When small firms think about paid advertising online, 99.9% of them think about one thing: Google AdWords. Not to speak negatively of this venerable platform, but AdWords isn’t always (or even often) the answer:
- It takes a substantial monthly ad budget to generate enough conversions to move the dial.
- In some niches, keywords are too expensive for small firms to compete.
- In other niches, search volume is too low to generate ROI.
If you’re looking for an advertising model with a higher probability of success, look to one of the best-kept secrets in Internet marketing: Remarketing.
How Remarketing Works
Remarketing is a form of advertising based on two rock-solid principles:
- Your best sales prospects are people who have already visited your website.
- The most efficient ad campaign targets your best sales prospects.
This is how remarketing works:
When visitors come to your site but don’t convert (e.g. Fail to place an order or download a PDF), a cookie is dropped in their browser that adds them to your remarketing list for a given period of time. When visitors subsequently visit websites within the remarketing ad network, they will see an ad for your company.
Simple, isn’t it? And effective too. Studies suggest that remarketing can increase conversion by at least 50% versus traditional pay-per-click advertising.
Why Remarketing Works
Not every visitor who comes to your site is ready to take action. In fact, for most sites, the vast majority of visitors are in research mode rather than purchase mode. Think about your own online behavior. What percentage of sites do you visit with the express intention of buying or providing your contact information for follow up?
Remarketing strengthens brand awareness. Remarketing ads give visitors a gentle reminder that they visited your site. These reminders increase the likelihood they will remember you when they are ready to take action.
Remarketing is better recieved. Since many visitors to your site are favorably disposed to your brand – being either existing customers or qualified shoppers – they will not be nearly as resistant to your paid advertising as complete strangers.
Putting Together a Remarketing Campaign
There are several remarketing services that offer full remarketing campaign support; Google recently added a remarketing service to its AdWords platform as well.
Remarketing can be simple or complex depending on how broadly or narrowly you segment visitors. General ads can be served to all site visitors, or ads with specific calls to action can be served to visitors who come to a particular are of the site or who exhibit a particular onsite behavior. The components of a remarketing campaign include:
- Devising a strategy
- Creating ads in a variety of sizes, with calls to action corresponding to visitor segmentation (if any)
- Tracking results to determine the most effective ads
- Continual refinement of the remarketing campaign
On the creative end, it’s important to know the sizes of all ads that will be displayed. Some advertisers display extremely small images, which limits your ability to describe a call-to-action or even include your logo. Larger ads can accommodate a more detailed message and powerful branding. However, even those small and simple ads can be very effective.
Who Should Use Remarketing?
Every small business with an eCommerce site should investigate remarketing carefully, because an incremental increase in conversions can have a dramatic impact on the bottom line. Small firms with lead generation sites can capitalize on remarketing as well, particularly ones with high-value products and services, and/or customers that have high lifetime value. Either type of firm should explore remarketing when the cost of a traditional AdWords program is prohibitive.
Guest Author – Brad Shorr is Director of Content & Social Media for Straight North, a Chicago, IL web development company. It specializes in B2B, with clients that do everything from processing credit cards for small business to manufacturing video broadcast equipment.