E-mail remarketing can re-engage

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Whether due to shopping cart abandonment or simple disengagement, remarketing e-mail messages can help draw customers back to your Web site. Four experts offer strategies.

Arthur Sweetser
CMO, e-Dialog

Perhaps the easiest and most effec­tive way to remarket to lapsed custom­ers is to remind them why they signed up for your e-mails in the first place. Are you opening your e-mail relation­ships with a welcome message that highlights the benefits of being part of your program? These benefits drew him or her into the program once, and they may help to re-engage him or her again.

Customer engagement in an e-mail program can decline significantly in as little as a month, so it's important to assess your entire list to determine when customer attention first begins to wane. Try segmenting your list into audiences who haven't engaged you in specific timeframes, and then cater your messages to the length of time. Try different incentives based on past behaviors to see what works best.

The most important lesson in remar­keting, however, comes from Kenny Rogers: “You've got to know when to hold 'em; know when to fold 'em.” Endlessly marketing to customers who are not engaged in your e-mail program burns your budget and could potentially damage your company's reputation.

THE TAKEAWAY
To re-engage customers, remind them of why they signed up originally


Erick Mott
Director of marketing and corporate communications, Habeas

How an organization reaches out with remarketing messages is as important as what those messages say about the prod­uct and brand. In order to re-engage and grow new customer relationships, the new experience must engender trust.

A recent study from Habeas and Ipsos asserts that the key to building good relationships with customers via e-mail means offering more customer control over interactions. Choices could include newsletters, educational information, special offers, articles, whitepapers, webi­nar invitations and other specific content and relationship-building offers, as well as options on the frequency and format of these communications.

These options — extended to a quali­fied group of potential customers based on past interactions — will differentiate an organization, and demonstrate the new value of the brand that is extend­ing the offers, as well as the “newness” of the offers themselves.

For best results, marketers should help customers move into a position where they consider the value proposition of the new offering, while perceiving greater value in the brand.

THE TAKEAWAY
Customers respond to increased choice in content and e-mail frequency


Loren McDonald
VP of industry relations, Silverpop

E-mail is an excellent channel to renew or strengthen bonds with former customers who, for various reasons, have disengaged with your marketing program. They bought something from you 18 months ago, but you've heard nary a word since then.

First, establish if they've simply stopped acting on your e-mails or stopped buying. If they've gone “e-mail inactive,” meaning they haven't opened or clicked on your e-mails in an extend­ed period, you can launch a reactivation program. To recapture their interest, you can try different subject lines, different mailing times, message formats or offers.

If they've remained engaged with your e-mails but haven't purchased for an extended period, send trigger cam­paigns based on specific links clicked in previous e-mails. You can develop campaigns such as replenishment, upgrade or up-sell/cross-sell programs, based on their purchase history; survey customers on their current interests/product interests, or incentivize them to update their profile and interests; and test different subject line approaches, such as “We want you back” or “We've missed you! Save 10% off.”

THE TAKEAWAY
Trigger campaigns can recapture cus­tomers who still read your e-mails


Morgan Stewart
Director, research and strategy, ExactTarget

The simplest and most common remarketing technique is to send an offer to customers based on items abandoned in a shopping cart. These messages provide a compelling incentive on items that are relevant to the cus­tomer, especially when the promotion is time sensitive. In the end, you win back a lost sale and offer a quality customer experience at the same time.

Implementing remarketing campaigns has proven to be both successful and chal­lenging. Conversion rates on these trig­gered messages are significantly higher than standard promotions and the impact on revenue can be substantial. But there are several strategic considerations that must be taken into account.

Not all products make sense for a standard promotion — especially if the abandoned item is low revenue or mar­gin. It can make sense to apply the offer to the category at large, instead of the individual item. Also, while remarketing messages sent once in a while can be a pleasant surprise to customers, messages sent after every abandoned item will eventually train customers to abandon their cart and wait for the promotion. Use frequency caps to limit predictability.

THE TAKEAWAY
Offer promotions on items customers have abandoned in shopping carts

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