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June 6, 2019

Remarketing Crash Course: Day 3

Should you SELL or NURTURE in your remarketing ads?

We were talking yesterday about what to put in your remarketing ads. I suggested you offer the visitor a suitable next step, rather than creep them out with what they just looked at.

The ‘next step’ could be a number of things. It could be a sales step. It could be an email opt-in incentive. It could simply be a link to a key blog post, audio file or video.

All of these things fall on a spectrum, with ‘selling’ at one end, and ‘nurturing’ at the other. When you nurture you’re looking to entertain and educate, and lay the groundwork for a sales conversation in the future.

This email is an example of remarketing nurture. I’m REmarketing to you because the word remarketing broadly means ‘any kind of follow up’. And I’m nurturing rather than selling. I’m laying the groundwork for a pitch that will come at the end of this email series.

Email is well suited to marketing nurture, because the incremental cost to send an extra email is virtually zero. But when you’re remarketing on Google or Facebook, the incremental click cost is significant. Which really means you can only afford to nurture your hottest prospects with paid ads, otherwise the numbers simply don’t work. Even direct mail is cheaper than a Google remarketing ad click.

(Aside: I’m baffled by the number of people who happily spend thousands a month on Google, but believe direct mail is ‘too expensive’)

Nurture engaged contacts, and proposition cold ones…

It’s counter-intuitive, but nurturing highly engaged contacts usually generates a high ROI. Nurturing cold unengaged contacts usually generates an ROI close to zero. So put more offers (paid or opt-in) in front of colder audiences.

In general, the colder the audience, the more you need to sell in your remarketing ads (i.e. the more direct you need to be), and the less you can afford to nurture. You don’t want to risk nurturing people who in all likelihood are never going to buy.

You need to work out the right balance for your business, but it might be that 80% of your remarketing ads link to a sales step or email opt-in, and 20% link to an education piece like a video or blog post.

Incidentally on email those numbers might be reversed, with 80% of your emails seeking to nurture and 20% attempting to sell. As a rule of thumb I’d suggest that was a reasonable starting point.

On Facebook most of your nurturing ads could well be videos, with ‘engagement’ set as your campaign objective. Video works well on Facebook (especially with captions), so play to the strengths of each medium.

The exact balance between nurturing and propositioning will depend on your business. If you run a business like mine where you need to nurture people for a while, then you might have a higher proportion of nurturing ads (maybe 60% selling / 40% nurture).

We’ll talk tomorrow about how to do all this without going broke, or funding the Google Christmas party.

June 5, 2019

Remarketing Crash Course: Day 2

Don’t tell them what they DID

We were talking yesterday about remarketing being the guy with a flyer outside your shop.

The question is: what should you put on your flyers? Or in other words, what should you say in your ads?

We’ve all been remarketed to badly. We’ve all been haunted around the internet by some website we visited one time. So what’s the right way to do it?

It helps to start by thinking of your marketing as a series of steps. Nobody ends up on your website by accident, so in the previous step something caused the visitor to stop what they were doing and go to your website. Your remarketing ad then needs to show them the next step, which may not be the thing they just looked at.

Most remarketing ads show you what you just looked at. Which is kind of creepy. If a remarketing ad simply repeats what you have already said ‘no’ to, then the ad is likely to be an annoyance, not a service.

We aren’t trying to annoy, follow, stalk, or otherwise creep anyone out. We’re trying to remind and serve. You serve people by putting the next helpful step in front of them, not by reminding them of what they just looked at.

In the words of David Ogilvy, your customer is not a moron. They’ve seen your offer, and for whatever reason they said ‘no’. Repeatedly showing it over and over is not very sensible. Have a think: what would convince them otherwise? How can you sweeten the deal, even if you’re just asking for an email opt-in? Might you need to educate them first?

The next step may not always be a sales step. In some circumstances it can be better to link to a video, or blog post. If the visitor didn’t convert because they don’t understand your topic well enough, you have to educate before you can sell.

