Give them special treatment such as exclusive offers and bonuses in order to maximize their lifetime value. Your paid traffic strategy should essentially be comparable to your New Customer strategy (Phase 3).
Free Tip: Use the free versions of Mailchimp and other email platforms before upgrading. Track if your emails are being opened, and if not, try playing with subject headers. Consider each email to be an experiment; set up metrics to test and launch. Make sure to ask yourself; what worked and what didn’t?
For a more comprehensive look on how to launch a successful website and other insightful information, read “Creating Fashion Websites that Sell”.
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