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Remarketing: Getting back those lost customers


Remarketing: Getting back those lost customers

Remarketing: Getting back those lost customers

Remarketing is highly valuable in a company’s marketing tool kit. Here are some strategies on how to win back those lost customers.

What is remarketing?

At its core remarketing is engaging a user that has previously been on your site with a follow-up message. A main form is through advertising whether it’s on Facebook, a website or on your mobile device. You have probably been retargeted at least once, finding in your Facebook feed an ad for a product you were looking at recently, or browsing and seeing a hotel offer for a city that you were researching hotels in a few days earlier.

Why should I care about remarketing?

Remarketing has some key advantages

  1. You know more about a user and what pages they visited so your messaging can be more tailored.
  2. CPAs (Cost to acquire) are generally lower as the user has shown some interest, they just need an extra push to make the final decision.

Setting up a remarketing campaign

There are many different platforms out there for remarketing but probably the most prominent ones are Adroll, Google & Retargeter. The set up for any retargeting campaign follows a similar path.

Identify your goals: With remarketing you want to identify what are the key objectives. If it’s closing a lead or sale then you want to make sure you are sending the right message at the right time. In some cases it can be for brand engagement and to keep your brand on top of mind.

Allocate a marketing budget: Start with a small budget so you can see which campaigns are the most effective. The allocation of your remarketing budget will be in direct correlation to your unique visits. You don’t want overspend and create ad blindness to the same user. Overtime you can expand and optimize the budgets for the the campaigns that are showing the highest return.

Set up CPA goal: For each campaign, you want to set yourself a CPA goal so you can ensure your campaigns are meeting their full potential. These CPA goals should be similar if not lower to what you you see on your search/content campaigns.

Identify the different campaign target groups: Campaign targets can be broken out by where the user is in the funnel. Below are the recommend groups, for each of these groups you can place a conversion pixel on your site to track how many users are in each bucket.

  • Low intent users: Users who visited your homepage and left. These users require the most work to convert and may need 3–4 touch points.
  • Medium intent users: Users who visited a specific product or landing page. Users in this group hopefully have a good understanding of your brand and product. At this point they might be browsing your competitors to see what other options are available.
  • High intent users: Users who reached the checkout page and abandoned their cart. They are likely having some reservation, or maybe looking to see if other offers, promotions might be coming. These are the users you want to spend the most time and incentivize them to complete the transaction.
  • Upsell/Crossell users: Users who have purchased an item but have the potential to to purchase an accessory or ancillary product or learn about a new aspect of your company.

In some cases your first test will only include a subset of the above target groups.

Where to display your ads

Within each campaign there are options on where you want to target users. Depending on your vertical, customer demographics, and item price point you will want to focus on a particular subset. You analytics data should inform where your users are coming from and what platforms they are using.

  • Websites: Generally better for engagement, and to keep the brand on top of mind
  • Mobile devices/apps: If your product/service lends itself well for mobile conversion this can be a good way to go. It can also be another touch point from having a user switching from their mobile device to their desktop to make the final purchase.
  • Facebook : Facebook offers very targeted solutions with good screen real estate when you choose to retarget inside the newsfeed. This channel has the potential to have your highest ROI channel.
  • Other social/e-commerce platforms: As more social networks such as Instagram, Pinterest, or Snapchat start exploring advertising channels there are opportunities to reach new audiences with retargeting.

Ad creative & messaging


With retargeting creative you want to match the content and image as closely to what the user saw and what bucket they fall in. If they just reached the homepage, then its better to focus on the brand and tell a story through your ads. Make sure to include your logo/name in a visible way so there is a clear association.


If a users reached a particular product page then you want to display the product in your ad and talk to its key features.

Remarketing services have tools to create product centric ads like this one that call your product and price

In the instance of medium/high intent user you may want to offer a limited time discount. A simple 10% off the order can be enough to the tip the scale in your favor.

Additional promo offers can make abandoned cart users take action

Facebook allows you to include action buttons to drive the user to your site

Mix and Match: Most importantly you want to keep testing new copy and images. The ads need to be fresh so ad blindness does not occur. If possible expect to have 3 variations of each ad and to refresh and test new copy/images on a monthly basis.

