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How To Use Email Re-targeting to Lower Cart Abandonment

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How To Use Email Re-targeting to Lower Cart Abandonment

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When you’re an online retailer it’s the numbers that really count. Studies show that 92 percent of those visiting your site for the first time, for example, aren’t going to make a purchase. They want to know what the site is like, they want to get an idea of your business, they want to see your products. They don’t want to buy. That’s something they’ll do on their second visit, once they’ve done enough research to know it’s you they want to buy from.


The ultimate goal for online retailers in that case is to ensure that those first time visitors come back when they’re ready to buy. This can be difficult – after all, with so many sites out there, how can you remind people that it’s yours they came to and yours they should be buying from? You can’t contact them directly to tell them about it (unless they happen to have entered their contact details, and even then only if they agreed to hear from you), but you can use email retargeting to help.


The Rule Of Seven

The rule of seven is an idea that dates back almost one hundred years, but it is as relevant today as it has even been. It states that a customer needs to hear from you seven times before they will commit to making a purchase. The problem is, although this idea does work – the more someone sees your message and brand, the more they will remember you and trust you – it is becoming more and more difficult to actually be hard above the clamour of the internet. It is a busy place, and the last thing you want it to get lost in all the noise.


What Is Email Retargeting?

In order to retarget a customer you need to get them to see your name over and over again after they have left your site. This could be through ads on other pages, on social media networks, even in their email inbox (this is called newsletter or email retargeting).


To retarget a customer you need to place a line of code on your site. You’ll have visited sites before yourself and been asked to accept the cookies there; it is these cookies that capture the information needed to then show your customer the ads you want them to see after they are no longer browsing your website. The cookies tag the user and essentially follow them from place to place around the internet – this is why you will see ads for whatever it is you just searched for long after you have stopped looking.


Email retargeting is very similar. The code is not on your website (or rather, not only on your website), but is in an email that you send to the potential customer assuming they have signed up for a newsletter. When the code is activated, they will start seeing ads for your brand or products across the internet. You can even arrange for the ads only to be shown to your target demographic, or only within specific situations, and this will cost you less as your marketing will be more effective and relevant.


The key to making this form of marketing successful is to repeat it time and again – at least seven times, as mentioned above. One email might remind them to complete their order, but it probably won’t, especially as we’re all so busy. It’s the kind of thing that will stay in someone’s mind for a brief while, and then the tasks of the day will override it and they’ll forget again.


Sending more than one retargeting email will ensure your business is kept at the forefront of their minds without going overboard and bombarding them at every turn (which is more of a turn off than anything else and will simply encourage them to unsubscribe from your newsletter rather than go back and buy from you).


The great thing about email retargeting is that it has a good rate of return on any investment you might put in. When you time it well and have the relevant content included, you can turn unsure potential customers into those who will come back to you for more after their initial purchase. Having consistent, loyal customers is gold when it comes to ecommerce (or any business), so if you can use your email marketing to reach that point, you’ll be getting an exceptional return.


Types Of Email Retargeting

There are a number of circumstances when retargeting customers is a good idea. You might target someone who has never bought from you, for example, or perhaps someone who has bought but only done it once. They might have been browsing a particular product and you want them to buy it. So here are some ways it can be done.


Product Retargeting  

This is the type of retargeting you are most likely to see in day to day life. If you want a customer to buy a particular product then it is this product that they should be seeing across the internet. You could have a new release, be having a sale, or maybe the product is something that, from their purchase history, you know they would be interested in. Whatever the reason, product retargeting means they will see it and see that they can buy it from you.


Mailchimp offers an easy way to start product retargeting. It has a retargeting tool that you can use to promote your products and business. Using this, you can track your customers through your newsletter, seeing what products they click on and select. If they go to your site and click on a product but don’t order it, you can set up the system so that they get an automated email reminding and encouraging them to finish their purchase.


There are some choices to be made here. The timing is all-important. Should the follow up email be sent quickly, within an hour, for example? Or should it take more time and be sent within a week or so? This will need careful consideration. Too soon and it won’t have an impact because the customer hasn’t forgotten you and won’t have had time to think. Too late and they might have bought elsewhere.


Abandoned Cart Retargeting

It happens all the time; customers see a product they are interested in and add it to their cart or basket. Then they leave the site, abandoning the cart and the products they were about to buy. It often happens once shipping costs are added; customers who were interested are no longer so keen once they see how much it will cost to actually receive the item. Or they might have been distracted, perhaps it’s time to leave work or the house, perhaps they simply wanted to get an idea of costs.


According to an analysis of 40 websites, the Baymard Institute estimates that cart abandonment happens in 70 percent of cases – almost three quarters of shoppers fail to complete their purchases.


