An Interview with Act-On Software Marketers
Imagine being top of mind and front and center with your customers on a regular basis. Sounds good, right?
Luckily, new and exciting ways to capture attention online in the world of marketing today are making this “virtually” possible.
Expert marketing pros Rachel Rosin and Jahvita Rastafari are here to help us see how Act-On Software is able to show the benefits of their software solutions daily. They do this through a variety of marketing strategies on various channels, of course, but one tactic rises above the rest: retargeting for B2B.
The term “retargeting,” or “remarketing,” means a marketing tactic used to keep your brand in front of traffic that once visited your site but left before doing what you wanted them to do. Essentially you’re serving up ads to previous users of your site and then you’re enticing them to take action. That action could be visiting your site again, downloading a free guide, or even watching a video.
In today’s blog we hope to share a bit about their experiences and help you discover the possibilities available through retargeting. Specifically, we’ll talk about the Google Ad Platform and Facebook in relation to this important marketing tactic.
What does retargeting mean for you in your role?
To me retargeting is all about extending your brand’s message across digital channels and making sure you stay top of mind in their consideration process. It’s a lot like email nurturing, but now you as a marketer have the tools and resources to be able to extend the message outside of the inbox and really make sure your message is being seen wherever your audience may be online.
Retargeting on social is the ability to reach your audience after they’ve left your website. At Act-On we retarget on Facebook and Twitter. Any launch or brand campaign that we have running is served to our audiences on both Twitter and Facebook.
What are some other examples of ways you’re using retargeting in your marketing mix for Act-On Software?
We use retargeting in sort of a tier approach – we leverage the Google Ad Platform to retarget anyone who has viewed our website but might not yet be a known prospect in our database.
From a branding perspective, we’re serving very top-of-funnel content in the ads, and we’re really just trying to make sure that [potential customers] recognize and think of Act-On when considering marketing automation. But we also leverage Listenloop, a retargeting platform, for our Account Based Marketing (ABM) efforts and for more sophisticated retargeting to known prospects in our database. Listenloop’s ABM platform is amazing.
Tell us a little bit more about Listenloop and the advantages of the ABM platform.
All you need to get started is a CSV file of accounts you wish to target, which includes their domain, company name, and zip code, and then Listenloop will start to serve your ads to the IP addresses of the accounts you’ve identified.
This is a great approach for B2B marketers because you can potentially engage more contacts who could be involved in the purchase decision who might not otherwise be known in your database. And we also use Listenloop to retarget known prospects based on specific behavioral actions.
For example, one of the things we do is create a set of retargeting ads that match a specific automated nurture program. So, as soon as our audience clicks on any of our automated program emails, they’re automatically added to a retargeting ad track which serves the same messages they receive via email in the same cadence they would receive the email.
Again, it’s bringing it back to recognition. This is a great way to amplify the efforts of your email marketing strategy to encompass an omni-channel approach and make sure your message is being seen no matter where your audience is online.
What are some of the challenges you’ve overcome with retargeting for B2C vs. B2B?
At Act-On we primarily focus on B2B, so I don’t have experience with B2C, but I think the number-one downfall for any marketing program can be data. It’s imperative to keep your data clean because it can affect the personalization of your marketing campaigns. This is true for email, and, if you’re creating personalized ads for retargeting, the same is true for retargeting. From a B2C perspective, there’s nothing more unappealing than having ads for a product you’ve already purchased follow you around on the Internet.
What are the main goals you’re trying to achieve with retargeting, and what KPIs are you using to measure success?
Brand recognition and exposure really are key factors for retargeting, in my opinion. Retargeting ads typically have some of the lowest CTRs when it comes to online advertising and I truly believe it’s because the goal isn’t conversion – it’s recognition.
The process of retargeting ads is critical to making sure you aren’t forgotten – again, very similar to the principles of email nurturing. It’s about serving the right message to the right people at the right time. So CTRs are a factor in the KPIs for success, but what’s really unique about Listenloop is their reporting. They take a look at all of the emails you send and the people you’re serving ads to and then compare the audiences for you. So at the end of the day you have a report that shows the incremental lift in engagement you get in email from also being shown retargeting ads.
