Behavior-Triggered Email Campaigns Win and Keep Customers

Content Takeover Email MarketingEmail campaign automation enables marketers to streamline the process of engaging and converting customers. Moving from a batch-and-blast approach to several curated series of emails, triggered by customer behavior, can increase retention, revenue per email, customer lifetime value, and program ROI.

As an illustration of the power of behavior-triggered email, let’s take a closer look at men’s shoe manufacturer Allen Edmonds. In 2012, the brand implemented a three-part automated welcome series, triggered by subscription or purchase. The first message was a simple new-customer welcome; the second emphasized the company’s history, product quality, and outstanding customer service; and the third promoted e-commerce and free shipping with a link to let recipients start shopping from the email. The campaign doubled revenue per email and reduced the opt-out rate from 0.73 percent to 0.07 percent.


Despite outstanding results such as this, research by The Relevancy Group shows that a significant number of brands are not implementing triggered email programs based on subscriber behavior. Only about 50 percent of companies even send a welcome message or series to new customers. Only 30 percent of enterprise brands and 16 percent of mid-market companies send a post-purchase offer. And, less than one-quarter of all companies make any attempt to re-engage inactive subscribers.

Even among those who do use behavior-triggered emails, less than 20 percent trigger 30 percent or more of their emails based on consumer behaviors. Only 7 percent do so more than 50 percent of the time. Because of the relatively low penetration of this technique, deploying an array of automated, triggered emails can give you a real competitive advantage.


We recommend four behavior-triggered email campaigns that should be a part of every marketer’s program:


A strong customer relationship begins with the first impression. A welcome email or series is your first opportunity to foster engagement and build strong customer relationships. Use your welcome email or series to educate your subscribers on the value of engaging with your brand and provide details on what they can expect from future communications. Include a welcome special offer to help drive conversion.

Abandoned Cart

Recover lost revenue with cart-abandonment emails that remind the consumer of the abandoned product, help answer product questions, provide site assistance, or offer a discount to incentivize purchase completion. It’s important to determine the right cadence for your audience. Perform an A|B test by sending a follow-up immediately after abandon and/or one to two days later.


Post Purchase

A post-purchase series is another revenue-generating opportunity driven by behavioral triggers. Use this email series to upsell-related products, such as a belt to match a recently purchased pair of shoes. Provide value-add content by offering information on caring for or using the new purchase. Emphasize customer service with warranty and return information and how to contact you. The post-purchase series is also a great opportunity to incentivize customers to rate and review the item or service to increase referrals.


Re-engagement campaigns, also known as win-back campaigns, allow you to re-engage inactive subscribers while cleaning up your email lists and improving overall data quality and deliverability. These campaigns can re-activate 10 to 20 percent of lapsed subscribers with a simple series of automated messages.

To create an effective re-engagement campaign, segment your users to better understand patterns of inactivity. It’s important to analyze your database to determine the exact point when subscribers stop opening and clicking. This will differ for every company based on industry, vertical, sending frequency, and product/service lifecycle.

Successful re-engagement campaigns include a compelling subject line and combine a sense of urgency with strong offers and emotional appeal. Successive offers sent to those who don’t open or click within the first email can be increasingly aggressive to incent action. For a more detailed discussion, see our article, “8 Lessons In the Art of the Winback Campaign.”


Behavior-based triggered email campaigns provide value to your subscribers while increasing revenue and satisfaction. Not sure where to start? If email marketing automation is new to your business, start small. Automate a single part of your total program, so that you can more easily test and analyze changes in opens, clicks and conversions.

Continue to test and optimize regularly to maximize revenue-generating opportunities. You may need to adjust series cadence, creative, copy, promotions and offers, or content.

For more information on the value of behaviorally triggered email, watch our on-demand webinar (available from Thursday onward) for a close look at BlueHornet client Allen Edmonds’ successful approach including welcome series, cart abandonment, post-purchase, testing, outcomes, and more.

BlueHornet*Sponsored content in collaboration with BlueHornet. Views expressed in this article are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect ClickZ’s opinions.

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