Before I get too far into this topic let’s explore how customers come to you. In an ideal world a decision is made in the heart of your prospect to take action on a problem you solve. At this moment they know – you are the one to fix it for them. It never happens like this.

At the beginning of the customer journey, an impulse is triggered to take the first steps on a journey towards fixing the problem you solve. The journey starts but might not end for hours, days weeks, months or sometimes even years.

As marketers ( and as a small business owner that’s you ) our job is to try and influence the journey so they find their way to us. Often the most important element which is overlooked is the time the customer journey often takes.

The impulse to fix the pain point or solve the problem often doesn’t convert into a sale immediately. The pain might need to build, the immediate problem which caused the pain might have subsided and return later. In addition, the prospect might educate themselves, undertake some research or simply take some time to shop around.

Real world sales professionals now this. It’s why they have small talk, work to educate the prospect, let them try things out, offer demonstrations, regularly keep in touch with prospects. In short they ‘nurture’ the prospect.

Getting someone’s attention in the first place is expensive. If you invest in any online activity at all.. Things like ads, social media, content marketing of any kind, it all cost money. And if by some small miracle you actually get someone to your website we can assign a cost to them. If they don’t convert into a customer there and then – it’s money lost.

This is where remarketing or retargeting ads come in. Remarketing ads are a special subset of online ads which are only shown to people who have already visited your website. There are a few things which it’s important to know about remarketing ads which make them very special and for the small business – very exciting.

1 – They are only shown to people who are known to be on the journey which could lead to you. Qualified prospects.

2 – They are graphic display ads, not the text-based ads you see in search. They can appear wherever you see ads online, Magazines, Youtube, Facebook, Blogs. Most sites which display ads draw them from the Google ad network and partners.

3 – The only cost to you is when people actually click on them. Most people don’t. In most campaigns I run, the costs are in the low double digits per quarter. These campaigns are seen by thousands of people.

The real benefit of remarketing ads is that they work with the customer journey in a powerful way. They’re triggered right at the start when a prospect passes through your website and then for the next two weeks or two months ( you get to decide ) they see your brand everywhere they go.

This works powerfully in the mind of the prospect so that when the time comes for them to act the chances of them converting in your direction are much, much higher.

All of this assumes you’re not doing any other form of advertising. If you do nothing else – run remarketing ads. But – if you are running any other kind of ad where you’re effectively buying traffic then you must add retargeting into the mix.

Retargeting amplifies the value of every visit. It turns what would have been one brand encounter into, potentially, hundreds over time and the majority of that visibility is actually completely free because people only tend to click on the ads when they are ready to buy.

Like any powerful tool, it’s open to abuse. There are settings available in both the Facebook and Google ad platforms which you can use to prevent overwhelming your audience.

As you can imagine this topic can go deep. There are all kinds of retargeting tactics you can use based on user behaviour but in this post, I just wanted to give you a peek into what’s possible.

If you do set up some retargeting ads let me know. I’d love to see them.

About Bob Gentle

I work with businesses of all sizes on digital marketing, host the Amplify digital marketing entrepreneur podcast and work with entrepreneurs to help them amplify their business online.