Ever wonder what happens to all those prospects that visit your website or open your emails but never fill out the short application, request a demo or take another desired action? There are many possible reasons why prospects don't pursue the next step. They could be comparison shopping, conducting research, or simply browsing, just to name a few.

Whatever the reason, the bottom line is they've left your sales funnel and the first impression you made is quickly forgotten once they move on. But, with retargeting technology, you have that golden opportunity to make a second, third and fourth impression.

Retargeting is the practice of targeting prospects with online advertising based on their previous online activity. For example, after visiting the website of a mortgage company and later browsing the internet, an ad for the lender you visited earlier may appear, trying to direct you back to their website in the hope you'll convert to a paying customer. This is one of several types of what's called site retargeting, and is quite common especially for B2C marketers. Some retail lenders have been using it for years. Even a select few B2B marketers in the mortgage industry are warming up to it and discovering its advantages.

Check out these statistics:

  • 26% of customers who are exposed to retargeting will return to the website according to a study conducted by SeeWhy. Only 8% return without retargeting.
  • Website visitors who are retargeted with display ads are 70% more likely to convert on your website (source: CMO.com, November 2013).
  • 42% of retargeting is used to build brand awareness (source: Chicago-Digiday State of the Retargeting Industry Report [SOTI], May 2014).
  • Facebook Exchange is the #1 platform for social retargeting (source: Chicago-Digiday State of the Retargeting Industry Report [SOTI], May 2014).
  • The average click-through rate for display ads is .07% and the average click-through rate for retargeted ads is .7% (source: CMO.com, November 2013).

Retargeting is most often used and effective in selling products with short sales cycles - like shoes, electronics and furniture. However, the practice is gaining momentum with B2B and B2C marketers that provide services with longer sales cycles.

For example, in the mortgage industry, people rarely convert the first time they visit a retail lender's website. Likewise, those responsible for making technology purchase decisions will take time to investigate their options. In these instances, your retargeting strategy will be geared more toward building awareness so that you are top-of-mind when the time to purchase arrives.

Here are six key benefits of leveraging retargeting for B2B or B2C companies in the mortgage industry:

Build Brand Recognition

Retargeting is a great way to stay in front of prospects, keeping them warm while building awareness. It will also add lift to other campaign elements offline and online. This approach helps build trust in your brand, which is often needed for bigger purchase decisions.

Second Chance to Make an Impression

Retargeting offers marketers another opportunity to get in front of prospects. For example, if a visitor didn't stick around long enough to learn about all of the great features of your product or service, you can retarget them with more specific information highlighting those very features. They might get inspired to revisit your site and give your offering deeper consideration.

Cross-Selling Opportunities

Many mortgage technology companies sell several types of software that complement each other. Therefore, after an initial conversion for one product, you can retarget that same customer with ads for another product or encourage them to purchase product upgrades.

Retargeting Creates Another Point of Contact

They say it takes seven or more points of contact to convert a lead, right? Therefore, if your prospect has received snail mail, your business card, phone calls and emails from you, then a retargeting strategy provides even more points of contact with your brand which increases recall, familiarity and trust.

Selecting Your Audience

With typical display advertising, you can't select who sees your ads. With site retargeting, you have much more control. Your campaign is designed to target only those who have viewed specific pages on your website. These people are then targeted with very specific messages relating back to the page(s) they visited.

Segmenting and Updating Your Customers

If you have the email addresses of current or past clients that fit certain criteria, you can target them with ads (or an email campaign) encouraging them to take a certain action, such as upgrading their technology or encouraging mortgagees who received financing in a higher rate environment to consider refinancing at a current lower rate.

There are clearly many advantages to retargeting, but this should never be a stand-alone tactic. Retargeting, combined with many other communications tactics in a comprehensive strategy, will give your brand and conversion rates incredible lift.