Does your marketing campaign need a boost? Businesses looking to enhance their marketing campaigns can widen their prospects and close more sales using behavior marketing, a proven, effective way to learn more about your customers, what they are looking for and how to grab their attention organically.
While large corporations have all the resources to fully invest in behavior marketing experts and analysts, experts say small businesses that don't have big pockets don’t have to be left behind.
What is behavior marketing?
"The simplest definition of 'behavior marketing' is targeting prospects based on their behavior," said Ali Maadelat, president of The Lorenz Marketing Group, a Beverly Hills, Calif.-based marketing firm.
The more targeted your marketing efforts are, the more you resonate with prospects and the more likely that they will become customers, Maadelat said. "This is the power of behavior marketing. You target your marketing based on a prospect's actions and behavior, because you are making assumptions about their needs based on their actions," he said.
Behavior marketing is especially powerful when used in Web-based and mobile marketing campaigns.
Howard Kang, a marketing consultant, keynote speaker and former marketing director at United Way of Massachusetts Bay, said that every touch point a company has online is a branding opportunity. As such, it's especially important to create relevant, tailored content that provides value to users and thus builds the brand's foundation.
"Behavior marketing exists to understand a user's interaction with content," Kang said. Whether users are on mobile devices or on their computers, behavior marketing is all about paying attention to how those users react and engage with a company's online presence.
Compared with individuals' activities online, Kang said behavior marketing serves an actual purpose of understanding user behavior and recognizing patterns to influence and improve relationships with customers. It's about providing them with valuable information they care about, as opposed to self-serving content.
"Behavior marketing is the reason that brands know what, unfortunately, a good chunk of my Facebook friends don't; I don't care about every little thing your dog, daughter, or dinner did and I'm probably going to ignore it," Kang said.
How are businesses using behavior marketing?
Businesses use behavior marketing in several ways, such as targeting advertisements, posting relevant social media updates, crafting compelling email marketing copy and personalizing text message marketing campaigns. For the most part, Web- and mobile-based behavior marketing rely on keyword targeting and tracking interactions.
"Sometimes it's as simple as targeting people who are searching for a specific kind of product," said Nancy Garberson, CEO of Marketing & Communication Strategies and adjunct professor at Mt. Mercy University. "The advertiser gets their ad in front of the prospective customers from search engine behavior."
This type of keyword-based behavior marketing is not limited to search engines, but extends to website visits as well.
"When someone types in a keyword search, those keywords can be followed with ads. The same is true when someone visits a website; ads can follow with the use of remarketing," Garberson said.
In addition to keyword and advertisement targeting, website analytics also play a significant role in behavior marketing. "Another way is to track who goes to what page on a website and how much time they spend there," Garberson said.
Furthermore, by observing visitor behavior on your website, the information you gather can help you enrich the user experience and personalize interactions. Kang said, "It most comes into play when analyzing interactions in the 'funnel.' Businesses can track their first interaction with a potential customer, how long they're looking around, what content they're looking at and what kinds of things push them to making a decision."
How small businesses can use behavior marketing
Behavior marketing can be an expensive venture, but Kang said there are cost-effective resources available right at your fingertips, such as the many available forms of website and social media analytics services.
"Behavior marketing presents the greatest opportunity for small businesses because of the wealth of information available online," Kang said. For instance, Google Analytics is a free resource that will show you a demographic view of your visitors. If you have a Facebook page, Facebook Insights can also give you key behavioral information.
"Own a women's gym in Rockford, Ill.? Take a look at your Facebook and Google Analytics to see that 42 percent of your audience comes from Rockford, Ill., is female, spends 1.42 minutes on your website, and clicks more links to Facebook," Kang said.
"Facebook Insights is full of gold that small businesses don't explore enough," Kang said. "Businesses paid millions of dollars to market researchers in the past for that kind of information and now we have it for free."
In 2012, Facebook Insights added mobile reach data, a metric that helps Facebook Page owners glean useful information regarding users visiting their Facebook Page via mobile devices.
Maadelat also said it is never necessary to spend sizeable amounts on behavior marketing. "There are many ways to achieve this as a small business without needing to spend $500,000 on a marketing campaign," he said, but the first step is to realize the logic and purpose behind behavior marketing.
To avoid investing or wasting what limited resources small businesses have, Maadelat said small business owners need to keep in mind that behavior marketing is not a mutually exclusive form of marketing, but rather complements existing marketing campaigns.
"Behavior marketing is not a magic bullet, nor is it a 'different approach,'" Maadelat said. Instead, the purpose of behavior marketing is to make current marketing efforts more effective than they already are. If your marketing plan is ineffective, behavior targeting will not help, as it is not meant to improve unsuccessful campaigns, he said.
Behavior marketing is also about logically deducing which group of targeted customers are more likely to take action, Maadelat said.
"Say you're selling a weight-loss product. A person who just signed up for a gym membership might be more interested in losing weight than the average person — but someone who signed up for a gym membership and purchased weight loss pills is more likely than that person to be looking to lose weight."
Maadelat said small businesses need not worry about complicated or costly implementations. The main idea is to skillfully use what you have to your advantage, he said.
Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.