Every business has fair-weather customers. The kind who buy from you once a year, once every few years or even once a decade.
Convincing these customers to return is a real challenge.
The problem is, they have short memories. They won’t necessarily recall how great your service was when they’re looking to buy something a year down the line. And even if they do, their head may be turned by an irresistible offer from one of your competitors.
What you need to do is get in front of these potential returning customers the right time with the right product.
More specifically, you need to get in front of them at the exact moment they show interest in your products and services again.
The best channel for acting on intent in this way is search. The second a customer or prospect searches for a product or service like yours – Bam! – your ad pops up with a relevant offer.
But until recently, search was limited by its relatively unsophisticated targeting. You could bid for keywords that your returning customers were likely to search for but you couldn’t be sure who would see your ads. What’s more, you couldn’t personalize ads using your customer and prospect data.
So while you could strike at the right time, you couldn’t know you were reaching the right people (the ones who have bought from you at least once and are likely to do so again).
People-based search changes all that.
It lets you combine the targeting power of your audience segmentation data with the immediate, in-market intent that search is great for. (So what was an amazing way to target keywords is now an amazing way to target people.)
This is a new sweet spot for all data-driven marketers – and it’s why so many are getting so excited about people-based search.
The power of people-based search
People-based search lets you use the data that’s in your CRM system, or any other customer database, to guide your search engine marketing campaigns. And it makes a lot of amazing things possible.
Now you can develop search ads specifically for people who bought from you, say, between six months and a year ago, but haven’t come back since.
So you can remind them of how great your products and services are, or present them with special offers and discounts based on their purchase history, their interactions across channels and their immediate intent.
It’s like retargeting but at the exact moment they’re looking to purchase the types of products and services you offer. And that’s huge acquiring returning customers.
If you’re a travel agent, you can remind them of the amazing family vacation they took two years ago, just as they’re researching hotels for their next trip.
If you’re a clothing retailer, you can remind the customers of last year’s winter collection that you’ve got a great new line of winter wear.
If you’re selling greeting cards, you can remind the customers of last year’s Mother’s Day cards to come back for more this year.
No other marketing discipline lets you combine what you know about your customers with the critical intent signals of search. And the results are impressive:
- Relevant and timely ads convert returning customers you would have lost
- Better targeting means you see a better return on your investment in search
- Using existing data in new ways means you get more value from it
And reactivating customers isn’t the only way you can use people-based search. Flick through our slideshare, People-Based Search: An Introduction, to see some of the other ways you can apply the discipline. You’ll never look at search and returning customers the same way again. Promise.