For instance, we see a 200% increase in engagement in our audience opening and clicking our emails when they are also being served retargeting ads.
What research do you conduct before executing a retargeting campaign?
First and foremost it always starts with the goal of the campaign and identifying your audience. Once you have that figured out, the basics of marketing come into play because you need to identify the interests and pain points of the audience so that you’re serving up content that is relevant. Some of the research I would conduct, for example, would be to look at the similarities in types content or different content topics to try to pinpoint messaging that would be relevant.
How do your mobile strategies impact your retargeting campaigns?
The area which is impacted the most for mobile really is the design aspect of retargeting. You need to make sure that your ads are visible, clear, and easy to click, even in the smaller forms, which are generally seen in mobile.
What advice do you have for those considering a retargeting campaign who have never set one up before?
Start with a plan. Don’t just start retargeting without a clear goal. Try identifying a specific audience first and work from there.
A great example is a campaign we just recently tested on customers. Every quarter we have a number of contracts that come up for renewal, and, based on feedback from our customer success team and stats on product usage, we can identify accounts which might be at risk for not renewing. So we decided to test out ABM retargeting to these accounts and built a landing page which showed the top three ways customers find the value in Act-On and achieve ROI more quickly, in addition to the ways they can get in contact with their rep to renew. We had ads created which matched the style of the page, and now we’re actively targeting these accounts to try to reduce churn.
Retargeting customers in this way wasn’t something we’d ever tried before, but the planning and idea all came from the identification of the audience. We knew we had to do something to engage them, and we worked backwards from there to develop the content.
What has been the biggest takeaway from overseeing retargeting marketing campaigns in 2016 that has helped guide your strategies moving forward?
I think the biggest takeaway is to not be discouraged by low CTRs. Obviously we also want to see higher numbers and should continually optimize to achieve better results, but when you see low numbers, sometimes it’s easy to throw in the towel. You shouldn’t do that with retargeting.
It all relates back to the goal and KPIs, and retargeting for B2B is all about providing the reminder that you exist, you should be considered, and you should be taken seriously when it’s time to make that purchase decision.
And for traditional retargeting, make sure you have blacklisting setup. This will ensure that your ads don’t appear on unfavorable sites. Blacklisting ensures that you don’t show up on certain sites like Breitbart, for example.
Would you say retargeting works best for B2B companies like Act-On Software, or do you also recommend it for B2C as well? What industries do you see retargeting being the most effective for?
I think it can be incredibly powerful for B2C – especially in eCommerce ‒ if done wisely, because the difference between B2B and B2C usually comes down to the number of purchases. With B2B it’s usually a very large purchase with a contract ‒ you aren’t going to buy again until it’s time to renew. But with B2C the purchases can be endless.
Think about Amazon! Retargeting is used to show you can use them to make other purchases related to your interests. Just bought a treadmill? Great, what are the accessories you need for that? Running shoes, workout clothes, water bottles – all of these items become great content for suggested additional purchases related to the buyer’s interest.
We’re at the point now where both B2C and B2B can benefit from retargeting. The difference is in the approach: who you’re going after, what you’re offering, and what the best platform is for your business.
Do you agree that retargeting is MUST for companies looking to take their marketing to the next level in 2017?
Yes, I think retargeting absolutely is a must. It’s one of the best tools in a marketer’s arsenal to make sure you’re seen in this omni-channel world. It also provides a mechanism for repetition, which helps your message and your brand to be remembered. Think about it – the average human’s attention span is less than eight seconds.
That’s less than a goldfish. But if you keep seeing the same message, and it’s relevant to you, you’re more likely to remember it.
Retargeting is a must for companies in 2017. Engagements happen beyond the inbox and it’s our job as marketers to make sure that our messaging is received, whether that be through email, a website, social, or retargeting.
Rachel Rosin is the senior manager of the Digital Marketing Team at Act-On. She’s responsible for the development and execution of content and maintaining an engaging digital presence designed to attract, capture, and nurture prospects and leads. She’s also a key player in content development for lead and pipeline cultivation, with a focus on growing inbound lead generation and increasing conversion rates.
Jahvita Rastafari is the Senior Brand Marketing Manager at Act-On. Her extensive background in branding is a testament to her deep understanding of digital marketing.