What Is Behavioral Marketing? Types, Segmentation, & Examples

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Types of behavioral marketing

Behavioral marketing takes various forms, from dynamic website content to personalized recommendations. Here’s a rundown of some of the most common types of behavioral marketing.

Dynamic Website Content

Dynamic website content (aka adaptive content) automatically changes based on the behavioral triggers of who views it. The content is customized to appeal to individuals based on their prior digital behavior or expressed interests. 

For example, using UTM codes, you can display different messaging to different companies that respond to your email campaigns. The benefit of more targeted messaging is it delivers greater relevance, which in turn deepens engagement and drives action. 

Calls-to-Action

Conversion optimization software is a core function of digital marketing because it helps you turn your site visitors into leads and customers. With the software, you can configure a wide range of CTAs in your website to trigger the digital body language and actions of your site visitors. 

Brands often use the software to display a CTA based on the scroll-depth or time-on-page of the site visitor, as these behaviors typically reflect higher engagement and greater receptivity to related messaging.

Brands can configure CTAs in many other ways, as well, to re-engage, drive depth of focus, or retarget users. For example, you can show a CTA when a visitor has been inactive for a certain amount of time or bypassed an earlier CTA. 

Or, if they express interest in a topic, you can show options for deeper, related information. On the other hand, you can share very different CTAs with them if they leave your site altogether but return later.

Retargeting

Retargeting ads use data, like the products an individual viewed on your website, to show the person advertising related to that product (or topic on the page) as they spend more time online. Similarly, search retargeting displays ads to an individual online based on their search history. 

Social media retargeting is the process of displaying an ad in a person’s social media feed after they visited your website.

Common retargeting tools include AdRoll, ReTargerter, Criteo, Google, and Facebook (to name a few). They use behavioral data to display relevant ads to the target audience interested in that particular product, service, or topic.

For example, I briefly visited the ClickUp website, a project management platform, then I left after I tested the platform.

My action told ClickUp I’m at the bottom of the purchase funnel and might be ready to buy. When I visited LinkedIn shortly afterward, a ClickUp sponsored post appeared in my feed offering a limited-time, 15% discount for an annual subscription.

Email marketing

Behaviorally segmented emails look at your consumer’s actions on your website and send them emails accordingly. For example, let’s say you manage an e-commerce site. What if a shopper adds a product to their shopping cart but doesn’t complete the transaction?

You can use this real-time information to immediately email them relevant content such as a discount code or reminder that they have items in their cart. The extra nudge is sometimes what a consumer needs to complete a purchase.

Another example of behavioral targeting in email marketing is sending an email based on page visits. Assess each customer journey stage with trigger pages like “Latest Trends” “Case Studies,” “Book a Demo,” or “Pricing.”

When a customer visits one of these pages, your marketing automation platform can trigger an appropriate email to follow up with them in a relevant and helpful way.

You can even use behavioral marketing to grow your email subscriber list! In this case, if a user viewed a product, you could offer them a discount code if they sign up for your email list. Then, you could remind them to use their code on the product they viewed.

Product recommendations

Amazon gets a gold star for product suggestions. They use their knowledge of consumer behavior and trends to suggest products that others have bought with the item you’ve added to your cart. 

For example, let’s say I just renovated my backyard and I want to add a bridge to my Amazon cart. The platform might then suggest a few other decorative items to complement the bridge.

Product recommendations increase shopping cart value and increase sales.

The recommendations also build customer loyalty. They accomplish this through a seamless customer experience in which the website appears to read the mind of the site visitor. The algorithm, behavioral patterns, and purchase behavior determine suggestions, so they are pretty darn accurate!

Amazon product recommendation image that uses behavioral marketing

Behavioral marketing segmentation

Marketing segmentation based on behavioral data is essential to deliver a personalized experience for customers. It also ensures customers see relevant content. Consequently, it helps to increase customer lifecycle retention and purchasing behavior.

But what personal data should you collect for accurate behavioral segmentation?

Visitor data

Monitor your visitor metrics and configure a scoring system.

