If you have a great product, customers will probably want to buy from you again. But that doesn’t mean they’ll always remember to. People are busy; no matter how much they love you, sometimes it’s just hard to keep in touch, you know? Which is why email remarketing campaigns are great ideas for those who have purchased (or almost purchased) from you in the past!
What’s an email remarketing campaign, you ask? Pretty much what it sounds like … you send an email marketing campaign to a lead or customer in your database that encourages them to purchase from you again. And ecommerce businesses that don’t leverage remarketing campaigns are missing a huge revenue opportunity — according to Practical eCommerce, only 5% of new customers that make a purchase with a company return to the site, and only 3% make a second purchase. Them’s not good odds.
But they can get better when you leverage email remarketing campaigns. Practical eCommerce also found that customers who have recently made a purchase on your site are more than twice as likely to return to your site and complete a purchase when they receive remarketing emails. Now those are numbers I can get behind.
So to get you started with email remarketing, we’ve gathered some creative ideas for you to consider for your own email remarketing campaigns, all from real brands that are excelling with their own programs. Take a look, and get some inspiration so you can generate more revenue out of a contact database that already loves you!
1) Abandoned Shopping Cart
We’ll start with the most common email campaign used to recall customers to your website — the abandoned shopping cart email. Take a look at how HubSpot customer Shar Music gets in touch with customers who have almost completed a purchase on their website, but abandon their shopping cart at the last minute.
This is just one in a series of three emails that Shar Music sends to an abandoned shopping cart customer to encourage them to return to the site and complete their purchase. A key takeaway of this abandoned shopping cart email is how easy they’ve made it for the recipient to understand the purpose of the email, and to act on it. The design isn’t fancy; it doesn’t need to be. It simply asks, “Can we help you with anything?” in bold letters that stand out from the rest of the email, and provides a large call-to-action button at the end that makes it easy for the recipient to return to their shopping cart and complete their purchase.
If abandoned shopping cart emails aren’t part of your email remarketing strategy yet, they’re some seriously low-hanging fruit; just make sure to follow up with an abandoned shopping cart customer quickly. An MIT study via SeeWhy showed that 90% of ecommerce leads go cold within one hour, but when remarketed to, spend 55% more!
2) Wishlist Sale
Always a fantastic email remarketer (their campaigns will appear in this post a few times), ModCloth has leveraged its “Wishlist” feature to remarket to their customers. You know the wishlist — many ecommerce sites let you bookmark items that you really like, but perhaps aren’t ready to purchase. It’s common for customers to do this when they’re researching options from multiple businesses, or when they see something they would like to get, but certainly don’t need. Until they get this remarketing email, of course:
When customers are comparison shopping or unwilling to complete the purchase of something they like, price is often a factor. This remarketing campaign is genius because it addresses that purchase blocker by alerting me that something I wish I could have is now on sale. If I wasn’t willing to buy it for its original price, maybe I’d be interested to “Grab It Now” for the sale price. Brilliant!
3) Last Chance to Purchase
Just like ModCloth lets you know when something on your wishlist is on sale, they have a remarketing campaign that alerts you when something on your wishlist is almost out of stock. Sometimes a sale can be enough to incite a customer to purchase; but maybe the urgency of an item selling out is enough for those items that are so popular you don’t even need to put them on sale!
Emails like these are not only great because they encourage a purchase, but they also do so in a way that actually comes off as customer service. You’re doing your customers a favor in this email — getting in touch with them to let them know something they like won’t be available soon. Personal service, meet 2012 ecommerce — we think you two might have a lot in common.
4) Repetitive Behavior
Target people’s past buying behaviors to get in touch with them right at (or ideally, a little bit before) the moment they’ll need to make a purchase. This is a great email remarketing technique for businesses that deal with monthly, quarterly, or yearly purchases — like an online contact lens retailer, for example. Since they know when you last bought contacts, in what amount, and how long that amount will last, they can perfectly time an email remarketing campaign to hit at your time of need.
But there are a few other creative applications for this type of remarketing campaign, too. Just take a look at how 1-800-Flowers targets holidays for which their products are a great fit in their 2012 Mother’s Day campaign. Even though I didn’t buy flowers from them at Mother’s Day last year (calm down, I used another vendor — I’m not an animal!), I’ve purchased with them for other holidays. So it’s smart of them to recognize Mother’s Day as an opportunity for me to buy flowers from them instead of another competitor, since they know I’m likely to buy flowers from them for other holidays.
You can also do a mash-up of the two concepts we just discussed, like Pottery Barn did below. They took a more subjective look at customer buying behavior, and matched it up with the time of year to come up with this remarketing campaign. Since I purchased items from their outdoor collection last spring, I might be interested in doing so again this year.
5) Add-On and Related Item Suggestions
You know when you go to Amazon.com and they have a whole list of items they think you might like based on the product page you’re viewing? Some of them are add-on items (products that would make the one you’re looking at function better); and some are related items (products that other shoppers who purchased an item tend to like).
You might not have an algorithm running like Amazon does to tell you these things (or maybe you do!) but you can still take your product knowledge and apply it to an email remarketing campaign that recommends buyers purchase add-on and related items. Take a look at how Buy.com did it below.
(Tip: If you do have an algorithm running, you can use your purchase confirmation email — an email that typically has a very high open rate — as an opportunity to include these recommendations.)
6) All Your Friends Love It!
We’ve already talked about the importance of social proof and user-generated content in your marketing; why not include it in your next email remarketing campaign? Send an email like ModCloth’s below (I told you they’d make multiple appearances today) that shows what others are saying about products you might like based on your past purchase history. These testimonials come from the product review section of their website, but you could also pull from customers’ tweets and Facebook status updates that praise your product — I’ve received an email from these folks that does just that in the past, too!
7) Back in Stock
Finally, consider sending an email alert for the products your customers wanted, but couldn’t quite get their hands on, like you see below. There are two ways to approach this particular email remarketing campaign, both of which hinge on the fact that you keep out-of-stock products on your website.
The first is to add a module to your website for products that are out of stock that lets customers put in their email address, and ask to be alerted when a product’s inventory is restocked. The other method, which can be combined with the previous one, is to alert customers who had an item on their wishlist but didn’t complete the purchase before an item sold out. In this instance, you know a customer loved an item, but just didn’t get to checkout in time; a remarketing campaign that let them know their much-coveted item is available would be another great way to deliver some seriously personal service!
Share your creative ideas for email remarketing campaigns in the comments!
Image credit: gordontarpley