Here’s How to Turn First-Time Customers into Loyal Fans with Context-Rich Content

Posted by Rodelmo4

Wouldn’t it be great to have an ongoing context-rich conversation with your customers? One that can engage them, simply because it is relevant to them on an ongoing basis, even after they have made a purchase. It’s like continuing a conversation with a friend right after you’ve been gone for a few days.

How can you translate this familiar feeling with your customers? In order to convert one-time customers to repeat customers, you have to add context to your conversation with them.

If you are thinking about using newsletters for this, they are a great way to distribute your content to existing users, but we all know the opening rates are typically very low.

Paid content distribution platforms like Outbrain and Taboola are great for reaching new customers by targeting related content throughout the web. However, these campaigns aim to bring in new customers to your business. If you want to have customers return, you need to continue a conversation with them. (You can do native advertising remarketing with Outbrain and Taboola, but more on that later.)

So, if content distribution platforms get you new customers and newsletters aren’t cutting through the clutter with your existing user base, how can you better convert new customers into loyal, repeat customers?

The answer is context-rich content, distributed to the right people at the right time. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Build an online/offline email database

When a customer comes through your door or makes a purchase online, they automatically become a person you could have a conversation with, be it at your store, office, expo, blog or via e-commerce. Simultaneously, you can collect their information and start building a database.

But don’t simply ask them for their email. Ask them how they found out about you. Believe it or not, a lot of people don’t think about asking this question, despite its importance. Their answer should be correctly allocated to the media or strategy that you used. This will be key for later.

Even if you get online conversions and you have the proper analytics setup, getting a straight answer from your customers about how they found out about you can save you a lot of time trying to find out which media strategy is best serving your KPIs. Think of it as double-checking your data. You should use a spreadsheet to start building this information or your preferred CRM.

Step 2: Include context in your email database

Once you have your customer’s email address and how they found out about you, try going deeper. For example, if you sell sporting goods, and a client recently purchased soccer gear, try to answer the following questions:

    • Are you a new or returning customer?
    • How did you hear about us?
    • How long have you played soccer?
    • Do you play in a team?
    • Have you played in a local championship league with your team?
    • Do you play soccer for (choose all appropriate):
 

☐ health

☐ hobby

☐ activity with friends

☐ professional career

☐ other __________

The questions can be as specific as you want. Don’t overdo it, though. No one wants to answer too many questions, especially if they start getting personal. It would probably be easier to have small cards ready with these questions at the counter for offline purchases, or on a tablet which will save you the hassle of rewriting the answers on your computer. Just ask your customer to fill out the questionnaire as best they can.

Import this information into a spreadsheet or CRM. Do this periodically, say, every week or every two weeks — more often if you have integrated tools to save time. You can use Google Forms or Survey Monkey for this purpose. You can also integrate Mailchimp or any other email service with your website or CRM to easily feed your mailing lists.

Step 3: Segment your email database

Start segmenting your list. Build customer segments that make sense to you and your business. Going back to the soccer example, let’s say your customer answered the following:

    • Are you a new or returning customer? New
    • How did you hear about us? Facebook fan page
    • How long have you played soccer? 5 years
    • Do you play in a team? Yes
    • Have you played in a local championship league with your team? Yes
    • Do you play soccer for (check all appropriate):
 

✓health

✓hobby

✓activity with friends

☐professional career

☐other ____________

Based on these answers, you know this person likes to play soccer with their friends and for health purposes. Find more people like them, and group them into a list. Do the same for other customer types.

Step 4: Create meaningful, context-rich content

Now that you have these segments, you need to figure out how to talk to them and what kind of content will spark their curiosity and engage them. In the case of the soccer player that just bought gear from your store, you could talk about the following topics:

    • Local championships
    • Local soccer-related events
    • How to improve your game
    • If there are enough people, you could organize a small event for local soccer players and generate more content from that
 

Step 5: Distribute your content to the right audience with email-based retargeting

By distributing meaningful, context-rich information through paid ad campaigns, you can improve the way you reach first-time customers. Feed your segmented email lists to ad platforms like AdWords or Facebook. You are essentially retargeting new customers.

This may sound a lot like rule-based retargeting, one in which website visitors get a cookie on their browsers and then start viewing your ads across the web. However, you also want to cover offline visiting customers. Plus, if you want to reach them through mobile, cookies won’t cut it.

Choose your ad platform wisely

Choose an ad platform that makes sense for your KPIs. If you have no idea which one to choose, you can always compare results between two or more platforms in terms of engagement, return on ad spend (ROAS), average conversion rates, or any other metric that makes sense to you.

