Prospecting

Tackle Marketing’s Top Challenge with Prospecting

Written by Tim Edmundson

Jun 5, 2018 5 Min Read

It ain’t easy finding new customers. According to a recent Hubspot survey, 63% of marketers say generating traffic and leads is their top challenge. Finding a way to reach new prospects with the right message to convert them into loyal customers can be tricky. It’s a good thing prospecting campaigns exist, or this would be a hell of a lot harder than it already is.

For the uninitiated, prospecting campaigns put your ad in front of consumers who may not know your brand. The idea is to make a great first impression with these potential customers, and give them a reason to remember your brand, products, or service. From there, you’ve got them in your sales funnel, and you can continue to target and message them until you earn a conversion.

So what makes for a good prospecting campaign? Plenty of things — but there’s a few general best practices that will help give you the edge. Let’s break down the basics of what can make your prospecting campaigns succeed, and help tackle the challenge that’s top of mind for many marketers.

 

Cast a Wide Net

Without prospecting, the rest of the sales funnel suffers. For example, retargeting campaigns are fueled by site visitors, and it’s up to your prospecting campaigns to keep new site visitors coming.

That means you want to try and reach as many viable customers as you can. Don’t jump the gun on narrowing your focus too soon — instead, keep your targeting broad to start, and iterate as the campaign progresses. Use the incoming data to work smart, not hard, and identify user segments that are responding positively to your campaign. With this information in hand, you can narrow your targeting, inform future campaigns, and help create personas for your customer types. Knowledge is power, and casting a wide net allows you to grab as much of it as you can.

 

Build Success on Success

Lookalike audience targeting is great if you have a good handle on your audience. With lookalike targeting, you can create audiences that match the general characteristics of customers who have already converted. You can then serve them ads you know will resonate. The hypothesis here is lookalike audiences have the same interests as your existing customers, so it wouldn’t be a stretch to think they would be interested in your brand.

Lookalike audiences are built on the idea of customer personas. If you don’t have those for your brand yet — build them out (look at campaign and other first party data sources to do this). You’ll have a better understanding of who your shoppers are, and can make better decisions on important elements like creative and messaging.

 

Use Video Ads

According to eMarketer, U.S digital video ad spending will grow at double digit rates through at least 2021. By the early 2020s, advertisers will be spending over $22 billion a year on digital video ads alone. And this makes total sense — video ads use motion to capture user attention, allowing them to stand out from their static-image counterparts. And that means a chance at better performance.

Case in point, SteelHouse has run a number of video campaigns that have proven to be strong performers. We teamed up with some of our brand partners to run short-form video campaigns across Facebook and Instagram. We decided to test them against static-image ads to see if using video would provide a significant boost to performance. The results were compelling; the video campaigns saw higher engagement, lower CPAs, and ROAS that dwarfed the static campaigns. Here are some sample results we achieved with an organic meal delivery service.

> Click Through Rate | 5.75X Higher vs Static Ads

> Return on Ad Spend | Up 126% vs Static Ads

> Cost Per Acquisition | Down 36% vs Static ads

You’ll notice that these campaigns ran across both Facebook and Instagram. Which leads us to our next point…

 

Take Advantage of Social

It would be foolish to neglect social when it comes to your prospecting campaigns. Over 81% of Americans use social media, and there are over 3 billion people on it worldwide. That’s a lot. Which means social is an excellent place to launch prospecting campaigns because it’s where your potential customers are spending their time.

Platforms like Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram also have robust targeting features, which means you can create an audience that is a good fit for your brand. You can target based on user interest, demographic, or even create lookalike audiences. If you’re spending budget on social prospecting, it’s money well spent.

 

Use the Right Tech

If you’re going to run successful prospecting campaigns, you need to use the right tools. Using the right ad platform can make a big difference in terms of overall results. From available reach and channels, to the types of creative you run, all of these depend on the adtech platform you choose to partner with. Here are a few of the key elements to keep an eye out for.

> Creative Ad Builder | Launching a prospecting campaign with compelling creative is a must-have. And the ability to make edits and changes to your creative to keep pace with your learnings is key. Check out what Beachbody President & Co-founder Jon Congdon has to say about the advantages of having a creative ad builder available to make quick edits on the fly.

> Optimization Engine | Optimization keeps your campaign running like a well-oiled machine. Unfortunately, it can be hard to keep up if you’re trying to do it manually. SteelHouse’s Dynamic Spend Optimization, or DSO, automatically optimizes campaigns up to 720 times a month, based off of real-time data. Trying to keep a campaign optimized by hand just isn’t feasible anymore — so ensure your platform can intelligently optimize for you.

> Detailed Reporting | Any analytics dashboard you use should be fully transparent into key metrics such as clicks, conversions, and spend. It also gets bonus points for customization and real-time reporting. If your analytics dashboard doesn’t give you all the information you need, then it’s not worth your time.

If you’re keeping an eye out for a platform that has all of the above, you’re setting youself up for success. Also, we should note that the SteelHouse Advertising Suite has all of that (*cough* shameless plug *cough*) — and more. So whether you’re new to prospecting, or are looking for new ways to approach it, read up on the tips above and start netting new customers.