By John Curley, Internet Marketing Consultant
In a perfect world, every visitor to your website would become a valuable lead. Whether you’re a lawyer, doctor or dentist, though, simply getting users to your site is typically not enough to earn their business.
Clients often ask, “How do I get business once a visitor leaves my website?” A comprehensive digital marketing strategy can encompass a variety of options, but one of the most powerful is retargeting.
What Is Retargeting?
A retargeting campaign is a reminder to searchers who have engaged with your online content to come back, engage further and make a conversion.
Many consumers will quickly visit multiple practice websites in their search for general information on a particular product or service. When a visitor has searched for and found the content on your website or YouTube channel, they are clearly interested in your practice and found you for a reason. So why didn’t they schedule an appointment?
Even with great quality content, many website visits are much shorter than we would hope. Did they have time to find the answers they are searching for? Perhaps they were interrupted? If your website is the first they found, will they return to your website next week ready to make a decision? Will they recall the URL tomorrow?
Retargeting finds these previous visitors to your website and reminds them of who you are.
Ideally, it works like this:
- Internet user visits your website content
- The user leaves your website
- Later on your advertising message is delivered to them as they browse other websites
- They recall their original interest and click back to your website
- They become a customer
How Does Retargeting Work?
Retargeting works by applying a small snippet of unseen code to the pages of your website or other online content like a YouTube video. This code snippet or pixel records users who access the page and content by applying a unique client ID number to each visitor’s IP address. This identifies them as a new or returning visitor and enables them to be found later on across the Internet.
This code can also track specific actions taken by a visitor while on the website. Actions taken on page are called events, such as clicking to download a whitepaper or watching a video. Searchers who interacted with your content are now tracked in a database as well as actions they may have taken. Some of these variables include the number of visits to the site, pages per visit, time on page and significant events. This information allows for a careful segmentation of this database to decide which of these visitors are likely to convert with additional exposure to your advertising impressions.
Retargeting within digital advertising is accomplished using pay-per-click (PPC) across Google Adwords search and display networks, as well as pre-roll videos on YouTube. Retargeting is available through Facebook advertising as well, and is growing in popularity.
The advertising used with retargeting is as diverse as any other PPC, display network or social media campaign. The retargeting database makes this strategy much more specific and effective.
Frequency and Timeline
The frequency with which you present a retargeted message is crucial to its conversion rate, ROI and avoiding negative associations from customers. Retargeting creates conversions in about 1 in 10 people. A couple of gentle follow-ups act as a reminder. Providing useful information or special offers can be appreciated and win you customer loyalty.
Displaying three to five targeted messages over several weeks presents good branding, engagement and conversion opportunity. Meanwhile, eight or ten advertisements over a week to that same potential customer can be intrusive and distracting.
The more you aggressively show a retargeted message, the more likely it is to result in diminishing returns and be detrimental to ROI. 91% of people say ads are more intrusive today than two years ago. Aggressive tactics raise costs and potentially damage your brand by annoying potential customers. Keep a customer-centric mindset and use this strategy sparingly for everyone involved.
You invested in creating an engaging “Frequently Asked Questions” video about a specific service you offer and embedded it on your Web page. You see a nice rise in traffic, as well as time spent on this page in your website analytics. Users who play that video are tracked with a code snippet, enabling you to segment page visitors who clicked to watch the video.
You feel strongly that users who watch the video are interested, in need of the services you offer and close to making a decision in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, searchers who did not click to watch the video are doing more cursory research. They are not as engaged or likely to make decisions.
Using a retargeting campaign, you can advertise directly to the more interested and engaged page visitors who did watch the video.
What Are the Benefits of Retargeting?
To reconnect with previous visitors based on who is already interested in your practice is a huge opportunity. Many people value these advertisements because it saves them time and effort in researching information themselves. Retargeting provides value in several ways.
- Solidify your brand to consumers – Repetition and familiarity are required to build recognition, recall and solidify long-term memory. Remind the appropriate consumers who you are while your services are relevant to their needs. Consumers buy from brands and companies they are familiar with and have positive associations towards.
- Increase engagement – Reconnect with specific audiences at different times in the buying cycle. Tailor messages to the right audience based on the content they viewed (or didn’t view) and the actions they took. Use specific messaging and landing page destinations to benefit potential customers with additional information they will find useful. This will increase total Web traffic and increase users' time on page. These behaviors are positive associations to potential customers and search engines that your site is of good quality, relevant and trustworthy.
- Increase conversion rate – Branding and engagement are great stepping stones to winning new customers. A retargeting campaign advertises specifically to a crafted list of previous website visitors deemed to have the greatest intent of purchase. These potential customers are familiar with your practice and are much more likely to buy.
Google search algorithms are frequently updating to provide the most personalized, relevant and useful results possible. Searchers trust their search results to provide quality answers to their queries.
In 2017, we have well over a billion websites operating across the Web. Visitors to your site found you for a reason. Address the correct audience at the correct time.
Reduced cost per conversion
“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don't know which half.”
John Wanamaker – U.S. Department Store Merchant, 1838-1922
Don’t have the same problem as a guy who died long before the Internet.
Retargeting campaigns have clear objectives and employ analytics to segment remarketing lists, demonstrate actions taken and show provable ROI. Use these narrowly focused analytics to continually refine your remarketing lists. This discerning of whom you are advertising to and why can make a retargeting campaign one of the least expensive and highly converting marketing parts of your digital marketing strategy because you avoid spending money displaying advertising to the uninterested.
People take considerable time in the decision making process.
Most people will become aware of a need, research, consider and then finally buy. This means that a sizable quantity of your website traffic is not poised to make a purchase or schedule an appointment. Yet.
When they are ready to make a commitment, ensure your practice is the one these users remember and decide to contact.
Use retargeting campaigns to follow up with these interested, potential new customers and reiterate who you are, become familiar to them and help them make a decision.