How to use email retargeting to boost engagement

You’ve built your strategy, creating amazing content, and have started to send it out across your various channels. What’s next? The overall goal is to maximize user engagement, and despite your best efforts, you are going to see fluctuations in it. One area that you should be focusing on is your email engagement. If you are noticing a dip in user engagement with your email campaigns, then you may want to consider implementing an email retargeting strategy. 

How do you measure user engagement?

Before we dive into email retargeting, it’s vital that you know how to measure email engagement. This key performance indicator can be measured in several different ways, including your:

  • Email conversion rates

  • Email list growth rate

  • Email shares/forward rates

However, the most effective way to measure user engagement is through email open and click-through rates. While many email marketing software offers the ability to track these metrics, knowing how to calculate them yourself is vital. 

How to calculate email open rate:

How to calculate email click-through rate:

Knowing how to calculate these two figures is vital because once you know where your baseline is, you can carefully monitor for any changes—positive or negative. This helps you to gauge your overall email engagement patterns then. Should you notice an upward tick in these numbers, it is safe to assume that your readers are pleased with your campaigns and choosing to engage with them more. However, if you notice a decrease in these numbers, you can assume that something isn’t quite right, and you may need to consider reevaluating your campaign or consider implementing email retargeting. 

What exactly is email retargeting? 

Email retargeting is the act of reintroducing a product or service to a potential customer who had shown interest, but never followed through on a purchase, download, etc.

We’ve all done it before—hopped on our favorite online shop, clicked “add to cart” on a few items and then were distracted by something and walked away from our computer, or decided that we didn’t want to make a purchase right at that moment. 

amazon add to cart example

Source: Amazon

Instead of giving up on us, brands choose to send us helpful email messages that remind us of the items that we left behind. 

google express example

Source: Really Good Emails

These emails are known as abandoned cart emails. Sure, while these emails tend to be triggered as a result of an abandoned shopping cart, that’s not the only time a retargeting email is sent out. 

What if you came across a downloadable checklist that piqued your interest? However, halfway through your form, your co-worker or child distracted you with something else. Should your browser get shut down for whatever reason, a retargeted email could be sent out as a helpful reminder to return to the form and complete the download process. 

Retargeting or remarketing?

When it comes to email retargeting, the term is often used interchangeably with email remarketing. While they sound similar in nature, they are two very different concepts. 

As we stated earlier, email retargeting is the act of reintroducing a product to a specific individual who has already shown an interest in it but never made the conversion. 

Email remarketing, however, is the process of reintroducing a product back into the market and labeling it as “New and improved.” This can be the result of a failing product being reintroduced or to pique the interest in past customers who have since dropped in overall engagement. A great example of an email retargeting is Amazon’s echo updates that are sent out to users of the popular Echo device. 

amazon echo example

Source: Really Good Emails

Amazon isn’t trying to introduce a new product to these consumers, nor are they trying to sell a new product. Instead, they are attempting to reengage their previous consumers with recent updates that can be used with current devices. 

Is email retargeting all that important?

Email retargeting is a vital part of any email marketing and digital marketing strategy. Why? Because you’ve already got the critical user information, so why would you spend extra time and resources in searching for a new lead when you have one that showed an interest already? 

Just because someone may not have completed a purchase or sign-up in their first sitting, it doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in what you have to offer. Remember, many times these individuals simply get distracted by something before they can finalize the process. 

So, don’t lose out on a potential lead just because you think they may or may not have lost interest in what you have to offer. In fact, when compared with a standard e-commerce conversion rate between 2% and 4%, the overall rate for email retargeting conversions can be as high as 41%. That’s nothing to sneeze at! 

That said, is email retargeting important? That would be a resounding yes.

4 examples of email retargeting in action

Email retargeting often revolves around abandoned cart emails that remind your potential leads to come back and finalize their purchase. However, there are many other examples of email retargeting that don’t necessarily revolve around abandoned shopping carts. Remember, email retargeting is the act of reintroducing your brand and what you have to offer to those who have already shown some level of interest. That could mean potential new leads but should also consider current customers and those who have gone inactive. 

