How To Build A Revenue-Boosting Triggered Email Program

Retailers are lacking a key ingredient: identification

What is a Triggered Email?

Triggered emails are incredibly simple to understand, but they do differ from the typical email campaigns that marketers have sent out in the past. Previously, marketers would pull together their CRM lists of customers (segmented as best they could) and send them batched emails based on what they felt would be a shared interest in products or discounts. While this is undeniably better than batch-and-blast sends, it doesn’t get to the heart of a customer’s desire or pain point. Triggered emails aim to circumvent this by sending automated emails based on a specific action a site visitor takes on your page—this is called the trigger. By doing this, the goal of triggered emails is for marketers to be able to better personalize their outreach based on the behaviors or product interests that customers have.

Benefits of Triggered Emails

A national client email report conducted by the Direct Marketing Association UK found that in North America, triggered emails delivered around a 75% higher open rate and 115% higher click rate than standard “business as usual” emails. What this means is that automated emails that are sent in conjunction with an “event trigger,”, like a click or abandoned cart, tend to convert better than other emails.

While this is nothing to scoff at, many retailers still haven’t figured out the secret sauce of how to drive real revenue change using triggered email. And much of this is because they’re lacking a key ingredient: identification. While sending triggered emails is a smart tactic, sending bland, contextless messages to your customers isn’t enough. Too many brands only send out vanilla cart abandonment emails because they don’t take the time to understand the quantifiable, intent-heavy actions consumers are taking on their site.

Without knowing who your visitors are, you have no way of triggering relevant emails based on a visitor’s onsite behavior (during that session and any previous ones). So, what do you need to do to fix and grow your triggered email program? How do you improve triggered emails through a compliant identification campaign?

Triggered Email Best Practices: Robust Email Capture Campaigns

The first triggered email best practice is to aim to improve your email captures. Many retailers don’t take intent into account when they’re getting people opted into their email list. They either have a generic opt-in on exit, or over-discount people on product pages without setting up a value exchange.

The initial conditions in which you ask someone to join your email list are critical. You have this golden opportunity to associate getting an email with the act of making a buy: an opportunity to give your relationship with this customer a real sense of value. Instead of cookie-cutter email captures, target your prospects with opt-ins that honor their exact onsite intent.

Triggered Email Best Practices: Remembering Your Site Customers

In the physical world, no one likes being forgotten. And it’s no different in digital. Another triggered email best practice is that once you’ve gotten a prospect’s email using your thoughtfully constructed, timely opt-ins, you need to remember who they are each time they come back to your site. If you don’t, you’re paying to get them to your site and assailing them with email captures again and again, causing a frustrating user experience that will make them bounce off the site. Not to mention, if a visitor comes to your site and you already know who they are, you can observe their digital body language and use it to send relevant, triggered emails.

Triggered Email Types that Will Help Boost Revenue

What exactly are relevant, triggered emails? There are many types of emails that can help get customers to convert, but perhaps the most important part of deciding which to send is based on observing consumer intent.

If a customer has given you an email address for the first time ever, send them a welcome email. Most retailers are already on top of this, though, so let’s explore three other types of triggered emails that could help grow your revenue when used correctly:

1. Cart and product abandonment emails

Cart and product abandonment emails are the most foundational and easiest to trigger. Perhaps one of the best ways to get consumers back to your site is to show them products or services they’re already interested in. Most of you probably have cart abandonment emails down, but make sure that you populate the links in the email itself so that your site auto-replenishes their cart exactly as it was when they abandoned it. Did your consumer browse a product page? If so, send them an email with top-rated products in that category, focusing on messaging that makes your brand feel like a concierge (for example, “We curated this list just for you”).

2. Price-drop emails

When consumers abandon products, it doesn’t mean they’re uninterested, so when the product goes on sale, consider triggering a price-drop email that takes them back to the item they picked out. From there, they’re just one click away from conversion.

3. Low-stock and back-in-stock emails

If a customer views an item while it’s in stock but it then goes out of stock, you might want to trigger an email to send to that shopper when it’s back in inventory again. This can drive visitors back to an item and let them know that since it sold out once, it will likely sell out again — social proof at its finest. Low-stock emails capitalize on the allure and scarcity of limited inventory, re-engaging cold prospects and encouraging them to make purchases before it’s too late.

There’s a lot more in terms of using your email channel as an automated powerhouse to encourage and focus your customers, but these three email triggers could help your email revenue so long as you intelligently identify and segment your customers based on the actual interest they’ve taken on your site.

Why First-Party Data is Pivotal to Triggered Email Success

Simply put, first-party data is the engine that drives triggered email success. Triggers are activated to send by actions that users take on your site. This could be anything from bouncing directly off of your homepage, to completing a purchase on your site, and even visiting many different product pages across different categories. Each of these actions tells you specific information about how likely your prospect is to buy and what they’re interested in should they wish to convert. This information powers triggered email because it’s what allows you to personalize the content within each email to every single person that comes to your site. It gives you all of the scale of “blasting” out to customers without any of the generic attributions of “batching them together”. When starting your first triggered email campaigns, make sure they’re powered by your first-party data.

If you’d like to jumpstart your first triggered email campaigns today and unlock a new revenue channel, reach out to a rep at Wunderkind.


Author Profile Image

Ryan Urban

Ryan Urban is the Co-Founder and CEO at Wunderkind. Under Ryan’s leadership, Wunderkind has been ranked number one overall for both employee retention and career development by ComputerWorld, named one of the best places to work in NYC by Crain’s New York, and honored as one of Fortune’s best places to work.

  • LinkedIn Icon