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How To Create A Badass Retargeting Email That Clocks Sales

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How To Create A Badass Retargeting Email That Clocks Sales

Users have been abandoning carts since forever and it is nothing short of a nightmare. But with an effective solution, you can convert them into sales. Know how you can breathe life into your retargeting campaigns and delight customers with emails. Get inspired, and grease those squeaky wheels to go the extra mile and increase sales.


Robert Bruce, the king of Scotland, had fought many battles during his tenure and won gloriously. But before he led Scotland to freedom, there came a time when he was at his lowest point. The King of England was at war with him, who had a powerful army that would wreck the empire. Bruce with this valorous army fought them 6 times, but in the end, a lot of men were down and most of them badly bruised. His army got scattered and he himself was forced to hide in a cave. He was devastated and gave up all hope.

While in the cave he had taken refuge in, he spotted a spider who was trying to weave a web. The spider tried to connect the web from one part of the cave’s roof to another. He observed that the spider kept falling, not once, not twice, but several times. Just when he was going to compare the spider’s fate to his, the spider successfully builds a connection to the web. At that exact moment, he experienced an epiphany; never to give up before he gave his best shot. He was inspired and he returned to his empire, fought back and won the battle.

Even in the e-commerce realm, most marketers tend to give up before they try multiple ways and different approaches to bring back users to convert. And most just wait for users to abandon cart to start retargeting! You can’t conclude that the users are not interested and lose all hope, without giving your best shot. And this is where retargeting comes into the picture.

You can’t stop users from abandoning product pages or carts. But you can strategize to bring them back to your store and convert them into customers. Retargeting is like a game of Yo-Yo. Once the users leave, you can bring them back if you have a good retargeting strategy in place. Right now you might be bending backward to retarget users and make sales. But you need to remember, the game does not end when users add to cart. It just begins.

SalesCycle analyzed 100 global retailers and found these stats-  

Conversion funnel stats

Just look at the lost potential! What if you could make the most of the 100% of users that come to your site? While there are different ways uses could be retargeted, the efficacy of the channels also depends on your business, the product you sell and your target audience. You need to figure out what channel works for you the best.

While there are a lot of channels, email marketing has been widely used from the time we can remember. And the fact that most of the people check their inbox on a daily basis, give you a perfect opportunity to grab the attention and bring them back to your store to make a purchase.

Email marketing is dead

Says who? Literally everyone.

Yet 69% of businesses spend money on email marketing. Boom. That’s what I am talking about. 46% of brands are increasing their overall email marketing budget in 2019. We got in touch with different businesses to know how email fares for them. JClub was one of the stores that we got in touch.

JClub, which is an online shopping destination sells products on unique deals and discounted prices. We reached out to Irrum, who has extensive experience in digital marketing and sales. She is currently the VP of e-commerce in JClub. Here is what she had to say about retargeting with email-

email retargeting-Irrum-testimonial

The art of building an audience to retarget

To retarget effectively, you need to start from the basics. You need to put your best foot forward at the beginning itself, to start building a connection.

Imagine you enter a grocery store and a person with a yellow cap, notepad in one hand a pen in another walks towards you. He draws a blue form and is now waving it at you. You are not one bit interested. You just entered the store for God’s sake! You want to shut him down, but he keeps yapping and you have no context whatsoever. You say you are not interested and walk past. After a while, near the London Dairy ice cream aisle, you spot another guy dressed the same as the guy who was behind your life. Now even if the guy had to tell you something of value, you run. Real fast. In the opposite direction. Because it stinks of spam.

There are two things here,

  • You have no context
  • The timing was absolutely wrong

You might have actually been interested the second time because you had gone through the store and the person was, after all, going to talk to you about how they can monthly deliver the items you buy regularly once you subscribe. Hmm so much for running away. But again that's the thing with sharing personal information right, you don't want it to land in the wrong hands.

Giving an email address is a commitment

Giving out your email address is as good as opening the doors to your personal life. If used unwisely, it would end up being misused and you being spammed to death.

Like the above example, even for an online retail store, building an audience can be tricky, especially when it comes to asking users for their personal information. Here is where web push notifications act as a fast lane. But with context and the right timing, it is possible to lure the users out of their shell.

