One of the more difficult aspects of digital marketing is explaining how a process works to a client who doesn’t understand, or doesn’t have time to understand how the technology that helps convert new business works.

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
– Arthur C. Clarke

At the end of this post, I have included my Slideshare Conversion Optimization Flowchart For you to use as you see fit. It is a fantastic visualization on how the entire process works together.

Retargeting and Marketing Automation are two unique inbound techniques that can work great independent of one another, but when combined can lift a marketing campaign to new unparalleled levels.  The question is, how do we get these campaigns to sync up into a cohesive understandable system.

Retargeting Lists

Retargeting Marketing StrategyTo begin a successful campaign, we need to begin organizing our visitors into lists or buckets.  To keep things simple, we’re going to start with 4 lists.

  1. All Visitors
  2. Visitors we do know
  3. Visitors we don’t know
  4. Customers

This is the most basic way to differentiate between our visitor types.  Depending on your automation provider or technology involved, you can gain insight into the visitors and gain information about that visitor without requiring a form-fill, but to keep things simple we’re going to assume a visitor must provide their information through a form-fill or phone call.

Now, how do we differentiate between each list type? Tags (Or Cookies.. or pixels.. doesn’t matter)

All Visitors

The first thing I do is tag each visitor that comes to the website. This is allows us combine, remove, or edit sub lists to target the precise users that we’re trying convert.

I won’t go through how to do this at a technical level today.  Depending on your provider (Google, RadiumOne, Bing, etc) you will have slightly different methods to create those lists.  Personally, I use Google, and One Third Party provider to keep things simple.

Visitors we do know

When I began writing this, I started with visitors we don’t know, but logically it makes more sense to do it this way. We need to create an additional tag for customers we do know.  The goal of this tag is to identify any visitors that we have contact information about, that are not customers.  We then can place this tag at various points in our digital strategy to allow us to target these visitors with specialized messaging.  A few examples –

  • Thank You Pages (After form-fills)
  • Emails targeting leads from CRM (Not Customers)
    • Phone Call Entries
    • Previous Data
    • Data Collected via 3rd party provider
    • Social
    • Purchased Lists
    • etc.

This data allows us to target visitors we have information about.  If we have an email address, this is where we can begin the Marketing Automation process, which I will be talking about in greater detail in a little bit.

Visitors we don’t know

This is the easiest List we can make. Subtract Visitors we do know From All Visitors.  This gives us our third list.  Visitors we don’t know.

This list is our primary target for our retargeting campaigns.  We want to market to this list and convert these visitors into visitors we know.  This is where Retargeting will come into play.


Retargeting can serve two purposes.  For Google AdWords, we can use our lists to decrease or increase our bid % based on visitor activity.  For example, if you tag a visitor who visited a certain product page, you can now retarget that customer if they’re looking for that or similar products again through google.  You can increase your bid to increase the likelihood of that visitor seeing your ad and returning back to the website again.

Additionally, Retargeting allows us to offer display or text ads on tagged visitors as they traverse other websites.  For our purposes, we develop a profile of target customer and establish a list of websites that are frequently accessed by that profile.  We can then show tagged visitors relevant messaging on those websites creating new engagement opportunities to bring them back into the funnel.

We limit our retargeting for these visitors to ~ 3-5 impressions per day.  We’ve found that more engagements can be perceived as spam and in some cases can adversely affect campaigns.

Google has some great insights (they call it remarketing.)

 Marketing Automation

Marketing Automation is a great tool that we suggest using in conjunction with other digital strategy platforms.  This technology is  effective when we have enough information about our visitors or leads to target them automatically with predefined strategies.  You can tell through tags what products the user is interested, how frequently they come back, etc.  You can then use this and automation to send them communications to push them down the funnel, offer promotions to encourage a sale, and even screen pop your sales agents when that visitor returns to the website.  Some websites that do this extremely well are,, and

A great example of the whole process working together-Retargeting and Automation Funnel

  1. User visits website (Tag All Visitors)
  2. User Goes to Product Page (Retag Product Page)
  3. User Bounces to ESPN (eligible for retargeting)
  5. User Clicks Retargeted Ad
  6. User Comes back to website and fills out form (Tag Visitor We Know)
  8. Wait One Day Send Follow Up Email (Automation)
  9. No Response
  10. Wait One Week Send Email With Discount Offer (Automation)
  11. User Returns to website
  12. Screen Pop Sales Agent when user is on the website
  13. Sales Calls User
  14. User Signs Up – Becomes Customer


And here it is, a great flowchart for you to look through the process of Retargeting and Marketing Automation working together!

[slideshare id=28491765&doc=conversionoptimizationflowchart-malachithreadgill-131121084528-phpapp01]