Re-marketing is a really simple idea. And like many ideas, it’s brilliant because it’s simple.

Basically, it means marketing your product (or service) to someone who’s already shown an interest.

That makes a lot of sense. If someone has ready invested time in looking at what you do, it might only take a timely nudge to convert that interest into a sale.

Or maybe they’ve already bought from you, and can be persuaded to buy again.

The key to re-marketing is finding ways to capture data about these potential customers (and actual customers) that will let you re-engage them.

How do you do that?



A lot of marketers like to design customer journeys that eventually narrow to a point of conversion.

Ouch. There’s a lot of jargon in there. Let me explain.

Marketers like to visualise the journey they want customers to take – from the moment they first become aware of their product or brand, to the moment they actually buy.

This journey is often called a marketing funnel, and the action you want customers to take at the end of it (e.g. buy your product) is the conversion (sometimes called the macro-conversion).

Along this journey, there are usually a number key steps (sometimes called micro-conversions) that bring the customer closer to the end of that funnel.

And it’s these micro and macro conversions that often present an opportunity to collect re-marketing data.

In this article, I’m going to explain two techniques for capturing – and using – re-marketing data.

They’re both very simple techniques that most businesses and organisations should be able to implement.

Micro and macro conversions



Most of us have signed-up to receive emails from a brand or business at some point.

That’s email re-marketing.

Maybe you’ve found a website that’s really useful. And when you’re asked to provide an email address in return for more useful info – delivered straight to your inbox – you think ‘OK.’

That’s the start your relationship with that brand. And over time you learn more about what they do. And eventually – maybe – you buy their product or service (that conversion at the end of the funnel we talked about).



Here are some practical ways to capture email addresses for re-marketing.

1. newsletter sign-up links on your web pages

Create clear, well-positioned links on your web-pages, urging customers to sign-up for your e-newsletter by providing their email address.

We call these CTA (call-to-action) links because they encourage a particular action. But be careful. Don’t get too pushy, or you’ll hack people off and they’ll leave your site.

As a crude rule-of-thumb, consider positioning your CTA at the top, middle and bottom of your web-page. No more.

Tip: Try a mix of prominent CTA buttons at the top and bottom of your page, and a more subtle anchor-text link in your body copy.

And test out different phrases for your CTA links (see if you get more clicks). So in my case, instead of a button or anchor text saying ‘sign-up for my e-newsletter’, I might try ‘get marketing tips that could help grow your business.’

2. pop-up boxes

I’ve never been a fan of pop-ups (those boxes that appear a few seconds after you land on a page). Not because they annoy me from a user perspective. But because they often slow the page-speed of a site – which as a marketer, worries me.

Slow page speed can be a real turn-off. For people. And for search engines.

What’s more, Google recently announced that pop-ups will damage the search performance of your website if they suck on mobile (which they almost certainly will).

They’re an option, and some sites use them very effectively. But use with extreme caution.

Tip: If you really want to use pop-ups, you could try something small at the very top of your page – no bigger than your typical cookie policy pop-up.

That way, you’ll leave the vast majority of ‘above the fold’ content visible on mobile, and Google might not punish you (but who can say).

3. downloads and other incentives

Many consumers are now comfortable with using their personal data as currency.

So offer your website visitor something useful in return for their email address.

Downloadable reports, guides, video tutorials, product previews, behind-the-scenes footage, exclusive blog content – there are loads of possibilities.

Just find something that people will find really useful or cool, and that you’re happy to give away in return for an email address.

Tip: Include CTA links in your downloadable incentives (e.g. reports and help guides) that will help push customers further down your marketing funnel.

For example, links that will funnel them back towards info about particular products or services you offer.

4. the checkout process

Remember that macro-conversion we talked about? That key action at the end of the funnel that you’re pushing your audience towards?

Well, when a customer converts – buys your product or service for example – that’s usually a good opportunity to capture their email address.

Before buyers check-out of your online store, ask them if they want to receive your newsletter. If they’re game, you might be on the road to turning them into a repeat customer.

And you don’t need an online shop to capture data at the point of sale.

When I’ve finished a piece of work for a client, I’ll usually ask if I can add them to my email list – so I can send them useful tips on digital marketing, marketing analytics and copywriting.

They usually say yes.

However you close your sales with customers – online shop, one-to-one conversations via phone or email or whatever – there’s usually an opportunity to capture email data for re-marketing.

So there you go. There are lots of other ways to capture email addresses for re-marketing, but these four are a good place to start. Tried. And tested.

But before we go any further, there’s something I need to emphasise.

Always make it clear you intend to send marketing emails.

I get loads of spammy emails from peeps who claim I subscribed to their marketing list, when I probably didn’t (not knowingly). So I unsubscribe out of principle.

Sending marketing emails to people who’ve never explicitly agreed to receive them can damage your brand. You can end up looking like a spammer who lacks ethics. Only one notch up from a troll. Not good.

You could even be breaking the law.



You’ve got the data. Now use it.

First of all, it’s a good idea to use a cloud-based email marketing tool to help reduce the leg-work. You can manage your subscribers list, and send your emails to large numbers of people in just a few clicks.

One of the most popular tools is MailChimp (the basic package is free), but there are loads of others that come with varying levels of sophistication and pricing.

Hubspot, Salesforce and GovDelivery (for government and other public sector bodies) are among the market leaders.

But if you’re just starting out, the free version of MailChimp is a good place to begin.

This is already a very detailed article, so we’ll look at what makes a good email another day.

