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Modern-Day Email Triggers

  |  March 11, 2014   |  Comments

Technology has advanced to the point that on-site behaviors, such as browsing and buying, can be leveraged to create dynamic triggers, helping marketers pinpoint the right audience for the right message, gain conversions, and retain customers.

When a marketer sets up email triggers to send messages to customers, it is for usually for something straightforward: a birthday discount code, a welcome email, or a reminder that the customer left something in his or her cart.

Technology, though, has advanced to the point that on-site behaviors, such as browsing and buying, can be leveraged to create dynamic triggers, helping marketers pinpoint the right audience for the right message, gain conversions, and retain customers. Marketers, then, need to think more strategically about how and when they're using triggers to reach a customer's inbox.

And marketers already have a place to start: the data on their customers that they are constantly tracking (what brands are important to them, what categories they love, what part of your site they visit most) offers dozens of possible trigger campaigns.

For example, if you're planning a sale on jeans, you can trigger a promotional email based on browsing history to target only those customers who have browsed jeans in the last few weeks. Or, if a customer frequents a high-margin area of the site but hasn't ever converted, you can use triggers to send an email offering a larger discount for that product set.

Triggers, though, don't need to only be about sales.

If a shopper is reading content on your site about outdoor skiing adventures, for example, sending them an email about all the great ski gear you sell would be a relevant follow-up. In the same vein, if someone is looking at snowboarding boots, sending them a video showing the hottest snowboarder in Aspen who promotes your brand would be a great call.

These organic behavioral triggers are much more effective than asking customers to fill out a survey when they first join your site and predicting what a customer may be interested in down the road. By sending these types of emails, you're not only bringing shoppers back to your site; you're also sending a signal that you're paying attention to their needs.

Email marketing is moving away from the check-the-box approach of making customers tell brands what they are looking to buy and moving toward listening to customer preferences based on behaviors.

With new technologies, this transition is accelerating.

Fuel your transition in this area by working with your email service provider (ESP), and also looking outside of ESPs to other technology partners, to find a way to pair past site behavior data with real-time variables, such as weather and localization, at email open time.

Why is this important? Study after study has shown that personalized, relevant emails please customers and drive revenue.

That means more email isn't the answer. Better and more relevant email is.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nathan Richter

Nathan Richter advises top enterprise clients including Best Buy, QVC, Urban Outfitters, Sports Authority, and PETCO on website optimization. A veteran of digital marketing and online retailing, Richter has extensive hands-on experience helping enterprise clients implement successful multichannel marketing campaigns. Richter has directed online marketing and site optimization programs for David’s Bridal, QVC, The Franklin Mint, and dELiA's.

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