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The Beginner’s Guide to Retargeting

You put a lot of effort into driving consumers to your website. Your site is where the magic happens—people get to learn more about your business and purchase your goods or services. But what happens when someone goes to your website but doesn’t become a customer?

This happens a lot. A full 92 percent of consumers do something other than make a purchase on their first visit to a business’s website.

And when you think about the customer journey, it makes sense. People want to get to know, like, and trust your business before they commit to handing over their credit card. So the real question becomes: How do you recapture the attention of those 92 percent of consumers? Their first visit to your website does you no good if they never return.

That’s where retargeting comes in. This digital advertising technique allows you to remind those consumers who might otherwise drift away that you’re still here! If you’ve never tried it before, this simple guide is exactly what you need to get an effective retargeting campaign up and running.

What is Retargeting?

You’ve likely undertaken some form of digital advertising before, but maybe you haven’t ventured into the world of retargeting specifically. Retargeting is different from other forms of digital advertising. It allows you to direct your ad content at people who have previously interacted with your brand.

If you’ve ever clicked on a product description on a website and then had photos of that product crop up in banner ads on other sites, you’ve experienced retargeting firsthand!

How it Works

Google and Facebook have created nifty tools to track consumers’ behavior on your website. Once they know someone has been on your site, the tool triggers your ads to display to those consumers on either Facebook or via Google Ads’ search or display network.

Retargeting on Facebook

Crafting retargeted ads on Facebook begins with the creation and installation of a Facebook Pixel. The pixel is a snippet of code which you can automatically generate in your Facebook Business Manager. You then copy and paste the code into the header tags on your website, and that starts feeding information about your website visitors into your Business Manager account.

With the installation of the pixel, Facebook now sees everyone who visits your website. Then, it’s up to you to tell Facebook which of those people you’d like to target with advertising. You go back into Facebook to define custom audiences for your retargeting campaign. You can select different behaviors and attributes for your campaign.

For example, let’s say you’re looking to reduce cart abandonment on your website. You can create a custom audience on Facebook that will show advertising to people who have been to your website, put items into their shopping cart, and then left before completing their purchase.

Next, it’s time to create your actual ad. Because the audience you’re targeting is shoppers who have abandoned their cart, you might want to show them an ad offering free shipping on items—something to entice them to come back to your site and complete their purchase.

It’s important to create advertising that has a specific call to action which speaks to the target audience. If you’re targeting folks who abandoned their shopping carts, it doesn’t make sense to show them an ad for an entirely different product. By tracking visitors’ behavior on your website, you have insider information on their wants and needs. Use that to create an ad that’s tailored to exactly where they are in their customer journey!

Retargeting on Google

There are a lot of similarities between the process of retargeting on Google and Facebook. On Google, you’re able to link your Ads account with your Google Analytics to track user behavior. Analytics allows you to create a tracking pixel, just like with Facebook, which can also be installed on your website between the header tags.

Once you’ve linked your Ads and Analytics accounts, it’s time to set up your audience lists. Using their retargeting platform, you can reach audiences in search, display, or video campaigns (via YouTube). Again, like on Facebook, you can define specific parameters for the behaviors or demographics you’d like your retargeting audience to display. These can be attributes like people who have clicked a specific call to action on a page or have previously purchased a specific item on your site.

Once your audiences are established, you move on to creating your ads. As with Facebook, it’s important to make sure that the content of your ad syncs up with the previous actions of your targeted audience.

Retargeting 2.0: Get Specific with Your Codes

You don’t have to settle for just one pixel on your homepage. In fact, you can and should customize the pixel for different pages of your website. If yours is an e-commerce business, you can add unique pixels to each specific product page. That will put those visitors to each individual page into a specific retargeting bucket, ensuring they’re seeing content that’s most relevant to them.

For example, if you own a shoe business that sells men’s, women’s, and children’s shoes, you can create different pixels for each product page. Someone who visited a page for men’s dress shoes will then be added to the men’s dress shoes retargeting list. That way, they’ll see ads for men’s dress shoes—rather than men’s sneakers or kid’s dress shoes—across other sites. Creation of specific audiences guarantees that every prospect sees retargeted ads that are personalized to their own behavior on your site.

The Secret to Retargeting

It’s this type of customization that’s the secret to successful retargeting. You want to use your retargeting to create a funnel. This funnel moves those who simply know your business to come to like you, and those who like and trust you towards the sale. You can even use retargeting to approach existing customers with cross-sell offers.

Let’s say you have a pixel on the “about us” page of your website. You figure that most visitors to this page are just getting to know you. Therefore, you might retarget these folks with more in-depth information about your business. Perhaps your ads show them links to your blog content or invite them to listen to your podcast. You’re greeting them with content that will help them to come to know and trust your business. And that’s the next logical step in the customer journey.

For those who already trust you and are moving towards the try and buy phases of the marketing hourglass, the messaging should be different. Let’s say you install a pixel on your “Get a Quote” page of your site. Anyone visiting this page is likely on the fence about reaching out to speak to your team in person. Presenting them with an offer for a free quote or trial offer might be just the nudge they need to give you a try.

Finally, you can retarget your existing customers. Displaying complementary products to those who recently bought from you is a great way to cross-sell to customers.

