5 Email Retargeting Best Practices for High Conversions

5 Email Retargeting Best Practices for High Conversions

Email retargeting campaigns are one of those ideas that seem to get put on the back burner for most marketers. In reality, employing a set of email retargeting best practices can generate revenue that an email newsletter couldn’t ever do, even on the best of days.

In this article, we’ll show you how to employ 5 battle-tested email retargeting best practices in order to achieve a better ROI, more conversions, and more revenue for your business.

We’ll also provide real examples from marketers in a wide array of industries and show you how you can utilize the customer data you have on hand to create irresistible email campaigns.

Let’s dive in!

What is Email Retargeting?

Simply put, email retargeting is using the information you have about a contact to send them curated content (usually with the intent of performing an action).

While there are several different ‘types’ of email retargeting best practices (which we’ll cover here today), most of the common goals of email remarketing come down to generating revenue.

In fact, Moz reported that while typical conversions of e-commerce stores can range from 1%-2%, a retargeting campaign can have as high as 41% conversion rate.

I don’t know about you, but most businesses could do with an extra 40% in sales.

In addition, email has been found to give the highest ROI when compared to social media, and can even generate around 40x more customer acquisitions. Clearly, email retargeting is important and should be the focus of every marketer.

Now that you’ve learned what email remarketing is and why it’s important, we’ll show you 5 email retargeting best practices you can put into play right now to generate more conversions for your business.

Email Retargeting Best Practice #1 – Capture Abandoned Carts

One of the easiest and most effective email retargeting best practices is to start with those who are closest to purchasing – and who’s closer than folks who have recently abandoned their online shopping cart.

While you might not thing an abandoned cart here or there wouldn’t make a difference, you’d be wrong. Statistics show that cart abandonment rates can range from 50%-80% – meaning you could stand to gain an additional 50% more purchases if done correctly.

For best results, try and target your potential customers quickly after they abandon their cart. Take the below example from Purple:


This email is short and sweet and was triggered 1 hour after I abandoned my cart. Clicking on the link brings me right back into the checkout process for the product I had selected, making it easy to continue where I left off.

Another fantastic example came from Hot Topic, who added a slightly different twist to the format:


While the above email was sent an hour after I abandoned my cart just like Purple, Hot Topic displays a ‘throw everything at the wall’ philosophy with their content.

In addition to showing me the products I had added to my cart, they also added a list of other products I might be interested in and some best sellers. With this strategy, they’ve given me multiple reasons to purchase aside from my initial selection.

It’s also worth a mention that both companies sent additional emails a day after I had abandoned my cart, and Hot Topic provided a free shipping coupon for my first purchase within their email.


Sending out a delayed reminder like this can help to convert visitors who had forgotten about their purchase entirely and who weren’t ready to purchase within the initial hour after abandonment.

Sweetening the pot with an additional incentive like freebies or discounts can help to increase the conversions of this email for those who are still on the fence about purchasing.

Email Retargeting Best Practice #2 – Upsell and Cross-sell Your Customers

Another easy email retargeting best practice is to retarget those who have purchased from you already and suggest an upsell or cross-sell. If they’ve already taken the step of purchasing from you before (especially recently) there’s a high probability they’ll do so again in the future.

After all, it’s easier and less costly to keep current customers than to generate new ones.

One of my favorite upsell emails comes from BarkBox, a monthly subscription box for dog toys, treats, and chews. Each month, they send the below email to offer a chance to double the number of products that come with a box. They also add a discount for additional incentive.


While an extra $17 a month might not be something all of BarkBox’s customers can afford, giving them the opportunity to increase the joy of their canine friends whenever they like is a great way to generate more revenue (and happy pups).

Grammarly, an automated grammar checker, cements another foundational email retargeting best practice – adding in personalization.

In the below email, Grammarly starts off by going in-depth into your interaction with their app. In this case, a breakdown of how many words you’ve written, accuracy, and a couple of other fun tidbits of information.

Only at the end (after they’ve shown you just how much you’ve gotten out of the tool itself) do they come in with the pitch.

Source: ReallyGoodEmails.com

As you can see, the tactic at the end of this is genius in its simplicity. They tell you how many mistakes they could have corrected if you had a Premium plan, and give you an additional incentive by adding in $100 off an annual plan.

For SaaS business owners, this can be a great way to convert leads from your free or trial plans to a paid one.

Email Retargeting Best Practice #3 – Nurture Your Leads

If we work a bit more towards the top of the funnel, we inevitably come to one of the first bits of email remarketing you might try: lead nurturing.

