What makes remarketing emails effective?

Is it the language, the offers, or something more abstract?

Turns out, effective remarketing emails all have one thing in common: they understand their audience and what motivates them to complete the desired action.

With that deep knowledge in mind, marketers can develop personalized emails with copy that speaks the language of the audience, visuals that invoke an emotional or physical response, and a call-to-action (CTA) that compels them to take the next step.

To inspire your team, here are five examples of effective email remarketing and the reasons why they get the job done.

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Target has email remarketing down to a science. It isn’t long after you add an item to your cart, then leave without purchasing, that an email pops up in your inbox.

Here’s a recent example:


Some of the standout features include:

  • The subject line is clear and straightforward. It lets the reader understand the purpose of the email right off the bat and serves as a reminder of something remaining in the cart.
  • The email copy is written in an inviting tone, aligning with Target’s audience.
  • CTA button is front and center, making it simple to get to the checkout.
  • The image shows what was left in the cart, as a reminder to the reader what they liked about the item(s).

West Elm

west elm

The retailer West Elm reaches out to its website visitors with effective remarketing emails like this one.

What makes their communication particularly great?

For one, they don’t just go after shoppers who placed items in their cart and left without purchasing—they also reach out to “window shoppers” who viewed items but didn’t put anything in their cart.

With this type of email remarketing, readers are reminded of the item that interested them with a large visual of the product. Besides, West Elm creates urgency with the language “…before it’s sold out.” Lastly, the CTA button shares that urgency with the text “Get It Now.”

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Panera Bread

One important rule to keep in mind is that remarketing emails aren’t reserved for shopping carts and sign-ups; any time you use emails to reconnect with people after they’ve interacted with your brand is remarketing.

Panera Bread executes beautifully on this, not with a sales email, but with an apology one.

Here’s an email to customers who just waited a long time for their order:


How did Panera make this email actionable? First, they apologized (sincerely), then rewarded the reader for coming back—and a quick way to do just that with the “Try Us Again” button.


Thumbtack is an app that helps people find local professionals to hire, like a cleaning service, personal trainer, or—in my case—someone to handle appliance repair.

Once you create an account and contact a service provider, Thumbtack gets back to you with a remarketing email to keep you on track. Here, this means getting you to hire someone and have the service completed.

Here’s the email I received:


What makes this an effective attempt at remarketing? Here are a few important reasons:

  • The subject line is clear about the intention, which is to show me the “next steps” toward my goal.
  • Email copy lays out the steps clearly in a bulleted list, which reminds me of a to-do list (ties into the branding).
  • Reminds me who I already contacted and gives me other options to consider, just in case I want a second opinion or the first company fails to respond.

Even if I don’t complete the very end goal at this point (hiring someone), this email does an excellent job of moving me through the process by helping me pick up where I left off.

YouTube TV

YouTube TV is one of the latest additions to the streaming TV world, and they don’t want to lose a potential subscriber.

Sending a remarketing email lets people know where to sign up when they can use the app, and—with a clear CTA—reminds the recipient that it’s not too late to sign up for their free trial. The CTA button stands out and makes it easy to get started.

yt tv

In Conclusion

Remarketing emails can be an effective way to recover sales from abandoned shopping carts, but they’re not only useful for retailers. Whether you want to increase downloads from website visitors or make a special offer to someone who deserves a little extra, you can achieve your goals by reaching out again (and again) to these valuable users.

Are your emailing skills top-notch? Try answering these Email Marketing Practice Test Questions and find out now.

Level Up Your Email Marketing Skills  

If you want to master advanced email marketing techniques and strategies like remarketing, then check out Simplilearn’s Advanced Email Marketing Certification Training—a top-rated online course with high-quality elearning content explicitly geared toward the email channel.

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