Perhaps you received an email from a nonprofit right after the tsunami hit Southeast Asia, urging you to make a donation to help those unfortunate people. Or maybe you received an email promoting an antihistamine medicine just before allergy season. These are event-based trigger email messages, or triggers. They're very different from the regular email messages you send, and that's exactly what makes them more powerful.
Triggers can be a great addition to an email toolbox. They are newsworthy and can contain more emotion. They're timely, containing important information. And, they provide a sense of urgency.
When most marketers think of triggers, they think of lifestyle-related ones such as getting married, having a baby, or moving. There are so many more triggers to be mined.
Products often follow specific events. After the U.S. government issued the Iraqi Most Wanted in the form of a deck of cards, companies promoted those decks by email. As soon as Philadelphia and New England became 2005's Super Bowl participants, I got email for related merchandise.
Depending on your business, you may be able to tie email to news events. News-related triggers fall into several categories: news, weather, sports, and entertainment.
There are literally hundreds of other triggers you can use. Here's a sample:
Trigger E-Mail Content
Trigger email is targeted and responsibly packaged in the context of an important announcement, news, event, or other important message. Messages are short and clearly state why people are receiving it and what the call to action is. A nonprofit organization's message might read:As you know, the recent tsunami caused devastation in numerous countries. We're one of several agencies supplying much needed medicines, food, and other supplies to the area. Every dollar helps feed a family for a day. We desperately need your help.
A music seller might send this:Because we know you're a Beach Boys fan, we wanted to tell you their latest CD, "Summer Gold," will ship next week. But we only have a limited quantity.
From a sunscreen manufacturer:The weather bureau predicts temperatures at the Jersey Shore will be over 90 in the coming weeks. If you're planning to head to the beach, arm yourself with the best sunscreen.
What a wonderful world it would be if most email I received was trigger-based! Triggers are one of email's most powerful uses. Load your email gun, and pull that trigger!
Want more email marketing information? ClickZ E-Mail Reference is an archive of all our email columns, organized by topic.
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Paul Soltoff is the chief executive officer of SendTec, Inc., a direct marketing services company specializing in customer acquisition. SendTec combines extensive direct response experience with proprietary technologies to produce scalable results. Principal services include performance-based online marketing, offline direct response marketing and direct response television. SendTec represents advertising agencies and advertisers such as RealNetworks, AARP, Monster.com, AAA, Punch Software, MyPoints, Grey Worldwide, CosmetÍque Cosmetics, Columbia House, and Euro-Pro. Prior to starting SendTec, Paul was a founder and EVP of Saatchi and Saatchi's DRTV division in New York and has over 25 years of advertising, media and direct marketing experience.
March 19, 2014