In part 1 of this article, we focused on how contextual relevance – the practice of delivering the right content through the right channel at the right time to customers at all stages of buying journey – can help increase loyalty and sales among identifiable existing customers. Although it’s a greater challenge, contextual relevance can also help you capture anonymous prospects who may visit your website or otherwise engage with your brand without identifying themselves.
Using contextual relevance to gather new prospects
Existing customers are always easiest to target. That is because we have the most information on them, which helps to create relevant messages and enables us to reach out to them directly. Can contextual relevance also help to reach new prospects? Yes, but it’s trickier. The problem is that website visitors who click on an online ad are anonymous until they “authenticate” or identify themselves with an email address, SM connection, or phone number. Before this event, you can only follow them based on cookies or perhaps an IP address, which can be lost if they clear their cookies or login from a different location or device. The key is to give prospects a reason to authenticate. A free white paper, free consultation, free premium, etc. – something of value in return for their information.
Contextual relevance and browsing behavior
We all have heard of shopping cart abandonment. An online shopper places items in their cart but does not complete the purchase, thus “abandoning” the cart. Online stores have long been sending contextual messages to owners of their carts to encourage them to complete the sale. What about browser abandonment? If a customer is looking at your products/services on your website, perhaps they are doing research and may be in the right mindset to buy if reminded or prompted. This is the idea behind retargeting and other outreach techniques, where ads follow a visitor around the web after they “abandon” your site.
There’s a catch, though. It has been found that 30% of visits to websites are actually buyers returning to the site after the sale in response to a purchase confirmation email. For a variety of reasons, they click back to see the product they purchased again. If they’ve already purchased, and you then foolishly contact them with a sales offer, you’re no longer contextually relevant. They feel like you should have known they already made the purchase, and you are now wasting their time. Your happy customer might not be so happy anymore.
This last example goes to show that contextual relevance has both risks and rewards. Relevant messaging, properly targeted and timed can increase engagement, sales and customer retention. The wrong message to the wrong prospect or at the wrong time can have the opposite effect.
Understanding your customers’ behaviors and reaching them with contextually relevant marketing messages requires robust, accurate customer datasets, cutting-edge analytics and the ability to engage customers through their preferred channels. At ISM we have more than three decades of experience helping best-in-class companies develop these capabilities. Contact us to learn more. Also, see below and register for an informative webinar on April 24th that will expand on concepts around contextual relevance in more detail.
Related article: Your Customer Data Is Limitless and So Is Its Value
Everyone agrees that more relevant marketing generates better results. This means delivering the right content through the right channel at the right time – wherever they happen to be in their buying journey. This is much more easily said than done.
Join Barton and Matt Tharp, Chief Evangelist for bpm’online, for an insightful webinar:
Contextual Relevance – the Right Message, through the Right Channel, at the Right Time