Clicks are expensive, so there is some nuance to getting this balance right. More on this tomorrow.

June 4, 2019

Remarketing Crash Course: Day 1

Remarketing is database marketing…

Most business owners I speak to are familiar with the concept of remarketing – but the mechanics are often a mystery. Like the clutch in a car, it’s preferable to assume it works by magic.

If you do study the mechanics, things quickly get technical. You end up installing code on your website. You end up fighting with the Google Ads interface. Terms like audiencepixellookalike can quickly bamboozle you.

When you strip away the technicalities, remarketing is database marketing. You’re renting a list from Google or Facebook or some other media owner on a pay per click basis.

The best part is you get to build the list before you buy it. And actually you don’t really buy it – you only rent it on a per click basis. Or rather a ‘per engagement’ basis, because somebody could watch a video or like a Facebook post rather than click through to your website.

If you know what you’re doing, this makes remarketing a low-risk way to expand your sphere of influence.

As well as database marketing, remarketing is also a form of micro-branding to no more than a few thousand people at a time. Done right, you’re increasing awareness within the window when somebody is likely to still be making a decision.

Remarketing is the guy with the box of flyers…

Just for a moment, think of your website as a bricks and mortar high street store. A potential customer pops in, looking hurried. You acknowledge them and say ‘hi’. Suddenly, the customer glances at her phone, and abruptly leaves.

“I wonder why she left?” you wonder.

But all is not lost. Thirty yards up the road, your employee Chris is handing out flyers. “Spend $20 and get 15% off with this code”, says the flyer. Three hours later, the customer (looking significantly less flustered), returns holding the flyer and buys.

That in short is how remarketing works. Remarketing is the guy with the flyer, standing outside your shop. (He’s actually more intelligent than that, because he can only offer flyers to people who looked at certain things in your shop, or people who stayed for a minimum amount of time. But I am getting ahead of myself…)

The key strategic question is: what should you put on your flyers? Should you make an offer, like offering a discount? Should you try to educate the customer?

Remarketing clicks aren’t necessarily cheap. How do you make the clicks profitable?

More on this tomorrow.

April 18, 2019

How the Maze works in practice

The maze is a model for nurturing customers across multiple media. Today I would like to illustrate how this works, by using that bastion of design, Microsoft Paint…

The maze could also be thought of as your universe of awareness.

Potential customers who are unaware of you are outside of it. Once somebody first encounters you (sees an ad, meets you, sees a video, etc), they’re effectively here, at the edge:

Unless you operate to a very short sales cycle (e.g. you’re a locksmith), you’ll want people to opt-in to a media form you control. This could be an email opt-in, chatbot subscriber, print newsletter subscriber. Once this happens our contact is now further inside the maze, closer to you inner sanctum.

Once they sign up for your service, they’re basically in the middle (or close to it). The absolute centre of the maze is customers who sing your praises, leave glowing testimonials, and make ongoing referrals.

The problem is that as time passes, everyone in your universe of awareness is moving further away, all of the time.

Even customers subscribed to a subscription service move further away. With each day that passes where they DON’T engage with or use the service they’re paying for, they move further out (and become less likely to renew).

Which is a nice theory. But how do you build this in practice?

For somebody who arrived at your website yesterday (and didn’t opt-in), what do you show them next?

What advertising networks do you use? (Facebook / Google Display / YouTube)? How long should you advertise to them for? What percentage of your ads budget should you spend on nurturing vs selling?

These are all questions I address in this month’s edition of my print newsletter, Maze Marketing Insider. This month’s letter outlines two specific ways to nurture new contacts using remarketing.

A good email opt-in rate on a landing page might be 10%. This is a way to nurture the other 90%.

If you’re a subscriber, it’s already in the mail to you.

If you’re not, you can join us risk-free here. The deadline for this month’s print run is today. You’ll get the PDF version after that.

Membership includes my archive of newsletters and webinars going back to 2015 (now organised by topic), and all my books. Money back if you don’t like it.

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