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Email Conversion Guide, Part 3: Retargeting

Retargeting with email can encompass several tactics. All include a follow-up email to a previous message or action. Retargeting can produce among the highest conversions from email.

This is the final installment of my three-part email conversion guide, following  “Part 1: Database Cleanup” and “Part 2: Creating the Template.” In this post, I’ll explore how brands can drive conversions from email retargeting.

Conversion Funnel

Email marketing funnels guide consumers from exposure to purchase. Done correctly, a conversion funnel weeds out unlikely prospects and focuses on those who have demonstrated interest.

Illustration of an email funnel: email deployment, opens, clicks, site visit, buy.

An email conversion funnel focuses on recipients who have demonstrated interest via opens, clicks, and site visits.

Consumers drop out at each point in the email conversion funnel, however. Recapture them with creative retargeting and messaging based on opens, clicks, and site visits.

1. For those who don’t open, create more attention-grabbing subject lines:

  • Speak in layman’s terms. Avoid industry jargon and detailed specifications that mean little to consumers. Consider, for example, the subject lines below from Samsung and Apple. Apple’s are much more engaging.

Samsung: 7,500 mAh battery
Apple: Up to 10+ hours of battery life

Samsung: 2000×1200 resolution IPS display
Apple: Amazing retina display

Samsung: 8-megapixel front-facing camera
Apple: Front-facing camera to FaceTime with your friends and family

Samsung: IP68 Certified
Apple: Stronger than ever so you don’t have to worry about drops or spills

  • Test different sending times. Try drastic deployment changes, such as Saturday at 4:00 p.m. versus Tuesday at 11:00 a.m.

2. For those who open but don’t click, try to understand why. Possible reasons include (i) the subject line does not represent the body text, (ii) poor formatting, not mobile responsive, or no obvious call to action, and (iii) missing or incorrect links.

  • Test major changes in the body copy, the offer, or overall merchandising.
  • Analyze where the clicks are happening in your email. An email heat map can show the hot spots as well as the areas that need improvement.

3. For those who click but don’t convert, create triggered emails to target visitors who abandon browses and shopping carts.

  • Abandon browses. After a visitor leaves your site, send an email highlighting the benefits of the products viewed.
  • Abandon carts. The traditional abandon cart email remains a strong converter. For the best performance, deploy these emails closely after the abandonment and then a few additional reminders in hours and days afterward.

In my experience, triggered emails are vital to re-engaging visitors who may have left a site unintentionally or remain in the research phase. Moreover, many consumers will not recall the sites they’ve visited.

Social Media

Finally, while it’s a powerful retargeting tool, email can be even more effective when combined with retargeting on Facebook and other social media. The more times a shopper sees your brand and message, the more likely she will complete a purchase.

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