  • Are they on a desktop or mobile device? 
  • Are they a new or returning visitor? 
  • Did they visit in the morning, during lunch hour, or in the evening? 
  • How often do they visit your website? Which products do they view? 
  • Do they visit pages indicative of purchase intent? 
  • Beyond product pages, what blog topics are they digging into?
  • What have they downloaded? 
  • How have they engaged with different elements of the site?

You get the idea.

Geolocation

Geolocation is a necessary customer segment for location-based businesses or in-person events.

For example, if you run marketing for a restaurant chain and use location to target ads, someone in their car searching for a place to eat on their phone would be served your ad when they’re within a geofence near one of your restaurants.

Geolocation is also helpful for retail.

If you are marketing for an outdoor apparel retailer, you can track location in order to serve ads based on the weather. When it’s raining in Vermont yet sunny in New Hampshire, you can run ads promoting waterproof socks and boots in Vermont while running ads for sunscreen in New Hampshire.

Buyer intent

Demographics and location metrics provide insight into your customers’ needs, but they don’t tell you how likely they are to make a purchase. Segment your audience by buyer intent, instead, to increase your conversion rate and sales.

Look at their search history, engagement level, or the specific pages they’ve visited. Have they used your virtual, interactive fitting room to try on your clothing? Did they go through your recommendation wizard? Or sign up for your online community? 

Or, on the B2B lead generation side, have they attended your webinars? Interacted with your online chat? Or registered for a demo?

Transactions

You already know selling more products to current customers costs less than acquiring new customers. This is why lifecycle marketing is so important. 

Score your site visitors based on the number of purchases, order value, or frequency of purchases, and you’ll be able to hone your marketing efforts accordingly. Send them emails, serve them content, and present them with custom offers based on their prior purchases to improve customer retention.

Engagement

When customers become fans, you’re in a good place. Engagement is a crucial metric for spotting your brand’s super fans. You can find them through social media interactions, email click-through rates, and website interactions. 

Engagement can take many forms. Look at past behaviors across multiple touchpoints that indicate interest or buyer intent. For example, number of pages viewed, visit duration, downloads, sign-ups, questions asked, social shares, return visits, etc.

Multi-channel behavioral marketing

Multi-channel behavioral marketing distributes your message across channels like your website, YouTube, email, mobile, social media, and third-party sites via ad networks. By leveraging more than one digital marketing channel, you increase the probability customers will see your marketing, return to your site, and convert.

Just make sure you configure your multi-touch attribution model correctly so you can track performance.

Plan holistically

When designing your multi-channel campaign, make sure it’s cohesive by planning holistically. Start with your marketing strategy, including the following components:

  • Goals and KPIs: What campaign goals define success? Whatever you choose, set up your tools to track the metrics accurately.
  • Channels: This is where the multi-channel part comes in. Where does your audience for this campaign spend time? Consider social media platforms, YouTube channels, podcasts, email, search engines, media websites, and other third-party websites.
  • Budget: How much did you budget? Will the budget be designated by channel, or shared as a portfolio? Consider the cost of your internal team, agencies, freelancers, and advertising costs. How much do you need to allocate to any tools?
  • Content plan: What content do you need to build for each channel? Do you know the content that would take your target audience members to the next level? What is the content that would guide them down the funnel?

Creative assets: What creative assets do you need for different channels? Consider creative assets such as microsites, landing pages, images, video, audio, infographics, email templates, online tools, ads, etc.

Take your campaign across channels

Next, use your customer data to target the customers that have already signaled their interest based on their behavior. Score and segment your contacts. Consider the following factors for taking your campaign across multiple channels:

  • What are all the channels your target audience uses?
  • How do they typically go from one channel to another?
  • In which channels are they more receptive to interacting with brands?
  • Is their channel usage equally distributed? Or do they tend to spend most of their time on one channel?
  • Do they use certain channels for information gathering, and other channels when they are closer to a purchase?
  • How about their preference for mobile vs. desktop?

Patrick Lane

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