Kevin is a Data-savvy professional with 13+ years of management and digital marketing experience. He has previously worked in Thomson Reuters as a Data Analytics manager and currently works as an Analytics Consultant in Well Fargo.

email retargeting-Kevin-testimonial

Show them the value

No one wants to know if you have a weekly newsletter. Tell them what is in it for them. Will they get exclusive deals? Do they get early access when a sale starts?

email subscription signup prompt

Or even better, reach out to them when the product on the page they are on, is sold out. Tell them you would inform them as soon as the product is back.  

Here is an example you can look at-

email back in stock subscription signup prompt

The trick here is to think beyond providing context. The copy needs to be catchy; it should make the user want to give out their email address without a second thought. Here is what I saw in one of the websites I visited. There is no supporting text that tells me what Amaroso VIP means.

bad example of email subscription signup prompt

Now compare this with the rest of the subscription requests below.

Incentivize the users to subscribe

Everyone likes discounts. You could give a discount for first-time users by subscribing to your emails. With this, you get their email address, bag a sale and also gives you an opportunity to retarget them with related products.


good example of email subscription signup prompt

Look at the way they have played around with the CTAs! The second CTA reads- No thanks, I want to pay full price. Makes you think twice before you make a choice.

While subscription requests like these work well, chances are that users are here just for that discount. They might not visit your store after that. To make sure that the users are here for good, some stores give discounts for the second purchase. If the user is really interested they will make a repeat purchase. This gives you an opportunity to retarget the users by reminding them that have an offer waiting for them.

email subscription signup prompt with discount

There have also been instances where stores offer free shipping for subscribing to their mail list. While some provide offers like make a minimum of XY$ to avail X percent off.


Transparency in subscriptions

No one wants to be on the blind side. Tell them exactly what to expect when they subscribe to your emails. You don’t want them to be frustrated with emails they don’t have any context about whatsoever.

With GDPR, the regulations have tightened, but that does not have to be a bad thing. You need to realize that the more transparent you are, the lesser are the chances of them unsubscribing.

What makes a retargeting email awesome?

Write a catchy subject line

Once you have their email address, the next quest is to make sure that they open your email. In the pile of emails they receive every day, why would users open the mail that YOU sent?

Captivating subject lines get higher open rates. Remember the time when you had no intention of buying a product, but because the subject line caught your eye and the offer inside was so irresistible that the next thing you know you have got a purchase confirmation message. Been there, done that.

If the users don't go beyond the subject line, the efforts you put into writing the body of the email go waste. No one knows you worked on a video that is part of the email body, no one knows the offers you are giving out. There are two stages of writing a subject line-

Stage 1 - Think of an interesting subject line

Stage 2 - Add a layer of personalization to itself

Here is what you need to keep in mind when you brainstorm for subject lines.

Surprise them with a discount

  • Watch outfitters: Want to make a deal?
  • Bottle Cutting Inc: 10% off to finish your bottle cutting order
  • Party rock clothing: How about a discount?
  • Dollar Shave Club: “We want to give you money.”

Make the users curious

  • All Birds: Leap Into Comfort, Your Shoes Are Waiting
  • LOFT: “Just wait till you see these skirts”
  • Dollar Shave Club: “What to Do When You’re the Sweaty, Smelly Guy at the Gym”
  • J.Crew: “Your summer outfit dilemmas SOLVED”
  • Dollar Shave Club: “Hey, did you forget to open this?”
  • The Bouqs Company: “Can You Believe It’s Been a Month?”
  • Wish: “Whoa… These are the most wanted handbags this year.”

Evoke emotions through emojis

  • These are things: ✨NEW PATCHES✨ ARE HERE! 😮
  • Ula.io: 💧 You've left something behind: a 40% discount... 💦

Instill urgency

  • Flatspot: Take 5% off!! Last chance to complete your purchase
  • Flatspot: While Stocks Last!! We Saved Your Basket For You
  • Hickies: Last Chance To Get Pale Pink!