Any online retailer is going to want to reduce cart abandonment as much as possible. You might want to introduce guest checkout so people don’t have to sign up and log in before they can buy. You could have free shipping. You could make sure your security credentials are on show (another reason for cart abandonment is people being uneasy about filling in their credit card details). However, amidst all of this, you should also send out retargeting emails.


When someone was so close to spending their money with you and buying what they wanted, a little nudge can be all it takes, and an email reminding them that they almost had their item could be enough. Within this email you can even offer them some incentives such as free shipping, or a discount on future purchases. Do what it takes to get them to come back.


Inactive Visitor Retargeting

It’s hugely important to attract new visitors to your site – it’s how your business will grow. But you must not lose site of the fact that you also have customers who have already bought from you, and getting them to come back and buy again is much simpler and cheaper than trying to find brand new customers.


In fact, it costs five times more to attract new customers than it does to bring back old ones.


Using retargeting emails to get back in touch with customers who haven’t visited your site in a little while will help you to re-engage with them. You can remind them of why they liked buying from you in the first place, and let them know about any special offers or new products they might be interested in.


When you do this you’ll find there are far fewer objections to deal with than when you contact a new customer. The old customer will already have an understanding of your shipping costs, how long delivery takes, how secure transactions are, and so on. So they are much more likely to come back, they just need a little reminder of what you do and why they want to buy from you. You might even want to offer a free gift or discount at this point – seal the deal.


Upsell Retargeting

If a customer has recently made a purchase from you that doesn’t mean you can’t use email retargeting with them. You can use it to upsell, an in many ways this is even easier than targeting a previous customer who has bought some time ago. The experience they had with you will be fresh in their minds and, assuming they were happy with their purchase, they will be willing to buy from you again. If your email can show them some products that would compliment what they already bought from you, then they will be even more likely to purchase those products.


The Best Email Retargeting Practices

When you set about creating an email retargeting campaign you want it to give you the most return for your time and money. Following the best practices to ensure this happens is crucial, otherwise your budget will be wasted.


Always Collect Data

The basis of your email retargeting campaign is your newsletter subscriber list. In order to send as many emails as possible, you need as many contact details as possible, so it’s important to try to collect this information at every opportunity. One way to do this is to create pop ups that offer discounts for first time purchasers – in order to get the discount, they simply need to enter their email address. You should also always make the email address the first piece of information that is required during the checkout process.


It’s also important to check your email list regularly and remove any addresses that regularly bounce back or that are inputted incorrectly (whether by accident or in purpose). There is no point in sending out emails to those addresses, and it’s just wasting your budget to do so.


Write Great Emails

You’ll know yourself just how many retargeting or newsletter emails come through on a daily basis. It’s a lot. In order for your email to be noticed, it needs to have a compelling subject line – you want your potential customer to read on. It’s not going to help your cause if you gather all the information together and send emails out if no one ever reads them.


As well as the subject line, the content of your emails needs to be good. It should be entertaining and informative, and it should be of use to the person reading it. Sending out emails with no reason behind them is always going to earn you a large number of unsubscribers, and once they’re gone, they’re gone.


Move Quickly

When you have an abandoned cart you need to move quickly. You don’t want a competitor to steal your customer away, especially when they were so close to buying from you. Ideally, an email targeting those who have abandoned their carts should happen within an hour of them doing so to capture as many as possible.


Leaving it too long will mean they will either have decided against buying whatever it was altogether, or they will have bought it elsewhere already. Either way, your email won’t be any use, and probably won’t even be read (so your special offers or discounts won’t be noticed either).


Remember Your Call To Action

The best retargeting emails will always include a call to action at the end. The CTA should be clear and concise, and direct the customer to exactly what their next step should be – don’t leave any room for confusion.


Use Images

It’s far better to send emails that rely on images more than they rely on text. Time is tight for everyone, and if they can quickly scan through an email and see what it is about without having to read reams of text, then all the better; they are far more likely to engage. Don’t forget to include the alt-text description to each image too as even if they are taking a while to download, people will still get the idea of what they are.


This also helps with the CTA. If the rest of your email is image based then you won’t want to disrupt the flow with long lines of text at the end – keep it short and simple and it will be much better received.


Have An End Point

Email retargeting is great, and the rule of seven is important to remember, but don’t keep going when you should be finishing. It is truly frustrating for a customer to have made a purchase and then keep seeing adverts about the product they just bought. It won’t make them buy again, and will possibly put them off using you in the future.


When you are setting up your email retargeting campaign make sure you exclude customers who have already bought within a recent timeframe. This will stop them from becoming frustrated, and it will save you money. Of course, you can always keep them on the list if you want to try cross-selling or upselling; that’s a different thing altogether.



Email retargeting is something that online retailers can use to great effect and it is a powerful tool that can bring them much more business. 

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