Email Sales Tactic: Using "Pull-Back" Email Campaigns

What is an Email “Pull-Back” Campaign? An email “pull-back” campaign is designed to bring a subscriber back to a point in a transaction where they did not previously take the desired action i.e. a purchase, registration, appointment, survey, etc. The prospect might have clicked on a registration or purchase link from a site or within an email, but didn’t follow through in completing the purchase or making an appointment. The purpose of the campaign is to encourage more desired actions, but it can also be used to glean important information about the subscriber’s actions and opinions.  This data can be used, in turn, to encourage desired actions. For example, you might include in the pull-back email a question along the lines of, “Why didn’t you use the order form?”, or, “Was there a problem on the registration page?”  Ultimately, you want to probe and find out the cause of the reason for lack of follow-through.

Keys to Encourage “Pull-Back” Results

Key aspects to consider when using a “pull-back” campaign:
  • Keep it brief. Usually, campaigns consist of a single email, but could reasonably be three to four emails, and the campaign shouldn’t last for longer than a week.
  • Encourage with a message. You need to include a reminder or a message that encourages the prospect to continue with the purchase or sign-up process, perhaps suggesting a different benefit than was used previously.
  • Promote sense of urgency. You might be promoting some kind of limited offer. If there happens to be a certain time frame for a registration, event, or offer, you may do a campaign that auto kicks back in a matter of hours, or perhaps the next morning, to remind the prospect that “this thing’s going away pretty soon”.
  • Automate.  Most marketing software will allow you to set up an automation rule.  If the prospect “clicks blankly” i.e clicks the purchase or registration button but doesn’t follow through within 3 – 4 hours, then you might automatically kick off a message to the prospect, particularly if its a final day deal.
  • Express concern.  Acting like you care.  Your email text should speak to the person i.e. “Hello, it looked like you were interested in (blank), but the (purchase or registration) didn’t work out – is something wrong?” This is a nice angle to take, as it expresses interest in learning what might have happened and solicits feedback.  Think about making the subject line personalized as well. Also, think about offering specific benefits, and a reminder of limited availability (if applicable). Be overly helpful i.e. “I’d love to clarify for you…; I’ll be in touch when additional time slots open up…”.
  • Remind – simple.  Maybe the caring angle is too personal for some companies, and you want to send a simple reminder. This isn’t my favorite, as it doesn’t leverage as many effective marketing principles – but the reminder is better than nothing else. Again, it’s often a numbers game; presumably a certain number of people in a pull-back campaign will convert, but you have to initiate.
  • Offer an extra. Offer a bonus to encourage action. I’m not talking a coupon; you might give something away, a tangible deliverable that’s just enough to up the “cool factor”.
  • Reframe benefits. Frame the action in a different way. Use a consultancy appointment as an example.  Ask yourself, “What is the main reason the prospect would choose to set the appointment based on the content in a particular email?”  Maybe the prospect is not interested in problem X, but rather problem Y or Z. There might be a bulleted list in the email i.e. “We know not everyone comes for…but we also help with…”.
  • Use social proof. Frame benefits that others have gotten from an event or product. Ideally, we also want testimonials to be indicative of concerns that are appropriate to the targeted prospects.

“Pull-Back” Example

Sample email The above “pull-back” email can be adapted to different businesses or industries.  Notice these key features:
  • Shows concern i.e. the e-mail is personal.
  • Sent from a person, an approach that tends to glean better open rates, as opposed to just being sent from company X.
  • Addresses what happened.
  • Re-presents offer and link.
  • Emphasizes relevant benefits i.e. speaks to the customer, their life, and what they’re getting.

Determine Your Highest ROI Pull-Back Campaigns

Ask yourself the following questions:

What is the online conversion action that has the greatest impact on your bottom line?

Let’s say you’re an eCommerce company, and when prospects register for a newsletter or an account, they land  on a particular sales page. If there are options, most people purchase smaller things – the biggest initial seller. If they abandon the shopping cart, this might be the best place for a pull-back email. Whatever you’re selling i.e. software, appointments, or webinars, find the focus for the pull-back.

What kind of motivation, and what length of campaign, might work best to deliver that conversion action?

Think about your business, whether that be selling a service, running an eCommerce or software company, or managing an app and looking for engagement; do you need to frame a different benefit, or use some direct marketing and leverage a premium offer? If a prospect is filling out but then abandons a web form, for example (you should be able to detect if they’re filling this out) encourage action with another email. Another example – a prospect downloads an eBook and receives emails to direct back to a software offering, but for whatever reason after clicking to see the offer, he or she didn’t buy or set an appointment to buy – you might have a pull-back campaign that acknowledges the action and then gives additional training videos that have “helped other companies” There are many examples. The main message is to get out your pen and napkin and start brainstorming answers to these questions.

Stick to These Principles

When it comes to effectively using “pull-back” email campaigns, remember these basic principles:
  1. Test your most important campaign conversions with and without pull-back, and gauge your results.
  2. Use pull-back.
  3. Ensure that you use one of the motivation triggers for any pull-back campaign, even if its a single message (no vanilla reminders).
  4. Stick to 1 – 2 email campaigns (caring, not pushy).
Using this one tactic, companies can add an aspect of caring and personality into their marketing numbers, and make small lifts in the conversion rate of important offers at the same time. I hope you’re able to leverage this strategy to do just that.
– Daniel Faggella
CLVboost Founder