Every customer is on a unique journey with different goals and factors at play. These differences can make it difficult to target specific audiences and provide appropriate messaging that resonates with consumers, meeting their individual needs. As a result, landing pages and campaigns may not align with customer goals, which causes higher bounce rates and ultimately impacts the business. Through a deep understanding of customer journeys with data capture, catered audience segmentation, and dynamic landing pages, we can create more effective audience segments in order to customize targeting and messaging to specific to user goals.
According to Arica McKinnon, Vice President of analytics for Nielsen, “Understanding how and why their advertising resonates with target audiences is critical to marketers today. Ad Effectiveness analysis provides marketers with clear insights on messaging enabling them to improve key performance metrics across the marketing funnel from brand recall to recommendation scores.”
Understanding the Customer Journey
The first step in reaching customers at the correct point in their journey is to understand the intricacies of each users’ experience. It is important to recognize that there can be an infinite number of possible journeys as a customer interacts with a brand. The key is to define and prioritize key high-value journeys.
Every prospective customer has a unique journey. However, the flow of a customer experience can be broken down into three key stages: pre-purchase, purchase, and post-purchase. It is crucial to understand and optimize each stage of the journey so you can provide a customized experience and continue to drive revenue and reach your business goals.
- Pre-purchase: A journey begins with awareness at the top of the marketing funnel. This is when the customer becomes aware of a brand either through word of mouth, advertising or other channels.
- Purchase: Product or service consideration is an important stage in the journey because the customer is likely doing research on your products or services and comparing it to competitors. In this stage the customer ultimately decides whether or not to move forward with the purchase.
- Post-purchase: This is when the customer has completed their purchase and has a post-service reflection or has used the product and brand loyalty is decided.
At each of these stages, customers are interacting with multiple touchpoints across various channels. These touchpoints can be brand-controlled (social media, website, email communications, customer service reps) or non-brand-controlled (third party reviews, competitors’ advertisements, search engine results). Each touchpoint, whether brand-controlled or not, should navigate that individual from the top to the bottom of the marketing funnel, providing more specific information as it becomes relevant in their journey. Tailoring messaging to a specific stage of the journey and touchpoint can help ensure that a message resonates with the audience.
Using Data to Identify Key Journeys
One approach to gathering insight in the customer journey is adding an assessment to your website to understand your users through first-party data. These assessments offer users an interactive and voluntary way to share their preferences and behaviors with minimal effort, and a feeling that the brand really cares about their opinion. These assessments can range from topics such as style quizzes, “Tell us which styles you prefer so we can show you more of what you like,” to HVAC system guides, “Answer 3 questions about your A/C, and we will recommend if you should repair or replace your system.” By empowering users to voluntarily offer information and preferences, you can easily gather useful data about your customers and identify the most common and valuable use cases for future targeting.
Building Audience Strategy
Audience strategy is how to reach and engage a target audience through digital advertising. There are many steps involved in identifying a target audience and understanding the characteristics of an ideal audience for a specific product to maximize effectiveness of an advertising campaign.
Here are some steps that help define your audience strategy in order to map the appropriate customer journeys.
- Define your audience through research and characteristics such as occupation, religion, education etc.
- Develop strategic messaging using insights gained from research. The message should communicate the product’s benefits to that specific audience.
- Once the messaging strategy is defined, it is important to choose the right advertising channel for that audience to ensure you reach the right target audience and drive them down the marketing funnel to conversion.
Segmenting Audiences Based on Key Journeys
Audience segmentation is one of the most important steps in understanding the customer and their complex user journey. With first-party data, demographic targeting and analytics from website data collection and assessments, we can start to divide audiences into smaller, specific segments based on individual characteristics and behaviors. By segmenting audiences, you can create a tailored marketing plan that is unique to each audience’s preferences. Segmenting your data can get as granular as gender, age, psychographics, geolocation, behaviors such as purchase activity and so forth. When segmenting audiences, it is important to target specific messaging to each audience and implement an effective media plan to increase engagement and conversions.
Utilizing Dynamic Landing Pages
A dynamic landing page should be personalized, displaying different messaging to different users, contingent on key variables such as locations, keywords, demographics, interests etc. There are various optimizations you can make which include changing headlines, body text and the call to action. With custom URL parameters, the page presents information tailored to that user making it more engaging and relevant to the viewer. With a dynamic landing page, you can tailor content that speaks specifically to that audience and drive them further down the funnel which will increase conversions and improve the user journey experience.
Below are a few examples of when dynamic landing pages can be helpful:
- An online retailer can implement dynamic landing pages to show product recommendations based on past purchases and browsing behaviors.
- A university can benefit from having dynamic landing pages based on age parameters so they can tailor the messaging between parents and students who are looking to apply or for financial assistance.
- An online A/C retailer can utilize dynamic landing pages based on geolocation parameter targeting to show relevant products and services to that specific individual.
There are technologies that can help create dynamic landing pages such as software, CMS systems, algorithms, keyword queries, and dynamic URL/UTMs. It is more important than ever to serve your audience appropriate messaging through the use of dynamic landing pages, so you can provide a more personalized experience.
By understanding user journeys and gathering data at the onset, you can identify audience segments in order to target them more effectively. Dynamic landing pages allow you to reach customers at the correct point in the customer journey, and you can track data to ensure that the pages are displaying the right content to the right audience at the right time.