Written by Marnie Kramarich on April 13, 2015
in Email Marketing

If you’re looking to boost the results of your email marketing efforts, you may wish to embrace one of the more effective tools in the digital marketing toolbox: triggered, or event-based, emails.

Triggered emails, simply put, are emails that are sent based on a user’s situation or behaviour (or lack of behaviour), according to if-then logic. For example, if a customer leaves items in an online shopping cart, then an email is sent to remind the customer of these (and potentially other) items. Emails can be sent in response to a variety of behaviours, such as when users subscribe to an e-newsletter, view a category of products or a video on a website, or physically enter a bricks-and-mortar store. Depending on your offering and the customer need, emails can also be triggered by external situations – for example, by bad weather (for a restaurant chain that delivers) or a stock-market event (for a discount brokerage).

Here are a few reasons to consider adding triggered emails to your marketing mix.

1. Customers expect timely communications from brands.

We live in an increasingly connected world in which people anticipate in-the-moment communications. We are more connected than ever. The average Canadian spends more than 9 hours a day online, with 65% of Canadian consumers accessing the internet from their mobile devices [Forrester’s Global Technographics, 2014]. Emails that are automatically sent in response to some event or behaviour ensure that brands are connecting with customers when they are most likely to need their products or services. This maximizes value for the customer, and opportunity for the brand. Imagine a consumer who purchases a dress for a wedding she’s attending on the weekend. A brand that sends a triggered email with an in-store discount on accessories will beat a brand that sends out the same offer en masse once the moment to capture the incremental purchase has passed.

2. Triggered emails help to add value to the customer experience.

How can companies add real value to customers’ busy lives? By knowing what is relevant and what is not. When asked what they value more – receiving relevant communications triggered by their own website behaviour, or their personal privacy (not having their website behaviour tracked) – more than 60% of consumers chose relevance [Accenture, 2012]. Why? Because consumers have now experienced the benefits of personalized communications when they are done well, and the frustration of highly irrelevant communications from less successful brands, such as a subscription offer for a magazine that you already subscribe to, for example. Triggered emails, by definition, are relevant to a consumer’s actions or situation, which has the potential to keep a consumer highly engaged. Furthermore, triggered emails can mean that fewer emails need to be sent. Given that consumers receive on average over 80 emails a day, anything a brand can do to cut down on the inbox onslaught is going to be valued by consumers.

3. Triggered emails can add velocity to the sales funnel.

Every customer is on a journey – as brands we want to be present at the right moment and help them reach their goals, ideally nudging them along toward considering our offering. Triggered emails can do just that. Take for example a first-time home buyer who uses an online mortgage calculator at a bank’s website. A triggered email might send information detailing a special mortgage rate and a call-to-action to make an in-branch appointment. Without the email, the person might rest in the contemplation phase. But with it, that prospect is more likely to leap to action, and bring you closer to reaching your own business goals for the customer.

If you’re convinced that triggered emails could play a role in your own marketing strategy, stay tuned for our future blog posts on how to get started.

Marnie Kramarich is Vice-President at Ariad Communications.

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