Alternative Targeting Options

Within certain retargeting platforms there are additional tools to retarget. It’s better to start with a basic targeting methods before exploring some of these more alternative options, but depending on your business these have the potential to boost your ROI.

Email/CRM Database: You can upload your existing database of users who have subscribed to your newsletter, or lead list and target those users.

Search/Email retargeting: Users who search for particular keywords in search engines or opened specific email can be retargeted.


With retargeting the one thing to keep in mind is there are two types of conversions, view-through conversions and direct conversions. It’s important to clearly note the difference between these two.

  • View-through: A user saw your ad at some point in a 30 day window and in that time came back to your site to convert.
  • Direct conversion: A user clicked on your ad and made a purchase immediately.

Balancing the value of view-through to a click-through conversion will depend on your goals. Generally you want to weight your campaign success on direct conversion to get more accurate ROI.

It is ideal which ever retargeting platform you choose that at the end of each month you request an “attribution report.” This should breakout in some form how many conversions occurred in a particular interval

The grid shows an example of how to weight the value of a conversion based upon when they occurred.

As you can see by the table, what looked like a very successful campaign (74 conversions) was in reality less effective (41 adjusted conversions). This indicates there need to be tweaks to copy/creative/targeting to increase conversions in a shorter interval. The weight of these numbers are just a model and can be adjusted based upon other analytics data you find. Similarly on an ad level you want to monitor which ad creatives combinations are leading to the most direct conversions vs view-through conversions.


  • Identify the goals/CPAs you want your retargeting campaign to accomplish
  • Create focused market segments so you can measure ROI and tailor key messaging
  • Make sure ad creative copy and images is refreshed regularly and test across multiple services/platforms to find the one that works best for you
  • Ensure you are validating metrics and measuring interval conversion to understand true ROI of your campaigns.


Lights Out…Facebook Dark Posts are your new best friend


Lights Out…Facebook Dark Posts are your new best friend

With Facebook’s recent announcement, companies are literally in the dark. In brief, Facebook has further reduced the ability of your business to be visible on Facebook.

This means a complete mind shift on how a start-up or an established brand can benefit from continuing to manage a page on Facebook. To get back in the game, it starts with figuring out how to leverage Dark Posts.

What are Dark Posts?

Dark Posts are a way for you to reach a focused audience set using Facebook’s targeting tools. That means your posts do not appear on your brand page, but are only visible to a targeted set of users who you want to reach.

This is a powerful tool and the good news is that Facebook has hundreds of variables to target users. The bad news is that these infinitesimal options can be overwhelming. I’ve outlined a few strategies when setting up Facebook Dark posts.

Clearly define and segment your audience

  • Keep your audience targets lean so you can isolate variables. Audience groups over 500,000 start to get muddled with Facebook’s throttling algorithm. When in doubt keep it small.
  • Figure out what devices and platforms your primary demographic resides on. If you are a mobile application, stick to mobile devices and if you don’t have a mobile site/app turn off mobile. Its easy to bleed money on unqualified leads.
  • Start your campaigns by breaking out ad groups by age and gender. (i.e 13–24 female). Based upon your user research and google analytics you should have already identified these groups to make these as specific as possible
  • Create specific categories to reach a subset of that audience i.e. competitors, complementary products and so on. Again keep those groups tight, so you can see which target group is working
  • Start with a specific set of 3–5 cities to test your targeting hypothesis. This can help to keep your budget in check and prove your copy.
  • Generally, right hand side ads have been poor performers, start with only newsfeed ads to ensure your users have seen your posts.
  • Use the call to action options which Facebook has a few to choose from like Sign-Up or Buy Now.

A model framework for Facebook targeting

Provide clear and effective messaging

There is a lot of noise in a Facebook’s users feed. The copy has to stand out in order to be noticed.

  • Have a voice and be consistent. You should by now have identified a voice for your brand. It can be comedic, aspirational, intriguing but whatever it is it should be consistent in your copy and the landing page you send your users. Examples of brands doing this well include Bonobosand Dollar Shave Club


This ad has clear call to action and defines the benefit

The headline should call out your product or category in some form but more importantly the text should be succinctly addressing a key benefit your business solves for a user. The more specific the better.


