Retarget Site Visitors to Convert Leads

Too often, the people who come to your Web site once don’t come back again. You can increase the odds of online visitors returning to your site and engaging with you by running an effective retargeting campaign.

February 29, 2012

You do a lot of work to drive traffic to your Web site. Blogging, social media, SEO, pay-per-click ads, postcard campaigns, drip messaging … all of that can be overwhelming, and some of those things can take up a fair amount of your time and money.

The biggest problem with that investment is this: Many visitors who land on your site once via those methods never come back. Well, now there’s a way where you can follow up with your site visitors to remind them of your services, and even qualify those leads as you do so. The amazing thing is it’s very easy to do and costs far less than you think.

How Retargeting Works

Humans are creatures of habit. We seek information using certain guidelines or parameters. And, when there is something we’re interested in, we tend to notice things that relate to that item more readily. So, let’s say that you’re considering buying a house. You search for information on the Web using some term like “buying a home in ______” (fill in the blank with a geographic location). You get a list of real estate Web sites and will probably click on the first few before wondering what other resources you can find and try a different search, perhaps ending up on, say,

Now, consider this: You’re starting to search around the Web with that phrase when you suddenly see an online ad offering a custom luxury tour of a neighborhood you were just considering, or perhaps the ability to get greater details on a house you were interested in. Coincidence? Nope! Retargeting.

Because of your cookies, search engines can track every single place you visit on the Internet. Google also has a vast network of advertisers, and they get paid only when someone clicks on one of those ads. So by combining these two pieces of information, Google has the ability to present specific ads to select people who have already shown an interest in that particular service or product, thus increasing the likelihood the audience will click through.

You can leverage this for your site and business by developing targeted ads that present tempting offers to entice the lead to return and engage with you.

Implementing a Retargeting Campaign

Firstly, you need to understand there are two different ways you can garner an audience for retargeting. The strongest by far is building your own list. This happens over time as people visit your site and are naturally tracked by their cookies. In this situation, you already know not only that they’re generally interested in real estate but also that there are specific kinds of properties they want.

The second way is to use a “preset audience,” which goes by established preferences based on browsing history — for example, Web users who like horses — in a certain geographic region, as well as an expressed an interest in real estate. This second method is not quite as accurate as the first, but it does allow you to get started right away.

Next step is to develop your ads. You must have a variety of them, because if your audience sees the same thing getting shoved in their faces over and over again, they’re going to be more irritated than persuaded. A templated ad builder is available, or you can have a designer customize and upload them. By the way, ever notice that ads are different sizes at different places on some Web pages? One may be a banner across the page, another a little box in the corner, and so on. You’ll need to have your ads created in all these sizes, because Google will select ads that fit the available space.

You can control all aspects of your ads including your budget, the number of impressions, the campaign’s termination point, and so on. You can set your ads to display according to certain keywords or even specific Web sites. You can even control what they see when they get to your site, which means you can motivate them immediately. For example, here is Progressive Insurance’s general site:

Obviously, you see navigation, multiple offers, and all kinds of additional information. Now, look at what we get after clicking on a retargeted ad:

No navigation, no offers. One purpose, and one purpose only: Follow the three easy steps. Note also that the box she is holding says “Auto” on it, because I searched using the keywords “car insurance.” I repeated this exercise using “house insurance,” and in the image she was holding two stacked boxes, you guessed it — one labeled “Homeowners” and the second “Auto.” So you can very simply drop your retargeted lead directly on the landing page for the offer you present. Don’t make them think about it!

After launching, you will want the ads to run for a couple of months until you saturate your market, then swap them out. It can still be the same offer, mind you — just a different way of presenting it. For example, you may start out with an ad offering a “No Commitment CMA,” then go to “See Recent Sales in Your Neighborhood,” then swap to “Check Out Detailed Market Data.”

Home Much Does Retargeting Cost?

So, you can follow up with warm leads on a consistent basis over a long period of time with a single effort of setting up a couple of ads. This has got to be yet another major investment, right? Actually, it costs less than the standard PPC campaign.

To determine the cost of an ad, you have to balance the per-click payment against its quality score. On the basic level, Google determines the quality score by the number of times a given ad is displayed (an impression) and the number of people who respond to it. If the ad has too low a quality score, Google will shut it down because the ad is not making money. On the other hand, if people are clicking through but still not engaging, it’s not worth any amount of money you’re paying, and you need to revise the ad.

Now, let’s look at a return on investment. Studies show it takes an average of seven touches for someone to engage with a site. If you are paying $4 per click to get a visitor to your site using PPC ads, but only two out of 100 visitors actually engage with your site, that’s $392 lost. Now, if you can pay a fraction of that to retarget those other 98 visitors over a period of weeks or months, you vastly increase your exposure and the chances of those warm leads returning, thereby increasing your return on the initial investment.

In the end, retargeting comes out looking better. Standard PPC is triggered by keyword searches, which give you a “best guess” but don’t necessarily identify any specific need. On the other hand, retargeting is based in the actual content the user elects to view, which is a far more accurate gauge. So Google charges less based on the likelihood being much higher of someone clicking on a retargeted ad versus a generalized PPC ad.

Best Practices for Successful Retargeted Ads

As always, there are a few guidelines you should follow when creating and launching your campaign:

Make sure your ad shows on related sites. A guy shopping for lingerie for his wife on Victoria’s Secret’s site is not thinking about real estate. Don’t waste your time and money displaying your ad to him. Be sure your keywords are specific enough that only sites related to real estate are used.

▪ Don’t make it easy for your competition. Don’t show paid ads on your blog or site. You cannot control what ads Google shows on your site, and it would be mighty embarrassing to have a competitor stealing your leads.

▪ Follow good marketing practices. As always, your ads should focus on benefits first and foremost — have big headlines and a strong call to action.

▪ Give ’em what they want. Few things are more frustrating to a visitor than having to search for the promised information. If your ad offers a specific product or service, make sure the link takes them directly there, not to your home page. The whole point of this is to channel them into your “click funnel.”

Although some companies have been using retargeting for quite some time, it is becoming more prevalent. When used strategically and judiciously, this long-term method of marketing to potential online clients has shown itself to have real potential. Go here to find out more about how to get started.

NOTE: Mr. Internet®, RUSSER Communications, its staff and officers receive no compensation whatsoever from any third party vendors (unless he/they are directly involved with the creation and/or improvement of a vendor service or product), and make no recommendations as to the suitability of the products or services mentioned in this article. Always thoroughly investigate any product or service before trying or purchasing.

Michael Russer, a.k.a. Mr. Internet®, is CEO of Russer Communications. He is a leading speaker and author in the real estate industry and has been writing about Internet marketing and virtual outsourcing since the dawn of the commercial Internet.