That said, here are 4 fantastic examples of email retargeting in action that don’t include abandoned cart emails. 

1. Inventory updates

Many of your consumers have chosen you as their go-to brand, thanks to your wonderful products. However, what happens when you run low on inventory or get new inventory in stock? Not everyone will spend their days stalking your website to see what’s currently in stock and what isn’t. 

So, instead of simply waiting for them to come browsing, you can use your customer’s data to send segmented inventory updates directly to their inbox. Say they’ve purchased a given supplement from you, and it’s currently out of stock. Then send them a message to inform them that you don’t have any, and then send them another message when you get it back in stock.

This is an excellent example of email retargeting because it keeps your customer’s up to date on their favorite products, all while keeping your brand relevant in their inbox and in their minds. 

kate spade email example

Source: Campaign Monitor

2. Cross-sell 

Cross-selling is the process of encouraging a consumer to spend more by purchasing a product that is similar or related to what they are already in the process of purchasing. This is often confused with upselling, which is the process of encouraging a consumer to purchase something more expensive than what they are currently looking at. 

A cross-selling email is a great email retargeting idea because it not only brings the consumer’s attention back to you and what you have to offer, but allows you to collect more user data on them, such as browsing history, preferences and more. 

Methodical Coffee does an excellent job of cross-selling their coffee to those who may “have a hard time knowing which coffee to order.”

methodical coffee email example

Source: Really Good Emails

3. Re-engagement emails

Have a handful of email subscribers that have ghosted you as of late? Instead of writing off those subscribers as inactive, try sending them a re-engagement email instead. Re-engagement emails are excellent examples of email retargeting because they help bring your current customers back to you, should they have missed any of your latest updates. 

Uber email example

Source: Really Good Emails

Now, if they truly want to stop receiving messages from you, then make sure you are respecting their wishes and remove them from your mailing list. 

4. Renewal reminders

Much like re-engagement emails, renewal reminders are a great email retargeting campaign to help keep your current customers coming back for more.

One great example of a renewal reminder email is this one from Avocode. It’s reminding its free trial members that their trial is up and that if they loved the services they received, then it’s time to make the commitment and sign up for the full service. 

Avocode email example

Source: Really Good Emails 

Again, these types of messages are great examples of email retargeting because it helps to keep those that were interested in your services active in the budding relationship between you and them. Don’t let them slip away, and make sure you are sending these updates to anyone receiving a subscription service from you. 

How to set up email retargeting campaigns

Setting up your email retargeting campaigns isn’t as complicated as it may initially seem, especially if your email marketing software allows you the option of creating automated workflows. 

For those using Emma, you’ll notice that once you’ve designed your abandoned cart or other retargeting emails, you’ll be able to set up a new automated workflow and choose from a selection of available triggers. One such label will include “Abandoned cart event” which will be triggered automatically when a person abandons their cart in your online store. 

emma example

Source: Emma

Once you’ve selected the appropriate trigger, you’ll then select a wait time. Once you’ve done that, you’ll add the next step, which is “Send mailing,” and select the email or campaign you created prior to setting up this workflow. 

Once you’ve maximized your workflow to your liking, you’ll save it and mark it as active at the bottom of your screen. Don’t forget to make sure you test the trigger to ensure that it goes out according to plan. Never assume your trigger will work the way you want it to. Accidents can happen! So always test your new trigger before for success.

Wrap up

When most people think of email retargeting, they often think of abandoned cart or abandoned form emails. While they are both great examples of email retargeting, there are many other examples, including the 4 we covered today:

  • Inventory updates

  • Cross-sell

  • Re-engagement emails

  • Renewal reminders

Ready to start building stunning email retargeting campaigns? Then see what Emma can do for you! Schedule your live demo today!

About the Author

Emma Email

Emma is an email marketing platform that gives you all the tools you need to send campaigns that really connect with your subscribers. With our​​ powerful automation and personalization features, you can create and send email campaigns that reach the right customer at just the right time. It's email marketing that works for you.

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