Email Retargeting: 5 steps to a breakthrough marketing strategy (+ stats & examples)

Over time, retargeting has proven to be an irreplaceable marketing tool for businesses that key into its potential. Yet, it might interest you to know that a high number of companies are not implementing this marketing approach. 46% of marketing professionals think that retargeting is the most underused marketing strategy.

email retargeting marketing stats

Image source
There are many forms of retargeting, email retargeting being one of them. Over 68% of organizations say email marketing is their most effective digital marketing channel for ROI.

This article will explain how email retargeting works, its many benefits, and how to properly use it to grow your business.

How does email retargeting work?

Email retargeting is any type of retargeting that uses email marketing channel. There are different types of email retargeting. It always involves additional behavior or profile information.

4 main email retargeting types:

  1. Send highly personalized emails based on users’ website browsing behavior.
  2. Follow up emails on abandoned carts, wish lists, uncompleted forms, etc.
  3. Use email open and click behavior to target subscribers with SEA and display advertising.
  4. Use email addresses and CRM profiles and behavior to target social media profiles.
email retargeting funnel description

For these retargeting campaigns to work an email address or a cookie is the main identifier. Often the leads will download, register or subscribe to your email newsletter. So these users have interacted with your brand before and opted-in to be in your email list and CRM. The emails or ads accompanying your retargeting campaigns can be very specifically targeted and tailored to your audience. That relevance and the timing will ultimately determine the success of your email retargeting campaign.

For email retargeting you have to have an email opt-in. So there must be a strategy in place to collect customers’ emails. Therefore, it is crucial to have a marketing plan that will continuously and consistently gather email opt-ins.

Successful email retargeting cases

  • Email retargeting increased Amain’s conversion rate by 775% and generated a 90% open rate. (source: Adroll)
  • achieved a 36% increase in remarketing revenue with the help of personalized email retargeting. (source; Criteo)
  • Hireology employs email retargeting to create an authoritative online presence. (source: retargeter).

Studies show that 61% of consumers prefer promotional email to other small business communications.

email marketing channel stats adobe

(Source: Adobe consumer email survey)

That is not all. Onsite retargeting cases too have been making waves, and here are some examples:

  • Yoast was able to hit 10,000 email subscribers in just 30 days with the aid of onsite retargeting.( Optinmonster)
  • DigitalMarketer was able to transform about 15% of abandoning visitors into customers with the help of onsite retargeting. (DigitalMarketer)

And the list of retargeting examples and stats could go on and on.

5 reasons your business needs email retargeting

With email retargeting you will be able to make your Ad budget reach further and increase conversion rates. Email has also shown to be a reliable means to reach mobile consumers as the most predominant smartphone users’ activity is looking up their inbox. As leads see more of your brand over time, it also has a long term effect of brand awareness and possibly a customer loyalty effect as well.

Here are 5 reasons why you should consider an email retargeting strategy for your business.

1. Email retargeting saves advertising budget

Email is the most cost-effective way of communicating with your customers, promoting your product, and reaching your business goals. A number of businesses operate on a restricted advertising budget, and looks for affordable ways to connect with their audience – this is where email retargeting comes in.

A smaller targeted audience
Email retargeting only connects with users who already have an interest in your brand. They subscribed to your emails and have a higher engagement. Therefore, you will spend a lot less money on untargeted SEA and ads, bringing a higher ROI.

Replace Adwords clicks with email clicks
If you use email to follow up on ad clicks, chances are that your potential customer will convert through email. This can save a lot in extra clicks on display ads and SEA. Replacing part of expensive clicks in channels like Adwords with the super inexpensive email channel.

Don’t advertise to those that already bought
By matching cookies to email, you can better track if someone already converted into a customer. This makes for better exclusion and reducing even more unneeded advertising costs, also decreasing costs for other remarketing campaigns, by setting “fresh” cookies before they expire and make exclusions on other devices.

2. Email retargeting increases conversion

Reports show that only 2% of new visitors make a purchase on their first visit. That means that the vast majority of new customers will not buy immediately. The adage goes that new potential customers need at least 7 interactions before they buy.

More touch points over a longer period of time
With email retargeting, you can increase that conversion rate from 2%, by capturing the email address on site when they (first) visit or matching the already known visitor email to an earlier opt-in or log in and show them the initial offer again.

If they are not yet ready to buy, the initial email retargeting can be turned into a longer lead nurturing flow.

Use their profile information to increase personalisation
On the other hand, using profile information to better target your display ads and retarget email behavior in advertising channels makes them more targeted and ready to convert. Especially if they land on a personalised website or landing page.

