What's Email Retargeting & Why Should You Care?

By Noemi Gobel

2016-09-23

Are you an experienced email marketer?

If so, you’ve probably heard about email retargeting sometime in the past 5 years. Maybe you even know everything about it!

In this case, this isn’t the blog post for you (but this post on how to get email retargeting right definitely is). If, on the other hand, you keep getting confused by what retargeting is, how it’s different from other email strategies and most importantly: what it means for your business, then stay with us by all means!

Email Retargeting: Back to basics

So what’s the truth about email retargeting? To define that, we first need to look at retargeting in general.

People use retargeting for all mediums: email, social media, display advertising etc. In this sense, retargeting is no more than sending out personally relevant messages to a previously defined subset of your audience. So when it comes to email marketing, this obviously means emails and subscribers.

… Thinking of email retargeting in this more holistic way also makes it easier to pinpoint in our email marketing or digital marketing activity. Chances are you’re already doing some of it! Don’t believe us? If you’re an email marketer at an e-commerce company, for example, and you set up abandoned cart emails for your subscribers, besides your monthly newsletters and occasional discounts, congratulations: you’re already doing some email retargeting.

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Which is terrific! But there’s so much more to discover. Like we said, the point of email retargeting is to drive people who have already been to your website, poked around, looked at things, maybe even engaged in some way or another, and then left without buying anything/converting, back to your website - in a way that feels tailored to their actions.

This means that if you have their email address, you can set up a whole variety of (automated) retargeting emails: order follow-ups, inactive customer follow-ups, abandoned browse emails, loyalty program nudges… And the list goes on.

Use it for whatever you need

The best news? Because email retargeting uses email for, well, retargeting, you can use it to great effect in any and all of the digital marketing practices where email is relevant. For B2B companies, for example, lead nurturing campaigns are an extremely effective form of email remarketing: in fact, around two-thirds of B2B marketers say that the relevance and targeting aspects of their lead nurturing drove better responses to their data-driven campaigns and offers.

And like we said before, e-commerce can also utilise email retargeting to great effect: all of those action-based (or, in case of abandonment, non-action-based) emails have proven to be successful in getting subscribers back on company websites and into online stores, ready to finalise their purchase process.

A shortcut to the future

It doesn’t stop there. The way we use email retargeting is evolving as we speak: we can now use data we have about our subscribers to diversify our message and reach out to them (or not!) on other channels.

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What does this mean? If you look at email retargeting together with actions taking place across your other brand touchpoints (i.e. beyond your website), a whole new vista of opportunities will open up to you. Like cross-selling, for example: if someone’s already bought something from your company in a store, having that information stored about them means you can send them an email with far more relevant recommendations - especially if you look at their previous online activity log as well!

 

Alternatively, connecting the dots between your customers’ online and offline behaviour will also tell you when not to send them retargeting emails. Like when they abandoned an online shopping cart with a pair of shoes, for instance, but then bought it at your store: if you disregard this information, you might send them a retargeting email about the shoes they already have, or worse, send them a special discount far too late!

Add to this the up-and-coming trends of emails based on contextual data (like device, time or location), chatbot-powered e-commerce emails, the shortening of email texts owing to decreasing attention spans and mobile devices, and you’ll see that your options with email retargeting are limitless. The journey is, truly, just beginning.

And it all starts with one simple step: taking your emails to the next level.

Intrigued? Get our tips on how to get your email retargeting campaigns just right from our follow-up blog post!

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