Making Email Retargeting Your Next Marketing Strategy

Want to know what email retargeting is but don't know where to start? If you have interested customers who aren't engaging anymore, we can help!

Kate Neuer
June 09, 2022

The point of a good marketing strategy is to not only get your business and brand recognized by the masses but to convert those interested in what you have to offer into customers. Making email campaigns is good and all, but if you want to actually build a list of contacts that can be converted, you may want to retarget that email campaign. 

Many people don't realize how much of email marketing is email retargeting. The first and most difficult step in any email marketing strategy is the first funnel of sales, which is getting users familiar with your brand. Maybe they haven't opened an email from your company because they haven't signed up.... yet. But maybe they've seen a friend's email, or a friend may have forwarded them the email of your email marketing message. These are also referred to as email remarketing campaigns. 

The key to this funnel is making sure those specific users who are familiar with your products and advertising aren't part of this funnel. We'll cover situations where you will need to consider your email retargeting strategy and how to approach and manage this crucial step in gaining more leads.


Table of Contents

What Is Email Retargeting?

Email retargeting allows you to engage customers who have visited your website with a smart email campaign. Email retargeting help businesses reach those customers and leads who are hard to reach, including:

  • Current regular customers
  • Inactive customers
  • Subscribers who have yet to purchase from your website
  • And people who have only visited your website (but who haven't signed up to receive email advertising)

Another important note to take about email retargeting is that it's a strategy to send emails to visitors based on their activity and shown interests. 

Retargeting Customers

The main purpose of retargeting emails is to engage those customers again who have left products in their cart or visited the website and signed up for either discounts, alerts, or etc. But how do you track the activity of these customers? And how do you create emails to target their needs? First, you need to learn how to read your customer or lead, learn what email marketing messages they respond to, then target exactly what they need in an email campaign (which may or may not be more than one email).

Examples of Email Retargeting Campaigns

Yes, these example are taken from our team who either have signed up to be one of many subscribers of these businesses or have been a paying customer in the past. Let's take a look of some emails a colleague receieved from an online retail business she had subscribed to.

The below example clearly puts the item from the cart she abondoned in the forefront of this email. In fact, there is not much more other than a clear call-to-action button that quickly takes her back to her cart with the item she thought about buying still in the cart. 

Also note the messaging: "Don't let your favorite items get away", which eludes (vaguely) that the item in her cart won't stay in her cart (so it won't be saved for her for long). In fact, some retailers do not keep an item one's cart for more than a month or so. This messaging also could be hinting at the fact that she should buy this product as soon as possible because it could be selling out. Whatever the reason, there is a clear urgency to this message that makes the shopper want to at least view the item one more time before it's gone.



Notice how this next email not only puts on a display a great image (with price included) of the item this shopper had in her cart, but it also showcases other items she could be interested in based on what products she had viewed before. This is part of great advertising and site tracking.




How Does Email Retargeting Work?

There are two ways a business can go about planning their specific retargeting strategy, whether it's through email automation, ads, or good old onsite retargeting. Every business benefits from taking advantage 

Triggered Emails

When a browser cookies records a person's recent website activity after a certain amount of time passes, you can send potential customers retargeted, trigger-based emails. Such emails are commonly about an abandoned cart if someone, for example, left products in their cart on your site.

Retargeting Ads 

Tracking browser cookies and behavior activity of a visitor, such as viewing womens' dresses vs mens' suits on your site, allows you to re-identify people who visit your site. You can then, automatically use advertising of dresses, for example, on Facebook and Google.  

Ultimately, every business, no matter which email software they are using, can make the best strategy choice by practicing sending both triggered emails and placing retargeted ads. 

Steps to Putting Retargeting into Your Email Marketing Strategy

When you use email retargeting, you can follow up with people based on what they want to see. Even better – because you know your business, you know the next step they need to take. That means you can nudge people towards the right web page, or purchase, or content download.

Follow these 3 steps to get the best results from your email retargeting strategy:

  1. Gather customer info - What do you need from people in order to plan out successful remarketing?
  2. Create audience segments - How will you use this customer info to make retargeting work?
  3. Create your email retargeting campaigns - ads, emails, and actionable CTAs are all key elements, but what else do you need?

Customer Information

If you’re email retargeting, you already have one very important piece of info – their email address! This is the key first step – once you have an email address, you can see what your contacts are doing (on your website or in response to your emails).

What kind of information can you see once you have an email address?

  • Number of past purchases
  • How much someone has spent per purchase
  • Total amount spent
  • Frequency of purchases
  • The types of emails they previously opened
  • Which emails they’ve clicked on
  • How recently they’ve interacted with one of your emails
  • Which pages of your website they’ve visited and viewed for more than a few seconds

You can get info about all of these from your ESP, especially if you use tools like site tracking. Note that you may need a site tracking plugin to get the full benefits of email retargeting. However, this is still just one part of email retargeting and your email messaging to leads and past customers shouldn't have to suffer because you don't have this tool (which you can get for WordPress). Let's continue with the other items you'll need to start planning campaigns for email retargeting.

Audience Segments

Audience segmentation helps you speak to people the way they want to be spoken to. Ultimately, if you have a good marketing automation platform, you can segment based on almost anything – and automatically send retargeted emails.

Why is this important for email retargeting? Because email retargeting is another chance to get customers back – people will not respond well to a second abandoned cart email after they already finished the purchase with the first one.

