Triggered emails are a great way to engage customers and drive sales, but misconceptions about what constitutes a trigger and how to implement them keep some marketers from taking full advantage of the tactic.
What is a Triggered Email?
At its most basic level, a trigger is an automated response, like an auto-generated birthday greeting from Google. This leads some to believe triggered emails can be used only in limited circumstances. But in fact, the list of triggering events, data and actions is almost limitless.
Instead of falling into the trap of thinking small when it comes to triggers, marketers should instead think of triggers as potentially any reason to retarget and retain a customer. In companies that currently use triggered emails, shopping cart interactions are a common trigger. A shopper may place several items in her cart and then leave the site. The company uses that data as a trigger, sending the customer an email reminder about the items in the cart to extend the shopping experience and ultimately drive conversion.
Triggers related to shopping cart abandonment are a proven way to drive revenue by regaining the customer’s attention. But with all the focus today on campaign analytics and customer data as the key elements that drive conversions, it can be easy for marketers to lose sight of other valuable data sources within the organization, such as product catalogs and price changes.
When marketers define triggers more broadly as an opportunity to interact with customers based on both customer behaviors and changes to the product catalog, they can start considering company data such as price changes and customer drop-off points that result from out-of-stock notices as a chance to build a trigger campaign. The next step is setting up triggers and testing which touch-points drive the best open, click and conversion rates.
For example, companies can leverage customer data to build trigger campaigns around a variety of abandonments, including search, category and product page. Each abandonment is an opportunity to learn from that behavior and trigger a highly personalized, relevant email that highlights products and offers related to that shopper. Another effective strategy is to trigger an email around specific products, such as a drop in price or low inventory.
Marketers can also experiment with special offers to see what drives the highest ROI. For example, a trigger campaign that reminds a consumer about abandoned shopping cart items can sweeten the deal by offering free shipping. Marketers can test various scenarios to determine which approach best aligns with marketing and revenue objectives.
In the past, identifying touch-points and operationalizing trigger campaigns was time-consuming and expensive. But with the advanced ecommerce triggering solutions now available, marketers can launch in days, not months and send triggers in real time. While running triggered email campaigns marketers can, and should, A/B test trigger subject lines and design to make sure the right offers are being sent at the right time to the right customers.
Marketers who use A/B testing to find the right offer can reap incredibly valuable rewards. In one instance, a brand found that offers on best sellers were 300% more effective than offers featuring “new arrivals.” Data like this helps marketers maximize returns on campaigns, as does the use of techniques such as incorporating the product name into the email subject line, which makes it 10 times as effective.
Marketers today have many more options thanks to big data and advanced ecommerce triggering solutions. Those who want to gain a competitive edge should think more broadly about trigger campaigns rather than simply lumping them in with the company’s general email strategy. With an approach based on leveraging customer and product catalog data to drive relevant and timely triggered communications, marketers can begin driving significant incremental.