Digital Targeting Optimizer: A grid-based approach to increasing leads and conversions

Published January 7, 2016 6:42 pm by David Fabbri
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From Future Prospects to Active Buyers

When businesses are trying to drive sales, there is an understandable tendency to focus marketing efforts on bottom-of-the-funnel activities, such as PPC advertising. It’s attractive, because prospects are deep in the process of making a decision about what they are going to buy and from whom they’ll be buying. But, while targeting the bottom of the funnel is important and productive, focusing all your efforts here can undermine the long-term performance of your program.

 

Full-funnel Focus to Maximize Performance

Without top-of-the-funnel efforts focused on increasing awareness of your brand, and high-value, mid-funnel content for nurturing relationships with prospects and shaping the buying decision, your brand may be overlooked completely. This can be from a simple lack of awareness; a lack of trust; or because competitors have influenced the purchase decision in a way that has knocked you out of contention before you were even in consideration.

 

Get the Balance Right

We developed the LoSasso Digital Targeting Optimizer to help maintain balance and increase performance in the digital programs we manage. The Optimizer is a simple tool to help make sure we focus on prospects throughout our clients’ buying cycle—converting active searchers, while also nurturing mid-funnel leads and exposing future prospects to the brand.

 

 

Using the Optimizer

The Optimizer is a 6-section grid. Top, mid and bottom sections of the traditional purchase funnel are divided into two tracks—for online Display and Search. Tactics used in each section vary based on the complexity of the product being promoted and the length of the buying cycle, but the info below is a good reference for how we typically focus our efforts.

 


 

Display Track

 

D1: Top of the Funnel— Attracting Future Prospects

People found here are potentially great prospects, but they aren’t currently looking for a solution. We target them with industry trends, lifestyle or other high-level content that gets their attention and helps build awareness and positive associations with the brand. Traditional branding campaigns can also apply here. Click-through is likely to be low, but repeat exposure to the brand and key differentiators will help enhance mid- and lower-funnel activities in the future.

Goals

  • Increase awareness
  • Build positive brand association
  • Establish trust

 Channels/Tactics

  • Targeted display
  • Contextual display
  • Video pre-roll

 

Prospects live at all stages of the purchase funnel

 

D2: Mid Funnel—Engaging Emerging Prospects

These prospects have a need and interest in the product category, but aren’t actively searching. This is a great time to capture attention with high-value content that brings focus to their upcoming search. Examples: 5 Game-Changing Trends in X; Top 10 Things to Know if You’re Thinking About X; New Ways to Boost Employee Output with X. Optimally, these should be gated, high-value content pieces—useful or interesting enough that a prospect will provide an email address to get one. Mid-funnel lead capture will allow you to stay in touch over time with a nurture campaign that shares other helpful information—and what’s unique about your solution.

 Goals

  • Build awareness and brand image
  • Establish thought leadership and build trust
  • Capture leads for nurture

Channels/Tactics

  • Targeted display
  • Contextual display
  • Video pre-roll
  • Paid social (e.g. targeted LinkedIn or Facebook ads)

 

A Note About Advanced Targeting for D1 and D2

Direct ad buys on industry or lifestyle-related websites can be very effective, but at this stage, some of your best prospects may not be there. Good news: Today, if you know who you are looking for—by industry, geography, job title, interests or attitudes—you can target the audience, no matter where they are online, using an ad network, such as the Google Display Network (including YouTube), or a broader programmatic ad buy. Look-alike audiences can also be built from CRM customer data or by tracking which types of customers most often convert on your website.

 

Advanced targeting techniques

Advanced targeting techniques let you reach your audience, no matter where they are online.

 

D3: Bottom Funnel—Converting Active Prospects

Prospects at the bottom of the funnel are deep in the buying process. If you have captured their attention and driven them to your website, but they haven’t converted, retargeting them with display ads based on what they’ve engaged with on your site is a great way to stay top-of-mind while they are narrowing down to a final buying decision. Product-specific information, key differentiators or promotional incentives can be used to re-engage and move the prospect to the final goal.

Goals

  • Re-engage website visitors that did not convert
  • Deliver qualified leads to sales/dealer
  • Convert sales

Channels/Tactics

  • Display retargeting
  • Video pre-roll retargeting

 


 

Search Track

 

S1: Top of the Funnel—Enabling Early Research

Prospects here have identified a possible need and have begun searching. They are building a list of options to choose from—looking at various solutions and the brands that can provide them. We target here with general search terms and content designed to help them understand the big-picture considerations for the product category, all while laying the groundwork for our solution. Big-picture, high-value content can be leveraged to shape the buying decision and capture leads.

Goals

  • Elevate brand image and product awareness
  • Attract early searchers to help shape their research process and buying parameters
  • Provide helpful information—build trust
  • Secure your product/service as an addition to prospects’ prime consideration list
  • Capture leads for nurture

Channels/Tactics

  • PPC

 

S2: Mid Funnel—Leveraging Active Research and Narrowing

In this phase, prospects are in active research mode and using what they find to start narrowing their choices. Keywords searched here indicate they are making comparisons between specific solutions and products. Still a good time to capture a lead for nurturing, valuable information will help prospects understand the key differentiators between various brands and their solutions. You can also offer trade-in or big picture pricing information with tools like build-a-quote, as appropriate for your industry.

Goals

  • Highlight key brand differentiators
  • Capture leads for nurture

Channels/Tactics

  • PPC
Aligning customer needs with your key points of difference drives conversion.

Helping prospects understand how your key differentiators align with their needs and concerns is a powerful performance enhancer.

 

S3 Bottom Funnel—Landing Hot Prospects

Prospects at the bottom of the funnel have narrowed down to a short list of options. Search here is about making sure they haven’t left any stones unturned and moving to a final decision. These are product-specific searches or searches that offer confirmation that the searcher is getting a good deal and not making a mistake. Finding a way to share satisfied customer reviews can be powerful, as well as other special incentives to trigger the final decision. If they haven’t already made contact, they need to be connected with a dealer, distributor or other direct sales options.

Goals

  • Connect prospect with sales/dealer
  • Reiterate reasons to buy
  • Provide incentives to trigger action

 Channels/Tactics

  • PPC
  • Search retargeting

 

 

Bottom Line—It’s All About Balance

While it is highly effective to reach people who are actively searching at the bottom of the funnel, it’s important not to get boxed out by savvy competitors engaging your prospects earlier in the buying process. No two programs are alike. Specific goals and underlying competitive situations change, but using a simple tool like the LoSasso Digital Targeting Optimizer is a great way to make sure you cover all the bases—keeping focus on program balance for optimum performance over time.

 

What do you think? Are top and mid funnel activities worth the time and investment?