Prospecting and retaining customers are essential functions for every business. This guide will walk you through our eight-step process for growing your email database with quality prospects, re-engaging existing or lapsed customers, and capturing missing customer data to power your future prospecting campaigns.
There’s a better, more cost-effective way to fire up your next prospecting campaign, and it all starts with your company’s most important asset: Your customers.
With a genuine understanding of who your customers are, how they shop, what they tend to shop for, and where they shop for it, you can orchestrate hyper-effective prospecting and re-engagement campaigns. That means better leads and a higher customer lifetime value at a lower overall cost.
Lexer’s strategic, data-informed, and customer-centric process for this has driven results for many of our clients, including global outdoor equipment retailer Black Diamond, Australian cinema exhibition leader Village Entertainment, global snowsports retailer Spyder, and more. By building purposeful forms and targeted campaigns to capture new contacts for your email list, fill the gaps in your existing customer data, and renew the relationship between your brand and your lapsed or unengaged customers, you’ll be well on your way to driving revenue for your company.
Here’s a walk-through of our eight-step process for high-performance prospecting and customer re-engagement.
How to Attract High-Quality Prospects, Re-Engage Customers, and Enrich Customer Profiles
Understand the context.
Context has a major impact on decision-making. You’re more likely to buy a swimsuit in the summer than in the winter, for example; the season is a type of contextual information that influences your decision one way or the other.
The same is true of your prospecting and re-engagement campaigns. Before you can develop an effective campaign, you need to understand the context in which your target customer will encounter that campaign. Ask yourself:
- What’s going on in the world that’s relevant both to your brand and your audience?
- What does your audience need and are they looking for it now?
- What kind of credibility and authority does your brand lend to these topics?
The answers to these questions will act as your guiding light throughout the rest of the campaign, keeping you on track, within scope, and focused on the right strategy.
Create an enticing offer.
Once you understand the context of your campaign, use that information to develop a relevant prize, gift, or other offer that will entice your audience to engage.
Your offer doesn’t always need to be one of your products—it could be a VIP experience, exclusive content, or access to a digital community, for example. Be creative when you develop your offer, but do your best to avoid generic prizes like gift cards.
Generic prizes like these don’t lend you much additional context regarding who your customer personas are or how to tailor your retargeting activities, because they don’t give you any information about what those customers are interested in. For example, if your brand sells apparel for men, women, and children, a gift card prize wouldn’t tell you which of those categories entrants are likely to shop in. Instead, a campaign centered on men’s denim, jackets, and shoes is more targeted and informational.
Additionally, consider giving away more than one offer to improve participants’ chance of winning and, therefore, increase engagement with the campaign. For example, if you offer participants the chance of winning one of three VIP experiences or one of three products, you’ll appeal to a wider audience and capture more sign-ups.
Set the timing, cadence, and duration of your campaign.
Timing is everything.
If you run the campaign for too long, it drags on and you’ll begin to experience the law of diminishing returns. Too short, on the other hand, and the reach and performance of your campaign will suffer.
Likewise, a campaign revolving around snowsports gear is likely to perform better in the winter than in the summer; in an example like this, the timing of the campaign is a contextual issue that should’ve been mapped out in step one.
Typically, we recommend that each campaign should run for about three to four weeks maximum. Run a new campaign tailored to every season, and try running multiple versions of each to compare results. This comparison will give you insight into where you should be allocating your budget based on the relative return on ad spend.
Build three audiences to target.
To get the most out of your campaign, you should build three distinct audiences to target:
- Primary: This audience includes lookalikes of your highest-value customers relevant to your offer. This audience will make up the bulk of your acquisition. For an in-depth description of how to build high-value lookalike audiences, click here.
- Secondary: This audience includes high value lapsed customers (whose last purchase was two or more years ago) and un-engaged customers (those who’ve opted out of email or who haven’t opened your emails in quite some time). This audience will help you build the lifetime value of your customer base.
- Tertiary: This audience includes customers with gaps in their data profiles. For example, you may not know their gender or which persona group they fall into. By including this audience in your targeting, you can fill the gaps in your database and better personalise your engagement later on.
With advanced audience targeting tactics like these, you’ll not only attract higher-value prospects, but also avoid wasting ad spend on irrelevant audiences.
Choose the right advertising channel.
Typically, paid social is the primary channel for effective prospecting — not organic social. Whilst posting in organic social is appealing to drive engagement at no media cost we recommend exercising caution. When you post your promotion in organic social you lose control of the audience and can attract high volumes of low value prospects which cloud the performance of your campaigns.
On top of that, paid social advertising is essential for re-engaging lapsed or unengaged customers who no longer receive or open your marketing emails.
Capture the right information in your sign-up form.
The form is where the value-exchange occurs between your consumers and your brand. When consumers directly and consensually fill out a form like this, they’re providing you with invaluable zero-party data to boost the value of your database.
Keep your entry form short and easy to complete, and make sure all of the data points captured have a purpose. Ask for information like:
- Basic identifying information, such as email address, name, gender, and location.
- Preference information to help you sort contacts into different customer personas. For example, our client Black Diamond asks contacts to identify as either a Climber, Back Country Skier, or Trail Runner. Similarly, our client Spyder asks contacts to sort themselves into either Alpine, Freeski, or Back Country categories. Adding an “Other” option is often useful as well in order to keep the high-value niche segments at the highest quality possible.
Try to avoid open-ended questions or free entry data capture, because these often result in poor-quality data. Additionally, make sure the data capture form is hosted on your own website. This adds credibility to the form and increases the likelihood of consumers exploring the rest of your website after they’ve filled it out.
Lexer’s Secure Form feature can help you build a branded form that immediately unifies its responses to identities using PII.
Direct consumers to another conversion or engagement opportunity.
Immediately after someone fills out your form, your brand will be top-of-mind, making this time the perfect opportunity to strengthen the brand relationship.
Once they’ve clicked “submit” on your form, drive people to another page on your website. For example, you could drive them to a product page where they can browse and shop, or to your blog’s homepage to consume content and learn more about your brand. Choose the right follow-up depending on the audience and the context of your campaign.
Saying thank you is just good manners.
After people have signed up through your form, make sure to send them a thank you email and a reward that same day. The reward could be something as simple as free shipping or 10% off their first (or next) purchase; even something little like this goes a long way in expressing your gratitude and strengthening consumers’ relationship with your brand.
Additionally, make sure to properly introduce all new entrants to your brand. Develop a personalised welcome journey based on the data you captured from the prospecting campaign to keep people engaged.
Finally, when the campaign has ended, announce the winner. To minimise any disappointment they might feel, offer all non-winners a small thank you reward for participating
Genuine engagement is made simple with a CDP
Almost every step in this process requires clean, quality, comprehensive customer data. A customer data platform like Lexer can help you streamline your acquisition and re-engagement campaigns for better results, stronger customer relationships, and more efficient and profitable processes.
If you have specific questions about prospecting and customer engagement or you’re curious about our solution, use the calendar below to schedule a meeting with one of our experts. We’re looking forward to speaking with you!