Sales / Sales Process

How to retarget customers

Laura Dolan

Updated: Mar 07, 2020 · 5 min read

Toolkit for download in this article

what is retargeting

Just because a customer leaves your website, that doesn’t necessarily mean it has anything to do with your company. Maybe the customer got interrupted by their children, or their boss walked passed their desk, or their table was ready, or the movie was starting, etc. Keeping this in mind, following up with a customer at another time can prove to be a crafty marketing tool. AdRoll’s State of the Industry report declared that 90% of marketers said that retargeted ads perform as well or better than search, email, or display advertising.

So, what is retargeting? Customer retargeting is a marketing strategy for online businesses geared toward those who have bounced off their websites. Companies load a tracking pixel on their websites that follows customers when they leave and then places an ad for their business on another unrelated website that they land on. If you’ve had this happen to you, that’s how. It’s sneaky, but it works. Haven’t you ever had second thoughts about buying an item on Amazon, leaving it in your cart, then seeing it when you pop over to for a different product and you take it as a sign to buy it? No? Just me? OK, then.

Be that as it may, some may look at retargeting as stalking and it can have an adverse effect. But it can also be very effective, as it is a way to keep your company’s product or service top-of-mind to bring customers back for a purchase. It’s definitely straddling a fine line, but learning how to retarget the proper way will ensure you’re engaging your customers with the right product at the right time.

How to retarget the right audience

To successfully retarget your customers, you need to segment your audience and [a tool like Keap]( may be just what you need to effectively segment your customers. You can divide your customers into the following groups:

  • Cart abandoners:
  • Retargeting would probably be the most effective with these customers, as they’re already one click from making a purchase and suddenly became distracted by any number of reasons.

  • First-time visitors:
  • Something piqued their interest, but it may take a few tries to get them to come back to your site to commit to a first-time purchase.

  • Repeat customers:
  • Your company already has a rapport with these people, so it never hurts to remind them that you still exist with a few products that might suit their needs.

  • Recent visitors:
  • You definitely made a good first impression on these customers, enough to bring them back, so strike while the iron is hot.

    How to retarget at the right time

    Customer retargeting is at its most effective when the effort is made at the right time. Pinpointing exactly when to launch your retargeting campaign depends on the type of audience member you’re targeting and the type of product you’re offering. Retarget at the following times:

  • Immediately:
  • If a customer leaves your site, track them very quickly by placing a retargeted ad on the next website they visit. If they abandoned their cart, retarget them with the item that’s still in there, giving them a little nudge to remind them to go back and complete their purchase.

  • Special occasions:
  • A great time to retarget customers is around the holidays or special events, as marketers can readdress their audience in a more subtle manner. You can catch their attention with a new product, service upgrade, or an event.

  • Before items expire:
  • Looking at your customers’ purchase history, another great way to retarget them is if you detect that a product that they bought with a shelf-life is about to expire and offer them a chance to reorder. This can apply to food purchases, makeup, printer cartridges, a subscription that’s about to run out, or even a show that’s about to leave Broadway.

  • Sporadically:
  • Be sure to evenly distribute the frequency of your customer retargeting. This will make you seem less invasive and protect you from wearing out your welcome. Also, once a customer actually makes a conversion, be sure you don’t pester them with the same ad. Have a system in place that detects when the purchase was made to stop the ad from appearing or rotate it to another one as a cross-sell opportunity.

    How to retarget with the right message

    After you’ve determined who you will be retargeting and when, the final step is to consider these five tips to assemble the perfect message:

  • Design:
  • Ensure your retargeted ad includes your company logo so your audience recognizes that it’s from you. Make sure it’s eye-catching and you have a strategically placed call-to-action (CTA).

  • Language:
  • In the fewest amount of words, as not to overload the ad, use an active verb in the CTA. Also make sure the language reflects the benefits of the products and not so much the qualities.

  • Feature:
  • Circling back to the segmentation noted above, target cart abandoners and recent visitors with items they left in their carts, target first-time visitors with a special offer such as free shipping, or target repeat customers with an upsell or cross-sell item that complements their most recent purchase or remind them to replace an item that’s about to expire.

  • Link:
  • Send your retargeted customer directly to the product or service page from the CTA on which they click.

  • Demographics:
  • Retarget customers based on their interests, as it allows you to send a more personalized offer, boosting the possibility of a conversion.

    While retargeting can help you resell, it also has the potential to repel. When done correctly, it’s a foolproof system for increasing sales and retaining new and repeat customers. Ready, aim, retarget!

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