Is Your Marketing Plan Meeting Customers Where They Are?
Gone are the days when consumers had the patience to follow link after link to a brand website to potentially find what they’re looking for. At PowerChord, we see a 63 percent average drop-off after each step in the conversion path across the hundreds of local market campaigns we do on behalf of dealer-sold products each year. Today, the most effective campaigns reach consumers wherever they’re scrolling or viewing and even work the opportunity for conversion right into the ad itself. We call this approach anywhere conversions.
Google Discovery Ads and YouTube Lead forms are two examples of ad formats leading the way in anywhere conversions. In the recent Newfronts, Amazon also announced “actionable video ads solutions,” allowing viewers to purchase products while the ad is running, and YouTube launched “brand extensions,” in which connected TV viewers can receive a purchase link to their phones.
These types of ads tend to perform better than click-to-learn-more ads because they meet customers when they’re ready to buy. As a result, we see client conversion rates around 5 percent for anywhere conversions versus 1 percent for click-to-learn-more.
Given these metrics, you may be interested in switching to an anywhere conversion strategy for your business. There are a few secrets you need to know to build a successful anywhere conversion strategy. Here are the elements we’ve seen best drive the results you need to move more product.
Meet Customers in Their Moment
We've all been there: We need a new TV but are overwhelmed by the number of options. Before, we might have browsed inside a brick-and-mortar electronics store, read reviews, or visited the websites of trusted brands to compare offerings. Now, however, our instincts have changed. Without thinking twice, we do an online search for “best flatscreen TVs on a budget,” confident we’ll quickly find the answer.
According to Innovid, 63 percent of shopping today begins online. As such, the key to anywhere conversions is to meet customers where they are, whether that’s Instagram, Google, or their local newspaper’s website. Keep in mind, however, that the consumer journey from idea to purchase isn’t linear.
Because thousands of interactions and exposures offer junctures where brands win or lose customers, you should consider developing media and targeting strategies in tandem with ad formats. This approach will give customers the information they need and the tools to take action and make a decision making the in-the-moment conversion easy.
In a recent study by Oberlo, consumers ranked “ads that understand and address the context of my moment” as their top form of personalization. Meeting customers in their moment is about place and time, but it’s also about intent.
You can implement tactics that leverage custom intent keyword targeting. For example, in YouTube campaigns, you can target an ad to someone doing an intent-related search such as “fix my computer.” You can also include a lead form extension in the ad that allows you the opportunity to convert the customer at the very moment they are looking for solutions you provide. Don’t focus on broad strokes. Focus on bottom-of-the-funnel people who are saying, “I’m interested in you. Talk to me now.”
Eliminate Barriers to Conversions
Providing a frictionless information-gathering process for target audiences and shortening the path to purchase are at the heart of anywhere conversion. Once served an ad, customers expect that they’ll receive the information they need to make an informed decision within one click. This expectation makes custom landing pages one of the most valuable elements of digital marketing, even if they’re often overlooked. A well-executed landing page matches the message customers saw in the ad and prominently features a buy button. For dealer-sold products, high-converting landing pages also provide the precise information a prospective buyer needs to find the product in-store within a reasonable distance of their local area.
Imagine you’re a high-consideration national brand (meaning a product for which consumers take more time with their purchase decisions) like Grasshopper Mowers. Your product is sold exclusively via a dealership network across the country. Sales are hampered by the way branding, messaging, and the call-to-action (CTA) get diluted as users click through to local sites, however. Often, on the local sites, customers must start from scratch. The product they had chosen is lost amongst a sea of competitive alternatives and store location and hours of operation are nowhere to be seen.
Addressing brand consistency increases conversion. This process includes making sure your brand logo and messaging stays present, applying hyper-localized store information like address and hours across the online-to-in-store journey, and geo-targeting local customers who express intent to buy. It evolves the one-to-many awareness approach (i.e., this is the product and what it does) into a one-to-one conversion approach (i.e., you’re interested and here’s where you can get it) with significant results.
Your high intent consumer now knows exactly how and where to purchase the product they want in-store. The Grasshopper case study above is a real-world example of this type of campaign and led to the brand growing leads by 500 percent and online lead-generated sales by 80 percent in the first year of the new strategy.
Because each type of conversion is reset with every campaign, key performance indicators are defined differently. Take focusing on lead generation, for example. You can increase performance by using a tool like Google’s lead form extensions, which lets people submit their information in a form directly in your ad. This is a good solution for mobile users who might hesitate to fill out a form on a cumbersome mobile landing page but would be willing to engage with an option that doesn’t necessitate their leaving the search results. These in-ad lead forms can also connect directly to your CRM so, for example, a sales rep at a car dealership could follow up via phone or email within the hour to schedule a test drive with a customer who expressed intent.
Test, Iterate, Learn, Evolve
Finding new customers and guiding them through the journey requires creativity, agility, and ongoing measurement, using the circular art of testing, iterating, learning, and evolving. Leveraging data like intent tracking can inform insights and allow marketing dollars to go as far as possible.
At PowerChord, we track the performance of every ad, testing everything from the introduction of a unit all the way through to attribution and conversion.
Specifically, one of the most important elements we track is the CTA. A strong CTA not only makes clear to consumers what the next action in the journey should be, but it is also specific enough to their needs to compel them to click through without hesitation. For example, when we switched a CTA from “Learn More” to “Get Quote,” we saw an 80 percent decrease in cost per acquisition (CPA). We’ve found that best practices include matching CTAs to targeting tactics and the consumer journey stage. This highlights that measuring the CTA, then applying it to ads, shows a significant difference on what terminology draws customers to collect more information.
Marketers who want their dollars to impact the bottom line need to stay on top of shifting consumer behaviors and expectations, understanding that it’s no longer enough to place ads and wait for customers to come to them. Success comes from meeting potential customers where they are and when they are ready, making conversion effortless, by tracking and applying what you learn. Without those strategies, your anywhere conversions will go nowhere.