Much of today’s marketing fails because it does not reach the right customers at the right time. Contextual marketing provides an alternative to the ‘needle in a haystack’ approach of reaching audiences by offering the right content, to the right audience, at the right time. If you are not sure what it is, contextual marketing offers targeted advertising to a user based on their online identity and the content they have searched for. So, no, it is not a coincidence that you Google searched ‘what is Le Creuset’ and suddenly sidebar adverts are popping up for ceramic cookware.
If you have already incorporated contextual marketing into your digital strategy, here are a few ways to maximise your outcomes:
- Make It Personal
Personalisation is a simple way to show your target audience that you understand their needs and care about meeting them. The benefit is that if your customers feel ‘known’ they are more likely to stick around. There are many ways to make your marketing messages more personal. Here are a few common methods:
- Using people’s names in email and direct mail marketing
- Dividing email lists based on interests
- Loyalty and reward programs
- Offering customised and/or personalised product or service packages
You can take personalisation further by using data to suggest products, services, etc. that your customer may like. For example, if a customer shops online and buys a shirt from your store, based on their previous purchases and ‘cart history’ you can suggest other items of clothing that will complement their current purchase.
- Go Mobile
Focusing on mobile is almost a no-brainer, since more and more consumers are accessing the web on their mobile devices and sharing a wealth of consumer data. According to recent research by the e-tailing group (http://www.e-tailing.com/content/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/MyBuys-Customer-Centric-Marketing-Ebook.pdf) more than 50% of consumers are willing to share their data to have an improved shopping experience.
- Location, Location, Location
Location is the key to mobile contextual marketing. Recent research by Pew shows that 74% of smartphone users aged 18 years and older use their phones to get directions and other location-based information. An example would be a coffee shop targeting consumers who drive by their location, or when on holiday, receiving ads for nearby restaurants and tourist attractions. The possibilities are vast.
- Timing Is Key
Knowing what your consumer’s behaviour is throughout the day is the key to targeting them at the right time with the right message. Some behaviours are easier to predict, like breakfast and lunch times, so restaurants offering food specials at these times is a straightforward tactic. Other ways to leverage this strategy is keeping an eye on events. An event can be as small as a rainy day. If your shop sells umbrellas, this is the perfect opportunity to win some customers with targeted advertising.