  • Keep a fine balance in making your copy not too salesy. Users will catch on fast and start to ignore/block your posts.
  • Use google search suggest to see how users are searching for your products/services in your category. Look at your competitors AdWords ads. It can help put some direction on what keywords to use

Create a compelling visual

  • Real photography generally performs better. Take the time to hire a proper photographer. Use taskrabbit or find a local college student to stay in budget.
  • Make your ads feel personal. With all the targeting groups you have worked to create, there needs to be an equal payoff on the image to match it.

Message and image align with beautiful photography

  • Minimal copy on the photos. Facebook has 20% text rule, but it can also take away from the visual. Keep it to a watermark of your company or at most one text call out.
  • Keep your images fresh. Ad blindness/fatigue can occur quickly. You should utilize Facebook’s 6 image limit to cycle images.

Overtime, you will start to see patterns and further hone your targets, copy and photography. Once you feel you’ve exhausted a group subset it’s time to explore a new one and do the process over again. Hopefully with these tips you can be on your way to reaching your audience again and growing your business.


  • Define your targeting hierarchy and ad structure
  • Develop messaging with clear call to actions and the key benefits your company offers to align with the selected target market
  • Create a visually stunning payoff with compelling photography or graphic creative
  • Continually explore and test targeting, copy and creative to improve click-through and conversion rates.



Goodbye Facebook, Hello Instagram


Goodbye Facebook, Hello Instagram

Goodbye Facebook, Hello Instagram

With Facebook becoming a pay-to play model, its time to re-focus marketing efforts on other platforms. If utilized correctly, Instagram can be a powerful tool for brand awareness and fan engagement. Below are some strategies to jump-start your Instagram account.

It’s about quality not quantity

In order to grow your followers, your photos have to be compelling. What you post on Instagram needs to get people excited and wanting to share and learn more. To do this your need to be thoughtful, creative and relevant.

Create Context to tell a great story :

Instagram is most effective when you can tell your product story through context. For example Lucy targets a female demographic and inspires them to get fit. Instead of trying to directly sell or talk about their products, they post photos that focus on how good it feels when you live an active lifestyle.


Go Pro does a great job demonstrating their product value with very minimal photos showing the actual product. Instead it posts breathtaking pictures and videos. These not only display the amazing quality of the shots/videos you can take, but more importantly the endless potential of experiences that you can now capture.

Find that context for your brand to get your fans to desire your product.


Timing is everything with Instagram. Be prepared to have posts ready for holidays, major events and other key dates that are relevant to your brand and industry.

Events such as the Superbowl can get you a lot of eyeballs and allow you to put your own spin on. Brands like Oreo which have nothing to do directly with the Superbowl use creativity to get into the conversation .

Think out of the box and find ways to integrate your brand into those important occasions

Oreo shows their version of seven layer dip for the superbowl party


Sending users down the funnel


Pictures are great but there needs to be a call to action to get your users to take the next step. Instagram does not make it easy to add links to your posts. To get around this issue, in your description mention to click on the bio link which you can update regularly. This will enable your fans to take the next step and allow you to better track the effectiveness of which types of posts lead to conversions.

Brands like Nordstrom will mention to click on the bio link to purchase a product they mentioned

Engage your community

Growing followers is a good start but it is important to retain them and keep your brand on top of mind.

  • Run contests and giveaways asking fans to share their photos.

Clothing brands like H&M run contests to collect content and extend reach of their campaigns

  • Regram your fans content and give them a shoutout

Regrams like this one show your appreciation to your fans and provide authenticity

  • Celebrate those big wins with your fans

Taco bell gets creative showing they reached 500k fans on instagram

Hashtags: Make content discoverable

Similar to Twitter, Hashtags are important for making your content searchable. Try and choose the hashtags that are most relevant to your brand or industry. You can also use hashtags to separate out your posts or campaigns to reach a tipping point for your brand. The #ALS #ICEBUCKETCHALLENGE is a great example of driving awareness for a good cause. Whatever hashtags you choose make sure they can tie back to your brand.

Celebrities from all walks of life joined in on the message adding the hashtag #IceBucketChallenge


  • Let your pictures tell your product story
  • Keep your photos contextual and timely
  • Brainstorm ideas in advance so you have captivating photos ready for every big moment whether its a global event or your personal company achievements
  • Keep your brand on top of mine and extend its reach through contests and fan appreciation.
  • Use hashtags strategically to get your content discovered


How to jumpstart your referral marketing


How to jumpstart your referral marketing

How to jumpstart your referral marketing

Leveraging your existing users is a powerful tool to help drive new customer growth at a low cost. Below are a few strategies you can implement to keep that funnel flowing.

