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What’s the difference? Email Marketing VS Email Remarketing

By May 29, 2015March 28th, 2016Email Marketing

85% of blog posts and articles about email marketing start with boring facts. Here’s one, “did you know that it is 7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep a current one?“

email marketing vs email remarketing image

Here’s another one, “loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase.”

You still with me?

When it comes to email marketing vs email remarketing, the issue is not always how much it costs to get the customer. The real issue is how to increase customer value and generate more sales. That right there is the main difference between email marketing and email remarketing.

Let’s define both.

What is email marketing?


Broad and impersonal email newsletters. They might look pretty, like this One Kings Lane newsletter, but it isn’t exactly personalized or relevant. Unless, that is, you are really into “a polished and preppy pool side.”

One Kings Lane Newsletter Example Image

Alright, so let’s clarify, newsletters are a specific type of email marketing campaign, but there are plenty of other types of email marketing. So let’s get back to basics.

Email marketing is when companies send a direct email to existing customers or potential customers.

The bottom line is when a company wants to blast a one-size-fits-all message, they use a newsletter. And this is email marketing in its most basic sense.

What is email remarketing?

Email remarketing is a form of email marketing. The whole idea of email remarketing, is attracting customers or users back onto a website.

You’ve already met this customer before. You already spent time and money to bring this person to your website. So with email remarketing, you’re taking the information you already have about this customer and using it to send a relevant email.

For an eCommerce store, email remarketing is about getting customers back onto a website where they can make a purchase.

intelligent and personalized email example

You’re probably thinking, “Got it. So if shopper is looking at dresses, they should get a targeted email with those dresses, right?”

That would be amazing, but pump the brakes because you’re not Amazon. Yet.

Since most of your potential shoppers are not logged in, there is no way for you to know their email address.

With this kind of marketing challenge, you’re better off using a site retargeting tool like AdExtant. Site retargeting tools use cookies to show people the products they were looking at on your website. Thus, no email address is necessary.

But let’s just imagine the customer was logged in. There are a bunch of remarketing emails you could potentially send.

What are the types of remarketing emails?

Whatever is considered the opposite of an email blast is most likely a remarketing email. Assuming, however, it’s being sent from a brand to a customer.

  • Order follow ups
  • Abandoned cart recovery
  • Rewards/loyalty programs
  • Inactive customer follow ups

The only way any of these can be sent, of course, is with an email address and the browsing behavior data on each customer.

And while these kinds of emails aren’t technically blasts, they can be automated. Tools like Remarkety can do automate remarketing emails. MailChimp? Not so much.

Now, let’s get to the good part.

How will email remarketing increase sales?

Relevancy and personalization.

You open an email from your friend because it’s relevant to you. That’s the same way it works with remarketing emails sent from a brand to a customer.

If you’re sending email that is smart and based on the way a customer has purchased in the past or how they’ve browsed your site, you can deliver relevant emails.

Are you putting it together?

Relevant and personalized emails are going to get opened. They’re going to get clicked. And they’re going to lead to sales. Ka-ching.

Personalized and relevant email example

Let’s say your online store sells clothing and accessories. Now let’s imagine one of your customers, Janice, consistently bought a dress, belt or necklace every couple of months for a year. Then, all of a sudden, they fall off the face of the planet. They haven’t made an order in two months.

This is where that inactive customer email comes into play. For most stores, this email is pure gold.

An inactive customer email targeting shoppers who haven’t bought from you in 60 days, but made two or more repeat purchases will find Janice and attract her back to your website.

With an automated tool like Remarkety, inactive customer emails become totally automated. Learn more about how Remarkety works here.

If you insist on carving your own path, segmenting customers and emailing them manually, we can still offer some pointers.

What are the best email remarketing practices?

There’s probably no better way to learn than through trial-an-error. Luckily for you, thousands of stores using Remarkety are constantly testing different kinds of email campaigns. We’ve aggregated the performance into some actionable ideas in this nice little list of Do’s and Don’ts.


Simplicity: People don’t read long emails, so win their attention with an email that’s short and sweet
Cut to the chase: Make the call to action clear and big – the less scrolling and interpreting, the better
Offer an incentive: Everybody like a discount, a coupon, free shipping or a free sample. Get creative!


Spamming: Rule of thumb is no more than one email per day.
Email for the sake of email: You have limited opportunities to email your customer. Make it count.
Complex design: Our data shows that there is no relation between high-styled emails and more sales. Simple emails get the job done.

So now what?

Design some gosh darn emails, of course. Try Remarkety for free or read these other articles you might like:
Maximize your email marketing campaigns with coupons
These how-to videos will make you an email marketing expert
Why newsletters are really dumb