But as a general rule, here are two things I try to keep in mind. Timing and relevance.

1. timing

Yes it’s true. Timing is everything.

Because consumers have so much choice, engaging them with the right content – at the right moment – is critical.

Don’t hammer subscribers with too many emails or you’ll look spammy. But try to stay in their thoughts. Send emails at the right frequency.

Try to work out the best time to send emails too. As a general rule, I open emails in the morning and the evening – not so much in the afternoon. So try to work out when your subscribers are more likely to open your emails.

Most email marketing tools provide analytics on open-rates, click-through rates and other metrics to help you understand how (or not) people engage with your emails.

But until you’ve blasted out a few emails at different times, and have some data to go on, you may have to rely on gut feeling. It’s a ‘test and learn’ process.

Tip: Test your email before you send it. Does it look OK in Outlook? Does it render properly in Gmail? Is it easy to read on mobile?

Do the links work? Is the text spot-on? Always test before you send.

2. relevance

Bespoke content is where it’s at.

As consumers, we’re starting to expect more personalised information and entertainment – how we like it, when we like it. Think news, TV, music. Thanks to the internet, you can pretty much get what you want, when you want.

The same applies to marketing – including emails.

If you can find ways to tailor your emails to suit different people, you could be onto a winner.

Including someone’s name is OK, but that’s not really what I’m talking about. I’m talking about tailored content that’s useful to specific people, at that specific point in time.

So it’s worth thinking about where your subscribers are on that customer journey. People at different stages might appreciate – and respond to – different content.

For example, at a very basic level, you should send different emails to previous buyers (who you’re hoping to turn into repeat customers) compared to potential first-time buyers.

No brainer.

But to do this you need to organise and segment your subscribers list – so you can separate existing customers from potential customers.

Tip: A lot of tools include ‘automation’ features that help you do this – automatically kicking out different emails to different subscribers at different points along the journey.

For example, you might send an automated ‘thanks for signing up’ message to new subscribers. Then a special offer or incentive (an e-book for example) a few days later. You get the idea?



So we’ve covered email re-marketing. The other technique we’re going to look at is pay-per-click re-marketing.

Pay-per-click (PPC) is a form of advertising where you’re charged every time someone clicks on your advert.

Search engines and major content platforms like social media networks tend to offer some kind of pay-per-click advertising solution.

And sometimes, this includes re-marketing options – allowing you to re-target people who’ve already shown an interest in your website.

I’m going to focus on the two I know best. Google Adwords and Twitter Ads. But the basic process for Facebook and other PPC platforms is pretty much the same.

Twitter Ads re-marketing.



Capturing PPC re-marketing data is simple.

It usually involves cutting and pasting a bit of code into your website or landing page (the page that people will ‘land’ on when they click the link in your ad).

If you know basic html (i.e. you can look at a page and understand where the <head></head> and <body></body> tags are), it’s a doddle.

If not, don’t worry. Your web developer should be able to do it in a flash. It’s a 10-minute job at most.

Let’s look at Google Adwords first.

1. adwords re-marketing code

In your Google Adwords account, you’ll see a shared library link. Click on this, then – under ‘audiences’ – click on view. Then – under ‘website visitors’ – click on set up re-marketing.

Follow the process to generate the code you’ll need to paste into your website. You’ll find step-by-step instructions here.

From what I remember, Google suggests pasting the code at the bottom of your web-pages, before the closing </body> tag.

Tip: If you’re using templates for your web-pages, try pasting it into your template to save time (so you don’t have manually paste it into lots of pages).

2. twitter ads re-marketing tag

Using the Twitter re-marketing tag is a very similar process.

Log into your Twitter Ads account, click on the tools menu and select conversion tracking. Follow the steps to generate your code snippet.

There are two types of tag available – the single event website tag, and the newer universal website tag.

The universal website tag can be used to track lots of different actions and behaviours on your site, and is probably the best option in most cases.

I think Twitter recommends placing the universal code snippet in the global header of your web pages (i.e. between the <head> and </head> tag), and the single event snippet before the closing </body> tag.

Tip: Once you’ve pasted the tag into your site, check that it’s working. Log back into Twitter Ads and find the tag within the conversion tracking section. If it’s working, it should say ‘verified’ next to the tag.



It might take a little time for your re-marketing lists to grow to a meaningful size. It depends on the amount of traffic your site gets.

But once the numbers start to build, you can begin experimenting.

Again, this article is already way too long to get into what makes a good ad. But here are two things to bear in mind.

1. tailor your ads

Now think about it. The people on your lists have already visited your website – so the chances are they know about your product or service. So they’re already part-way down the marketing funnel.

So you might want to target them with ads that are different to the ones you’d target at newbies.

Maybe offer an incentive – a discount, special offer, or exclusive content for example. Something  to nudge them over the line and into a sale (that macro conversion we talked about). Or a repeat sale.

It’s a test-and-learn process. So experiment, and try to figure out what works for you.

2. tweak your campaign

Don’t just set up your campaign and leave it. PPC often involves a feeling-out process, and your initial settings (your targeting, scheduling, bidding strategy and so on) might not be spot-on to start with.

Let your ad run for a day or two. Then look at how it’s performing and make adjustments.

Use both the PPC dashboards and your website analytics (Google Analytics for example) to get insights into how your ads are working. And how you might improve them.

Like most things, re-marketing is a journey. Nobody was born knowing this stuff. Everybody learns through experience.

Stick with it  🙂