Abandoned carts. Crickets during launches. Warm leads that never convert.
Not to mention the blood, sweat, and tears your team poured into every campaign for seemingly no reason.
It’s enough to worry any brand.
Brands rely on high traffic and conversions to not only stay afloat but to reach their long-term business goals.
When brands invest in company resources, labor, and campaign efforts without success, they have trouble scaling their business. Eventually, they may even need to shut down.
If you’re nodding your head in agreement, you might be worried about the state of your own campaigns.
You might be asking yourself …
“What am I doing wrong?”
“How can I keep my company afloat like this?”
“What if the next campaign we invest in makes or breaks our business?”
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Or, maybe your marketing woes aren’t this dramatic. Maybe your company is doing just fine, but you’d still like to see higher traffic and conversions.
You could also be somewhere in the middle — that’s fine, too.
The truth is, no matter what stage you’re in with your business, you can use retargeting strategies to acquire more traffic and convert more leads.
In this article, we’ll break down everything you need to know about retargeting strategies. We’ll also lay out seven strategies you can start implementing right away.
Let’s take a look.
What does retargeting mean?
Retargeting is a valuable tool that brands use to stay present in front of bounced traffic.
Think of retargeting as a second chance to get in front of your ideal customer. They downloaded your free guide, but they never signed up for your webinar. Or they looked at your product page, but they decided not to buy anything. Maybe even added something to their cart, but they left before paying out.
Instead of accepting that visitors bounced, you can use these opportunities to position yourself in front of prospects again and convince them to take specific actions.
If they still don’t act, you can retarget them a third time, and then a fourth, a fifth, and so on. You should continue retargeting prospects until they become customers — or until you’ve realized they’re not a good customer fit for your brand.
You can also retarget customers who used to buy from you but haven’t engaged in a while.
TL;DR: In the end, retargeting provides additional touchpoint opportunities, which can turn cold leads into warm leads and warm leads into loyal customers.
How can retargeting strategies help me boost traffic and conversions?
There are three major ways that retargeting strategies can help you when trying to boost website traffic and improve your conversion rate. We’ve listed them for you below.
Say goodbye to “out of sight, out of mind”
Staying top of mind is paramount to building trust and connection with your ideal audience.
The Marketing Rule of Seven states that prospects must see a message at least seven times before they’ll consider buying from you.
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By retargeting prospects with highly targeted ads and content, you can build a strong reputation with your ideal audience and increase their chances of converting.
More targeted messaging
A core aspect of retargeting includes segmenting your campaigns based on user interaction.
If you know that Prospect Group A is looking for an acne wash and Prospect Group B is interested in an eco-friendly moisturizer, then your messaging will reflect that.
If you know that Audience Segment C prefers gentle language and Audience Segment D prefers direct communication, then your messaging will reflect that, too.
With highly targeted messaging, you can create relatable, personalized campaigns that attract more traffic and conversions.
Generate more sales
Retargeting prospects is essential to making them advance in the sales funnel so they can eventually convert.
In other words, retargeting gives your prospect the best chance to become a loyal customer.
How does retargeting work?
Here’s what you need to know about retargeting.
The short explanation
Retargeting primarily focuses on using paid ads to go after audiences who’ve bounced from your site. You can use retargeting campaigns to warm up cold leads, convert warm leads, and win back previous customers.
The technical explanation
You can retarget prospects using pixel-based retargeting or list-based retargeting.
List-based retargeting happens after you already have prospects’ contact information in hand. After uploading a list of email addresses to a retargeting campaign, your retargeting platform can identify users on any given network and serve retargeting ads specifically to them.
Pixel-based retargeting tends to be more common because:
- Prospects can be targeted immediately after bouncing
- It’s based on user behavior
- It’s specific to a page on your site
List-based retargeting isn’t as common because it:
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- Requires constant list maintenance
- Can’t be automated
- Isn’t as timely
When planning your campaigns, keep these retargeting methods top of mind.
3 retargeting mistakes to avoid
Avoid these three retargeting mistakes when planning your ad campaigns.
Don’t forget to personalize
The worst thing you could do when planning a retargeting campaign is lump everyone into the same audience segment.
Remember, in order to convert a lead with a strong hook, you have to be relatable — which means you have to personalize your campaigns with your prospects in mind.
When planning your campaigns, be sure to personalize:
- Messaging: Speak in your prospects’ preferred communication style and address them by name
- Images: Use similar images they were drawn to on specific site pages if possible
- Information: Reiterate the information/offers they were viewing on specific site pages and focus on the benefits they’ll receive by investing in the products they viewed
- Preferences: Keep their preferences in mind before asking them to do or buy something in the call to action section
Don’t rely solely on GoogleAds
While GoogleAds can be highly effective, it’s important to put your eggs in more than one basket. In other words, don’t rely solely on GoogleAds. Try Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms, too.
