Email Retargeting

What is email retargeting and how does it work?

Email retargeting is the ability to send a focused email to a specific person in a reasonable timeframe based upon their browsing activity. For example, you are browsing for a family holiday and spend an hour or two fine tuning your requirements into a handful of two or three different destinations and accommodation types.

You may well have used a number of different websites but if you don’t make a decision to buy in the time you are on site then how, as a website owner can you steal a march on your competitors and place your holiday offering above the others? Sending an email about your holiday package within a reasonable time, maybe a day later will potentially keep your offering at the forefront of your visitor’s mind.

We all seem to get much more junk email than we really want. Although with the introduction of GDPR this is somewhat reduced from the high levels we had over the previous years. Email, although annoying to many, is still up there with regard to the highest return on investment for marketers. Within the B2C environment GDPR has managed to curtail much of the junk we get into our inboxes each day and focus Marketers on more relevant content.

So why is email retargeting still successful?

The reason being is that its cost is extremely low by comparison to PPC and often the costs of managed SEO too. But the real success is still that old adage, “deliver the right message, at the right time, to the right person”. Email retargeting plays right to the core of those principles.

Timing is everything

Believe it or not consumer psychologists suggest that the visitor behaviour, the time of the visitor browsing and the value of the product the visitor was browsing should determine the timing of when you should send your follow up email.

If a visitor has placed something into the basket and checks out, then a confirmation email of the order details is expected within a few minutes. If that same visitor does exactly the same thing but does not checkout then sending any email within a minute or two about that product would seem excessive. Furthermore, if the visitor was only browsing and you sent an email within a few minutes of the session closing that could be deemed as a little creepy.

Some examples

Here are a few examples that extend that philosophy further:

Email retargeting example 1

Jane is a commuter and spends an hour each way on her journey to and from work. She passes the time browsing online shoe shops to purchase a new pair of shoes. She spends a while looking and even checks out her size and colour of a particular brand but does not place any item into the basket.

If you, as the website owner, sent her an email with an offer of free delivery and free returns of the shoes she has spent time mulling over, within an hour or two, that places a reasonable chance of converting into a sale. The potential reason for a high conversion is that shoes, are relatively inexpensive and whilst may be a considered purchase, she is likely to be the single decision maker.

Email retargeting example 2

Let’s take Jane a couple of days later on another morning train commute. This time she is looking for a TV for her and her partners flat. She will potentially browse a few review sites then see which site offers her the best package. She visits one site and spends time confirming that this is the best offer she has found. She may well not put this item into her basket.

Sending an email, a couple of hours later offering a free HDMI cable and wall bracket could drive conversion. But as this is a considered purchase where she alone is not a singular decision maker, sending that same email offer would resonate and convert better when sent later that day on her commute home. The reason being is that the offer would be fresher in her mind when she got home and discussed the great deal she managed to find with her partner.

Email retargeting is just one element of delivering a personalised customer journey which may not always be confined to being on your website.

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