Personalize your Email Marketing with Behavioral Targeting

Eman Zahra

Eman Zahra

February 18, 2021

It’s human nature to just be understood. We are always looking for someone who knows what we need and what we don’t. We only stop and think about those who “get us”. Advertising today is also moving in the same direction where brands are trying to “get” their customers. Marketers have found a technique that works to find out what the audience wants. Better targeted and more effective messages are being created to resonate better with the prospects and customers. This type of marketing is made possible with the help of behavioral targeting. This article will cover the basics of behavioral targeting and how one can use behavioral email targeting to make the most of campaigns. Let’s first get to know what behavioral targeting is:

Behavioral Targeting

Behavioral marketing is used to increase the effectiveness of the advertisement. Based on the digital behavior of consumers, including website activity, purchasing habits, and other tapping behaviors, a digital persona of the prospect is created. The campaigns are run according to the personas that are created. A vast amount of insights from the actual behavior of the consumers can now be collected using different tools like analytics, heat maps, and other types of records. These records are then used to create digital marketing campaigns. The campaign now will strike on a more personal level. The marketers can now tailor their messages better.

Segmentation of Behaviors

This is the most essential part of building a marketing strategy. The behaviors of the prospects are divided into smaller groups in order to know exactly what type of messages should be sent to a certain target. These smaller groups are based on the behavioral patterns displayed by the consumers during their online appearance. Some of the factors that are the basis of this type of segmentation are:

User interests

This is the key factor that helps deliver value through personalization and customization. The personal and professional interests of a prospect when addressed properly keep them coming back for more. Connecting user interest with the behavior also opens up the path for other related interests and hence you are going to find additional topics to engage the customers.

Engagement-level

Engagement for each company has different meanings but there’s one thing that everyone agrees with that “Engagement is good”. The more time a prospect spends engaging with your brand, the more positive outcomes are likely to happen. It could mean a lot of things like

  • They’re starting to trust the brand.
  • They’re thinking of making a purchase.
  • They’re developing a relationship with the brand.
  • There’s a positive perception of the brand

Any one of these things can be great and considering these points, a new marketing strategy can come into place.

Customer satisfaction

How satisfied is the customer should be the first question you should ask after they try your product or service. Segmenting your customers on the basis of their answers allows you to decide on your next course of action. High customer satisfaction can also give you the opportunity to up-sell or cross-sell in addition to identifying the patterns that led to it.

Source: National Business Research Institute

Low customer satisfaction segment can be dealt with better customer service and identifying what you have been doing wrong. Combining the results of both of the analyses, a new marketing strategy can be developed. However, you can not rely on this measure alone as:

  • Only a few customers participate
  • Surveys can not be sent out regularly and there are extended periods of time that are left between them. Customer satisfaction levels can change between these segments.
  • There are multiple ways to find out exactly what could satisfy customers. One survey can not reflect customer’s changing needs at different stages or for different services.

Keeping these in mind, this type of segmentation has to be joined with other types and then a marketing strategy should be developed.

Customer journey stage

A customer’s journey starts from the point he’s getting to know about the brand known as “awareness” and can lead to the last point known as “advocacy”. At this point, the customer becomes the voice of the brand, good or bad. Segmenting the customer base on the basis of their position in the journey is another way to align communications and personalize experiences. This also helps find what obstacles there might be that are not letting the client move forward with their journey. This type of segmentation has its own challenges. A single or even two interactions of the customer are not enough to accurately identify his journey stage. The data set found on the basis of interactions is vague and hence the strategy built with respect to this segmentation is not completely accurate.

Purchasing behavior

Buyers approach their decision in many different ways. Patterns in digital behavior can also lead to the answers to how and why a buyer is making the purchase. These buyers are characterized into 6 segments based on their online interactions:

  • “Smart buyer” is the buyer who considers every factor and makes a decision based on the research.
  • “Risk-averse buyer” is the buyer who is cautious and believes in insurance policies and exchange offers.
  • “Price-conscious buyer” is the one who is looking for the best item in the lowest price range.
  • “Needs-proof buyer” looks for reviews and recommendations before he makes the purchase.
  • “I’ll get it later buyer” does not have any urgency and can buy the product and service at any time.
  • “Persuadable buyer” is an impulse buyer.

The segmentation can be done according to these behaviors and a marketing strategy for all of these types of customers has to be different.

Benefits

What a customer is looking for in a product or service can be a high priority factor on which you should base your strategy. For example, if a prospect is looking for something in a specific price range, your advertisement should show them the options in or around that range. Your loyal customers can be that due to one of the benefits that your product or service provides. Base your strategy around the customer and you’ll increase the customer base in a short time-span.

Behavioral email targeting

This is the practice of sending automated emails to your contacts based on their interaction with your business online. The interaction channels can be social media, website, email, or any other channels that collect data for you. You are most likely to lose your customers with something that is not related to them at all. Rather than sending emails out of the blue, prospects receiving emails depending upon their specific actions are most likely to deliver results. Sending targeted emails is the most effective way of improving email engagement. Behavioral email targeting comes in handy to increase traffic and generate sales.

Benefits of Behavioral Email Targeting

Email marketing is complex and considered slower than other types of marketing. But when behavioral email targeting is employed, it helps deliver better results. Getting the right message to the right person can be beneficial in many ways. Let’s highlight some of these:

Better user experience

According to Forbes, 81% of consumers want their emails to be targeted towards them and be relatable. Behavioral email targeting does just that. The users are receiving the information that they want to receive and this will be a more positive ad experience for them. One thing that is to be considered here is that it should not feel like an invasion of privacy. If people do not like the way their data is being collected, this can not only result in user attrition but can also hurt your reputation. Better user experience through behavioral email targeting increases the loyalty of your customers.

