You know that if you visit websites such as Amazon, Boden, Charles Tyrwhitt, Jo Malone, Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, Lakes Cottage Holidays, Prima and the like and you look at specific products; you’ll almost certainly be followed around the internet by those products for a few days or weeks afterwards. We’re comfortable with that, yeah? Or do you still think it’s coincidental or magical?

So why do most small businesses try to re-engage with their customers by just sending emails?

We all get too many emails.

How many do you read? To be honest, the subject lines of most are so uninspiring that they are unlike to lead to the email being read. But people we already know are the ones most likely to buy from us, right?

Even if we’re not spamming people, there are many reasons why our emails don’t get read (or acted upon). Since I use Microsoft, most of the emails that I get from people trying to tempt me with something, go into Clutter. Gmail users can make use of the Promotions tab.

Now, I’m not suggesting that we all stop sending emails.

They are still an important part of the marketing mix. But there is a better way to get to people who have already been on your website or whose email address or telephone number lurks inside your CRM system. It’s called remarketing – and that’s all the likes of Amazon et al. are doing, and I think more small businesses should do the same.

Using Google’s AdWords, you can show your ads on both the Search & Display Networks to people who have already visited your site or specific pages

This can be done inside the AdWords programme itself. If you use Google Analytics, then some interesting possibilities open up in the way of remarketing.

You see, not every visit to your website is worth remarketing to – some people arrive on your site by mistake. Some arrive there intentionally but realise quite quickly that either your product, service or price does not match what they are looking for.

So, by restricting your retargeting to visitors who have shown a degree of interest – possibly by visiting say, 3 or more pages of your website in a session and/or spending a reasonable period (say more than 60 seconds) on your website which demonstrates a degree of interest.

With Google AdWords, you can upload your client and prospect email addresses

(provided that they have been gathered in a way that agrees with Google’s policy on all this) and create an audience of either existing clients or an audience of prospects to show ads to on the very extensive Google Display Network.

Typically, Google will find a match for around 50% of your email addresses on your list – so if you have a list of 10,000 then expect to be able to remarket to around 5,000 of them.

Let’s assume your open rate for emails is 1%. Then with a 10,000 list expect around 1,000 to see your content. So, you’re able to show your ad to 5 times more people on your list using remarketing.

Please don’t stop sending emails, though.

Those emails will help to reinforce your remarketing ads and vice versa.

And the same facilities exist within Facebook

The ability to show ads on Facebook, only to people who are on your customer or prospect lists or have visited your site – or a very specific page. Facebook has a name for this – Custom Audiences.

Of course, the beauty of all this is no-one unsubscribes!

Remarketing also allows you to stay front of mind with those website visitors who didn’t opt in or buy on their visit to your website. You know, the ones who didn’t give you their first name and email address.

But it gets better –

Instead of showing your remarketing ads to everyone who visited your site (or a key subset if you’re using Google Analytics) you can overlay this with demographic and geographic targeting.

So, you can, for instance, show ads to people who visited your website who are aged between 35 and 54, female and who live within a 10-mile radius of Nottingham city centre.

…and if that’s not enough, then both Google and Facebook will allow you to target people who have very similar characteristics to the people who are already in your custom audiences.

So, think about it –

You have a list of 10,000 prospects in your CRM – you’ve uploaded them to AdWords or Facebook, and each has identified 5,000 of them for you to remarket to.

But, if you ask AdWords or Facebook to find people who have similar characteristics to your audience the chances are they’ll find another 50,000 for you.

Overlay that with your age, gender and location targeting and you’ve just found another rich seam.

David Browne

Author: David Browne

David Browne’s Google AdWords campaigns have been described by the big cheeses at Google HQ as an “art form” – which would make David an artist. David honed his skills at the helm of the very successful Scottish Shutter Company, but having handed over the reins to his daughter and son-in-law he now runs his own digital marketing consultancy and is a co-founder of Barefoot Digital.