Advertising efforts are based on people who are already interested in your products. Hence, the conversion rate of email retargeting is said to be 41%, much higher than the standard 2% for ecommerce conversion rate, as stated by Moz.

3. Email retargeting keeps you top-of-mind

According to reports, consumers look up about 38 websites before making a booking. With email retargeting, these consumers get to see your brand more, hence keeping it fresh in their minds.

This means there is a better chance they are aware of your brand, product and offering and even will look you up directly when they are ready to buy.

More exposure during purchase stages
When carried out properly, email retargeting helps you raise brand awareness. Your most promising leads customers are exposed to your ads and emails when it matters most. This helps them keep your brand or website in mind during orientation and decision stages of the marketing funnel.

Email retargeting in multiple channels
The addition of appearing in multiple channels can also not be underestimated. Some customers are very active in their inbox but not on your site, or social and not your site, or the other way around. By tying these channels together with an omnichannel email strategy, you have a better chance of building your brand awareness and getting the sale.

4. Building trust and amplify your brand message

When your brand is visible, it attracts more attention and consequently gains more trust.
When email retargeting is executed well, you can build trust with, which is an important factor to influence conversion rates.

Different types of trust building content
Not all ads or forms of retargeting have to be offers and product promotions. You can have educational, how to, whitepapers, or even entertaining messages. The retargeting can be more towards the the top or the bottom of your lead funnel.

Email retargeting provides an effective means to build trust between your brand and your audience. Not only does it allow you to show them more personalized ads, but it is also an economical and effective way to share educational content.

5. Email retargeting offers profile enrichment and analytics insights

Email retargeting provides you with enough insights to guide your advertising journey. With the help of cookies and tracking, you can enrich your understanding of customers’ behavior as they browse your site and interact with other touchpoints. It isn’t enough for a visitor to make their email address known, you want to have a more complete customer profile.

With the help of such vital information, you can easily detect where you need to direct your marketing efforts to increase ROI. A creative management platform (CMP) can provide great advertising analytics for your ad campaigns.

How to Set Up and Optimize Your Email Retargeting Campaign

1. Check your retargeting campaign goals

Before you set up your email retargeting campaign, you need to have a campaign objective in mind and have a good understanding of how users interact with your website. This will inform how you tailor the content of your retargeting messages and ads for maximum effectiveness.

email retargeting goals

Tools like Google Analytics, hotjar, a CDP, and Marketing Automation and CRM software like Hubspot software let you gather more insights on how customers interact with your website.

Your campaign objective can for instance be to sell, upsell or cross-sell to your email audience. It may also be to recover your cart abandoners. Either way, having a proper campaign objective is paramount to any of your email retargeting campaigns.

2. Collect the crucial data about a customer

For your email retargeting campaign to be effective, it is essential to have the information needed about your site visitors. A full customer profile will help you create tailored ads and emails that meet their needs. It is way more effective, compared to random messages that do not convert.

Imagine you visit a website to purchase a hat, only to leave without buying anything. In the next few hours or days, you receive an email that offers a 20% discount on that very same hat. That offer will certainly prompt you to make a purchase.

How did the advertiser know that you were interested in that hat? Often the answer is “cookies.”

Data collected can include the number of times a page is viewed, location, the frequency of visitors to your website, and similar. The more useful information you have about a visitor, the better.

3. Segment email addresses for retargeting

Now that you collected enough data about your customers, it is time to segment and start targeting them, but how?

Segment your audience on behavior
Segmentation can be based on purchase intent and Behavioral retargeting is a way of grouping your audience. That will help you create tailored ads and emails based on what your visitors do instead of relying solely on who they are or their static preferences that you’d typically find in email profiles information.

email retargeting segmentation

Retargeting Cart Abandonment

Here you should group users who placed products in their cart but left without making a purchase. Sometimes, it includes users that made it to a trial account landing page without converting.

The image below shows the cart abandonment email template created by Asos. To make these retargeting emails more effective, think about adding some social proof to your cart abandonment emails.

asos email targeting saved items ecomerce

There is an art to doing cart bandonment well, and you might consider adding some social proof to your cart abandonment mails.

Retargeting site abandonment

This type of email retargeting comprises email addresses of users who visited your site and left (without converting). Often your products aren’t located on one big homepage, so you deduce their interests from the level of engagement and pages they visited.

Here is a retargeting example by fashion brand Minimal, they offer a 10% off your order to subscribe to the newsletter.

If you don’t have the email addresses of these visitors yet, this would be a good moment to catch them with an exit-intent pop-up.

