B2B Retargeting – Benefits and Pitfalls

In my last blog post, I talked about how to use remarketing strategies to revitalize a stagnant B2B contact list. The gist of that article was targeting individuals who are already part of your database. In other words, you had a prior connection, such as when they registered for your blog or responded to an offer of some type.

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There is another type of retargeting that is equally important to B2B marketers – retargeting to those who have visited your website or a competitor’s website. We will call this non-respondent retargeting because they have never opted in to an offer from you. For example, if you sell business accounting software, it can be valuable to aim specific and targeted messages to those who:

  • Have searched on keywords related to accounting software
  • Are visiting websites that have something to do with accounting software, including your website, competitors’ websites, industry websites, or product comparison websites.
  • Have either posted or read social media content related to accounting software.

Two general categories of retargeting are ad retargeting and social retargeting. With ad retargeting, online ads are served up to individuals based on cookies left on their computers due to prior web activity.  Social retargeting works in a similar fashion.  When a prospect clicks on one of your social media links, a cookie is created and targeted display ads are presented when they are online in the future. The link can either be to your own content or to relevant third-party content – the prospect sees your ads regardless of whether they have ever registered for one of your offers.

Let’s talk about why B2B companies use retargeting.  Here are seven of the major benefits:

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  1. Reach prospects at their next online destination
  2. Extend impressions and continue the dialogue with prospects
  3. Target by past behavior and propensity to purchase
  4. Increase brand awareness
  5. Shorten the sales cycle through relevant education
  6. Complement other marketing campaigns
  7. Target your competitors’ prospects and customers

And a few pitfalls to avoid in retargeting:

  • Wasting a lot of money if you target poorly
  • Annoying prospects with too many “in your face” messages
  • Invading privacy by too precisely tracking your prospects online behavior
  • Not capitalizing on your retargeting efforts because of weak offers and landing pages

In subsequent posts I will talk about some of the specific media and methods you can use to retarget prospects.


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