Identify your referral strategy

There are several ways to generate referrals. Generally the most effective referrals programs are ones in which you reward the user for bringing you new customers. However, there are other creative ways that might be unique to your business. A combination of the following tactics can enable you to have a multi-pronged approach to your referral marketing strategy.

  • Double referral: This works well because the referring user’s message will have more authenticity and also increase the chances they will share it. is a great example of an effective referral marketing program. Every time you successfully refer a friend you get $20 and as a referrer you give your friend a coupon code to get 20% off their first purchase. This drives new customer growth while increasing the loyalty of an existing customer.

Pop-up widget that appears when you click the “Refer” link in the footer

  • Site integration referral. For a site where there is a social network effect of more users joining or a benefit for that user to bring in friends, the social connect invite model works extremely well. A great example of this is on Once you connect your Facebook or Twitter accounts you are able see which of your friends are in the network. If they are not yet in the network you can invite them to join with a simple click that sends a request to join.
  • Physical good referral: Apparel/Gifts as a referral reward can have a doubly positive effect. First customers love to receive gear, but if the gear is witty or well designed these customers now become walking billboards for your company. After that initial cost, you now have free advertising wherever your customer goes. Shirts are the most common, but water bottles, coffee mugs or other items that are used everyday by your customers can be great rewards.

At launch Sosh gave a shirt to every user who referred a friend to sign up

  • Charitable contribution: The gift does not always have to come back to the customer. In some cases the referral rewards can be in form of charitable contribution to a non-profit that is aligned with your company. This can result in a positive emotional reward for the customer.
  • Gamefication: If it makes sense have a referral leaderboard to show which users are driving the most referrals for the month and instill some friendly competition amongst users to refer more friends.

Building your referral program

Once you have identified the strategies it’s time to implement them. There are several companies that have out-of-the box solutions to integrate into your site. Some the more popular ones are and While they have great features and analytics, they can be fairly pricy for a younger start-up. You should review the service options and cost to figure out if it makes sense. Most services quote 10–20% lift in sales but it can vary depending on your business. Another avenue is having your developers or hiring a freelancer on a site like to build the basic referral mechanics.

When designing your referral program make sure make it as easy as possible for the user to send the referral. For example have customized copy ready for the email or social referral. The more hoops a user has to jump through the lower the share rate.

Where to set up your referral triggers:

There are several touchpoint in the customer lifecycle that can be considered effective times to market your referral program.

  • Confirmation Page: Once your customer has purchased, give them the opportunity to share their purchase with their friends either through email or social networks.
  • Post Product Arrival/ Sign-up. After a user has received your product or been using your service for a couple of weeks, engage the customer via email/ mobile notification/ text and encourage them to share their love of your product or service.
  • Site banner: Have a persistent banner/ link on your site every time a visitor returns. It will serve as a constant reminder and may be the trigger that also leads to a repeat customer. has a persistent banner on the top of their site

  • Email banner: In any drip marketing or one-off campaigns add a referral banner in your email.
  • Affiliate: Have an affiliate program offer that gives publishers a commission for converting new customers. One of the most popular affiliate programs is but there are many other options to choose from.
  • Offline: Give your customers or complementary business partners cards to display at their shops. You can also hand out these cards in areas where your potential customers shop.

A unique and creative card concept to share the business with a friend. Designed by Threefold Collective

Always be testing

You will continually want to refine copy, creative and offers across each strategy. It’s important to refresh offers as they can become stale over time. This can be done with a/b testing to find the right message or offer. In some cases it could be valuable to ask your customers through a quick survey what type of incentives/ rewards will encourage them to more readily share your product or service.


  1. Prioritize which set of referral marketing tactics will efficiently yield the most customers
  2. Evaluate and pick a referral service or build one from scratch
  3. Identify and map out the customer touch points where your customer will see the referral program
  4. Continue to test and refine copy, creative and referral offers across the different tactics to improve conversion rates.

Had success with other creative referral tactics? Drop them in the comments section.