While Minimal offers a discount, here is an example of a site abandonment pop-up that goes directly to ask for “the sell”, capture email and promote a first trial by snacknation.

Loyalty retargeting

Here you have email addresses of users who have already made a purchase on your website or store.

This type of retargeting is mostly concerned with nurturing and increasing the lifetime value of a customer. Make them engage with new content, other channels or invite them to events, tell-a-friend etc. Just think about the different fashion loyalty programs you know or in any other industry. Of course prolonging their subscription or trial is another goal. Not all the retargeting has to be top of funnel.

4. Create retargeting emails and ads

The next step is to create highly personalized emails using the data collected for each segment. Experts recommend the following tips when preparing emails for a retargeting campaign:

Pen down a clear cut Call-To-Action
What do you want your prospective reader to do after reading your email? Or do you want your email to be something she just reads and closes right away? This is where a call-to-action comes in. In addition to the fact that a seamless CTA boosts your customers’ satisfaction, placing a button over a hyperlink for you CTA could increase your conversion rates by 28%.

Here is an example of what a etargeting email with a clear Call-To-Action ooks like:

email retarget quiz example asos

The above email could very well be used to lead to a campaign including retargeting, a quiz and social sharing.

Use compelling subject lines
The two elements essential for a successful email marketing campaign are open rates and subject lines. Subject lines functions in 2 ways – it helps to entice people to open an email by providing information just sufficient to catch their attention, and also helps to distinguish your emails from spam mails.

top subject line emoji

The use of emojis in your email subject line is an excellent idea as it can boost your email open rates by 45%.
Source: Mailchimp

Your email subject line should spark up curiosity, in addition to being personalized to get the best out of your email subject lines.

Make use of images that positively support your ad
Remember that 100% of users who come across your ad will not read it entirely. However, all of them will see your ad image—therefore, you must pay attention to it.

Don’t be big brother about it

Customers definitely don’t like coerced into making a purchase, neither do they like to see the same email ads over and over. Thus, it is advised to place a limit on the number of times each consumer gets to see your ad.

Triggered Emails and Optimization

After all the points discussed above, it is time to send out those emails. This could be done manually, but it will most often be with the use of email automation software.

Always be sure to track the performance of your retargeting campaign and test and optimize it.

Personalize Your Messages as Much as Possible

Every email sent is an opportunity to either close a sale or attract your audience. For this reason, it is essential to put in the work to always deliver valuable emails at the right time. A combination of these factors will significantly increase your email open rate.

According to Sleeknote, personalization improves your click-through rate by up to 14% and conversion by as much as 10%. Simple actions like including the first name of a user (from the data collected) help boost your return on investment up to 10 times.

It is advisable to retarget visitors with products that they have already indicated an interest in. However, it does not mean you should include all those products because you can easily lose your customers. If a product is viewed more than three times, you can use it for your retargeting ads.

Make each transition convenient

It is important to note that consumers are easily distracted. The easier it is for your audience to move from their email to your shop’s checkout page, the likelier it is they will convert.
Any kind of distraction hinders your sales process and prevents a user from converting.
A good practice would be to include a direct link in your email. That way, users can easily access your store with just one click.

Schedule Your Emails

Timing is an essential factor for email retargeting campaigns.
If you wait too long to send your retargeting email, your customers may lose interest. You also run a risk of losing them to a potential competitor.

Studies have shown that an excellent time lag before sending cart abandonment emails is between a few minutes and three hours.

Nonetheless, your timing should ultimately depend on how the user has interacted with your website. Avoid the same timing for users who have not interacted with your website and those who have recently abandoned their shopping cart.

Always split test your email retargeting

As with any ad campaign, it is important to create multiple ads for split testing. That way, you can see how users respond. Such information is then used to optimize future emails accordingly.

Something as simple as changing the color of your ad may help increase your conversion rate.

Frequency Capping

You need to pay attention to how often you send your emails. The last thing you need is to be considered aggressive by your potential customers. Users will not hesitate to unsubscribe from your newsletter if you bombard them with emails every day.

Email retargeting; here we go again

Email retargeting is quite useful and cost-effective when compared to other marketing strategies.

Since your audience willingly subscribed to your newsletter, it means that they are already interested in what you have to offer.

You have the opportunity to not only show them your retargeting ads but also send them relevant information. That will, in turn, lead to higher conversion rates.

Maja Talevska

Maja Talevska is a content curator and contributor for several marketing publications, including As one of her biggest passions writing is more than just a profession, which is why she always delivers top-notch content. When she is not immersed in her work, she spends her time planning her next destination or walking her adorable dog Leo.