Remember, each platform behaves differently. Using email based retargeting with AdWords, you can reach customers through Gmail Ads, Search, or YouTube ads. With Facebook Ads, you can target the newsfeed on mobile and desktop for better exposure.

Here’s a quick run-through on how to do it on each platform:

Load up your list to AdWords

Have your list ready in a .csv file. You do not need anything but your customers’ email addresses, one per line. If you want to determine which segment you are targeting, you should directly export your email list from a predetermined segment on your CRM or mailing tool. That will help you avoid mixing segmented data.

    1. Go to https://www.google.com/adwords/ and log into your account.
    2. Go to your campaigns page, and click on “Shared Library” on the left-hand side menu.
 

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3. Then, click on the “View” link, just below the “Audiences” section.

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4. Click on “+Remarketing List” and select “customer emails” from the drop-down menu.

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5. Now, name your list in a way you so that it indicates the exact segment you are targeting. Upload the .csv file containing your customers’ email addresses.

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6. You will be prompted to comply with Google’s policies about user privacy. Go ahead and check on the box to agree with them. Also, add the number of days these customers will be targeted (i.e., membership duration). If you’d like to add anything to the description area to help you remember how and when you are targeting this audience, go ahead.

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7. Click “upload and save list” when you are ready.

It will take a few seconds for the email list to be uploaded. Afterwards, a dialog box will appear on your screen telling you how many email addresses were uploaded, how many were rejected, and more.

8. Click “Done” when you are ready. You will then see your new email list on your audiences dashboard.

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Now you can go ahead and create a Gmail Ads, Search Remarketing, or YouTube Ads campaign. Add your audience when your campaign has been created.

Things to keep in mind when using AdWords to retarget an email list:

    • You need a minimum of 1,000 email addresses (or users) in order for your campaigns to start running.
    • Once you upload your email list to the “Audiences” section, Google will pair these email addresses to Google email accounts — that is, both Gmail and Google Apps for Work emails. Email addresses that are not a Gmail or Google apps address will be discarded.
    • In the case of Gmail ads, only users that match a Gmail account will be targeted. Search and YouTube target both Gmail and Google Apps for Work accounts.
    • Once they are paired with their corresponding Google users, AdWords will eliminate the file you have uploaded in order to protect users’ privacy.
 

Load up your list to Facebook ads

1. Go to your “Manage Ads” section on Facebook.

2. Click on “Tools” and then “Audiences.”

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3. Then, click on the “Create Audience” drop-down menu and select “Custom Audience.”

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4. Click on “Customer list” since you will be adding a known email list.

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5. With Facebook, you can add an email list by uploading a .csv or .txt file, copy and pasting your email list, or integrating the advertising platform with Mailchimp. Choose the one that’s easiest for you. In this example, we’ll add a .csv file:

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6. You can upload a list of emails, phone numbers, app users, or mobile advertiser IDs. Again, choose the one that’s easiest for you. In this example, we’ll add an email list:

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7. Name your list so that you can easily identify your segment. Then hit “Next” when you are ready.

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8. You can now create an ad campaign based on the custom audience you just created (either right now or later).

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Things to keep in mind when using Facebook Ads to retarget an email list:

    • Unlike with AdWords, with Facebook Ads, you only need a minimum of 20 members in order for your campaign to start running. This is helpful if you are only starting out collecting email addresses, or if your segment is narrow.
    • Facebook will pair the email addresses with Facebook users. Email addresses that do not match a Facebook user will be discarded.
 

You can use any ad platform that allows you to retarget an audience based on their email address. Another useful platform is AdRoll, and you can target users on Twitter as well. The process to upload an email list and create a campaign is very similar from one ad platform to the next. Your KPIs, experience, customer profiles, and general strategy will guide you in choosing the right ad platform.

Earlier I mentioned that Taboola and Outbrain also handle remarketing campaigns. However, their remarketing strategy is based on a web pixel. This may be helpful; but, as previously mentioned, if you would like to include offline customers and target them through mobile, email-based remarketing is your best option.

Step 6: Build a community around your top segments

Once your customers are consuming your content, start building a community for them. Invite them to the community and maintain a solid relationship with them.

Once they are active in the community, don’t be afraid to ask what interests them, what they would like to know more about, and how you can better serve them in the future.

Have anything else to add to this topic? I’d love to hear your insights in the comment section!

 

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