I noticed some chatter earlier this week about my posts on remarketing. I wish the conversation had been here on this blog, but I always have an interest in hearing what my readers say, even if it’s off on Twitter, message boards etc. The gist of what I heard is “I hate to be remarketed to, therefore my customers hate it.” I want to tell you right now why this thinking is wrongheaded. Your customers may very well hate being remarketed to, or they might really like it. You aren’t your customers so unless you test, you won’t know what they like. A successful marketer lives by one very important motto: Always Be Testing (ABT).
A successful marketer doesn’t make assumptions. She makes hypotheses and studies trends and industry standards, and then before she commits to a strategy, she does some testing to see what actually works.
If I had a dime for every time a small business owner started a sentence like “My customers don’t like…” or “My customers love it when I…” I’d be off on an island with cabana boys bringing me daiquiris. My first response to those statements is always “how do you know?” Unless you’ve tested you don’t actually know jack. Testing is your best and most reliable way to find out who your customers are, what they want, what they don’t want, etc.
It’s never safe to assume your preferences are in line with your customers’ preferences. This goes for statements like:
“My customers don’t want me to remarket to them.”
“My customers only want it if it comes in black.”
“My target market is 18-25 year old women.”
“My customers don’t want to get more than one newsletter per month from me.”
“My customers come to my shop to look for jewelry so if I started selling art prints they wouldn’t like that.”
“My customers are only interested in steampunk fashion so they wouldn’t respond to a product line inspired by recycling.”
“My customers wouldn’t pay more than $20 for my products.”
These are all things you can actually test, so there’s no reason to assume these statements are true unless you actually have tested them.
How do you test?
This is actually a really broad subject and there are a ton of ways to test. The short answer though, is segmenting. Below I’m just going to talk about a couple of popular ways to segment and test some important parts of your marketing:
1. Your Email Marketing
Want to know what’s the best time to send an email or what frequency you should use? Try some different tests. Most email service providers allow you to segment your mailing list. Let’s say you have 900 subscribers and you want to test for frequency. Try segmenting your 900 subscribers into 3 groups of 300. Send newsletters to one group every week, one group every 2 weeks and one group just once in the month. Repeat your experiment a month later so you have a couple of mailings to compare.
Then pay attention to the open rate, click rate and conversion rate your newsletters get. You should notice a pattern and be able to tell which sending frequency is getting you the best results. Once you figure that out you can tweak day of week and time of day.
2. Your Pricing/Site Design/Product Offerings
One of the best testing tools out there is Google’s Website Optimizer. This FREE tool allows you to run more than one version of your website at a time. You can use this technology to test your site design, your pricing, your product offerings, just about any component of your website.
Let’s say you assume people only want to pay $20.00 or less for a necklace. What if the $20 price tag makes the necklace appear less exclusive and upscale and turns customers off? You can find out with Optimizer. You can create one version of your site showing the necklace priced at $20.00 and another version priced at $50.00. Optimizer will rotate the versions of your site evenly among site visitors and then you’ll be able to see which price leads to more sales.
Google’s got some very nice tutorials and videos that explain how to use Optimizer and introduce you to the concepts of A/B testing and multivariate testing. You may also find this tutorial handy.
One more thing about remarketing
To bring this post full circle, I want to point out that to prepare to write my posts on remarketing, I actually spoke to some business owners who do it. One smalll business owner told me that doing personalized follow ups with cart abandoners recovered a whopping 98% of her sales! She isn’t a huge corporation, she’s a one woman business just like many of my readers. A marketer from a larger company who sends automated remarketing messages told me his company recovers 20% of their business lost to cart abandonment. According to SeeWhy, the average remarketing campaign recovers 10-30% of abandoned carts! These stats are nothing to write off and can make a huge difference in a company’s revenue.
My reason for pointing this out isn’t to convince you that remarketing is going to work wonders for YOUR business. My point is that the assumption that all customers hate it is clearly a mistake and you won’t know how your customers will respond without running tests. Your customers may welcome the chance to give you feedback about pricing, shipping options, your site usability, or an array of other topics. They might be delighted to accept a discount on an item they really wanted but was a little out of their price range. The bottom line is you won’t know until you test it out.
Smashing’s Ultimate Guide to AB Testing
ABTests.com (really cool site that shows you actual AB test results, may even give you some ideas for AB tests of your own.)