Email Retargeting – Everything You Should Know to Boost Your Sales

For an e-commerce business, getting users to know about your brand/website and converting those visitors to customers is at the core of a good marketing strategy. Learn more about Email Retargeting strategies in this article.

There are different funnel models out there but they all start with Awareness and end with Purchase. So, the first (and often the most difficult) step of any digital marketing strategy is often getting users to know about your brand.

That’s why it’s incredibly crucial to make sure that those who are already familiar with your brand and website don’t get lost somewhere in the funnel.

If you’re an e-commerce business owner, you know just how important these leads are. Since they already visited your website and displayed purchase intent, they’re much more likely to convert than those people who are yet to hear about you.

This is where retargeting comes in – it allows you to engage those visitors and convert them with a smart campaign.

Here is how retargeting works and how you can make the most of it by following simple steps.

How does email retargeting work?

Retargeting, or remarketing is the process of reaching out to customers who had an interaction with your brand but quit somewhere in the process.

It works by using a browser cookie – a small file that’s dropped in a user’s browser when they visit a website. This saves user’s information and allows you to engage that user later through various channels.

You can execute remarketing campaigns through email, social media, and even the website itself. They’re mostly used to reactivate users who already showed purchase intent but you can use remarketing for upselling as well. For example, if you’ve ever purchased a pair of sneakers and later seen a social media ad for socks that match with those sneakers, that was a perfect example of a well-done remarketing campaign.

Email remarketing is even more common and it’s often made easier with marketing automation tools that can help you set “triggers”. A trigger is a certain event that you define, that initiates the sending of a promotional email. So, when a user gets fills the shopping cart and gets to the shipping page, that could be a trigger for you to send an email with a shipping discount.

Why is it important?

Any digital marketing professional will tell you that retargeting is one of the most efficient ways to convert customers.

They would be speaking from experience, but stats confirm this thesis. If you’re struggling with email open rates, then remarketing is the way to go. Compared to standard emails, remarketing emails can have more than double open rates: 57% compared to 21%.

They’re also better for conversions: a remarketing email is around six times more likely to convert than a regular one.

All of this tells us that “hot leads”, or those leads that are already familiar with your offer, are more valuable than cold ones.

When should you use email retargeting?

There are several use cases for email retargeting, all of which depend on your brand and the nature of your business.

Here some of the most popular ways you can use retargeting to convert more customers.

  • Convert inactive visitors. You can use retargeting if you have a lot of website visitors who take no actions other than browsing around. Since they already displayed some sort of interest in your product/service, you can entice them with a special offer.
  • Shopping cart abandonment. If you have visitors that abandon a shopping cart, it may be because of shipping costs or the total price of the cart. This can be a good opportunity to engage these customers with discounts or periodic reminders.
  • Upselling. A customer that purchased from you once and is satisfied with the service might want to purchase again. You can offer complementary products to these customers, try to sell them a more expensive version of the same service, or send them promotions that they might like, based on their previous purchase.
  • Lead magnets downloads. If you offered a lead magnet somewhere on your website in exchange for email addresses, you have to engage those visitors with a retargeting email.

Now that we know when to use email retargeting, let’s get into some of the best retargeting practices.

Step 1: Collect user data and segment it

Before you start sending out emails, you need to make effort to understand your audience.

You can think about it in terms of your products – which ones are the most popular and which price range is the most prominent? But, you should go even further and get to know your visitors – what are their demographics, interests, earnings, purchasing habits?

You can get to all this information by analyzing your social media and web analytics. For example, Google Analytics has a pretty simple dashboard that can show you an overview of your visitors:

Facebook also has a similar overview that can tell you a lot about your audience:

Analyzing these metrics can help you create buyer personas and engage each person with a tailored offer.

In simpler terms, this means you shouldn’t engage different types of buyers with the same message. Segment your audience into smaller groups, create a buyer persona for each one (you can even give them a name), and start working on personalized offers.

Let’s illustrate this with a few examples of good segmentation.

  • Demographics. Age, sex, employment type – all of these are important criteria to differentiate between groups of users. If you’re a fashion store, you wouldn’t want to offer skirts to men, would you? You also wouldn’t want to offer the same products to teenagers, young adults, and elderly men.
  • Purchasing power. Do you have “high-rollers” that spend thousands of dollars a year on your most expensive products? They should get personalized emails with such products. On the other hand, the “discount-seekers” will likely want to get promotional offers with more affordable products.
  • Purchase history. You might have customers that prefer one type of product over the others. To get back to the fashion store example, perhaps you have a female customer that loves your shoes. If you have a group of such customers, it can be a good idea to target them with an email when you have a big shoe sale.

