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What is Behavioral Marketing?

Seller Essentials / February 14, 2019

If you’ve ever attempted to put together a puzzle without looking at the picture on the box, then you’ve experienced what it’s like to do marketing without understanding the whole picture of what your customers are interested in. In past years, marketing was based on broad information that wasn’t very helpful in pinpointing what customers were actually looking for. Without specific information about your customers, like who they are, what they like, and other important factors, you’re less likely to attract and retain them. This is where behavioral marketing comes in handy. But what is it, and how can it help you market your products and capture more sales?

What is Behavioral Marketing?

Behavioral marketing entails using information about your customers to tailor content, shopping experiences, product offerings, etc. to what you know about them. Some sources for gathering this information include browsing history, IP addresses, social media data, length of time of pages visited, items added to cart (purchased and not purchased), and web cookies. This information helps to craft a persona of your ideal customer based on the behavior. This persona guides what strategies you should be trying to garner more sales.

Behavioral Marketing Tactics

In the e-commerce world, product recommendations is a great way to use behavioral marketing. By considering what products a customer has viewed, added to their cart, and purchased, you can highlight products that complement what they’ve already purchased or are similar to their browsing history. These kinds of recommendations have a much higher purchase rate.

behavioral marketing

Customers, 75% of them in fact, say they actually prefer to shop at retailers that make recommendations based on their past purchases. But they want to see things that go along with things they’ve already purchased, rather than the same kind of item. If a customer has bought a winter coat, they likely aren’t going to be buying another right away. So rather than suggesting winter coats, showing them products that would accompany their new coat like gloves, a hat, or a scarf, would likely interest them more.

Another great behavioral marketing tactic is remarketing. When a customer has viewed your product(s), you can then market to them based on the fact that they have shown interest in what you’re offering. This is a great tactic to use to combat cart abandonment. Customers will add things to their cart and then, for whatever reason, decide not to complete their purchase. You can then use this information about their intent to purchase to serve them ads to entice them to come back and complete their purchase. Many retailers will use coupons like 20% to complete your purchase or free shipping to increase the likelihood that they will buy the items. This kind of behavioral marketing takes information about their intentions to buy something and attempts to lure them into following through.

In the same vein, retailers will also use a similar behavioral marketing tactic for customers who have made purchases in the past to tempt them into making another purchase by offering a discount or special offer. This is a great way to activate your past customers when you have a new product offering, want to clear inventory, or need a boost in sales.

Demographic targeting is one of the most common types of behavioral marketing, using things like gender, age, level of education, location, race/ethnicity, income range, etc. This information helps capture who your customers are and will be instrumental in helping you decide how to attract customers. For example, if your target customer is predominately women, you’d want to focus on building relationships with them rather than just selling to them. Harness the power of social media to attract these female customers and avoid hard-selling, prioritizing storytelling overall.

Some e-commerce retailers look at how website visitors interact with their store. Bob Ellis, owner of Bavarian Clockworks, an e-tailer that sells German cuckoo clocks, said he’s had success watching live data. “We use HotJar to watch recordings of how users engage with our website. We can see which pages they visit the most, where their mouse hovers, and the links they click on. It’s a behind the scenes look into the customer experience. I like it because it provides me with information about how we can improve our sales funnel and conversions.”

Don’t Underestimate the Power of Behavioral Marketing

It may seem silly, but if you aren’t taking advantage of using customer behavior information to influence your marketing strategy, you are missing out on a huge opportunity. By compiling information about your customers and crafting a strategy around their shopping and browsing habits, you can start to create product offerings and shopping experiences for them that will build brand loyalty and grow your sales. Remember: your customers are PEOPLE and you need to understand who they are and what they want if you want them to buy your stuff!

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