Drive More Email Conversions With “Pull-Back” Campaigns
Don't let those leads slip away! Columnist Daniel Faggella provides ideas for re-engaging customers who didn't quite convert.
One of the questions I’m asked most often is, “What’s the best way to use email for my online business?”
While email is certainly a helpful tool to build a business, the best way to turn your email marketing into a money-maker is through the use of a “pull-back” email campaign.
If you’re not familiar with the term, a pull-back email campaign is any campaign designed to bring a subscriber or customer back to a point in a transaction where they didn’t previously take the desired action. In display advertising, it would be called retargeting or remarketing.
Did someone click on the registration page for your webinar but not register? Did a customer put an item or two in their shopping basket but didn’t buy? Or, did a subscriber simply start a survey but not finish it? If so, that’s where you want to initiate a pull-back email campaign.
In raw terms, your pull-back email is going to essentially ask, “Why didn’t you finish what you started?”
Getting Your Subscriber To Complete The Next Step
Of course, you’ll want to word it in gentler terms; but ultimately, the goal of a pull-back email is to get your subscriber to complete that desired next step.
While your pull-back email is going to look like a gentle reminder email on the outside, you’re likely going to have to include a little incentive to drive that conversion. That incentive should not only be a reminder of what you’re offering to begin with, but also an added benefit that you may not have used in previous calls-to-action.
While the term “campaign” implies a long process (and I’ve written here at Marketing Land about constructing a full email automation sequence for generating sales), you normally want your pull-back email campaign to be limited to three or four emails at most, spread out over a week or so. Sometimes, just one email can do the job.
The message in those emails should be equally as brief, as long marketing messages are likely to be perceived as such. Remember to keep your focus simply on pulling your subscriber back to that point where they were ready to take the desired action while encouraging them to take that action.
Now, while we’ve already touched on them general, let’s look at some of the types of pull-back email and the approach to take with that email:
This one is pretty self-explanatory but, obviously, this is an email that leverages a limited time offer.
A subject line for this type of pull-back email might read “John, the Save 30% offer ends today” or “Last Call for webinar registration.” If someone had an item in their basket or clicked a registration link but didn’t act, this is the fastest way to get action.
2. Concern Or Caring
This is often a nice angle for a pull-back campaign, as it expresses your concern over why your subscriber didn’t take that action.
A subject line such as “John, I saw this today and wanted to reach out” not only shows you care, but also opens the window for you to get feedback on why that user didn’t act while at the same time reinforcing the benefits you’re offering.
Asking, “Did something go wrong?” in the subject line is another way to encourage both action and feedback while simultaneously personalizing your message to the user. Remember, too, that an email from a person will always have better open rates than an email from a company.
3. Polite Reminder
If you want a slightly softer, more personal approach, a simple reminder is the way to go. While approach this doesn’t optimize the best of the marketing tools available to you, it is a good way to at least push traffic back to your site.
A subject line such as “Your weekend webinar registration” or “Here is the course you were looking for, John” is a gentle, soft-sell approach to pulling people back to your website and, hopefully, creating another opportunity for you to make the “sale.”
4. Extra Or Premium Offer
Here’s where you sweeten the pot to get your customer to act. Offer an extra bonus in the subject line or hint at what else you’re giving away in your webinar.
Whether it’s a free add-on item, another discount with their order, or a free e-book for registering for your webinar, an “Extra” bonus pull-back email is designed to put a little more carrot on the stick to get that customer off the fence and into your next webinar or checkout page.
You don’t want to use this approach all the time but, when used judiciously, it’s often very effective in pull-back use. I’ve spoken about this approach extensively in a number of interviews (including Yaro Starak’s “Entrepreneur’s Journey” podcast – which goes deeper into me “premium” approach), and especially in e-commerce, it’s one I lean on heavily.
5. Other Benefit
Rather than giving away something or offering a higher discount, the other benefit approach basically just frames your offer or an action in a different way.
A pull-back email offering another benefit effectively reinforces whatever it was that got your customer or subscriber to click on your link to begin with.
A subject line stating “Here’s why others loved our last event” or “Big Problems we can help you solve now” open the door for you to reinforce and re-state your original call to action and highlight and expand upon the benefits you offered that brought that user to your website in the first place.
Choosing & Implementing An Approach
Now, when deciding which approach you’ll take, consider which pull-back action will have the best response rate or highest impact on your bottom line. Then ask yourself, “What kind of motivation and length of campaign do I need to attain the impact on my bottom line?”
The answer is different for every business, but determining the highest return-on-investment pull-back method is the key to making your campaign a success.
Finally, with your style and subject line ready, look at your email’s content and ask:
- How does this speak to my customer/subscriber?
- How does it benefit them?
- What am I saying to get them to act?
- What’s in it for them if they do act?
In addition, no matter which approach you use or how you phrase it, whether it’s a bonus offer, a feedback request or an urgent deadline, make sure your pull-back email contains a motivation trigger.
Granted, that’s harder to do in a reminder pull-back; but, in the other methods, that motivation trigger is the key to not only pulling customer back to your site, but to also convince them to actually act on your offer.
Finally, remember that, while the goal of your pull-back email is to encourage those customers to return to your site and complete those desired actions, and then to do so again and again, a pull-back can also provide valuable insights and information about your subscriber base that you can use to modify your marketing message, your site and even what you offer.
Sometimes, to move your business forward, you have to go back. And if you want to turn your email marketing into a money-maker, you need to use a pull-back email campaign to pull your customers back to your site and turn lookers into buyers.