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CRM retargeting – immense opportunity even if you don’t have a CRM yet

One can retarget website visitors in bulks, and that is a viable retargeting strategy if done right (check out the link for Cascade retargeting strategy outline and few tips).

CRM retargeting has much more significant potential, yet it is harder to implement because of:

  • not enough leads/customers to justify setup and operating expenses or\and run campaigns at all
  • It seems like a technically tricky task (sometimes it is, but most of the times it just takes a tech-savvy person)

No worries, there is also an alternative way to execute a campaign even if you don’t have CRM at all. Wrap your mind first around what CRM retargeting is and will get back to it.

There are many platforms one can export data to (e.g., Facebook, YouTube, etc.) but for most projects, I recommend going for an ad aggregator platform like Adroll. This way you code & fine-tune one connector and have access to lots of platforms and ad formats.

Why do CRM retargeting at all

Selling a product or a service your retargeting options might be:

  • User info you have. A portrait based on some particular characteristics, your intuitive assumptions and a certain amount of knowledge about your target audience in general.
  • A user who visited the product page on the website or watched 75% of the product video on a Facebook/YouTube/etc.
  • A user profiled based on a client who has recently bought your product
  • Existing customers database

The first option is the least effective and based on subjective assessments. No one can know the audience 100%. Segments compiled from robust data yield better results in terms of conversion.

In most cases, targeting ends at the stage of segmentation by interests.

Which audiences are more efficient for look-alike groups?

  1. Visited the page of service X;
  2. watched 90% of the video about the service X on a page on Facebook/Youtube/etc.;
  3. are in 5% of the most active users on the page of the service X;
  4. started an ordering process on the website;
  5. purchased service;
  6. purchased at least something from you;

There is no 100% definite answer. Each of these audiences will be useful depending on the amount of data accumulated. If there’s very little data (the traffic just started flowing in, sales amount to single digits, and you just started the project), I recommend using audiences 1 and 2.

As the data is gradually piling up, you may start working with audiences 3, 4 and 6.

Once you go over 100 sales, you can use audiences 5 and 7 — the most relevant ones.

CRM contains all the information about sales and accumulates data fast, so there can be 10 to even 50 times more data to create lookalike audiences. You can have automatic or manual lead scoring in CRM. Managers can enrich the data with additional information — indicate job positions, company size, customer wishes, etc.

When uploading the data to platforms like FB or YouTube, you can sift segments through and take all the CRM data on customers into account. This data guarantees you’ll create the most efficient target audiences.


First of all, you need to understand what business tasks each segment will solve. Go to your CRM and review all the data. Write down at what stages of the transaction any type of “lead-heating” would be useful to increase the conversion. Try to break all leads into groups, then – segments.

I break all deals into two basic types: those that did not make a purchase (this type requires an approach called “lead-heating”) and those that made a purchase.

The “Didn’t make a purchase” type

You can warm everyone up at once, or you can break down your potential buyers into narrower segments and show them the most relevant content.

Segmentation examples:

You can show the advantages of your company only to those who enter the funnel:

  • The functionality or the structure of your service;
  • native articles, where your product or service compared with competitors, and you are in a winning position;
  • Your service advantages: dedicated manager, free delivery, etc.;
  • A unique offer: make a purchase within 24 hours and receive gifts or extra discounts.

Target customers who are one step away from scheduling a meeting (or making an order):

  • Show them video materials featuring happy customers meeting your representatives;
  • Show them your catalog, conference room, exhibition zone.

Also, customers who already have a receipt, and you expect to receive payment:

  • What benefits do other customers receive? How much money have they already earned during the first month of working with you? Clarify that in the ad content;
  • Show ads that feature more expensive solutions/plans/services.

Customers who have rejected the offer due to “high pricing”:

  • keep the price the same, but offer them additional value: add a gift to the purchase, or free shipping, etc.;
  • if it is a subscription service, show them time-limited offer to purchase an annual subscription with a discount;
  • showcase your current clients’ successful experiences.

Examine the utm tags of the leads. For example, if place tags with information about the “speaker” featured in the ad creative. Knowing that this speaker was of more interest to the client than another, you can segment the client to show extra content with this specific speaker.

Customers who are planning a purchase on behalf of their company can see ads with package offers specifically for companies.

Cold leads opted for free content rather than purchase. You can show them a chain of ads about what your company does and what tasks it helps solve.

Do not rush to break the audience into a large number of small segments. E.g., successful integration with Facebook ads requires at least 100 people in each segment.

“Made a purchase” type audiences

Many people stop working with customers right after receiving the payment. Wrong move. Marketing funnel does not stop at purchase. These people can bring you additional sales. They already understand the value of your service or product. So what can you offer to these clients?

  • Upgrade to a more expensive plan. A “Standard” plan user can use an offer to upgrade to “Premium.” You will still need to justify the value of a more expensive plan. But it will be way more comfortable than working with a cold lead.
  • If you have a subscription service, offer an upgrade from a monthly subscription to annual with a discount.
  • Offer to purchase other products or services that can complement the service already purchased.
  • Make a client your partner. Make them an offer: they lead their friends to you and receive some extra value along with a bonus discount for their friends. If you have a referral or affiliate program, you can advertise it, but it should be as simple as possible.

I’m sure you can come up with other options for segmentation (or get in touch and we will do it together).

Choosing a tool for CRM retargeting automation

You can upload the segments data by hand exporting the excel sheet into Adroll or any other advertising cabinet. There are two ways to automate the process as well.

The first is to use a ready-made CRM system solution:

Many other systems can be integrated through Zapier. (source: AdRoll help article)

The second option is to realize that your current system does not have the upload module and build custom CRM tailored for your business

CRM retargeting best practices

The smaller the audience, the higher the cost of the lead

If you divide your base of 500 thousand contacts into small segments and show them five different ads, then the cost per lead will be very high.

That can only be justified to show each segment a truly unique targeted content. Otherwise, it is better to divide the base into segments of 10 to 100 thousand.

Lookalike audiences can overlap

If you advertise to two audiences that overlap with each other by 50%, you’re going to mess auction bidding for your campaigns and increase your expenses. You can solve this problem by mutually excluding one audience from another at the ad group level.

But do not overdo it. Mutual exclusion made in all audiences can lose you up to 50% of leads. You can see it in the figure below:

So do the following:

A – remains intact

B => B – A – C

C => C – A – B


Alternative to CRM retargeting

The whole CRM retargeting (keyword density is not 0.5% hah!) is based on users’ emails and sometimes phone numbers. Phone numbers are trickier because they are often not so personal.

Soo, if you happen to have a list of prospects with their email addresses and other criteria to segment (e.g., their roles, company profile data, emails opened, etc.), that’s enough to pull of retargeting campaign.

List building and warming up prospects with retargeting ads are cornerstones of GRIN Launcher – in house platform we built for b2b sales, media coverage and market research.

To sum it up on CRM retargeting

Automatic synchronization between CRM and ad platforms (Facebook, YouTube, etc.) provides a severe decrease in the cost of leads.

Lookalike audiences created based on such segments always remain relevant. There is no magic in this; just another real-life working solution for your business.

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