It’s no secret; the goal of any small business owner is to see growth and expansion. For many small businesses this means using creative online marketing strategies that make the most out of budgets of any size.

Many large companies have started to take advantage of retargeting, a marketing practice that’s sole purpose is to bring back visitors that have already seen what a given company has to offer. Is this practice a sustainable option for small businesses as well? Keep reading to find out.

Retargeting: The Basics

Put simply, retargeting refers to specific advertising practices that focus on bringing back bounced web traffic.

How does it work? When an online user visits a website, a cookie is dropped onto their computer. This cookie remains inactive until the user visits another site that’s participating in the advertising network.  When the cookie is activated, an ad for the original website is displayed, reminding the user of what they may have been searching for and driving them back to complete a transaction.

While the practice may seem complicated, it’s simple. The practice focuses solely on previous visitors, eliminating money lost in typical “pay-per-click” campaigns. In fact, while the savings depends on the industry, retargeting costs 11% to 96% less per click than PPC campaigns on average. In general, companies who utilize retargeting see a higher ROI than those involved in traditional online advertising.

The Proof is in the Statistics

The average conversion rate for a first time website visitor is 2%. That means 98% leave a website before converting which translates to a lot of lost business. Retargeting changes this. In fact, the practice boosts average ad response by 400%; the average click-through rate for a standard web ad is .07%, for retargeted ads the number rises to .7%.

While the marketing strategy is fairly new, customers have reacted positively across the board. 25% enjoy targeted ads because of the subtle reminders that they provide, while 30% claim to have alarmingly positive reactions to the practice in general.

Like all online initiatives, the proof is in the conversions, it’s no different for retargeting: according to Software Advice, website visitors who return to a site through a retargeted ad convert 70% of the time. From the aforementioned 2%, this is a noticeable and worthwhile improvement.

Successful Campaigns

While large companies like Lowes, Lacoste, and Brooks Running are heavily engaged in retargeting campaigns, smaller businesses have seen great success, and growth from starting campaigns of their own.

BustedTees, an online graphic t-shirt company used retargeting to re-engage customers who had failed to make a purchase on the first visit to the website. By engaging a retargeting company, BustedTees began a targeted ad campaign. By serving 447,180 ad impressions in a single month, the company saw an ROI of 390%.

Making Retargeting Work for Your Business

Take the time to study your web traffic over the past 6 months. Have you seen consistent increases in traffic and conversions? If not, it may be time to change your marketing strategy by engaging previous customers as opposed to focusing on unique visitors alone.

Look at the sites your customers visit after leaving your site. To find this information, use Google Analytics’ Event Tracking feature, which will create a clear picture. Chances are high that social media sites are prevalent in this list.

Take the time to research various retargeting providers; companies like Retargeter and Adroll have successful track records, but there are hundreds of options. Because of the sheer size of options, along with the research needed to carry out a successful campaign, working with a virtual marketing assistant to sort through options and manage the strategy may be an efficient use of time to maximize results.

Consider your marketing budget and give it a try. Each month, evaluate your results and modify your strategy as needed.

As a small business owner, you understand the value of every customer and potential customer; retargeting-based marketing strategies complement this value and provide results that can be hard to find elsewhere.