Behavior-Based Email Triggers? Let Me Count The Ways
If you want to make 2012 your "Think Big" year, as I've been encouraging in my recent Email Insider columns, adding or expanding the number of behavior-based triggered email programs you deploy should probably be on your list.
Behavior, while not foolproof, can be a strong indicator of customer or prospect interests and actions at various points in the customer lifecycle. Using automated ("triggered") messages in response to actions or inactions is typically the highest performing approach for email marketers.
I talk to a lot of email marketers, however, who get the concept of leveraging customer behavior to drive marketing responses but often get tripped up on the idea that behavior-based marketing is difficult to do.
So I've tried to simplify things a bit by creating four categories of customer/prospect behaviors and corresponding sample lists of actions that are prime for triggered emails:
Pre-Opt-In/Regular Opt-In Activities: Opting in to a list is perhaps the most universal trigger event that launches a welcome email from many marketers. But tracking nonsubscribers as they move around your site and then marrying that behavior to their email addresses once they opt in is the next frontier. These behaviors include:
- Web site opt- in
- Web pages visited
- Opt-ins from offline vehicles
- Videos watched
Example: Use web tracking to place new subscribers into appropriate email tracks or onboarding programs right away.
A visitor to a cruise site spends most of her time viewing the Caribbean cruise pages. Once she opts in, she's put into an onboarding track that incorporates offers and content that reflects her assumed interest in Caribbean packages.
2. Email behavior: This is the easiest behavior to use for creating triggers, because your email marketing solution can track everything your recipients do -- and often, what they don't do -- and trigger an appropriate message. These activities include:
- Opens and clicks or lack of activity on a message
- No opens or clicks over a specific time period
- Clicks on a specific link in an email, such as a product promotion
- Frequent sharing of emails via share-to-social links
Example: Follow up on email clicks that don't result in conversions.
Set a trigger to launch a follow-on email message when recipients click a specific link but then do not convert.
3. Offline/Social/Mobile Behavior: As the multichannel world becomes reality, integrating email triggers from activities in these other channels increases overall results. Examples of these behaviors include:
- Calls to your customer- support or call center
- In-store visits
- Check-ins via mobile apps like Foursquare
- Attending an event
- Requesting information from a direct mail flyer
Example: Use email to link mobile app activity to local events.
Users of the music-recognition mobile app Shazam can opt in to the Shazam email program, which sends triggered emails promoting nearby concerts of artists they've previously tagged.
4. Conversion Activity/Inactivity and Abandonment: Purchases and other conversions are the ultimate trigger email opportunities, setting up a series of post-conversion messages. Remarketing emails are triggered by browse and cart abandonment; lack of purchase activity suggests moving someone into a reactivation program.
- Account creation
- Software or whitepaper downloads
- Webinar/conference registration or attendance
- Abandoned shopping carts or website browsing
- No purchase within a specified time
Example: Send a request to review a recently purchased product.
Create a triggered email to request a product review within a certain time frame following a purchase.
These are just a few examples of customer behavior, but there are literally dozens of other types that can provide the basis for trigger-based campaigns. What are some of your favorites or ones you've had the most success with? Please share in the comments section below.
Until next time, take it up a notch!