June 26, 2019
Customer Journey Optimization: An Emerging Discipline for Marketers
While eCommerce customers make considered purchases and follow paths that involve a longer decision-making process, B2B and Lead Gen customers typically have much shorter windows during which they convert based on relevancy of the offering and their corresponding interest level. As a result, it is crucial to deliver the right content at the right time.
When creating an effective customer journey process, you should keep in mind how to get the most out of each channel (i.e. Google, Microsoft Ads and LinkedIn) to optimize towards your goals. After you have finished running an awareness-based digital marketing program using top-of-funnel prospecting efforts, new users have been introduced to and know more about your high-level topic or product. So, what’s next?
Because they know more about the topic, they are now entering the consideration and decision (or conversion) stages of the funnel. In these stages, customers conduct research, compare options and eventually arrive at a decision. Giving users the proper content within these sections of the funnel can make a substantial impact for customers won.
Different than top-of-funnel prospecting, the consideration stage involves a more targeted approach for specific user profiles or intent. If you have determined a list of companies, employee experience level, long-tail search terms or competitors, you can advertise to users who have more knowledge than the average person. The best assets for the consideration stage would be best practice guides, reports, whitepapers, webinars, case studies or competitor checklists. It is important to use audience-relevant content for this strategy because the main question at this stage is: “How can this company help me better than any others?”
For example, if you are a cloud-integration platform advertiser and have a list of healthcare companies and prospect email lists, you can create campaigns in both LinkedIn and Google to serve them with a case study regarding your results from work within the healthcare industry in the past. LinkedIn can take a list of target companies and narrow your targeting further using a list of options such as job titles, job functions and interest groups. This level of granularity would allow you to target the right people at the right companies and ensure high-quality engagement. The minimum number of companies for this targeting option is 300, but LinkedIn recommends anywhere between 1,000 and 300,000 for best results.
Email lists are also a good way to get in front of customers that have been identified by your sales team as strong prospects. Through these more specific lists, you can develop more personalized experiences across channels. To utilize contact list targeting, you must upload a file that contains the proper contact information for audience creation. While LinkedIn can use standard ad types (i.e. sponsored content), Google can utilize Gmail ads to deliver personalized, interactive ads to the promotions or social tabs of user inboxes. Because this type of targeting is geared towards specific people instead of a general profile, it is important to serve engaging assets such as the most recent industry report or on-demand webinar. The minimum number of emails to which you must match is 500 on LinkedIn and 1,000 on Google; however, match rates can range anywhere from 30-60%. Based on potentially low match rates, you should upload lists well above the minimum size in order to properly run ads.
Other less-specific targeting options in the consideration stage include qualified non-brand search, competitor terms, and prospecting job title or job function targeting. Qualified non-brand searches show deeper intent, and include things like general, top performing non-brand terms but with high-intent modifiers at the end (i.e. ‘solution’ or ‘tool’). Competitor search terms are good chance to show ads for people who are searching for other, relevant companies and provide them with compelling ad copy and assets that could sway their decision in your favor. This strategy is particularly strong if you have a checklist against certain competitors explaining why your product is the better choice.
While the consideration stage is about placing ads in front of targeted users and giving them the best asset to learn about a solution or product, the decision stage is aimed at targeting users who have gathered enough information and are ready to convert. These users are likely much easier to identify, as they will fall into a select few categories, specifically Brand and Remarketing.
When a user searches for your Brand terms, they are already aware of their specific needs, have likely already conducted research regarding possible solutions and are now interested in learning more about your company specifically. Along with Branded search, using Remarketing to target site visitor audiences by using the Google Display Network or LinkedIn ads will also help you reach people who are already familiar with your content. However, because these users are so far down the funnel, it is important not to give them redundant or inappropriate experiences. If they’ve gone so far as to actively search for your company name or navigate through your site, the most suitable pieces of content would be trial sign-ups or product demo.
In addition to general site visitors, you can also target people who have downloaded specific pieces of content from the consideration stage. If you have different trials or demos based on certain products, you can remarket to people who have been to product or solution-specific pages rather than your general domain. For example, if someone downloads a report or visits a page specific to Product A, then they should be driven to the Product A trial or demo page. Whereas if someone else, downloads a whitepaper or visits a page specific to Product B, then they should be driven to the Product B trial or demo page.
Because the consideration and decision stages of the funnel are focused on high-intent action, you should be evaluating these campaigns on direct return based on conversions or lead form completions. With the more qualified bottom-of-funnel efforts, it is likely that Brand and Remarketing will have stronger efficiency than your middle of the funnel; however, it is still important to utilize Non-Brand, Competitor, and other targeted consideration efforts, because this is how you will ensure your brand is included in more in-process searches for what you’re offering.
By ensuring that returning or qualified users have the best experience possible with your site, you can help build strong Brand recognition as well as convert customers at a more efficient rate. When in doubt, use the following chart as a guide to giving users the proper content depending on where they fall in the funnel.
Looking to expand your efforts at the consideration and decision stages of the funnel? Don’t hesitate to reach out to our team.