To decide which ad platforms to use, consider your prospects’ online behavior. What platforms are they on most? Which platforms have they used to purchase goods or services?
Don’t try to handle the retargeting process manually
Retargeting can be an exhaustive process without the right systems in place. To be as efficient and effective as possible, invest in time-saving retargeting platforms, like ReTargeter, SharpSpring Ads, and Criterio.
We also recommend using a lead scoring tool, like ActiveCampaign lead scoring. ActiveCampaign lead scoring simplifies retargeting by tracking your site’s user behavior data according to the specific metrics you’ve set.
The importance of segmentation, creativity, and testing
The following tips should be implemented before you embark on your retargeting journey.
Segment your audiences
Segmenting your audiences in great detail is key to retargeting the right groups of people every time.
When segmenting your audience, get laser-specific.
Instead of lumping everyone who visited your site into one category, segment by:
- The exact page they visited
- The specific offers they perused
- How long they remained on your site
- What action they took or didn’t take on your site
- Negative audiences (the audiences you’d like to exclude)
Match this data with insights you’ve gained through analytics and your CRM to get even more specific.
Then, take a look at the buyer’s journey and spot opportunities to reinforce your messaging.
Flex your creative muscles
Integrate brainstorming sessions with your team before launching retargeting campaigns.
During these brainstorming sessions, encourage your team to get creative with their retargeting ideas.
Take this up a notch by asking your team to create vision boards that represent their ideas. You can also divide your team into groups, have each group create a vision board, and then vote on each board.
Whether you use vision boards or not, encourage your team to get specific with their ideas — from the offer to the messaging, imagery, and beyond.
Test, test, test
To make sure your team voted on the right vision board or ideas, be sure to implement testing protocols. Consider spreading your ad ideas across multiple channels and running A/B tests to see which produces the most prospect engagement.
You also need to ensure that your ads are loading well and are optimized for both desktop and mobile devices.
Keep testing and fine-tuning until you’ve found the right match for your ideal audience.
7 retargeting strategies to boost traffic and convert leads
Now that we’ve laid the groundwork for retargeting, let’s take a look at seven retargeting strategies you can implement right away:
1. Retarget based on specific interests
You can retarget customers who’ve shown interest in your offers by providing alternatives in the same space.
For instance, let’s say you own a cybersecurity company, and a few prospects were perusing your reviews on the VPN service CyberGhost. However, none of them actually converted and made a purchase.
You can then retarget them based on other VPN service providers you work with. If that doesn’t work, try retargeting them based on other cybersecurity products and services.
Maybe they discovered that they don’t really need a VPN service, but they do need virus protection software. Or maybe they’re interested in a cybersecurity checkup or want to review your virtual desktop options.
2. Retarget with freemium models
When a prospect doesn’t make a purchase, it usually comes down to one of two reasons. Either they’re not ready to pay, or they don’t see the value in what you offer.
By offering freemium models to prospects, you can capture their attention for longer periods and invite them to test drive your offers at no cost.
Let’s say you’re an online course provider specializing in math and science. You could consider offering prospects a free trial for a math tutoring session, like this page from the tutoring service company Preply.
You’re providing them with a page that features a wealth of options regarding something that you know they want.
Of course, this isn’t limited to the education sector. If you sell makeup, let prospects try out your products for 14 days before asking them to buy. If you own a SaaS product, let potential customers test drive your platform for a month before they have to hand over their credit card.
Here are some other ways to integrate freemium models into your retargeting campaigns:
- Share free thought leadership content prospects can use to improve their lives
- Share tutorials, how-to’s, and listicles to teach your target audience something they want to know
- Invite prospects to attend webinars, online retreats, and live videos to ask questions and hone their skills
When prospects sign up for your free trial or content, use ad sequencing throughout the duration of the trial.
At the start of the trial, present ads that focus on intro upgrade messages, for instance:
“Upgrade to a paid account and enjoy 30% off your first month.” Then go into the benefits they’ll receive by upgrading.
Toward the end of the trial, create a sense of urgency by reminding them that their trial is quickly expiring. Be sure to reiterate the benefits they’ll receive by becoming a paid customer.
3. Lock arms with affiliate marketers
Affiliate marketing can amplify your retargeting campaigns tenfold. That’s why 79% of marketers are using affiliate marketing to improve conversions. Up to 83% of them are using it for brand awareness purposes, and 79% find it useful for engaging existing customers.
A great example of affiliate marketing can be found in the image below from Instagram.
When locking arms with affiliate marketers, be specific about what you’d like them to do. In the above example, this affiliate has put together an outfit from a retailer she’s working with and is showing it off in an elegant way. That’s perfect for this retailer.
Now, where does retargeting come into play? Affiliates know how to nurture audiences until they’re ready to buy.
