By Susan Saldibar
Call it re-targeting, IP matching, or reverse append; the concept is the same. You are identifying and re-targeting those individuals who have visited your website and left without filling out a form.
Is this fair? The short answer is “yes”, although it’s taken a while for marketers to get comfortable with it. But as consumers, we know (or should!) that we leave a trail of cookie crumbs wherever we go on the internet. The point is, IP matching and re-targeting are here to stay. And you can push back on using it (and get sidelined by your competition), or you can be strategic about how you use it.
Valerie Whitman, VP of Senior Living for LeadingResponse (a Senior Housing Forum partner), recently told me she was getting more and more calls from senior living marketers saying, “Tell me about IP matching and re-targeting.” So, I asked her what she tells marketers who are ready to get serious about using it to get a competitive edge.
Here are some things she wants senior living marketers to understand.
Using IP matching and re-targeting is not “creepy” when done correctly. It’s smart.
Re-targeting digitally has been used for a while now. You experience it when you visit a website, leave it, and then see that same product or service on a banner ad or social media feed. Does that seem creepy to you? It doesn’t have to be. “IP matching is a highly acceptable method of capturing data,” Valerie says. “You are providing highly relevant information targeted to that individual,” she adds. You want their reaction to be, ‘Wow, I’m really interested in that,’ rather than ‘Somebody is watching me.’ The key is your messaging and the media you use.”
With many IP matching technologies, the best data is left untouched.
“There are a few IP matching technologies out there that only can drill down to the neighborhood, not the exact home address,” Valerie tells me. “So, if you’re doing direct mail, you’ll be sending out dozens of postcards to reach the one or two who visited your website.” That’s a waste of time and money. And since you can’t drill down to the actual household, you can’t identify the associated demographics to determine if it’s a qualified visitor.
LeadingResponse has developed a patented algorithm that lets them uncover an extraordinary amount of details about each visitor. And they use them to craft highly targeted programs that engage with prospects by giving them relevant information that they can use.
Another cool thing about IP matching and re-targeting is that you can also target individuals who are seeking employment opportunities. “If a visitor spends 10 minutes on your career page, you can send them targeted messaging, such as ‘We’re holding open interviews every Wednesday at 4:00,’” she says. With such a tight job market, I would think this would be welcomed by cash strapped HR departments.
Digital banner ads are great, but there’s something even more effective. And cheaper.
Many marketers will use IP matching and re-targeting primarily to launch contextual online banner advertising, Valerie tells me. But by using banner advertising alone, you are competing with a host of other ads from other companies doing exactly the same thing. And if they have deeper pockets than you do, your ads may not even be seen.
That’s where Valerie feels direct mail campaigns can really make an impact. Direct mail is still the best way to communicate with your target audience, despite all things being digital these days, Valerie tells me. And that’s not only for brand recognition but for longer shelf life. “For those with buildings still under construction, you might provide renderings with progress updates,” Valerie says. But your call to action is critical. “Some communities put a lot of work into a mailer, only to fall back on the old “call us for more information” call to action. That’s a mistake,” Valerie says. “Always have a specific measurable CTA, such as ‘Call or visit XYZ.com to schedule a complimentary lunch or dinner.”
Giving prospects more than just one way to communicate with you is important. That’s because not everyone has the same communication preferences, Valerie explains. So, a visitor to your website may prefer to communicate online. And if they aren’t ready to pick up the phone and call you, they may respond better to a more passive approach, such as clicking on a specific landing page you’ve created just for them, with some tangible next step options to choose from. Makes a lot of sense.
Bottom line: The ones who “didn’t bite” may be the most qualified of all.
The real value to IP matching, according to Valerie, is in identifying those visitors who are the most qualified. “The more accurate your IP matching database is, the more accurately you can re-target your most qualified leads,” Valerie tells me. It can also lead to greater precision with Pay Per Click ads and other digital marketing efforts. If a large percentage of visitors who leave without identifying themselves fall outside your target demographic group, you can adjust your messaging accordingly.
More and more people are going online to research senior living communities before taking action. Not being able to market to those who visit and leave your website is a missed opportunity, Valerie tells clients. “You have already paid for PPC to get them to your website, why not get your money’s worth? The ones who left your site could be the most qualified of all. Without IP matching, you let them slip away.”
For more information about LeadingResponse, please visit their website.