Using search and email to recognize customer intent

I’ve COVID-19. Luckily I’m vaxxed and boosted, so the results have been delicate. But within the mind fog that inevitably accompanies COVID, my ideas have naturally turned to email marketing.

Why would I consider email and COVID collectively? Browse-abandon emails made me do it.

For years I’ve railed towards browse-abandon emails (learn my most recent rant) as a result of they’re based mostly on an outdated concept that shopping an internet site indicators buy intent.

Granted, internet shopping was a stronger intent sign 20 years in the past when shopping was confined primarily to desktops. So, an email that reminded a customer concerning the browse session, supplied assist and linked again to the web page had some advantage. 

Today, folks can cross hyperlinks simply, share them on social media and verify on their telephones. Merely taking a look at one thing not signifies intent.

I imply, my spouse scrolls merchandise endlessly on web sites each evening. Thank goodness there’s no intent there, or I’d be broke.

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In advertising and marketing, intent is the name of the game. Growing and recognizing intent, messaging and performing on intent – are critically vital for email entrepreneurs. Email’s job is to qualify and motion intent in email. 

Because, as everyone knows, email can do solely a lot. The full conversion expertise occurs on the web site. We, as email entrepreneurs, want the mindset to perceive how to create, recognize and act on intent.

So this brings me to the hyperlink between COVID and intent and browse abandonment. 

I’ve been looking out on the internet for COVID-related issues, like my closest Walgreens, the place I should buy in-home testing kits, tissues and Robitussin and every little thing I want to get by way of this.

In these searches, I’ve had a excessive diploma of intent. I’ve COVID, and I would like to really feel higher quick. 

Search is a kind of instruments to recognize intent. It makes me surprise what number of entrepreneurs consider utilizing searches on their very own websites to recognize and act on intent. Then it made me surprise how entrepreneurs use search and different instruments on their web sites to recognize intent.

So I got here up with a brand new email program referred to as “intent abandonment.” That’s extra correct than “browse abandonment.” But it means methods you should use search and different issues in your web site to recognize and act on intent.

Let’s take a look at how one can recognize and act on intent.

1. Use search to reveal intent

Unless your web site was constructed on static pages, try to be ready to observe and handle search so you’ll be able to uncover what your prospects are attempting to uncover in your web site.

This recollects the city legend Target sniffed out {that a} teen shopper was pregnant based mostly on her web site search, linked to her id, and despatched her coupons for child issues, a lot to her stunned father’s dismay.

This has since been disproved, however the level stays that many entrepreneurs have the know-how to make this occur through email. If I’m in your web site and you’ll be able to see I’m looking for tissues and testing kits and cough syrup, I most likely have COVID, or somebody shut to me does. 

Those are all high-intent key phrases. When you string them collectively, you’ll be able to see one thing is happening.

As a marketer, are you able to join or correlate these search phrases to a selected person at a second in time? See if you happen to can reply these two key questions: 

  1. Which of your search phrases sign sturdy intent reasonably than idle shopping?
  2. What’s the search path that follows? 

You would possibly discover, for instance, that somebody searches on these high-intent key phrases, goes to a outcomes web page, clicks on a hyperlink and spends time on a product web page, goes again to the outcomes web page, clicks on one other hyperlink, and so on. That exhibits excessive intent.

This is the place browse abandonment fails immediately. Just taking a look at a web page doesn’t inform you a lot. Maybe they clicked a Facebook advert or Pinterest pin by mistake, checked out what was in your web site for a minute, and then bounced out. That’s not intent. 

My thought of intent abandonment means your browser confirmed a excessive diploma of intent by way of search however didn’t buy. That can set off a follow-up message with wording alongside the strains of “Is there one thing we are able to do to assist? Did one thing go incorrect? Were we out of inventory?”

Here’s the place you should use customer-service outreach messages that resemble abandoned-cart emails. As email entrepreneurs, we’re so busy getting campaigns out the door that we overlook real intent indicators by way of search. Maybe it’s time to try this.

