How to Use Behavioral Targeting to Improve Your Marketing Results

behavioral targetingAs a marketer or a decision-maker, you already know that email marketing is a must in terms of boosting your company’s bottom line. However, if you’re not fully leveraging behavioral targeting, you might just be missing out on some great opportunities.

If you’ve been putting off behavioral-based marketing, I can’t say I blame you. A lot of the advice out there over-complicates things and talks about it from a high level. There is almost never a discussion about an easy and simple way to get started. We’ll try to change that today.

Why Behavioral Targeting Is a Must

The short answer is that we have no choice these days. Corporations have spent trillions getting consumers accustomed to personalized experiences. To such a level that generic messaging can almost feel “off” to consumers. 

behavioral targeting

Yes, we’ve all had that friend who complains that they just looked into something one day, and then they got bombarded with ads about it the next day. What they’re not telling you however is that they’re far more annoyed by ads for things that they would never ever be interested in.

This is a new phenomenon. In the past we didn’t get annoyed if a TV ad targeted a completely different group of people than us. But on the internet, people have (unknowingly) started to feel entitled to a certain level of personalization.

And if we apply this to the email realm, this will concern the types of emails and offers that your subscribers receive. If it is obvious that your messaging is generic and you’re sending the same thing to everyone, it will just fail to achieve a good relationship-building effect. 

So in that sense, working to personalize the subscriber experience with your brand is a must. Customers today expect to get messaging that applies to their needs and interests.

Hyper personalization isn’t necessary though

I hope I didn’t oversell the point and make you think that you now need to implement the most advanced levels of personalization ever invented. You don’t have to study every single thing your customers do and create a different automation for every possible combination of behaviors.

What I think is a better solution is to first make sure you’ve implemented basic personalization in the form of segmentation and smart personalization tags.

And then, once you have that going, you can slowly start leveraging behavioral tracking and implement strategies based around behavioral targeting. You don’t have to implement it all at once, and there is no rush. 

We’ll look at some of the real world examples next, and you can decide the priority and order in which you decide to implement these different ideas.

How to leverage behavioral targeting in the real world

If you want the quickest and easiest way to start implementing behavioral targeting in your email marketing, you’re going to love this section.

We are going to discuss some very practical ways to start leveraging behavioral targeting with very specific implementation strategies.

behavioral targeting

Automatically send a call-to action based on a page visit

I am starting off with this example because it is quite simple, yet it can get you excited about all the possibilities of modern behavioral targeting technology.

The usual example that I give is using this around a pricing page. If you run a service where this applies, you can set up an event based on people visiting your pricing page. And then, you just set up an automation that sends them a special offer, discount or simple nudge to get them to “pull the trigger”.

If someone is studying your pricing page, they are probably thinking about doing a purchase. A lot of the time it takes very little to push them over the edge into a purchase. 

This in turn is probably the easiest and most powerful example of utilizing behavioral targeting to create an easy boost in profits, and essentially increase your bottom line.

Now as for implementing this in the technical sense, if you’re an Emercury user, you’re in luck. All you have to do is enable event & site tracking, then setup automations around those events as you like.

Create special offers for those who show interest in a given campaign

This one is probably the most straightforward, and there is genuinely no reason to put off implementing this strategy. It will require only a bit of thinking and strategizing on your part, but it’s more than worth the small upfront investment in effort and time.

You can apply this to any sort of a campaign, whether it is an automated campaign, or a broadcast. But let’s go with the broadcast example just to illustrate the point. 

As you’re planning out your campaign, you might do a traditional plan where you plan out the offer that you’re going to send out to a list. At this point, you will also want to sit down and come up with a plan for those “who almost purchase, but not quite”, and what offer you want to send to this segment. The setup will involve a couple of technical aspects.

1) Tag the people who have purchased from your offer

This is easy with Emercury as you can simply have an automation that assigns a tag for anyone who views the thank you page for that product. Alternatively, you can communicate through the API or inbound webhooks.

2) Create a segment of the people who almost purchased the product

With our super-convenient segment builder this can be quite easy. You can have the segment include the people who opened the email, or clicked through. And then simply exclude the ones who have the “purchasedProductX” tag.

3) Send that special extra-sweet offer to this segment

You can sweeten the deal by perhaps offering an extra discount, or if you prefer, you can just remind them that this is a super-limited deal and you’re giving them one last chance.

This is probably the most straightforward example of using behavioral targeting to boost profits. Chances are you might not even think about an example like this when thinking about “behavioral targeting”. Again, this is because a lot of people like overcomplicating it, instead of focusing on the easy wins.

