Email marketing remains one of the best digital channels for return on investment (ROI). In fact, a study by Econsultancy found that the revenue generated from email marketing is rising—with 68% of companies ranking email as the best channel for ROI.
But, these results aren’t that surprising. People spend an average of over 30 hours a week reading email. For marketers who are serious about reaching potential customers through this high-performing tactic, email retargeting can help.
What is email retargeting?
Before we begin, let’s quickly define the concept. Email retargeting allows marketers to seamlessly target site visitors with content tailored to their browsing behavior. Unlike traditional batch sends, these emails can show potential customers specific products they viewed or redirect them to a sign-up page they may have left incomplete. While traditional batch sends can offer marketers a large reach, retargeting gives them the ability to serve their customers ads that relate to their activity online.
Remember, email marketing must be permission-based which means the subscribers has opted-in to hear from your company.
5 steps to set up and optimize email retargeting
Email retargeting can sometimes seem daunting. But many of the best practices for traditional email sends can be applied to this tactic. Here are five steps every marketer should follow while setting up and optimizing retargeting performance:
1. Data collection
In order to run retargeting through email, marketers must know when a visitor comes to their site and how they interacted with products pages while there. In order to do this, you must begin by collecting data about your customers. With retargeting, you can do this by placing a pixel on your website or in your email. This will place a cookie on the user’s browser, allowing you to track their online behavior.
You can use data like browsing behavior, product pages viewed, and, of course, email addresses to help you serve highly tailored ads. A good rule of thumb is that the more data you have around how likely it is your visitors will convert, the more accurate your email retargeting will be.
2. Audience segmentation
Once you’ve collected your data, the next step is to break out your audience and create segments based on browsing behavior and purchasing intent. These segments will help you craft a strategy that ensures the most appropriate ads are served to each of your customers. Here are a few ideas that you can use to segment your email addresses for retargeting campaigns:
- Site abandonment – This segment includes email addresses of people who visited your homepage, but left without navigating to any other area of your site.
- Cart & sign-up page abandonment – This segment consists of visitors who made it to a conversion page. This will include users who made it to things like a shopping cart or trial account landing pages but didn’t convert.
- Loyalty – This segment focuses on growing the lifetime value of your customers and will include email addresses of users who have already completed a purchase on your site.
3. Email creation
After collecting and segmenting your data, the next thing you’ll want to do is create highly engaging emails that convince your audience to convert. If you’re having trouble creating high-performing email campaigns, we’ve collected a few pieces of advice for you:
- Consider sending your emails from a person, instead of your entire company. People are 15-35% more likely to read emails from a person.
- Keep your subject lines short, action-oriented, and urgent. Studies show that subject lines posed as questions perform better than those that are not.
- Keep your calls-to-action concrete. They should tell readers exactly what their next step should be. For instance, you could replace a vague CTA like “Come Back” with “Finish Your Purchase.”
- Use images that play a supporting role. Also use a good balance of text and images.
4. Campaign creation
From here, you’ll want to begin creating your campaigns. Before you begin, make sure to have a campaign objective in mind. This can be everything from upselling past purchasers to recovering cart abandoners. This step is important. Lean heavily on your data to see how your customers are really acting on your site and tailor your content and email cadence accordingly. The frequency with which you email long-time customers should be much different than for a user who’s never made a purchase on your site.
Before setting up a campaign, it’s also important to understand the decision-making process of your customers. Tools like Google Analytics and Kissmetrics give marketers more insight into how people shop on your site. Consider the following while setting up your campaigns:
- How long do customers take to make their buying decisions?
- How many times do they return to your website before finally checking out?
- How often do customers leave products in their cart?
This will give you insight into how potential customers make choices and will help shape your email flow for campaigns. Once this is in place, map out an email automation plan for each of your sequences.
5. Email triggering and optimization
Finally, it’s time to trigger emails so that they send to visitors once they leave your site. Usually, the best retargeting campaigns use predictive algorithms and user-intent signals to determine the best time to send an email that nudges customers to come back. However, if you’re creating an automation map, be sure to keep track of which points were most successful in engaging buyers so that you can optimize for this in the future.
Once this is in place, you can begin monitoring your performance. Look at how your ads are performing and continue to optimize your campaigns to ensure the highest results possible.
While email retargeting is incredibly effective, customers will always have a need for email announcements, newsletters, and other lifecycle marketing programs. Retargeting is a complementary add-on that delivers highly targeted emails triggered by real-time customer browsing behavior and acts as a performance booster overall.