Online advertising can leave small business owners wide-eyed at the opportunity to reach a very large and specific audience for little cost. However, many are soon left disappointed when those ads don’t turn into sales or new customers. Finding out how to properly pick your target audience and then retargeting to improve digital ads can lead to an effective strategy that offers reliable results. To do this, you will need to really do your research to find out who your ideal customer is and what messages you need to reach them with through retargeting to sell your product or service.

If you’ve tried advertising online is the past, you may have been excited about all the options available to select your target audience. In the end, you may find yourself questioning your decisions. “Did I narrow my audience too far?” “Am I still being too broad?” “Did I accidentally exclude a large chunk of potential customers?” The Wyoming Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network’s Market Research Center and social media experts are ready to help entrepreneurs throughout the state answer these questions with confidential services — most of which are offered at no cost.

Why Use Retargeting?

By identifying your target audience through data-based research and tracking those who have already shown interest in your business, you can give yourself a head start in narrowing down your audience to find those most likely to make a purchase. Research gathered by marketing assistance company Wishpond shows that the average click-through rate for a display ad is only 0.07%, but website visitors who are retargeted are 10 times more likely to click your ad and 70% more likely to make a purchase. The chances to convert a prospect into a customer increase by 147% when retargeting is paired with accurate market research.

Getting Started

Armed with the proper market research, you’re ready for your first run of ads. Begin by running multiple advertisements at the same time with different titles, text, pictures and graphics to find which one garners the most attention—this is called A/B Testing. You will also want to use Facebook Pixel, Google Analytics or other tracking solutions to determine who is clicking on your ad and how they are interacting with your website.

Your first wave of ads may have resulted in some sales, but we’re only getting started. Now you can retarget those individuals who interacted with your first ads. If they showed interest once, they’re likely to do it again.

Use Lookalike Audiences

You can also increase your target audience size by creating a lookalike audience. Facebook and many other sites have this features built in. You can automatically select additional people who match the demographics, psychographics and purchasing trends of the people who interacted with your first ads. Lookalike audiences will not only bring in people you targeted before who didn’t interact, it will also add people you may have excluded or that you didn’t even know would be interested in your product/service.

Rinse & Repeat

Now you can run your second set of ads. You can repeat the retargeting steps as many times as you would like, but by the third set of ads, you should have narrowed down your audience to point where you are seeing an acceptable conversion rate. Another tip with this strategy, is to start off by focusing on brand awareness with you first ad and then work towards a direct call-to-action to make a purchase with your final ad.

Help is Available

The Wyoming SBDC Network’s Market Research Center has access to several large databases that can answer almost any competitive intelligence question you have. From providing results on a city-by-city basis in Wyoming, to identifying trends such as what types of book your average customer tends to read. Additionally, the Wyoming SBDC Network’s social media experts have hands on experience with running these types of digital advertising campaigns are ready to offer you tips and point you to the correct resources to help you achieve results. They can also help you navigate other aspects of online advertising, such as A/B testing, Facebook Pixel and Google analytics.

Contact your local SBDC advisor to get started with retargeting to improve digital ads.

About the Author: Jake is the statewide Marketing & Communications Specialist for the Wyoming Small Business Development Center Network. Jake received his bachelor’s degree in Advertising and Public Relations from Idaho State University. He spent 12 years working in television news before crossing to the other side of media as Director of Public Relations for ISU’s health care programs—which make up one third of the university. Jake’s background has also given him valuable experience with all aspects of social media management, graphic design and video production. When he’s not in the office, Jake enjoys taking road trips with his wife, catching the latest movies, and spending time working in the garage, garden, or on household projects.

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