Infographics: An SEO Treasure


Infographics: An SEO Treasure

Infographics can be a great way to create brand awareness and drive virality. They grab your attention and are shared by users and content publications alike. Best of all while social posts have a finite window in a users feed, infographics can be a great referral source for years which makes it an SEO gift that just keeps on giving. Below I’ve outlined some key strategies to make your first infographic a successful one.

Tell a great story

Behind every good infographic is a compelling story. As a first step, you want to figure out what that story is and how you will present it. Unique data and interesting facts about your industry are always a great place to start. For instance at SOL REPUBLIC we told the story of how people in the 21st century listen to music. Whatever your story, it is has to be somethingrelatable to a fairly large audience or a loyal fan group.

Gather all the facts and write them down in a document as the foundation for your infographic and be sure to use credible sources. Presenting inaccurate data can backfire quickly. Formulate the data points into smaller sub-stories that tie into the main story. Infographics should be designed to answer questions that people have been thinking about but haven’t taken the time to look up. A good infographic leads to more discussion and comments whether or not it is in agreement with the facts you have presented. For instance, with our infographic these were two questions that led to more conversations in the comments:

  • What ways do people discover/share music? (i.e. Youtube vs. Radio vs. Friends)
  • What are the most popular music streaming apps: (i.e. Spotify vs. Pandora vs. Rdio)

Visualize the data

Once you have identified the sub-stories, you want to begin to visualize that data. Before you get a designer involved, build some preliminary visuals of the data to see what it could look like.

  • Mix it up with bar and line graphs
  • Get creative and use images and icons to enhance the visuals.
  • No need to re-invent the wheel, look for inspiration by seeing infographic examples on Google and Pinterest.

A great visual that shows the magnitude of the number of iPhone sold


Make it Beautiful, Readable, and Branded

It’s now time to hand over your document to a designer and have your infographic come to life. Whether you are working with an in-house designer or a freelancer, you want to clearly convey the objectives of the infographic and maintain your brand aesthetics.

  • Use a color palette that matches your brand, and make the data points visible with contrasting colors.
  • Keep the infographic to a manageable size and space it out. Too much concentrated data can overwhelm users.
  • Have a larger version of the infographic so users can click-through to zoom in on the infographic. It’s frustrating when an infographic is not easily legible.
  • Mention your name in the title and have your logo visible in the footer. Nothing too prominent to take away from the visual but it should be recognizable.

Make it Viral


  • Include the standard social share links in clear view top and bottom of the page so users can easily share with friends.
  • Have the share copy mention your name in the first line so users who view it associate the infographic with your brand.

Make it count

All your handwork will go to waste if your infographic is never seen. Prepare a launch strategy on how it will be unveiled to the public.

  • Set a launch date and tease data points on your socials to get your fans excited.
  • Partner with businesses in your industry to share the infographic and reach out to bloggers in your space. Infographics make for great content and bloggers usually chomp at the bits to get one of these. Just make sure they correctly link back to your site or landing page.
  • Give an exclusive first look to a large publisher. While there are tradeoffs, the benefits of brand exposure can outweigh the costs of losing the potential direct traffic. For instance we took a strategic approach to share our infographic on Mashable which led to 8K+ shares and 100K+ users being introduced to our brand.
  • At launch, post to all your socials and your blog, and be sure to use hashtags and other meta keywords that are commonly searched. For instance a no-brainer is #infographic.
  • Got a newsletter? Include the infographic.
  • As most infographics are images, ensure you have properly used alt-tags so it is easily discovered on search engines.


  • Tell a compelling story with interesting facts about your industry
  • Provide information that will spark discussion and heated debates
  • Design your infographic to be legible, shareable, and SEO friendly
  • Have a launch strategy to set your infographic up to succeed
  • Partner with bloggers and industry partners to get the word out.

Examples of good infographics

SOL REPULIC via Mashable


Building a community of superfans


Building a community of superfans

Building a community of Superfans

Superfans are the life and blood of a growing company and the catalyst for having your brand seen and heard. Here are some strategies on how to foster and leverage super users. I’ve included examples of specific tactics that we found successful at SOL REPUBLIC.

Identify your Superfans

Each business has key success metrics. Identify those users who are particularly engaged by those metrics, whether its the number of visits, purchases or contributions to your brand. At the beginning, keep the threshold high so you can create more personalized relationships with the core Superfans. These are the early adopters who can help bridge the gap to acquiring more casual users. Overtime you can start to relax the criteria and open up the group to identify and create different levels of super users.

