3 Super-Sneaky Tactics to Nurture Prospects Using Paid Search

This is a guest post from Erin Sagin, PPC Evangelist and Community Manager at WordStream. Enjoy!

Barring Tinder relationships, it’s pretty rare for girls to go home with new suitors on the very first date. Instead, we use the courtship process to get to know them better and decide if the two of us are a good match.

Wooing a new prospect isn’t all that different from wooing a new love interest. For most of us advertisers, it’s rare to see a prospect convert the very first time they visit our site. Before they take the plunge, they need to consider whether our product is truly the best fit for their needs and get to know our businesses better.

We marketers are anything but patient. Rather than sticking with the “let them come to you” philosophy, we usher our prospective clients through the purchasing process as quickly as possible, before they lose interest or find an alternative solution. So, we launch crazy-detailed nurture programs to keep our brands fresh during the consideration period.

Unfortunately, many marketers nudge prospects a little TOO hard. We clutter their inboxes with emails galore, beg them to attend webinar upon webinar, and even pass their phone numbers along to our sales teams to woo them by phone. More often than not, our relentless efforts backfire, making our targets feel as though we’re invading their privacy and overwhelming them. Remember, no one wants to date the overbearing stalker-type!

There’s no denying that nurturing your prospects is important, but why take a stealthier approach? Here’s a three-pronged strategy for nurturing prospects without making them feel as though they have a target on their back:

Sneaky Nurture Tactic #1: Invade Their Subconscious with Remarketing Ads

If someone has visited your website (especially specific product pages or the shopping cart), it’s probably worth adding them to your nurture pipeline. Rather than being overt about it, use remarketing ads to keep your brand top-of-mind. With Google’s remarketing campaigns, advertisers can cookie site visitors and serve them ads across the Display Network.


Many advertisers are hesitant to go full-throttle with remarketing campaigns because they’re concerned that prospects will find them to be creepy and invasive. I’d actually argue that they’re significantly less invasive than emails or phone calls—they simply appear alongside content that your audience is already consuming. Even if users don’t actively engage with your ad, its mere existence keeps your brand fresh in their minds and can reignite their desire to make a purchase.

Conv Rate vs Ad Impressions

This report is based on a sample size of 85 client accounts representing US- based SMBs in all verticals. The report incorporates data from June 2014, and is taken from Google Display Network.

The key to using remarketing as a nurture program is to ensure prospects see your ads multiple times. Showing site abandoners one or two ads just doesn’t cut it. To really infiltrate their subconscious and encourage them to complete the conversion, they need a little more encouragement. As a general rule of thumb, I recommend setting impression caps to unlimited and extending membership durations to 3 times the average sales cycle. This ensures maximum visibility for your remarketing ads!

Sneaky Nurture Tactic #2: Kick Your Remarketing Ad Copy Up A Notch

Users who have visited your site already know who you are and what you sell. Boost your remarketing ads’ effectiveness by adjusting the messaging for these “fans”, rather than showing them generic ads. The more segmented your remarketing audience lists are, the more customization you can do. There are TONS of creative ways to tweak your remarketing ad copy. Here are a couple of my favorite examples:

Entice Viewers with Special Offers

Want someone to return to your site? It never hurts to sweeten the deal! Promote special offers like discounts, free shipping or complimentary setup in your ads. You can even push people to take you up on these deals sooner than later using sales countdowns.pic 3

When users see that these offers are available for a “limited-time only”, it ignites their sense of FOMO (fear of missing out) and compels them to take the plunge.

Showcase Products They’ve Already Expressed Interest In

I must admit, I am a quite the window shopper. I spend a ton of time on designer clothing sites with no intention of actually making a purchase; I just like to peruse their latest lines. Usually, I fall in love with a few of their new styles and linger on the product pages for a while, contemplating whether I can scrimp on food for the month or add yet another expense to my credit card, before reason prevails and I avoid the purchase altogether.

ShopBop ad featuring the last 5 products I viewed on their site. I now own 3/5ths of the items listed in the ad.

ShopBop ad featuring the last 5 products I viewed on their site. I now own 3/5ths of the items listed in the ad.

Lately, however, advertisers have caught on to my behavior and have begun utilizing Dynamic Remarketing to lure me right back to their site. This feature automatically creates ads that feature the specific products that I viewed during my last site visit. This strategy is incredibly effective, as it reminds me just how much I loved their clothes and tempts me to return to make a purchase.

Encourage Cart Abandoners to Complete Your Checkout Process

According to Forrester, 88% of web buyers say that they’ve abandoned online shopping carts without completing a transaction. Even worse, 70% of these carts were abandoned just before the order was completed. Seeing high shopping cart abandonment rates is incredibly painful for PPC advertisers. We’ve done everything right—captured a qualified visitor, led them to a targeted landing page and showed them products that were so aligned with their needs that they elected to add them to their shopping cart…they just didn’t hold up their end of the bargain!

Remarketing Ad

These abandoners hold great potential; don’t let them get forget about you. Take a page out of Brian Tracy’s book and remind them that there are still items left in their cart. Sometimes a gentle nudge like this is all it takes to convince them to convert!

Sneaky Nurture Tactic #3: Use RLSA Campaigns to Prioritize Repeat Visitors

We know that people who have already spent time on our sites are more likely to convert than those who are visiting for the first time. Now, imagine that one of these top-notch prospects does a search for a term related to your business on Google. Seize this opportunity! They are actively looking for your brand or your product and it’s critical that your ad is easily accessible to them. You certainly don’t want one of your competitors stealing your big moment.

Luckily, Google makes it easy to prioritize these prospects with Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSAs). With RLSAs, you can tweak your search campaigns to target users who have already visited your website. Not only can you use some of the tricks above to create super-compelling ad copy for these searchers, you can also set more aggressive bids to ensure your ads are more likely to show (and in high positions, at that!) for these highly qualified searchers.

About the Author

ErinSagin-Profile PhotoErin Sagin is a PPC Evangelist and Community Manager at WordStream. She was named the 3rd Most Influential PPC Expert of 2015 by PPC Hero. When she’s able to take a break from paid search, you’ll find her practicing her hula-hooping skills or planning her next trip to Latin America. You can follow Erin on Twitter and Google+.