2. How do we all know search works?

Well, there’s that little trade that makes gazillions of {dollars} yearly with pay-per-click advertisements, however let’s take a look at a greater instance on the B2B search.

It’s account-based advertising and marketing or ABM. One premise of ABM is that you’ve got a named account of individuals at firms you need to pursue as prospects. You add their names to an ABM account device, and encompass them with advertisements and content material that leads them to ungated pages with articles, white papers, webinar invitations and the like within the hopes they’ll attain out.

ABM additionally has one other element: recognizing search by way of techniques like Bombora, which may ferret out the key phrases that spell intent.

As head of promoting for an ESP, we used ABM to recognize high-intent search phrases and then surrounded our prospects who used these phrases with promoting. We wished to keep away from folks doing a generic search for ESPs. We wished somebody who match our particular goal market and was actively looking out. We used search by way of Bombora and its know-how to goal promoting that will develop and motion intent.

[Pause while I sneeze.]

Search works. We know it really works in PPC, however there are different use circumstances. You additionally personal the search field. If your customers are logged in, you’ll be able to maximize your search intelligence to search for your high-intent search and ship them related messages.

Read subsequent: How Planful uses customer intent to speed up the B2B buying cycle 

3. Where do you have to begin?

By now, I hope I’ve persuaded you that intent abandonment is the course you need to go to seize your severe browsers. Remember, I’ve COVID, so my persuasion expertise could be just a little off.

To get began, take a look at the uncooked search outcomes in your web site. Learn what persons are looking for. If you’ve an incredible information crew, ask them what customers ended up shopping for. Look for correlations between searches and purchases. Then decide a search time period you should use to message customers and inspire them to return to your web site.

Next, create an email comparable to your abandoned-cart email however don’t be overly creepy. You’re not together with information that your browsers wouldn’t count on you to know. Ask in the event that they need assistance, and embrace a customer-service telephone quantity.

After that, arrange and take a look at easy automation so you’ll be able to see your information instantly. Set up a management group. Half of your browsers get the message, and half don’t. 

Let it run for some time, then take a studying. Did the take a look at group present a carry over the management group? If so, broaden the take a look at. If not, don’t hand over. Tweak the copy. Tweak your search phrases. Test it once more and once more till you discover the suitable mixture.

This is what intent is. Someone looking for one thing and then taking a collection of actions. If I search and click on round, then I’ve intent. Those are the levers you’ve to play with to decide what signifies intent and what doesn’t. 

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Wrapping up

We all need to get extra income and hold our prospects engaged. Is my intent-abandonment program a revolutionary new factor to keynote on? Maybe not – possibly somebody has already provide you with this. The premise is what’s vital. We email entrepreneurs want to change our mindset from simply promoting to discovering, rising and performing on intent.

If Walgreen’s had despatched me a useful follow-up email suggesting issues folks purchase once they’re dealing with COVID or colds, I most likely would have acted on that. 

That’s how we are able to use email to be extra useful to our prospects and meet our enterprise targets. Let’s search for intent. It’s on the market, ready for us to uncover it.

And now, again to my Robitussin and lotion-coated Kleenex.  

Opinions expressed on this article are these of the visitor writer and not essentially MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

As the co-founder of, Ryan Phelan’s 20 years of worldwide advertising and marketing management has resulted in progressive methods for high-growth SaaS and Fortune 250 firms. His expertise and historical past in digital advertising and marketing have formed his perspective on creating progressive orchestrations of information, know-how and customer activation for Adestra, Acxiom, Responsys, Sears & Kmart, BlueHornet and infoUSA. Working with friends to advance digital advertising and marketing and mentoring younger entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs are two of Ryan’s passions. Ryan is the Chairman Emeritus of the Email Experience Council Advisory Board and a member of quite a few enterprise group teams. He can be an in-demand keynote speaker and thought chief on digital advertising and marketing.

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