Using Google AdWords 'Remarketing' to Target Web Visitors and Promote Your Self-Storage Business

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By Craig Barrett

Pay-per-click (PPC) is expensive and getting more costly by the day. So I find it surprising that many self-storage facility owners still aren't taking advantage of remarketing in their AdWords accounts. If you're not using remarketing, it’s time to add it into the mix. It's as close to a “sure thing” as you are likely to get in the world of advertising.

What Is Remarketing?

Remarketing is simply the Google AdWords term for “retargeting.” In fact, you've probably seen this remarketed advertising already. Have you ever noticed that after looking at an item on Amazon, ads for it and similar products appear on every site you visit thereafter? It’s like being haunted by marketing ghosts! What youre seeing is retargeting, and it exists because very few purchases ever happen in the predictable, linear fashion we would like.

Consider it from your customer’s perspective. He might be looking at your website and thinking about a storage unit, but then gets distracted by a knock at the door. Or maybe he decides to wait until he's completely packed before making a reservation. This is very frustrating for us as marketers because we spent a great deal of money on PPC, SEO efforts and other advertising to get that customer to our website in the first place.

That was a highly qualified customer, one who will probably end up renting storage because he nearly made a reservation. The worst-case scenario is you spent the PPC money, but Big Brand Storage’s familiar sign on the highway ends up getting the rental after you did all of the education.

But all is not lost! If we can find that visitor and get an ad in front of him later, on whatever website he happens to visit, then we might be able to save that rental. That’s the magic of retargeting: You get ad placements on other websites, limited to the view of a customer who already visited your website. This is the most targeted form of display advertising.

How Does It Work?

Remarketing is actually pretty simple, and thanks to Google AdWords, it’s no longer limited to companies with massive marketing budgets. Here’s how it works: When a visitor hits your website, a piece of code that you built into your website sends data to Google. This lets Google know this particular visitor was on your site. Then, later on, when Google sees this same visitor on another site where it controls ad space, it can select your ad and display it to that user. Pretty slick, huh?

In fact, depending on how sophisticated you want to get, you can actually make the advertising even more targeted. Remember how Amazon showed you the specific product you were looking at earlier? You can do the same thing if you have more than one facility. You can show the customer an ad just for the location he was viewing.

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