Utilize abandoned-cart campaigns

This is another example that you might have heard of, but you never think about it when you’re considering “behavioral marketing” or “behavioral targeting”. Again, this is because there’s a bias away from the really straightforward and simple stuff.

behavioral targeting

Now, if you’re astute, you might notice that this is quite similar to the previous example. In fact, you might even ask “what’s the difference between this and the previous one, just the cart”?

And you would be correct. The difference is in the technical setup behind it and if there is a cart involved. If you’re utilizing an ecommerce solution (like WooCommerce) to sell your products, you can simply use our special plugin to automatically remind people to finish orders.

Also note, that this one lends itself better to a situation where you have an e-shop with hundreds of products. In such a situation a generic email makes sense. This is the email that you send out listing whatever combination of products they forgot in their cart.

What if you are using an ecommerce solution (like say WooCommerce) to sell a couple of products or services? I definitely see this situation as some people just find it to be a convenient way to handle payments and processing.

I would say that you will probably want to use the first more-custom solution that we discussed first. An abandoned cart solution is more suited to someone with hundreds of products where you can’t personalize for each product or combination.

Truly customized email-marketing based on previous behavior

Whilst the previous two were more specific situations where a person engages in one given behavior and it immediately triggers a specific response, this is about going a step further.

As I said, it’s not necessary to go so far as to think you have to build custom AI-powered algorithms that track and monitor the subscriber’s behavior to a fine-grained level. The good news is that you can get pretty good results by applying a simpler version of “building up a customer profile” by simply assigning tags based on different behaviors.

This is one of those killer 80/20 strategies where you can get most of the same benefits with a lot less effort, and this is something that I’m very passionate about. I’ve found that sharing strategies like these really helps our clients super-charge their business growth.

The first thing you need to do

This one will require just a bit more work in terms of set up and strategizing, but it will be well worth it. The first thing you should do is to come up with some “defining data categories”. If that sounds fancy, it just means how you track the subscriber’s behavior, and along which lines.

For example, you might decide it is important to track how interested they are in purchasing your services in general. You might decide to store this information in a custom field where you decide to have several levels of interest. For example you might store the values as “some interest”, “moderate interest” and “high interest”.

You can then make sure that your automations have conditional branches based on whether a person opened or clicked on a certain email. It is up to you to decide the logic about what each behavior means and how it will update that custom field.

Another example might be that you are targeting people differently based on the sub-topics. Let’s say that you run a general “health & fitness” list. Some of your subscribers are going to be interested in the “gaining strength stuff”, others in the “conditioning” products, and yet others in “weight loss”.

You can have tags that you assign based on their behaviors. Just go into your automations and add a tagging action based on the “opened” and “clicked” conditions for each email. In addition to that, you can also build automations that assign different tags based on page visits.

After you set things up, behavioral targeting is straightforward

Whilst it will take some time to set things up first, once this is done, the actual targeting part is easy. You can create campaigns that trigger differently based on different criteria. For example they can triggers based on what set of tags a person has, or how high their “interest level” is. 

Alternatively, you can build out smart-segments that auto-update based on the combination of behaviourally-acquired data assigned to a given subscriber. And then, you can send out different campaigns to different segments. 

With a combination of these things, you can make sure that your automations and broadcasts treat people differently based on the “profile” you’ve built up on them. And this is again, based on their behaviors up until this point.

Don’t forget that with Emercury this data can help you go even a step further. It’s not just that people will get different emails at different times based on that data.

You can even have the same email look differently for each subscriber. To learn more about that, check out our announcement on the smart-personalization feature.

Get A Strategic Partner On Your Side

There’s no need to go at this alone. While we do put out a lot of free content to help you, nothing beats a one-on-one conversation. In these articles we try to help clarify things as best as possible. However, every business is different, so we have to generalize.

If you want to understand better how to implement email marketing in your specific business, let’s have a chat. At the moment I am still able to do some free demos, so be sure to book one while I can still do these.

I would love to hear about your specific needs, challenges and any confusion you might have about email marketing strategies. And then, help you see how you can use Emercury to improve your bottom-line.

Alternatively, or in addition to booking a free demo, you can also grab a username for our forever-free-plan while we still have it. It’s probably the most generous email marketing automation plan on the planet. We include almost every feature in this plan, with very few restrictions.

Remember, you get to keep this plan for life, for free… Provided that you grab a username while registrations are still open. Note that we might decide to pull this way-too-generous offering at any point. So click that link to check if we still allow registrations.

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