Business Ecommerce Email Marketing Marketing

The Power of E-Mail Remarketing

email symbol on row of colourful envelopes
Photo Credit: RaHuL Rodriguez via flickr

Did you know that acquiring a new customer can cost as much as 15 times more than retaining an existing one?

It is worth it to stay close to your current customers; to know their needs today and tomorrow. This is where re-marketing bumps into your plan. Read on to learn the potential of e-mail re-marketing.

E-mail marketing still remains the best ROI marketing strategy because companies are able to generate 50 percent more sales-ready leads at 33 percent lower cost. E-mail marketing outputs an average 4,300 percent return on investment for businesses in the United States, according to the Direct Marketing Association. It is essential to align your marketing efforts with the changing expectations of your customer to enjoy fantastic results from e-mail.

Re-marketing is a practice to follow up a website visitor who interacts with your website but departs without taking any action, such as completing a purchase or signing up for your newsletter. Re-marketing (aka re-targeting) is carried out by display advertising or in this instance, e-mail. E-mail re-marketing involves sending e-mails to reach out those people who have shown interest in a product or service but went back without making any purchase.

Whom to re-market?

Marketers often use e-mail re-marketing to capture lost sales and engage sleeping customers. Focusing on the actual share of traffic to be remarketed is crucial. Out of 100 people visiting your website, 60 people visit your pricing page and 30 of them checkout for purchase while only four completes a purchase. You can still recover the lost sale by remarketing to the 30 percent of your visitors. You should decide over remarketing share based on the level of engagement your visitors had. Remarket to people who interacted with your shopping pages or have made a purchase.

Types of Re-marketing e-mails

Abandoned Cart Recovery E-mails: These e-mails are sent to visitors who have added products to their cart but didn’t make any purchase. There could be several reasons leading to cart abandonment but it does give a sign that they do actually intend to buy. You can still recover these lost customers by sending a well-crafted recovery e-mail.

Action Items for you

• Shoot your e-mail remarketing campaigns within the first hour of cart abandonment;

• Be specific by showing the image of the item added and expiry date of the shopping cart;

• The most important — make it obvious in the subject line what the e-mail is about.

Pro tip

I came across an e-mail with subject line “You forgot how much you want to buy this!” It was interesting and prompted me to open. Test different subjects to turn abandoned carts into wads of cash.

Rewards / Loyalty Program E-mails: They deal with e-mails that provide information to your customers regarding the bounty or benefit they can avail along with a purchase. These rewards can be in forms of points, discounts or coupons that they can redeem any time on their purchase.

Action Items for you

• Use redemption reminder e-mails to remind customers about their voucher, coupon and points based discounts that are yet to be redeemed.

• If you are planning a big sale announce it among your loyal and VIP customers to make them feel special.

• Offer special status and perks to your best customers like free tickets to events or extended free shipping of their product.

Pro tip

Rather than going for a one-size-fits-all approach, spend the time to customize your e-mail communication to include important features for a set of loyal customers. Not surprisingly, loyalty e-mails show significant higher open and click rates, as a result, it can boost direct sales.

Customer Follow-Up E-mails: Follow-up e-mails are the head-on communication between company and customer which come forth with the interest of the customer in a particular product or service and ends at the successful purchase of that particular product or service. An effective follow-up e-mail should bluntly emphasize the objective and context of your conversation. It’s important to explain your intentions with a short and sweet subject line right off the bat.

Action Items for you:

• Decide over the objective of your follow-up to craft a better call-to-action. The major goals include a request for a meeting, clarifying a piece of information or a quick touch base with your old clients.

• Include a part of the previous conversation to help them remember and easier to respond.

• Determine the timing of e-mail based on the objective of your follow-up.

Pro tip

Use Google alerts to stay updated regarding your industry and product. Add value to your follow-up by offering advice, feedback or useful resources like an article, blog post, eBook etc.

Reminder or replenishment E-mails: You can encourage people to re-order by planning a successful replenishment/reminder e-mail campaign around their purchase cycle. You need to understand their consumption behavior and order patterns in order to send them reminders within the right time frame.

Action Items for you:

• Study the different replenishment time of various services. For instance, online food and bakery services can target the times when consumers tend to order more food or can try other flavors.

• If your customers have already replenished the product several times, there are chances that they will buy more if you offer discounts. Encourage them to share on social media — it can fetch you references.

Pro tip

If the reorder period exceeds 60 days you can still add value by sending content related to benefit of using the product. You can work toward a long-term relationship with your customers by convincing them they should reorder your product.

Customer Retention E-mails: With so many options available, customer retention e-mails are key for a happy customer base full of repeat buyers. Especially for SaaS and subscription-based businesses where recurring revenue is the backbone, customer retention is a continuous process.

Action items for you:

Customer retention starts with the onboarding process of a customer and continues for the lifetime of a customer. As Signalmind points out: “A five percent increase in customer retention can increase profits by more than 25 percent.” Thus, it pays to invest time and money in customer loyalty programs.

There are a couple of lessons we can learn from the HBO Now e-mail campaigns. The first one is the timing. Rather than shooting the e-mail soon after the telecast of the season finale, they sent those in during the times when you start missing Game of Thrones episodes.

The other objective is customer retention. HBO used the next email campaign as an opportunity to introduce a new series of episodes to fill the gap for Sunday nights. HBO maximized this slot to remind its audience of its other shows by understanding their headspace. Not only can that grow their existing viewership, it can aid them in retaining the current ones.

Pro tip

Customer retention surveys can be a good option to grow your business. Effective customer retention strategies must focus on maximizing customer satisfaction for present customers and identifying dissatisfied ones.

How effective is e-mail re-marketing?

The objective of e-mail re-marketing is to deliver the right piece of content to the right person at the right time and in the right format. According to SAP Hybris, only 0.25 percent of visitors make a purchase on their first visit. If you are able to bring them back, chances of sale increase by nine-fold. Cart abandoners are a gold mine for e-mail marketers as 66 percent of conversions come through email re-marketing, making a promising source of additional revenue.

Do you find e-mail re-marketing as a lucrative method for acquiring your lost sales?

About the author


Michael Benedict

Michael Benedict is Digital marketing manager at Benchmark Email. He is responsible for strategizing SEO and SEM for Benchmark Offices in different countries. An engineer by education, he started his career with a tech start-up. Over the years he has helped clients build brand equity and solve their unique marketing challenges. Connect with him on LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+


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  • Thanks for such an informative article with all these useful tips which we can use in our email marketing efforts. However I would like to know how many times will you suggest to target a particular prospect for re-marketing, so that the prospect will also not feel irritated or are there any other ways to target them without make them feel annoy ?

    • Thanks Abhishek for finding it valuable. The different types remarketing email campaigns gives you an option to follow customers in a different manner everytime. For example, an Abandoned Cart Recovery E-mails will look new each time as it will be personalized for each product customer leave in their cart. Similar will be the case with replenishment emails as you will be reminding them for different product each time.

  • Thank you for this article Michael.
    There is a lot of valuable information in there and it will definitely encourage people to aiming at retargeting through email marketing.