The goal of lead nurturing is to take those who are currently in the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey and move them into the next stage and become a customer. After all, you wouldn’t ask to marry someone on your first date!

While this stage can look wildly different depending on your business and vertical, it all follows the same ideal goal – introducing your lead to your business and giving them a taste of the best you have to offer while showing them how you can solve their needs.

The best way to kick this off is a great welcome email after they’ve signed up for your newsletter or downloaded a lead magnet. Take this example from the New Yorker:

Source: ReallyGoodEmails.com

This email does a few things very well:

  • Lets you know how often you can expect to be contacted
  • Gives you a link to read some more content
  • Adds an additional way of staying engaged by suggesting the mobile ap
  • Ends of with a short (and low price!) offer that comes with a freebie

If you’re tempted to pitch an offer directly in your welcome email (like New Yorker has above) you can employ what’s called a tripwire offer.

A tripwire is a low-priced but value-filled offer that you can make to those who have recently become leads and aren’t quite ready for a full offer.

The creator of this technique, Ryan Deiss, suggests the offer should be very low, and somewhere within $1-$20. Depending on your business, however, that number may change – just ensure it’s the lowest price-point you have.

The goal of the Tripwire is to fundamentally change the relationship from prospect to customer. The conversion of a prospect to a customer, even for $1, is magical. The key is to make a Tripwire Offer that your leads are unable to resist. – Ryan Deiss

Those who take you up on this low price offer are typically more likely to convert than those who have not, which means you can easily create another retargeting campaign for tripwire purchasers and move them into the customer stage.

Email Retargeting Best Practice #4 – Personalize Your Content

One of the biggest mistakes most marketers make is not personalizing their content – and this affects all your top email metrics like open and click-through rates and how effective your emails are.

It can also mean the difference between growing your email list or watching your number of unsubscribes reach gargantuan numbers. For this reason, we’ve decided to make it a special mention on our email retargeting best practices list.

Take this example:

Let’s say you run an eCommerce store for surfboards and other surfing accessories. Chances are at any time you’ll have a range of people visiting your blog – from those who have never surfed a day in their lives to seasoned pros.

If I’m an amateur surfer just looking to get into the hobby, chances are I won’t be going for high-end boards and wax off the bat. This means that the emails, language, and products offered to me should be entirely different than those who are intermediate or professionals.

Failure to differentiate things like this may leave the amateurs feeling like you cannot cater to them, or professionals thinking your range of offerings is too simple for their needs. this is why we have selected this topic for our email retargeting best practices list.

One way to find out this critical information is to include it in your signup form or send a followup email to categorize your prospects into buckets that make sense for your business.

Source: ReallyGoodEmails.com

With this information, Bespoke Post can know exactly what that prospect is interested in, and curate content and pitches specifically for them.

This method of segmenting and nurturing has been shown to increase ROI – a recent study confirmed that nearly 80% of marketers who had exceeded their revenue goals had a documented process for email personalization.

Another great email retargeting best practice is to showcase how your customer is interacting with your product with progress updates. Take the below example from FitBit:

Source: ReallyGoodEmails.com

By sending personalized usage updates, FitBit continually motivates the user to keep logging their exercises and interacting with the product. This sort of format can be personalized for just about any SaaS business or educational platform as well!

Email Retargeting Best Practice #5 – Engage Inactive Contacts

Inactivity and churn are two huge pain points for every SaaS marketer, which is why engagement campaigns are a must-have for startups and seasoned veterans alike.

Another email retargeting best practice comes to us in the form of re-engagement campaigns – or campaigns that are focused on enticing your prospect to dive back into your product or service.

One quick and simple form of re=engagement comes from our pals at Grammarly:

Source: ReallyGoodEmails.com

With this email, Grammarly gives the prospect a heads up that they haven’t been using the product in the past week and invites them to continue using it. At the bottom, Grammarly also lists several additional features that the prospect can use to full onboard themselves with the product.

Netflix also follows the same suit, with their own specific twist:

Source: ReallyGoodEmails.com

In this example, Netflix mentions the show you’ve recently completed and lists other shows (based on your noted preferences) that you may be interested in too.

While both of these example emails are useful, one important takeaway here is that you need your content to be irresistible to your contact. If they have not been utilizing your product (and are at risk for churn or unsubscribing) this could be the last email they ever open from you – so make it a good one.

In this article, we’ve listed 5 of our top email remarketing best practices and given you some fantastic examples from marketers all across the globe. Do you use another email retargeting tactic not mentioned here, or want to share one from a company you love? Do so in the comments below!

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