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Where People Go Wrong With Targeting And Personalization

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Often, small sized ecommerce owners are confused with the difference between targeting and personalization, especially when it comes to the application part. So, we reached out to various experts in a variety of niches to find out how they understood the difference. And also learn how they make conversions happen.

First we begin with the theory.

Targeting vs. Personalization in eCommerce

Often confused or used interchangeably, targeting and personalization have a similar goal in mind, but focus on the customer in different ways, both in understanding and in approach.

While both focus on serving relevant content to groups of customers, targeting applies to broad segments (such as first-time buyers) whereas personalization is geared toward individual customers and their intent-oriented actions. ~ Scott McAndrew Chief Strategy Officer at LaneTerralever

Targeting refers to communicating a message to a specific population that you have identified as an appropriate audience for your campaign, sales efforts, etc. (be it based on age group, geo location, certain demographic, etc.).

Personalization refers to communicating messages based on personal details of an individual consumer. Personalization usually has better results as you are conducting much deeper targeting in this case. ~ Marina Kalika, Director of product marketing at TouchCommerce

Now, let’s get to the practical!

Getting it done right

#1 Make it easy for customers to trust you. Reviews and service matter.

In our latest email marketing infographic, we highlighted the importance of Reviews and customer trust through the example of FigLeaves’ marketing campaign. Here is a screenshot for your reminder:

One of our experts answered it this way:

In between marketing and fulfillment, don’t forget that customer service is still the most likely to get you slammed online. Customers are super anxious about getting things on time, make sure your support program is always up and accessible.

Make it easy for customers to trust you by highlighting social proof. This is especially true if you’re not a big brand yet. Customers will look you up online before finalizing the sale. So make sure to give them every reason to trust you. When you get a good review, post it on all channels. ~ Adi Bittan, CEO of OwnerListens

#2 Stop treating social media like a distribution channel

We often hear complaints like “Social Media doesn’t work” and that “it ineffective when it comes to revenue generation.” But our expert, Dallas McLaughlin here begs to differ.

Social media is a living breathing platform for open-ended conversations, engagement and community building. It simply does not work if you’re constantly using it for push marketing. Click here! Buy now! Like this!Big NO!

Every business’ social media marketing strategy needs to adopt a holistic, “Value first” approach. Provide your potential consumers value, education, awareness and incentive and eventually when the time to purchase comes – they will choose you. ~ Dallas McLaughlin, Social Media Project Manager at FireDrum Internet Marketing

Another expert gave a thumbs-up to Dallas suggestion.

#3 Give them something that is useful to them

These social platforms are unprecedented because they put businesses and their friends together, and their friends aren’t constantly trying to sell to them, so you shouldn’t either.

Be genuinely helpful instead. And they’ll be happy to complete a lead capture form, subscribe to your e-mail list or follow you on social networks. These permission-based marketing vehicles allow small businesses to continually engage with these potential clients and win business. ~ Jayme Pretzloff, Online Marketing Director at Wixon Jewelers

#4 Test with a tested and qualified population

Consider using Look-A-Like audiences on Facebook to help drive more sales.

Upload an e-mail list of your best customers and run a Facebook ad campaign based on the top 1% of users who are similar to that list based on their likes and interests. If your product caters to a specific audience, make sure to layer on additional targeting parameters on top of the Look-A-Like audience parameter.

Hassle-free redemption – Facebook Offers allow pages to easily offer coupons to their likes (and additional users outside of their likes) by allowing users to redeem a coupon offer directly within an ad unit. This a great way to promote your coupon offering without requiring a lot from the end user.

Social listening to fuel marketing campaigns – Are consumers preferring a particular feature more often? Is pricing a big selling point to them? Find what’s generating the highest positive sentiment related to your brand and products and tie this into your content and ad strategy. ~ David Neuman, Social Media Manager at Prime Visibility

#5 Target mobile users in-feed, where they are paying attention

Consumers these days rely on their mobile devices to make big purchases so much so that it is competing heavily with brick-and-mortar stores. Hence, it is imperative for marketers to up the ante on their mobile strategy. Forget door busters, we’re going to need screen busters.

Now how to best reach mobile shoppers? Don’t rely on a traditional display, you’ll get nothing but a big “bah humbug!”

According to Harvard Business Review, four out of five consumers not only dislike mobile ads, they consider them “unacceptable.” However, 85% of mobile users are visually engaged with native advertising presented in the stream of content, and 2x more likely to say they don’t care if content is an ad, as long as it is engaging. Marketers can easily create these ads and target mobile users in-feed, where they are paying attention. ~ Michael Goldberg, Senior Director of Marketing at TripleLift

#6 Find the right mix of content

Selling and promotions on social media channels should always be balanced, and that shouldn’t change for the holidays. People appreciate great deals for the holidays, but a non-stop stream of “x percent off” posts can come off as lacking personality.

Exceptional discounts are meant to be shared, and social media can multiply the reach. But, at the same time it’s crucial to keep standards high for images and copy, and to vary your mix of content.  ~ Ulrik Bo Larsen, CEO and Founder of Falcon Social 

#7 Promote where your audience hangs out

My best tip would be to start a holiday Pinterest campaign. Gifts and holidays are extremely visual, and Pinterest is the leader in sharing visual content that can turn into qualified leads.

At the very least, e-commerce companies can set up a “holiday board” and pin their deals, gift ideas, etc onto it. Ideally, they can run contests, advertisements, and work with other media partners. ~ Andrew Herrault, Lead Strategist of Connective Insights

Here’s an example of the brand Kahlua, executing a very successful Pinterest holiday campaign.

#8 A great service is your best competitive advantage

During the holidays or any other rush season, lean towards customer service and appreciation instead of sales, marketing, or promotion.

Nourishing the plants you’ve already got is likely more fruitful than planting new ones this time of year. ~ Alex Birkett, Content Strategist at LawnStarter

#9 Stalk your customer, if you have to, but get better at CRM

The #1-way enterprises can leverage customer intelligence data and improve loyalty is through Personalization.

I recommend that mainly because it is the fundamental rule of Customer Relationship Management – Treat different customers differently. And do so, in real time, when they are shopping. Recommend products as and when they make their first click and go about enhancing their shopping experience.

What we do for our clients is on-the-go personalization with just one line of code.

Also, don’t forget social media. Customers reveal huge amounts of information about their preferences through their cross-channel activity. They’d often switch between mobile, social, and web channels. So it is essential for companies to follow that thread of interactions and customize display in a manner that would increase the chances of conversion. ~ Paras Arora, Vice President of Sales at Targeting Mantra

#10 Don’t forget the post holiday

Post holiday downfall is a marketing opportunity. Don’t let it pass you by just like that.

As people return sweaters for new sizes, buy things they need for gifts they’ve received (batteries) or flat out return stuff they don’t like, there’s a HUGE opportunity to sell again. Offer “easy exchange schemes” to keep your eCommerce customers hooked to you. ~ Jean Spencer, Content Marketing Manager at Kapost

Social media is the most overlooked part when it comes to eCommerce conversions through targeting or leveraging customer’s data of social activity through personalization. Hence, the major focus of this expert post.

Let us know what mistakes you were making and how you identified and rectified them, because next our experts are bringing in eCommerce resolutions for the forthcoming beautiful year, 2015. Sit tight!

Infographic Source: Shankman.com

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