The key to great retargeting is to make the right offer at the right time. This approach eases prospects down the funnel towards becoming full-fledged customers. Retargeting allows you to create specific messaging. That way, you can personalize each message and greet your audience with exactly what they need to hear, no matter where they are in their journey.

If you liked this post, check out our Small Business Guide to Paid Search.

How to Use Advertising as a Lead Generation Tool

How to Use Advertising as a Lead Generation Tool

Marketing is a broad term that encompasses a number of channels and approaches. Advertising is just one of them, and in our increasingly digital age, it can sometimes feel like a tactic of the past. However, when advertising is used properly, it can become an effective lead generation tool.

Below we’ll take a look at both online and offline advertising and explore the best ways to harness each approach to generate leads.

Online Ads

Online ads are a highly effective way to generate leads because you’re able to collect and access so much information about your customers when they interact with you online. And the major players in the online game are making it easier than ever for you to create online ads that are highly targeted.

Facebook and Google are the two major players in the space, and they offer small business owners all sorts of opportunities to better understand their current users, find new potential clients, and generate leads and conversions. They do this by providing highly-granular analytics on all of their users and by allowing you the opportunity to customize your advertising approach and target market.

There are a few critical steps any business owner should take before starting an online marketing campaign to ensure they’re going to get the most out of their approach.

Know Who Your Customers Are

You can’t possibly know who you should be targeting without knowing the demographics of your current client base. How old are they? Where are they located? What’s their income level? This is the kind of demographic information you should be collecting on your current clients. You can also get information on prospects with tools like Facebook Pixel, which allows you to track visitors’ behavior on your own website so that you can send them targeted ads on Facebook later.

Go After Your Audience

Once you understand more about the people who already use your service or have expressed interest in your website, you’ll want to go after those specific people with online ads. Facebook and Google also make it easy to target people who might not have encountered your business yet, but are similar to those who already interact with your business. Facebook’s lookalike audiences allow you to present your ads to those who have attributes that are similar to people already on your mailing list. And Google Ads allows you to advertise by location, while tools like Google Local Service Ads put you in front of potential leads right as they’re looking for the service you offer.

Track Your Results

Google and Facebook both offer robust analytics on how many people are seeing your ads, whether they’re then visiting your website, and if that is resulting in a conversion. You should be keeping regular tabs on these analytics so that you can easily catch and solve an issue, or jump on a successful approach and amplify that across other channels.

Testing Makes Perfect

Based on what you’re seeing from the analytics, you can go in and make strategic changes to your approach. A/B testing is regularly used in website design, but the principles can be applied to advertising as well. If a campaign isn’t succeeding, make a change. This might be a change to the content, the delivery method, or the demographics of those you’re targeting, but whatever changes you implement, make them one at a time so you’re able to see how each change moves the needle on the campaign. If you hit on a successful tactic that results in leads, apply that across your other channels. The beauty of online advertising is that if something isn’t working, it’s possible to change it quickly, easily, and without great cost.

Offline Ads

While there is great value in creating effective online advertising campaigns, a robust advertising approach will also incorporate offline ads. And while you may not have the specific analytics to see precisely how your offline ads are performing, there’s still immense value in investing in print, television, radio, and direct mail.

With offline advertising, there’s usually more upfront cost involved, and once a print ad or radio spot is out there, you can’t make modifications. All of this means that there’s value in taking more time up front to be strategic about your approach–you really can’t skip the research step here.

However, many of the same basic principles from online advertising should also be put into use offline.

Identify Your Medium

Different types of customers will interact with different kinds of offline media. That same demographic information you needed to establish a successful online campaign can help you to determine the type of offline campaign that will afford you the greatest reach with the types of customers you hope to find. If you run an auto repair shop, it might make more sense for you to create radio spots, as people tend to listen to the radio while they’re driving. If your target customers are millennial men, consider running your ad during the college football game on your local sports network. Understanding your customers allows you to hone in on a broader audience that will likely have a similar interest in your product or service.

Think Outside the Box

It’s more difficult now to approach offline advertising because a lot of people are conditioned to ignore it or have the means to avoid it entirely (DVRs and streaming services, for example, allow you to skip commercials entirely). This means you’ll need to get creative with your approach. Forget the 30 second radio spot; have you ever thought about texting as advertising? There are lots of possibilities out there, if you’re willing to think beyond the traditional. Hiring an advertising professional is a worthwhile investment because they understand the landscape, the latest trends, and can create a campaign that really stands out.

Create Your Own Analytics

It is possible to get a broad sense of how your offline advertising is being received. While it’s not the same as the incredible detail you can get from online analytics, you can get useful information about how your campaigns are playing offline. If you’re launching a new print or direct mail campaign and include an offer, provide a unique code that allows you to track how new leads who approach you came across your business. There’s also value in creating a brief survey for those who sign up for more information on your website. Simply asking “how did you find out about us?” and listing your individual offline advertising efforts below can provide you with insight into where leads are coming from. Armed with this information, you’ll be able to focus your efforts more on the medium that’s working best, and over time can gain insight into the campaigns and approaches that prove most fruitful.

No matter what advertising approach you choose to take, understanding the results of your advertising efforts is what’s going to lead you to create more effective campaigns in the future that will generate more and more leads. Taking the time to know your audience up front and gather more information as the campaign unfolds will empower you to make the most out of your advertising approach.

If you liked this post, check out our Small Business Guide to Advertising.