It used to be that getting precise targeting was available to advertisers with big names and big budgets. In the past couple of years the ability to target specific groups has been opened to small and medium sized advertisers as well. The options for implementing custom targeting are many, but advertisers can start with the most accessible.
With digital marketing there are two broad methods for setting up custom targets, customer email lists and site visitors. Each have their pros and cons but both are great first step down the custom audience path.
Email list targeting
Platforms are getting sophisticated behind the scenes while simplifying the ability to implement email list (customer / prospect) targeting. Two of the most popular advertising platforms, Google Adwords and Facebook, provide the ability for advertisers to load a list of emails (assumed proper opt in steps were taken) and target those users within their properties and partners. In addition to the platforms themselves, companies like Choozle integrate with properties across the web to target people based on email addresses.
Site content targeting
With the use of tracking pixels placed on their site, advertisers can deliver ad content that is directly related to information and products visitors viewed on the website. If a site already has Google Analytics setup, then the ability to create custom audiences is already available and targetable through Google Adwords. Many other platforms have proprietary tracking pixels that can also be place on the website. If this sounds complicated, just ask your website developer because it really is quite simple.
Some first step tactics for custom audiences
Aid in conversion after submit
Many companies receive emails from prospects and have a time lag before the sale is closed. Custom audiences can be created based on the email address provided or the goal / confirmation page they land on. Using this targeting method advertisers can deliver a very specific product and promotion driven message to help close the sales.
Target affinity products / resell
By segmenting both customer data and site content based on product association, advertisers can cross promote products that are a natural extension of those purchased or viewed. Rather than blanked all customers and visitors with the same ads, the segmented approach will increase response rates and reduce ad waste.
Reinforce post sale
Repeat business is the heart of any company, meaning the sales process continues well after the sale is made. Reinforcing the purchase decision through social proof and customer reward programs helps continue the good feelings and increases the likelihood of repeat purchases.
Admittedly nothing mentioned is revolutionary. The ideas are tried and true. What is relatively new is the access that all advertisers now have to these tactics.
Give consideration to your customer base and product segments to determine what associations make the most sense. Then craft your first, simple campaigns. Get comfortable with the process before you get complicated with the execution.