Amplify your email strategy with trigger-based marketing

As marketers, the key to our success often first relies on grabbing the attention of customers and engaging them, so they interact with your brand, products, and services as often as possible. There are a lot of great ways to do this—our favorite, of course, being email—where you can send regular newsletters, product announcements, promotions, and much more. 

But how can you make your emails even more relevant and engaging?

Beyond the basics of email marketing lies trigger-based marketing, which takes the next step in building a relationship with your target audience. Trigger-based marketing allows you to create emails based on user behavior, choices or actions. It allows you to customize your message and send it at the perfect time—rather than just blasting your email list all at once and hoping for the best.

But why does trigger-based marketing work and, more importantly, how do you know when it’s the perfect time to send these specially customized emails?

Diving into this further, trigger-based marketing means you can send an email or notification in response to specific actions taken by your audience or based on special dates or events. 

These actions could include subscribing to your newsletter, spending more than two minutes on a specific page of your website, making a purchase, or filling out a survey. Special dates could include anything from a birthday or holiday, to an event specific to your business that you know is especially relevant to certain segments of your audience.

By sending highly customized emails at the precise moment that specific actions are taken or when these special dates are upcoming, you can immediately increase your potential for customer engagement. Personalized email messages improve click-through rates by an average of 14% and conversions by 10%. And tying personalized messages to specific actions or events will only increase potential engagement even further.

In addition, trigger-based marketing emails increase brand awareness even without conversion. They tend to leave your audience with a good impression of your business and brand, which makes you more memorable. When the time comes for that person to make a purchase, brands that engage with customers on a more personal level are often their first choice, or at the very least are the most top of mind. 

Trigger-based marketing goes hand-in-hand with marketing automation

It’s worth noting that while trigger-based marketing emails can be handled in a manual way, if your audience is larger than 150, it’s not efficient to keep up with the diligence that trigger-based marketing requires in order to be successful. 

After all, you’ll want to send out your customized message as soon as an action is taken by your customer so that it is as timely and relevant as possible. Marketing automation can effectively and efficiently manage the “if this, then that” logic that these actions and special dates require—and it will make your life much, much easier.

In fact, 79% of top-performing companies have been using marketing automation for three or more years—demonstrating that it’s a worthwhile investment when you’re ready to amplify your email marketing strategy.

When is the perfect time to send a highly customized email?

Trigger-based marketing emails make your customers feel special. Sending them at just the right time is one of the most memorable and effective ways to stay top of mind. Sending emails that are triggered by the customer’s specific needs is perceived as excellent customer service and is also more likely to result in a recommendation for your business as well.

While there will be many actions and specific events that are important to you as a marketer, and to your particular business from a lead-generation perspective, here are some customer actions that you’ll want to ensure are fundamental to any trigger-based email marketing plan.

1. Welcome 

A new subscriber, member, or registrant means the beginning of a new relationship. Saying “Welcome!” is one of the simplest and most effective ways to begin this personalized trigger marketing email journey together. 

Welcome emails generate 4x more opens and 5x more clicks than regular emails. Plus, depending on what information you collect when they register, you already have enough insight to make their very first interaction with you highly personalized. (Here’s some great information on crafting your Welcome email campaign to get you started.)

Welcome emails generate 4x more opens and 5x more clicks than regular emails.

Source: Really Good Emails

2. First Action 

Although your next potential customer has now subscribed and been welcomed with open arms, they may not have purchased anything yet—but that doesn’t always matter. What matters is that you recognize when they’re spending time with your brand, products or services. 

Thanking your new subscribers for their interest, or providing useful information when they spend two minutes or more on a specific page or section of your website, is a great way to keep them engaged and tailor information specifically to them.

Thanking your new subscribers for their interest, or providing useful information when they spend two minutes or more on a specific page or section of your website, is a great way to keep them engaged and tailor information specifically to them.

Source: Really Good Emails

3. Purchase 

The first purchase your new customer makes is a huge step forward in your relationship, and one that you’ll want to follow up quickly with a personalized email to say, “Thank You!” 

Of course, every purchase thereafter should receive a “Thank You” email too. It’s a great opportunity to show them other products or services they might also be interested in, personalized based on their recent purchase. Eighty-one percent of online shoppers who receive emails based on previous shopping habits were at least somewhat likely to make a purchase as a result of targeted email. 

Of course, every purchase thereafter should receive a “Thank You” email too. It’s a great opportunity to show them other products or services they might also be interested in, personalized based on their recent purchase.

Source: Really Good Emails

4. Loyalty 

Keeping a current customer happy is often much less costly and more rewarding than working to attract a new one. A 5% increase in customer retention correlates with at least a 25% increase in profit. Whether you send promotional offers, make suggestions based on past buying habits, or keep them in the know with your latest news—stay in touch to stay top of mind. Special events are a great way to leverage trigger-based marketing for loyalty.

Keeping a current customer happy is often much less costly and more rewarding than working to attract a new one

Source: Really Good Emails

5. Reactivation 

Let’s face it, saying “Goodbye” isn’t any fun for anyone. Keep your goodbyes to a minimum by sending out personalized reactivation emails when it looks like a customer has lost interest or when they haven’t made a purchase in a specific period of time (you’ll know best that the timeframe should be based on your general sales cycles). A nice and simple “We miss you” might even do the trick. 

Let’s face it, saying “Goodbye” isn’t any fun for anyone. Keep your goodbyes to a minimum by sending out personalized reactivation emails when it looks like a customer has lost interest or when they haven’t made a purchase in a specific period of time

Source: Really Good Emails

If you’re like most businesses, 75% of your email list is inactive. Reactivation emails help reduce list churn and can help to boost incremental engagement, so a gentle reminder can go a long way in maintaining a positive relationship.

Trigger-based marketing can help achieve maximum results

Customized trigger-based emails cam maximize your communications, which in turn help to increase engagement and move your customers through their buying process. 

When you send these personalized emails at just the perfect time using a combination of both customer action triggers and special event triggers, your messages will also retain the diversity that’s needed to keep them fresh and interesting each time one pops into your customer’s inbox.

But let’s be clear: it’s still important to continue with your regularly scheduled email program as well. Trigger-based marketing is only part of your overall email strategy. Don’t abandon your regular communications. Whether it’s a quarterly e-newsletter, a weekly one-day sale, or timely product updates—these regular e-blast communications form the foundation of your email communication strategy that makes your trigger-based marketing emails that much more noteworthy.

To help you get started on building your email marketing strategy, check out this email marketing 101 blog for more information, tips and tricks.

Wrap up

Trigger-based marketing is one of the most powerful and effective ways to amplify your email marketing strategy because it reaches your audience at the perfect time, with the perfect message. 

It uses their own actions and relevant special events to trigger messages that will provide more information, recommend other interesting products or services personalized to their choices and interests, reward them for their ongoing relationship with you, and keep your brand, products and services top of mind.

In addition, trigger-based marketing is an excellent opportunity to begin using marketing automation—the next step in sophisticated strategic email marketing strategies.

Any trigger-based marketing email strategy should include at least these five customized email triggers:

1. Welcome

2. First action

3. Purchase

4. Loyalty

5. Reactivation

Any email strategy, and trigger-based marketing emails, in particular, are about building an engaged relationship with your customers. 

For more insight into building customer relationships through email, check out our webinar on "Romancing the Customer".

About the Author

Emma Email

Emma is an email marketing platform that gives you all the tools you need to send campaigns that really connect with your subscribers. Unlike other email providers, Emma puts their customers first. It's email marketing that works for you.

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