More User Engagement

Who doesn’t love user engagement? This is one of the goals of a marketing strategy. Targeted emails are more likely to increase user engagement as compared to out of the blue emails. When the audience sees a valuable email, they often click through and look at what you’re offering. According to recent research, the conversion rate of behaviorally targeted emails is 3x more than non targeted ones. Successful targeting can take the users from email to your website. This increases the traffic to your website and hence there are better chances of visitors turning into customers.

Source: Business To Community

Higher Conversion Rates

Today, conversion does not necessarily mean sales. It can be any form of conversion that gets you closer to the sale. A completed contact form or even a request for information is also a conversion. Behaviorally targeted emails are a great way to delight the audience and ask for what you need. Once you get the information, you can easily find a way that can help you reach your audience in an even better and effective way.

Increased ROI

The ultimate goal of a marketing campaign is to increase return on investment. Behavioral email marketing is one way to increase your ROI. If the right audience is getting the right email at the right time, it means more engagement. This can lead to more conversions and hence more sales. If you’re investing in paid campaigns that are reaching an audience that have nothing to do with your product or service, you’re wasting your resources. This can result in decreased ROI which means loss. Behavioral email targeting gives you a better chance of getting profits.

Less bounce rate

An email that strikes the recipient is more likely to get opened and read. If the recipient is not interested in the very first moment, he or she is going to ignore the email and move forward. This can result in a higher bounce rate which can even move your emails to the spam folder of each and every address in your list. To avoid such occurrences, behaviorally targeted emails are sent out that not only increase the open rate but also conversion rates.

How to use Behavioral Email Targeting

You now know the benefits of behavioral email targeting but are still not sure how you can use the data. We have found the five most effective ways you can incorporate this in your email marketing strategy and get the most out of it.

Email retargeting

A large number of prospects leave right before they pay for the product or service. It is the type of visitor that does not complete the desired action due to many reasons. The action of almost making a purchase means that the prospect is interested. This behavior is recorded and can be helpful in retargeting those customers. Behavioral email targeting can be a huge factor that can turn this abandonment into sales. Such clientele can receive a retarget email that reminds them of what they’re missing out on. You can also add some interesting discounts or other bonuses to make the offer more attractive for them. Follow up with these customers and encourage them to go through with the purchase.

Personalize emails

Once you know the personal and professional interests of your audience, you can send out emails carved according to the digital personas. The emails being sent out can have a customized touch to them so that the recipient can relate to them. This is where you can show the customer that you actually “get” them. Use personalized subject line as well as personalized email content to draw attention. According to Rich Relevance, revenue generated through personalized emails is almost 6 times more than the ones without.

Send recommendations

Since you’re personalizing emails, you can now tailor the recommendations according to each segment. Customized suggestions in a behaviorally targeted email have the potential of generating more revenue. The suggestions should be based on previous user preferences and abandonments. These recommendations can also base upon the browsing habits of your user. Timing is of utmost importance here. If you recommend something to your customers after a long time of them showing interest, there’s a high chance that this behavior is no more relatable now. Sending recommendations later can only result in a higher bounce rate.

Leverage behavioral email targeting to create upsell opportunities

Upselling a product or service means convincing a customer to get a higher-priced alternative of their current consideration. For example, a yearly subscription to a certain tool is higher in price than the monthly one but the cost-effectiveness of the yearly subscription makes the customer buy it. Behavioral email targeting is easily leveraged in this scenario where the customer is showing the behavior of buying that product or service and your email is making them save a lot.

Customized offers

When studying behavioral segmentation, we learned that different customers are looking for different benefits in a product. Behavioral email targeting can help you create special offers for your customers on the basis of their interests. You can develop discounts, create coupons, and offer certain benefits as required by the customer. This increases customer loyalty and can also attract new customers.

Do not Overstep

Behavioral email marketing can sometimes lead to very different results. There’s a very thin line between being relatable and being creepy. Your customers can also freak out about how and why you know this much about them. Customer backlash can ruin the repute you built in a long time. There’s a debate going on about cookies and other surveillance tools. Here are some of the things you can do to avoid the backlash from your customers:

  • Be transparent. By transparency, we mean to be open about how, why, and what information you’re getting about the user. You can tell them clearly why they are receiving certain emails. This will make you trustworthy and your customers will not freak out upon personal emails.
  • Keep all the information under control. Consumers are mostly worried about where else their information is being utilized. Give your customers control over their own information. They can opt to give away their personal information and can opt-out of it at any time as well.
  • Give them the upside of targeted email marketing. This will help them know that all the data being collected is to make their user experience better on the internet.
  • Try to avoid using any sensitive information as it can lead to many other critical situations. Information like race, sexuality, personal problems, and others can be a driving factor for many out there.
  • Try traditional data collecting where you’re clearly asking for their permission and they’re opting to get updates and emails regarding a certain topic.

Failure to follow these guidelines can cause major harm to your company. You can even face lawsuits and much more if you overstep your boundaries by even a tenth of an inch.

Wrap up

At the end of the day, it’s the relevant content that drives sales. Behavioral marketing is the talk of the town. You now have an idea of what behavioral targeting is and how you can use it to create your email marketing strategy. Fine-tune your contact list, segment it, and use one of the tactics from this guide to make your own strategy. You are very close to making a sale.

Author Bio

Eman Zahra

Eman-e-Zahra is a Content Strategist and Marketer at Mailmunch. She's an IT graduate and has helped many businesses especially software development companies with their content marketing. Eman has managed to achieve a global clientele with her work by lending them a hand in the marketing strategy department.

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