To send retargeted emails, you can create audience segments with tags, custom fields, and site tracking – and enter contacts into email automations where the right emails get sent to them. And at the right time. You should be able to schedule these automations to go out immediately or one day after a certain action or 'trigger' has occurred. TruVISIBILITY's Messaging app has the ability to do all of this, including adding a custom field in order to create the automations.


What segments are usually helpful to most businesses? These are just a few examples that retailers find helpful when targeting specific shoppers:

  • 20-30 year old women who haven’t bought in 30 days and have shown an interest in X product
  • Men who have looked at a specific product page at least twice but haven’t bought
  • Any person who has opened emails but hasn’t clicked through to your site
  • People who haven’t even opened your emails in X number of weeks
  • People who have added x product to their cart in the last 7 days

Remember that being specific with your segmenting or grouping 'rules' will help you understand what email retargeting messages are needed, such as mentioning an abandoned cart or putting on display products or content that caught a visitor's eye.

Create Email Retargeting Campaigns

We'll go over more details on how to create retargeting emails and how they are different from regular email marketing, but what are the main things you need in this type of email?

  • Emails: It's mail retargeting, so naturally, you’re going to need some emails, like abandoned cart or content emails.
  • Content: A useful piece of content has to do more than make someone go, “huh, that’s cool.” It needs to solve a problem or introduce a new idea in a way that makes them curious enough to click through to your site.
  • Ads: If you send a retargeted email, a customer clicks through and they still don’t buy again, try the long route. Extend your retargeting strategy to tailored ads on Facebook and Google based on the email they click through with and the web pages they visit. 

Some of these elements, such as ads, may not be directly be part of your email retargeting strategy, but an email is just one part of this type of marketing. Ads play a huge role in marketing, so they shouldn't be discounted simply because you want to focus on email marketing. They aid each other in bringing customers and leads back into your circle.

The best thing you can do when creating an email for retargeting purposes is put yourself in the subscriber's shoes. If you know why someone won't complete a sale, you can better address the issue and possibly alleviate it by offering deals, free shipping, etc. In fact, the top five reasons that customers abandon a shopping cart are:

  • The shipping costs are too high
  • They are not ready to buy
  • They want to compare prices
  • The product price is too high
  • They save a product for later and then forget (whether in their cart or favorited lists of items)

How to Create Retargeting Emails vs a Regular Email

To make email retargeting work successfully, you must first realize that an email retargeting campaign is different from regular an email marketing strategy to advertise holiday deals, for example. These emails not only will have a different design or template, but they will have a different message and be set up for your customers differently in your email software.

Set Up - Whatever the content of the email retargeting shall contain, the subscriber is likely a customer who left something in their cart or viewed items on your website. Make sure you have an autoresponder set up for all contacts, especially for those people who were active with your business years ago but are no longer active. Set up this email address in a class of its own that is connected to your website's activity.

With the right platform, much like our all-in-one platform, you can connect activity on your site with the engagement of subscribers or a customer. After a few days of leaving an item in their cart, you can automatically send this customer an email with the images of the product and CTA button to take them back to their cart.

Design - The design of your email should, very likely, surround the importance of the items left in the cart of a customer. Generally, as seen in the examples earlier, the images of the items left in an abandoned cart should be the first segment in the email. Follow this with a call-to-action button to take them to check out from your site. You can also have another button that takes a customer to shop for similar items. Follow this segment with ads, if you like, of images of items the customer may be interested in. You can also show ads with a display of popular content or items your business has for shoppers.

Advertising lists of similar items and popular products can make or break a sale because it is sometimes likely that a visitor is no longer interested in their abandoned cart, but they are open to buy something else. Also play with the idea of offering deals or a percentage off any products for any visitor who does come back. This is usually a separate campaign, but it can be useful in email retargeting.

How to Plan Email Remarketing Campaigns

Keep in mind that email retargeting works by pixel retargeting and email service provider.

Pixel retargeting - This email marketing strategy uses remarketing software and unnoticeable codes (AKA the actual retargeting pixel) on your website or in the HTML templates of your emails. It places a cookie on a user’s browser, which lets you track their online behavior.

The info from the cookie will let you know when to put up ads or send targeted emails to different web visitors.

Email addresses in your ESP  - These are your email list subscribers. If someone already has a history with you, you can use your segmented email lists in your ESP platform to identify where people are in the customer journey and what retargeted emails to send them.

When a visitor comes to your website, navigates various pages and searches your products without ultimately taking any action, it feels like a loss when it doesn't need to be. A specific ad can make all the difference between connecting and reminding your visitor of the products and deals you can offer. So follow this setup for inspiration in your email retargeting:

  • Decide if you'll put an ad for a specific offer for retargeting contacts
  • Segment your contacts into groups that belong to a specific campaign. For example, if a subscriber put something in their cart and abandoned it immediately, then these addresses should be in one category versus those who have visited the site and not put anything in their cart.

Lastly, decide if your audience is the type to respond to two email reminders of something in their cart or if one is enough. Maybe three reminders or similar emails to bring a customer back is a decide amount that won't send your emails into their spam folder. Some of this will require testing and takes time, but with solid email messaging, you are less likely to need to send many emails to bring back your customer or lead.

What's Next on Email Marketing?

Over the years, the approach to planning campaigns have changed slightly. And when you send retargeting emails, know that your business is part of the more modern way of targeting those subscribers who were once lost or inactive. Your business email is so powerful when it comes to email marketing campaigns, so why not use email retargeting to get those contacts you collected back in action? You can even gain new, loyal customers! 

If you found this article helpful and want to see how our platform can help when creating email marketing, especially when creating an email retargeting campaign, check it out for free by clicking the button below!