Behavioral Targeting and the Purchase Funnel, 10 Must-Haves

  |  February 29, 2012   |  Comments

Provide your customers with the shortest path possible to get what they want.

When it comes to converting shoppers into loyal customers, behavioral targeting in your conversion funnel is not just a luxury. It's a necessity. Why? Because your customers want it! They want it badly enough that if they don't get it, they will go somewhere (to a competitor) that makes a custom experience a priority.

Here are 10 must-haves for your funnel to ensure that you give your customers the shortest path possible to get what they want and then some!

  1. Surprise! Your funnel starts all the way out with the initial stimuli that causes a potential customer to consider your brand, not just when they find their way to a product page. Make sure that you have a cohesive customer experience from the first touch point all the way through post-sale retention. Track conversion rates and product popularity for each marketing channel by customer segment. Identify how each customer segment reacts to different types of messaging, product bundles, pricing strategies, and conversion processes.

    Having a coordinated shopping experience sounds obvious. But over years of working in and consulting startups, mid-market, and Fortune 500s alike, it is amazing how infrequently this is done even by very large companies with massive budgets.
  2. Ensure that your media buys have segment-specific campaigns. Split your media buy by your segments such as: advertise hoodies where teenagers hang out online, cashmere V-neck sweaters where professionals are, and Christmas sweaters where grandma spends her time.
  3. Have your site pull in tracking parameters from your media buys to dynamically serve the content for product modules like "recommended products," "frequently bought together," and "you may also like" with products specific not only to the landing page but also highly relevant to your customer segment. For example, an 18-to-24-year-old male who landed on your site searching for multivitamins is significantly more likely to buy creatine or protein powder along with his multivitamin than a 55-year-old male who's also looking for multivitamins. Always knowing who your customers are provides them with a better experience and significantly enhances average order value.
  4. Product pages must have at least one module that contains product subsets like "frequently bought together," "customers who bought this also bought," "you may also like," or "people who viewed this also viewed." Many e-commerce platforms come with at least one of these features out of the box. In most situations it is worth custom development and enterprise resource planning (ERP) integrations or setup to make these happen.
  5. Remember: no more than two clicks to purchase. Do everything you can to make the purchase process shorter, clearer, and simpler.
  6. Maintain a one-page checkout. Never force customers to click through multiple pages to complete a sale. Remember, every additional click means lost sales.
  7. Offer bundles and up-sells inside of your cart. The cart is the e-commerce equivalent to football's Red Zone. Small changes in your strategy can mean the difference between a three-point field goal and a six-point touchdown.
  8. Offer a confirmation page with more cross-sell items!
  9. Show a customer's purchase history. Use this history to show customers products that would be relevant to their known interests through modules like "based on your past purchases you may like" or "based on what you have placed in your cart you may like." Over time you can develop a robust understanding of your customers' shopping habits. As you accumulate data on how frequently they buy, set up triggered emails that define a custom email cadence based on your customers' shopping frequency that makes sure that you reach them every time they are ready to make another purchase. Plan your cadence to increase frequency over time to reduce the customer's DBT (days between transactions).
  10. Maintain robust analytics. Every step of your funnel (stimuli to retention) should be influenced by detailed segmented analytics. Google Analytics is a great foundation but is often not enough on its own. Make sure you leverage additional tools like ClickTale, ForeSee Results, and data from your ERP or e-commerce platform to gather qualitative and quantitative insights to layer over standard analytics so that you have the full picture of what is working and what is not.
  11. And now for the bonus round. Don't forget to add subscriptions. Set up an option in the checkout process that allows customers to have a product automatically delivered at predefined intervals like every week, month, quarter, or year. This is especially useful when you sell items that might be needed frequently like health products, beauty supplies, sporting goods, or ink. You would be surprised what customers will set up subscriptions for.

Treating your customer the way they want to be treated improves your bottom line. Whether or not you need a complete redesign or have a sophisticated funnel, your customers' shopping patterns are constantly evolving along with the Internet's technological capabilities.

The key to getting farther faster than your competition? Reduce the duration of customer experience innovation cycles and push out innovative website enhancements quicker than your competitors. In other words, how frequently do you purposely roll out site enhancements? Are you constantly playing catch-up or are you driving web experience innovation in your industry? Get to market first with better usability and behavioral targeting site features and you'll win half the battle. Find out how your customers like to shop and push out usability and behavioral targeting enhancements as frequently as possible. Chances are, you are already sitting on a mountain of data, so get to it!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chad Childress

Chad is a diversely experienced marketing team leader with 10 years of digital marketing experience. Chad's marketing expertise spans an array of disciplines - from usability and conversion optimization, to mobile, SEM, social media, and branding.

Chad was the CMO of an online mortgage company for five years where he drove 37 percent average annual revenue growth. Since then Chad has worked for multiple digital marketing agencies where he has led complex high profile engagements for fortune 500 companies.

While the list of clients Chad has worked on include some of the world's biggest brands such as Proctor and Gamble, Abbott Nutrition, Luxottica, Fifth Third Bank, and others, Chad also has experience in startups and the mid-market, as well as in highly regulated industries like finance and healthcare. Chad is an accomplished writer and speaker. He takes a "Think big and then prove it" approach to marketing and helps organizations understand how to successfully balance both strategy and execution to drive meaningful engagement.

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