Instill FOMO

  • Helm Boots: Don’t be the guy that missed out
  • Watch Outfitters: You forgot how much you want to but this!
  • Stoveaway Cosmetics: Live with no regrets! Step 1 open this email. Step 2?!?!
  • Bombas: Don’t leave your socks behind!
  • Poshmark: “Your discounts EXPIRE SOON.”

Encourage engagement

  • Best Made Company: Questions about the gear?

Social Proof

  • Patagonia: “Top reviewed styles from customers like you”
  • Sephora: “The people have spoken: these are their faves”

You can also personalize the subject line by adding their name. The subject lines are always highlighted, and seeing their name in it increases the chances of them clicking on it. Here is an example of what Kharakapas sent-

personalized email subject line example for email retargeting

Body of the email needs to be impressive

This is where all the meaty stuff goes in. Show them what you have to offer, tell them how awesome your store/products are and evoke an emotion. It is your chance, a canvas for you to fill with the best possible things, to lure users into buying. Here is a checklist you need to follow to make your retargeting emails a sales magnet-

Step 1 - Add your brand logo

The logo helps build brand recall. Show the users that it is a mail from ‘your’ brand. This might feel insignificant, but it’s an important element in the email.

email retargeting brand logo

Step 2 - Make it personal

This is adopted by most of the brands these days. Just by adding the name, adds a sense of personal touch to it. Below is a screenshot of mail sent by AllBirds. Also, take a look at the description. Now, that’s some good copy. Which brings us to the 3rd step.

name personalization in email retargeting

Cindy Chavez, Content Manager at Mailify shared her thoughts segmenting and personalizing the emails-


Step 3 - Tell them about the product

Now, this is something, not everyone makes use of, and can be skipped. Add a description if you think it provides value to the users, like if there is a discount that you are giving. You could instill urgency in this part as well, or if you have a copywriter, who creates magic with words, leverage this bit of space.

email description example for email retargeting

Step 4 - A treat for the eyes - Add Visuals

  • Static Image

You need to decide, should you go with a theme or keep it plain and simple. If you decide on a theme, make them stand out. Adding images help users relate better and evoke an emotion. Here is what Watch Outfitters sent in one of their retargeting emails-

static image in email for email retargeting
  • Using product visuals

Make sure that you add the image of products they have browsed or abandoned so that they can build an instant connect with the email. This is an essential element in a retargeting email.

  • Add GIFs

Moving images grab attention. You can make the experience playful by adding gifs. It could be your thing for all you know. The best part about a GIF is that it starts playing as soon as the user opens the email, unlike videos.

GIF in email for email retargeting
  • Video always does it better

video stats for email retargeting


Videos for retailers can be leveraged to give more information about the product; how the product can be used, the benefits and so on. If you work for a cause, you could show how the money of every purchase would go for the cause. JoyBird sent a retargeting email with this video, showing how furniture needs to be brought.

video in email for email retargetingTip: You might want to restrain yourself from adding all of them in the same email. You could keep one catchy element and specifically add the image of the product abandoned.

Keep your emails clean and simple. Adding too many elements might actually divert the users’ attention or might even puzzle the users.

Step 5 - Product Information

With emails, there is freedom to share more information with the users - the specifications of the products, the price of the products, all the products in their cart.

Product information in retargeting email

This helps them recollect what that have left in the cart, plus visual imagery empowers the need to purchase.

Luke1977, a UK fashion brand, was able to double their online revenue just from implementing basket abandonment campaigns.

We saw this case study and reached out to Komal Helyer, who has nearly 20 years of email and digital experience and leads the Pure360 marketing team. She has worked with some of the world's leading brands including HSBC, Carphone Warehouse, Black & Decker & First Direct. Komal sits on the DMA Email Council, the Chair of the Outreach Hub and a DMA Awards Judge. Here is what she had to say about retargeting with email-

email retargeting-Komal-quote

Step 6 - Add a Call To Action Button

Make the call to action button prominent and use action words; You want the user to click on it and make a purchase. An email can have more than 1 call to action button.

CTA in retargeting email

The next steps are essential especially if you are a new brand. The need to build trust and authenticity becomes critical.

Step 7 - Build Trust

  • Social Proof

When you are about to buy something, don’t you always tend to buy products that have got reviews? It psychologically triggers a positive response, making it place the product on a higher pedestal than the other products.

