Getting visitors to your website is a key part of an effective digital solar marketing campaign — but if the prospect who arrives at your site doesn’t become a customer right away, how can you increase the likelihood of eventually closing the sale?
Take this case, for example. A busy mom has a chat with her neighbor about their new rooftop solar system and, as a result, does online research about solar. After a while, she finds your site and likes what she sees. She begins to fill out your quote request form and is about halfway through when she gets a call that her kid is sick at school. She closes her browser and laptop and rushes off, entirely forgetting about your company and possibly the whole idea of solar. The next few weeks she’s got other things on her mind and doesn’t continue her research. How can you get her back?
Retargeting can help. Retargeting uses code on your website to tag visitors so that you can continue advertising to them after they leave your site. It is an ideal way to reconnect with folks like the busy mom above since they have already shown interest in your business — something that increases your chances of converting them to a solar lead.
This Aurora Solar series has looked at a number of digital marketing issues faced by solar contractors and discussed effective strategies for dealing with them. We’ve examined the power of digital solar marketing, effective website creation, keyword choice and site optimization for Google searches. Our series has also explored using social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram in your solar marketing as well as how to tap the power of Google Ads.
In this next article, we focus on how to use retargeting in your solar marketing strategy. We define retargeting, explain why it can be effective for generating solar leads and discuss the steps and strategies when utilizing the more popular retargeting platforms.
The power of retargeting
It can be incredibly effective to recapture prospects who visited your site but left without taking the next step, whether that is leaving an email address, following you on social media or filling out the quote request form. 98% of all web traffic does not convert and 70 to 96% of people who visit a website leave without taking the action the company wants them to take, never to return.
For smaller solar contractors looking for cost-effective ways to market, retargeting is an ideal way to increase sales because these prospects have already shown interest and are more likely to convert. Jeni Garrett, founder and CEO of The Woodhouse Day Spas, states that retargeting’s better conversion rate means that it is “great for small business owners because it has a lower cost per acquisition…[and] you are able to move through your sales cycle fast and for a much lower cost.” Retargeting actually has the potential to increase conversions by 100 to 200%.
What is retargeting?
Remarketing is a broad term that refers to the idea of marketing to the same prospect multiple times using online and offline avenues. Retargeting is a subcategory of remarketing specific to online marketing. This includes returning bounced website visitors to your site and converting them, increasing repeat site visitors and brand awareness, and bolstering your search engine optimization (SEO) and content marketing efforts.
Retargeting online is using technology to target ads to users who have visited your website, usually prospects who left without giving you their contact information. These people are ideal prospects because they’ve spent time on your website and now have a relationship with you. Showing them ads later on can be a reminder to complete an action they started or offer them access to new content in order to move them along the buying decision.
How to set up retargeting — An overview
The first step is installing the tracking code provided by the platform you are using to retarget, whether it is Google, Facebook or another platform. Part of setting up the code is choosing the events you will be tracking. Events might be that a visitor didn’t submit your quote request form, clicked your company phone number from their mobile device or spent over a minute browsing your company site.
It is also a good idea to spread your ad campaigns across multiple channels and formats and segment your retargeting audiences. Use strong ads with engaging text and images that are aligned with your prospects’ needs and relevant corresponding pages to click to. There are a number of popular channels available for creating these retargeting ads.
Retargeting with Google Ads
Retargeting using Google Ads means tapping the extensive reach of the Google Display Network (GDN), an enormous network of websites that run Google Ads. Retargeting with a network of this size gives you the potential to connect with an average of 84% of the people you tag, 10 to 18 times per month.
Setting up Google Ads
The first step is to add the global site tag code and the event snippet to your website. The global site tag captures the page URL and title of the pages viewed by a website visitor. The event snippet passes specific data to Google Ads about those visitors and the actions they take on your site, like viewing a product or filling out a form. The global site tag should be placed on every page while the event snippet should be added to pages that have actions you want to measure. Both snippets supply the information needed to create retargeting lists.
