It happens on occasions that I’m asked to implement a very specific solution to a vaguely described problem. A trusted friend has heard that retargeting kicks some ass, and we need to get it, too, now.
The problem with the solution-first approach, to call it, is that we tend to ignore why the solution is needed in the first place, or if at all. For any growth marketing activity to be justified, we have to examine the current situation. What are the bottlenecks? Where are the opportunities? What could likely resonate with our audience? So instead, let’s flip the approach and ask ourselves what we need to achieve in the big picture.
To do this, it’s critical to understand what the purpose of the website is. Usually, it should be to sell or to convert sales leads. With this information at hand, I tend to take a proper look under the hood in analytics and figure out how the engine is running. Like leaks in a mechanical engine, leaks in a website are usually quick to spot. The larger the spill, the more urgent repair it requires.
As a simplified example, let’s imagine we’ve learned that the goal of the website is to convert high-quality leads. The engine leaks before the exhaust pipe, however, meaning there are plenty of visitors but they don’t convert. We’ve located our leak.
Do we need a retargeting campaign at this stage? Not necessarily, but possibly. We need an engine fix, and more precisely, we need to figure out why the visitors aren’t converting. This leads us towards the correct first step: Optimizing our offering and website for conversion gets us more leads and sets us ready to acquire more traffic. Instead of implementing a retargeting campaign, we should focus our efforts on conversion rate optimization first. This, in turn, can point us to tactics such as analyzing the relevance of the visitors, setting up feedback polls, or heatmapping.
It may be that we learn that you need retargeting in the process. It’s often a brilliant part of the growth engine, particularly when conversion requires multiple visits. So don’t get me wrong here! But before we can say so, we need to know what is leaking.