Sit down with potential affiliates and ask if they have any experience with list-based or pixel-based retargeting. Some will say yes, and others will say no.
If they know how to employ these strategies, brainstorm ways they can use them to help you reach your goals.
If they don’t have experience with pixel or list-based retargeting, get creative. How else can affiliates retarget your ideal customers? For instance, can they follow up with bounced leads on social media? Can they invite prospects who missed the webinar to watch the replay via email?
Affiliates are masters at what they do. While they may not employ traditional retargeting approaches, they’ll continue to deliver value and nurture audiences throughout the buyer’s journey.
Once you’re on the same page with your affiliates, brainstorm concrete tactics they can use.
- Send an introductory email to Prospect Group A
- Invite Prospect Group B to sign up for our free trial — create a series of ad, social media, and email campaigns inviting them to join
- Invite Prospect Group C to sign up for our free discovery calls to learn more about what value we offer
4. Integrate email marketing
Integrating email marketing into your retargeting campaigns can be a powerful way to amplify your efforts and nurture leads.
Not only does email obliterate communication barriers, but it can also help you automate the retargeting process a step further.
By placing a code snippet in your emails, you can cookie every user the emails were sent to.
Then, you can add these users to specific segments (based on the emails/topics they received) and retarget them across the web with relevant ads.
5. Segment your visitors by funnel stage
To retarget the right audience with the right content at the right time, use funnel stages to segment your site visitors.
You can identify which funnel stage prospects are in by tracking website visitor metrics. Then, provide them with the content they need based on where they’re at in the funnel.
Here’s how to determine which funnel stage your visitors are in:
- Top-of-the-Funnel (TOFU): Visitors who prefer content-heavy pages instead of product/services
- Middle-of-the-Funnel (MOFU): Visitors who peruse your product/services infrequently
- Bottom-of-the-Funnel (BOFU): Highly-qualified visitors who should be ready to purchase your products/services
According to this framework, here are some ways you can retarget visitors:
- Top-of-the-Funnel (TOFU): Point visitors to blog posts, guides, and tutorials
- Middle-of-the-Funnel (MOFU): Point visitors to testimonials, case studies, and ebooks
- Bottom-of-the-Funnel (BOFU): Offer visitors free trials or demos
6. Retarget based on specific actions and pain points
We’ve touched on this tip in the info sections above, but we’ll explain it a bit further here.
Instead of retargeting the same group of people based on one action, take it a step further and retarget users based on specific actions and pain points.
In other words, show them how your offer can alleviate their pain points.
Let’s paint a picture …
Imagine you own an eCommerce site, and your best-selling product is your famous cacao-chai mix.
Now, let’s say that one of your audience segments watched your video about how to make your famous cacao chai, but they haven’t purchased your mix yet.
To encourage them to purchase, find out what their pain points are and retarget them based on their needs.
For instance, let’s say Prospect Group A is looking to replace their morning coffee because it’s giving them the shakes. They’re looking for an alternative that will give them lasting energy without the inevitable caffeine crash.
In this case, consider showing them ads with messaging that focuses on the benefits of switching from coffee to cacao-chai. You can also integrate video testimonials of happy customers sharing the health benefits they’ve noticed after switching to your mix.
Here’s an example of a real brand using this strategy:
Earlybird has an umbrella campaign that targets its general audience about gifting money to family members.
After tracking activity on the specific “family gifting” site pages, Earlybird retargets segments based on specific family relationships.
For instance, prospects who are interested in learning how to invest for their kids are retargeted using “gifting money to children” campaigns.
Prospects that visit “godchildren gifting” site pages are retargeted with “gifting money to godchildren” campaigns.
7. Retarget abandoned checkouts
Taking advantage of low-hanging fruit like abandoned checkouts is an easy way to retarget prospects — and hopefully, encourage them to complete their purchase.
When a prospect abandons their checkout, immediately add them to a sequential cart abandonment ad campaign and email marketing series.
To entice them to check out, consider offering a discount code.
Brands rely on traffic and conversions to reach business goals and scale their companies.
When brands invest in campaign efforts with no success, it not only stunts their growth but can also lead to a shut-down.
To stay ahead of the curve, brands can use retargeting strategies to win back old customers and convert leads.
Ready to plan your own retargeting campaigns?
Here’s a recap of the seven retargeting strategies we shared today:
- 1. Retarget based on specific interests
- 2. Retarget with freemium models
- 3. Lock arms with affiliate marketers
- 4. Integrate email marketing
- 5. Segment your visitors by funnel stage
- 6. Retarget based on specific actions and pain points
- 7. Retarget abandoned checkouts
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in influencer marketing, content marketing, and SEO. He is also the co-founder and CEO of Content Solutions, a digital marketing agency. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.