Why not leverage this same effect through email? To encourage users to make a purchase, building trust plays a vital role.

  • Reviews and ratings

Helm Shoes added reviews and ratings to the email they sent. It is always good to know the experience others have had with your products when the user is in the consideration stage.

ratings and review in retargeting email
  • Achievements

Hunting for George takes advantage of it being a finalist at the Best Independent Retailer to show users that they can be trusted.

adding achievements in retargeting emailSurfStitch, on the other hand, shows off its award-winning customer service.

adding awards in retargeting email

You can add your own achievements to boost trust and make users click on the ’Buy’ button.

Also, make sure that you add the customer service number just in case they to clarify something about the product.

  • Social

Adding social channels helps users to get to know you better.

social buttons in retargeting email
  • Recommendations

Recommendations like ‘Other products you might like’ or ‘Others also brought’ boosts the morale and makes users consider other options. An opportunity for you to bring them back to your site. JoyBird sends 2 emails at different intervals and changes a few things here are there, one of them being- adding other products the users might like and another mail goes with best-reviewed products.

Email 1

recommendations in retargeting email

Email 2

recommendations in retargeting emailWe reached out to Joolz Joseph who specializes in email marketing and idea generation to know her thoughts on email retargeting. She has been training for 20 years and is currently a email marketing strategist at The Virtual Marketer and delivers email marketing courses at the CIM and STANTA. Here is what she had to say-


Joolz-quote on email retargeting


Step 8 - Assurance

  • Warranty

If you give a warranty for the product, this is a beautiful opportunity to assure the users. This boosts their intent to make a purchase.

adding warranty in retargeting email
  • Free shipping and Returns

You can see the examples above to see how marketers have made highlighted free shipping and returns. This particular email caught my eye, because of the copy-

free shipping in retargeting email

Example of a near perfect retargeting email


example of good retargeting emailexample of good retargeting email


Should you go old-school HTML?

When all the retargeting emails start looking ‘templatish’, basic HTML emails could come across as a breath of fresh air. It feels personal as if someone had taken out time to personally write the email and let you know as a friend that you might lose out on the products in the cart.

Here is an email that Breadbrand sent, which is simple and effective. The highlighted link acts as a CTA button that takes the user directly to the cart. It also tells the users that if they need any help, they are just one email away. And the P.S. bit at the end has got a very distinctive touch to itself.

html example of a retargeting email

You could also try out a technique that Madsen cycles used. They asked users for feedback in the last retargeting email they sent, ensuring that they do not seem pushy. It was an attempt to lure out why they had not made a purchase, which would help them in future decision making. A subtle reminder about the item in the cart, but a nudge nevertheless.

paint text example of a retargeting emailYou could do an A/B test and see which performs better for you, and then arrive at a decision.

Know it from the king of retargeting

Amazon has been known to send personalized retargeting emails. Here is one of the emails they sent for browse abandonment-

amazon-example of a retargeting email

Arriving at the right frequency

Most of the marketers stick to sending 3 email follow-ups. 3 is considered a magic number, considering that if you end up sending more than 3 you might come across as pushy, and if you send less than 3, you might not be trying hard enough.

Sapph Li, is an email strategist at Art of Emails. She strategizes and creates high converting email campaigns help turn prospects into customers and new signups into hyper-engaged users.


Sapph-li-quote on email retargeting


The first retargeting email that goes out is the one that gets the most conversions. And the third email usually goes with a coupon code, as a final attempt to lure users to make a purchase. This is a strategy that JClub has been implementing for quite some time now.

They send really good retargeting emails that get them some amazing conversions. They clock a 10:1 ROI on their retargeting efforts. We got in touch with Irrum Doss to share some of their best-performing emails. Watch this video to get some inside scoop-

Irrum Doss


Email marketing tools

email marketing tools



If you have any questions or suggestions, let us know in the comments below.

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Pravya Pravin
Pravya Pravin
Pravya Pravin is a Product Marketer at iZooto. An artist who paints not only with words, but also on canvas. She loves exploring places less traveled and wishes to go on a bike trip to the highest motorable road.

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