To create the code for the first time, sign into Google Ads, click on the tools icon, and go to Audience Manager under “Shared library.” Click Audience sources and click SET UP TAG on the “Google Ads tag” card. Define the type of data you want to collect and then click CREATE and CONTINUE. You can then copy both pieces of code and click DONE. You then paste the global site tag between the <head></head> tags of the website. Be aware that the event snippet has a section that has to be populated by your site webmaster when the code is copied into the web server.
Google will begin compiling a retargeting list from this data. After this list has grown, select the audience you wish to retarget to by going to Audience Lists under the Audience Manager. There you can define and segment your audience using criteria such as those who visited your blog or a specific blog category of articles, or those who went to specific pages on your site. You can then create corresponding ads that meet the interests of those particular users.
There are a number of different ways to retarget using Google Ads. One is standard remarketing which shows ads to past visitors on the GDN when they browse websites or apps. Others are remarketing lists for Search Ads, video remarketing and customer list remarketing.
Tips for segmented audience campaigns
While you want to make sure to target all of your website visitors, it is helpful to segment them into specific audiences. For example, you can create an audience for those you’ve identified as existing customers in order to upsell to them with ads for additional services like monitoring or O&M. Look to segment your list in a way that allows you to create ads that showcase different aspects of your business based on what your visitors were browsing for, such as ground mounts or pricing.
Target users who did not convert by offering a specific needed benefit. For example, prospects who only visited briefly may be at the early stages of their buying process so you can target them with ads running educational information about solar’s benefits.
Google Ad optimization
There are ways to optimize the ads by using customer interests and behavior. Categorize your commercial solar ads by industry, such as non-profits or agriculture, or by their demographic, such as suburban retirees or urban couples. Also, use all of the 14 ad formats available in order to broaden your reach and maximize your chances of them showing up in better positions because you are not competing with other ad shapes and sizes.
You can use text or display ads that are optimized for mobile devices as well. However, if your audience doesn’t use cell phones very often, opt out of mobile app placements in order to allocate your funds most effectively.
Ads that resonate with users on an emotional level are the most compelling. Avoid plain informational ads that look the same as many others. It helps to assess the effectiveness of your ad copy and update it as you discover what performs well. To avoid annoying prospects, use a function called frequency capping that limits how many times an individual can be exposed to your ad per day. Ad scheduling lets you specify the hours and days when the ads will be shown, allowing you to show them at the optimal times based on what you know about your prospects’ online habits.
Retargeting via social media platforms
Retargeting through Facebook is very similar to doing it through Google Ads. Facebook walks you through setting up the code or “pixel” that tracks site visitors based on where you place the code on your site. You then create custom audiences to show ads to compiled lists of visitors. The platform has a custom audience option like the Google Ads Customer List option where you create a list of your contacts who were not ready to invest in solar when you first spoke with them.
There are a number of different ads you can create in Facebook. A popular one is the newsfeed ad, one that looks like a regular Facebook post and shows up on the newsfeeds of your chosen audience.
Twitter also has the option to retarget by placing code called a “website tag” on your site to tailored audiences via what they call conversion tracking. LinkedIn calls it website retargeting using their Insight Tag and allows you to define audiences to target.
Retargeting presents a great opportunity to re-engage a website visitor who left without taking an action that would allow you to pursue them as a possible solar lead. It grants you the ability to unobtrusively but consistently keep solar, and your business, front-of-mind for them. Entrepreneur Magazine says of persistence when selling: “Persistence doesn’t mean grinding people down — it means that you look for innovative solutions in the face of difficulty.” For solar contractors looking for persistence in their digital marketing, retargeting can be just that kind of innovative solution.
About Aurora’s digital solar marketing series
This article is part of an ongoing series from Aurora Solar design and sales software, providing a guide for solar companies to develop a cohesive digital solar marketing strategy to connect with more customers. We explain the value offered by different digital marketing options and highlight concrete strategies to make the most of each.
Part 1 (Intro): Five ways digital solar marketing can grow your business
Part 10: How to use retargeting to increase solar sales conversions