Retargeter Blog

B2B Retargeting and the Path to Online Purchase

A recent Google study found that 48 percent of tech business-to-business customers happen upon brands they were previously unfamiliar through search engines. In fact, referrals to tech-focused business-to-business sites from non-branded searches make up nearly 80 percent of all search referrals. These consumers are using the online market make purchases more than any other media.

What does this mean for you and your business? Simply, you stand a great chance of picking up new customers from searches, but you may need a secret weapon to complete the task. In this case, that secret weapon is B2B retargeting.

The Path to Purchasing

According to Google benchmark studies, there are four phases a potential customer goes through before making a purchase. The first is awareness; this is likely to occur upon the customer’s first search. Say he’s looking for parts for the computer hardware that he sells to his own customers, and you’re a supplier of those parts.

His awareness of your company will be aroused when he does a search for that particular part. Referrals, direct marketing, email marketing and social media are other ways to drive that awareness. Once the potential customer has made it to your site, he moves into the consideration phase. He looks around and considers what his needs are compared to what you are offering.

While the awareness and consideration phases are usually back to back, the next phase may take some time to develop, and that’s intent. Intent to purchase can simmer for days or even weeks as a potential customer considers his choices. Are yours the cheapest parts he can find? Can he find good online reviews recommending your product? Does your site provide enough information on the parts to prompt a purchase? And have you made it easy to make a purchase through your web site?

The Last Interaction

The final stage of this process is the decision. Obviously you want this potential customer to decide to use your business, and that is where retargeting comes into play. Retargeted ads essentially play to people who are undecided on whether they want to do business with you or not. They’re the people who come back again after an initial visit but, like a runaway bride, keep leaving before making a commitment.

It’s not too hard to zero in on these potential customers. A piece of code on your web site can be programmed to drop an unobtrusive cookie into the potential customer’s browser, which allows you to serve ads to those users as they surf around the web. You might have separate campaigns for people who abandoned a shopping cart or completed a sale, and these ads can reflect that.

The advantage, of course, is that the more finely targeted your advertising is, the more likely it is to result in an online sale. The last thing you ever want to do is push someone away from your web site when you’re trying to make a sale. By answering any questions a potential B2B consumer may have about your product directly on your site, you’ve just increased the chances of the person buying your product. Retargeting can really make a difference in your conversion rate because of this chance to tailor the ad and the message to the specific customer experience.

Making Your Argument

When putting together your retargeted ad, consider these interesting findings from Google:

  • 74 percent of tech B2B customers who plan to make a purchase look at three or more companies
  • More than two thirds (67 percent) were unsure of what company to buy from
  • 44 percent of customers do not convert until two weeks or more after their first visit

In order to increase your chances of a conversion, structure your ad in a way that answers any questions or doubts the customer might be having. Is your product more expensive than a competitor’s? Use the ad to explain (or link to an explanation of) the high-quality materials used in your product, which ensure that it won’t need to be replaced for twice as long as the competition.

Emphasizing the high quality of your product is truly the way to a customer’s heart. Google found in its study that 90 percent listed “quality” as being a “very important” attribute when buying a product, of greater importance than ease of use of product or service (84 percent), security (83 percent) and ease of implementation (82 percent). Key on all of these attributes in your advertising, but hammer home the high quality more than anything else if you want to ensure a high engagement rate.

Adrienne Erin is a blogger and internet marketer who helps all kinds of businesses succeed, from local businesses to CAT dealerships selling used backhoes. She spends most of her time writing, but when she’s not, you might find her brushing up on her French or cooking Thai-inspired food.

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