Have a Brand Voice

Because you want to get Superfans excited about this exclusive group, the name and how it’s presented are critical to the success. For example, at SOL REPUBLIC we call our fans SOLdiers of Sound and position the voice of the Superfan program using military terminology. There are calls to actions like “Enlist, Earn and Get Rewarded”. The fans level up from Cadet to Captain to Lieutenant. Our Superfans take these roles seriously, they’re ecstatic when they reach a new level and broadcast it to all their friends. Music artist do a great job of creating Superfan clubs. For example Lady Gaga: Little Monsters and Beyonce: Bey Hive. Whatever the name, make your loyalty program voice be an extension of your brand.

Create a home:

Once you have identified your Superfans, you need a platform or mechanism to engage them. An email list, forum, or private Facebook group can be a quick way gather users and start a conversation. This will primarily depend on your audience, younger audiences will gravitate more towards mobile application and chat apps while older demographic or b2b clients might feel more comfortable with email.

Start with private facebook group to start a conversation

For SOL REPUBLIC, the recruitment process was extremely proactive. We posted to our Facebook page requesting fans to submit an application on why they should be a SOLdier of Sound. The form had a few open ended questions about their interests and passions. We were amazed by the level of engagement and response, we received over 50 qualified submissions. After a few months a private Facebook group was created for our Superfans to chat with each other and the list grew to over 2,000 fairly quickly through word of mouth. Once the model was proven, the team invested in building a platform to extend the features and benefits and expose the brand to more fans. The SOLdier community is now 25,000 strong globally.

Make them part of the team.

Superfans want to help out and feel like they are part of something. It’s important that you engage them often to keep them excited about your brand.

Get Feedback: Superfans can really help provide direction on what to build next, or what can be improved. But the perception of being involved in those decisions has an even added bonus. For example, SOLdiers complete surveys on what features or important to them or vote on their favorite headband design.

Have fun and get creative. We discovered our fans really enjoy learning about music so we have Music Mondays where fans share what they were listening to. Our fans place our product on statues/monuments in their cities and submit pictures.

Fans love taking pictures of the gear

Create challenges: You’ll be surprised how far they go. SOLdiers were willing to give up their Black Friday to drop-off donuts to our retail partners. Some even went to multiple stores.

Challenges are updated weekly to keep fans coming back

Connect your fans: Connecting Superfans can have a network effect. They can help answer each others questions and be their own support group, which cuts down your customer support costs. Superfans can connect on campus or at concerts, creating greater empowerment to work as a team to promote the brand.

Reward Them

Rewards can come in different forms. Small gifts like t-shirt or water bottle can go a long way. A sample of your product or access to new beta services is definitely recommended.

Make them feel special: For SOLdiers on college campus, we send them a care package with snacks and some gear during midterms and finals. They love the thoughtful gesture and unexpected surprise.

Acknowledgment: Mention them on social media or in a blog post. We have a monthly award called the Distinguished SOLdier where we highlight one of the SOLdiers. We share the story of they’ve gone above and beyond the call of duty and give them a specially designed headband for their headphones. Another great example is where Taylor Swift posts pictures of her Superfans (Swifties) and thanks them on her Twitter feed.

Exceptional Customer service: Superfans deserve the best customer service. Try and address Superfan requests in a timely manner and if possible do something extra nice for them when they run into issues. Their loyalty to your brand can hinge on making them always feel like a VIP.

Enable them to be Evangelists

This is the key element to Superfans that brands do not always think about. Superfans can really help to elevate your brand, but you need to enable your Superfans by giving them tools to share your message.

  • Give them cards to hand out to friends, family and colleagues
  • Create a unique sharing links with a set number of invites
  • Give them coupon codes to give their friends a discount on your product/service
  • Enable sharing tools to refer friends to join the program or make purchases

We give select SOLdiers a starter package to get the word out


  • Identify who your Superfans are and your objectives for the program
  • Find a voice to position how you want to engage with your Superfans
  • Create a home to engage, get feedback, and allow them to connect with other Superfans
  • Reward and acknowledge the top Superfans to keep them motivated
  • Give Superfans the tools to easily recruit new fans