Step 2: Think about your goals

When setting up your email campaign, your goals will dictate much of your execution.

Sure, in most cases, your goal will simply be to increase sales. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as this – we need to get deeper and think about your campaign goals, rather than business goals.

What does this mean? Let’s think about two scenarios.

In the first scenario, we have a person who saw your social media ad, browsed through your website, and closed the tab. In the second scenario, we have someone who did the same thing but then put three products in the basket and quit.

From a business standpoint, your goal for these two visitors is the same: convert them into customers. From a campaign standpoint, these two users exhibited different behaviors, so they’ll need completely different campaigns.

You can target the first visitor with new products similar to those they’ve already browsed. Let’s say they browsed through sneakers – you can send them an email when you get a new collection since they maybe didn’t like your offer the first time.

The second visitor has no problem with your offer – they already displayed strong purchase intent. They’ll need to be engaged with a different email, offering them a small discount, free shipping, or updated prices.

So, based on the segmentation we covered earlier, set up different campaigns with different goals for each of your audience groups.

Step 3: Personalize your emails

Now we get into the fun stuff: writing the actual emails.

We’ve touched on personalization already – in fact, most of this article so far has revolved around personalization to a certain extent. Analyzing your audience, segmenting it into smaller groups, and engaging them with tailored offers – that’s exactly what personalization is.

To up your game even further, you can use your customers’ names, job titles, and purchasing habits to make a personal connection. So, starting an email with “Hi Jane, we love shoes almost as much as you do – which is why we have a brand new collection!” for a person who bought shoes from you twice this year is an awesome personal touch.

If you want to impress them, you can use personalized images to get a strong reaction.

It may sound complicated but a tool like Hyperise can make it quick and easy. With dynamic text layers, you can add elements like name, job title, and company name to your email images and achieve a surprise effect that can help your email break through the clutter.

Imagine one of your customers receives a personalized email with a tailored offer, their name mentioned, and an image with their name on it, like this:


Even if they aren’t too interested in the offer, they’ll likely be intrigued by your approach. Here’s the response we got when we used this technique. Note that the people weren’t interested in the offer:

As you can see, this strategy rarely fails to get a reaction.

You don’t have to take our word for it – studies show that personalized emails can increase your transactional rates by up to six times.

If you like the idea of being on the frontline of the personalization trend, we’re here to help! Start your free trial of Hyperise now and explore how you can improve your email open rates with a few simple tricks.

Step 4: Offer something of value

This step is especially important for those users who quit the purchasing process.

If someone browsed through your website or put the products in the cart and then quit – something happened. They didn’t like something: your offer, prices, shipping costs, something.

That’s why it’s not enough to simply send a remarketing email to a website visitor, hoping that they will appreciate the gesture and come back to complete the purchase. Depending on when they quit, you need to offer them something worth their attention.

If they put the products in the cart and then quit, offer them free shipping or a discount for the total value of the cart. This is perfect for engaging customers in the last stage of the process.

If they browsed through the offer but didn’t put anything in the cart, send them an email with new, better products that they might have missed. There is no point in returning them to the website to check out the same offer they’ve already seen.

If they purchased a product offer them a complementary product right away, or a product from the same category in a few weeks/months. So, if someone just purchased a pair of shoes, it doesn’t make sense to send them your new shoe collection that same day. You can do that after a few months.

Here is a good email personalization example that targets an inactive customer:

Step 5: Track KPI’s and adapt

As you keep working on your strategy, you’ll have to use metrics to see what works.

If you segmented your audience properly, you’ll be able to see which groups are the most likely to convert. That way, you can stop wasting time on those groups that aren’t worth your attention and focus money and resources on those that are.

Email open rates and conversion rates are the most important stats that you should always be aware of. Check out the average rates in different industries to see if your campaigns are up to standard.

Email retargeting: conclusion

Email retargeting is a process that perfectly follows the global trend of user-centric marketing.

It’s all about knowing your audience, segmenting it, and using tailored offers to get their attention. Doing otherwise is a waste of resources and a surefire way to stay behind your competition.

Once you get the audience segmentation sorted out, it’s time to deal with the quality of your emails. This is where Hyperise can help – with image personalization, you can make sure that all of your hard work with audience analysis doesn’t go to waste.

Sign up for a free trial – it’s quick and easy!