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Supercharge your email marketing with Google AdWords
Columnist Todd Saunders explains how to use AdWords Customer Match to nurture your email marketing leads at various stages in the funnel.
I have a confession to make.
The odds of my instantly deleting one of the many marketing emails I receive each day are about as good as Tom Brady and the Patriots making the playoffs — meaning it’s pretty likely to happen.
Unfortunately for all you email marketers out there, I’m not alone. According to email marketing service MailChimp, the average email open rate across industries is below 25 percent, with a click rate of 2 to 3 percent. That means that, on average, you’d need to send 100 emails to get two or three people to take any action. All that time and energy spent crafting the perfect email marketing campaign will be wasted if you don’t create a complementary strategy to get more sales from your hard-earned email list.
The good news is that you can use Google AdWords as your complementary strategy by simply leveraging the existing data you have on your email subscribers. Let’s dive into the best ways to make that happen.
Learn the ins and outs of Customer Match in AdWords
Customer Match in AdWords might be the greatest secret weapon for email marketers that Google has to offer. It allows you to target or exclude your existing customers on Google Search, Display and YouTube by simply uploading your customer email list to AdWords. Think of it as another way to nurture your sales leads besides sending them more emails.
The best thing about Customer Match is that it’s not that difficult to get up and running. Here’s what you need to do to get started:
- Click on the “Wrench” icon in the top right corner of your AdWords Dashboard.
- Click on “Audience Manager” under the Shared Library section.
- Click on “Audience Lists” from the Page Menu on the left.
- Click on the blue “+” button to create a new audience list.
- Select “Customer List.”
- Choose the option to upload a plain text data file or a hashed data file.
- Choose your new file.
- Check the box that says “This data was collected and is being shared with Google in compliance with Google’s policies.”
- Set a membership duration (this should be determined by the types of customers that make up the list).
- Click “Upload and Create List.”
Please note that these instructions are for the “new” version of the AdWords dashboard. If you’re interested in Customer Match but are still using the “old” version of the AdWords dashboard, see here for more instructions.
Segment your email list
Now that you have a better understanding of Customer Match, let’s take a look at how you might want to slice and dice your email list to more effectively target your sales leads on AdWords.
Take a look at the following email audience segments we use at AdHawk (my company) for a moment:
- New and engaged email subscribers who have not become customers.
- Email subscribers who have not opened an email recently.
- Email subscribers who are existing customers and would be a good fit for an upgraded product or service.
Each of these email audience segments has an entirely different relationship with our business and needs to be messaged to differently. If you have a similar breakdown of your marketing emails, you can repurpose your email list segmentation for your AdWords campaigns via Customer Match. This will allow you to tailor the messaging of your ads for each segment, and as a result, help to nudge your sales leads farther down your funnel.
Create a different AdWords strategy for each segment of your email list
Once you have your email audience segments in place, it’s time to develop a unique AdWords strategy for each segment.
I’m going to use the three email audience segments noted above as examples. Your approach might be different, and that’s okay. Just make sure you’re not using general ads for every email audience segment you have on your list.
Converting new and engaged email subscribers
When a new lead signs up to learn more about AdHawk, our team goes into “educate” mode. The goal is to get them to see the value of our product and services as quickly as possible so we can move them down the funnel.
Our “Welcome” email flow takes the first steps in educating our leads, and it performs pretty well compared to the industry average. But our secret weapon emerges when we take a list of our “new” sales leads and turn it into a Customer Match campaign in AdWords.
Here’s what a typical flow for this segment looks at AdHawk:
- Step 1: Potential customer signs up to learn more about AdHawk.
- Step 2: After signing up, the potential customer receives the first email in the “Welcome” email flow, with a call to action to book a time with our sales team.
- Step 3: A Customer Match segment is created for all “new” prospective customers that didn’t take action on the first email in the “Welcome” email flow.
By using a Customer Match segment for all new and engaged AdHawk sales leads, we’re able to bid up on more generic keywords that would be too risky to bid up on for a general search campaign. We’re also able to create Gmail Ads with a similar look and feel to our “Welcome” emails series that prompt a strong customer recall.
Converting unengaged email subscribers
Converting unengaged email subscribers can be a huge pain in the butt. They’ve stopped engaging with your emails, so the worst thing you could do is continue to bash them over the head with more emails.
Here’s the flow we use to re-engage leads that have left us hanging:
- Step 1: Potential customer signs up to learn more about AdHawk but does not engage with our emails for 30 days.
- Step 2: A Customer Match segment is created for all “unengaged” prospective customers.
- Step 3: A Remarketing campaign is created to target prospective customers that have not converted after 30 days.
- Step 4: We tailor the Customer Match and Remarketing ads to promote a special offer.
This group is the least likely to convert, so any new business scraped up is a huge win! It’s important to educate these stale leads on what we do and remind them why they signed up in the first place.
Upselling existing customers to a new product or service
Most marketers are so intent on attracting new business that they often forget that there is a wealth of opportunity under their noses. Don’t sleep on marketing to those that have bought something from you in the past! We use our existing customer segment to promote new features or products we feel they will be a good fit for.
Here’s the flow we use to target existing customers:
- Step 1: A Customer Match segment is created for our “Existing Customers.”
- Step 2: We further segment this list by renewal date to ensure that customers see our ads when their contract is up.
- Step 3: Tailor the ads to promote additional services we offer that our customers are not leveraging.
We’ve structured our flow this way because our product runs on a subscription basis. If you’re selling physical goods that can be repurchased often, break down your segment by the products your customers have shown the most interest in. That way, you can tailor your ads to the specific products you believe would resonate most with them.
Are you leveraging AdWords as part of your email marketing strategy? If you are, I’d love to learn more about what strategies you have used that have been successful.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.