There are many ways to drive business goals using email marketing. But triggered emails are a particularly powerful tool to influence your audiences to act.

Check out these statistics:

If you haven’t already started using triggered emails as part of your marketing strategy, now’s the time to start.

What are Triggered Emails?

Triggered emails are automatic messages that you send out when your prospects or customers take certain actions. It’s possible to deliver a more relevant and timely marketing message when you trigger emails based on site behavior and other data.

There are many different types of triggered emails you can send out to meet specific marketing and sales goals. Some popular types of triggered emails include:

  • Welcome emails for new subscribers
  • Order confirmations
  • Thank-you emails for someone who makes a purchase, downloads a lead magnet, or takes another relevant action
  • Follow up emails to abandoned shopping carts
  • New product suggestions based on past purchase history
  • Special sales and rewards for your best customers
  • Re-Engagement emails for people who unsubscribe
  • And more

Here’s an example of a great abandoned cart email that also draws relevance from the holiday seasons to encourage conversions:

Take full advantage of triggered emails and they can help improve all sorts of business goals, such as driving conversions, nurturing leads, improving user experience, and more.

Quick Tips for Success With Triggered Emails

There are many different ways to use triggered emails to drive customers to action. Following a few simple tips can help you maximize the value of any kind of triggered email for your business.

Increase Segmentation for Triggered Emails

Segmenting your lists is an email marketing best practice. But if you want your triggered emails to be extra relevant and drive marketing goals, you need to segment in a granular way.

When first getting signups, it’s important to minimize form fields to encourage conversions. But down the road, you can collect more information about your audience to better segment them. You can segment your lists using a variety of data sources:

  • Onsite behavior— Track how leads behave when they visit your website. What blog content are they consuming? What sales pages do they visit? What lead magnets are they downloading?
  • Email behavior — Track and segment based on email engagement. Which topic/categories of emails are they reading and interacting with? Which email links are they clicking on?
  • Purchase behavior — What categories of products have they purchased from you in the past? Segment and deliver new product suggestions based on past purchase behavior.
  • Form fills — There are a lot of opportunities to capture more detailed information about your leads using form fills. Form fills can reveal a lot about a lead, like where they live, their job title, interests, or chosen persona.

Lead magnets and new customer onboarding content are a great way to get more detailed form fills. LinkedIn, for example, uses webinars, exclusive group access and other content to onboard their new customers and learn more about them:

Because adding additional fields reduces the likelihood a lead will fill out your form and give you their information, it’s recommended that contact forms include no more than four fields. This is where progressive profiling can help.

With progressive profiling, fields will only display if the info for that specific field is unknown. If you already have information for the lead, the field will be replaced with a field you have yet to collect, helping you collect more data without being overwhelming.

Using dynamic emails also allows you to further personalize your content and include info that’s specific to each lead. Dynamic content operates according to if-then rules. Triggered emails can be constructed so that, if condition A is true, then content A is inserted into the message; if A is not true, but B is true, then content B is used, and so on down the line.

For example, imagine a lead visits a marketing agency’s website and is presented a form featuring the services branding, website design, development, digital marketing, and creative services. If they choose website design, we would present website design content; if they chose creative services, we’d provide assisted creative services. As a result of the dynamic content, that email will be specific to the interest of that lead.

Time It Right

Just because an email is triggered doesn’t mean it should be sent out right after a potential customer takes action. Say someone’s browsing products at your eCommerce store and you send out an immediate trigger email recommending related products. You didn’t even give them enough time to potentially convert on their own. And the obvious indication that you’re tracking their behavior might put them off.

The right timing all depends on the type of triggered email. For example:

Email Type Timing
Abandoned cart 25 minutes – 4 hours after action
Order confirmations Immediate
New product suggestions based on past purchase history Weeks or months after action
Re-engagement emails  3-6 months after they stop opening your emails
Welcome emails Immediate

Here’s an example of a great re-engagement email from Return Path, which helps them clean up their email list and reduce churn:

Test and Optimize

Creating triggered emails that improve marketing performance is a careful balance. You don’t want to send out too many emails or put your audience off. To ensure your emails are optimized, measure the performance of each triggered email against the goals it’s designed to achieve. For example:

  1. Do your re-engagement emails help reduce churn? Do they help you understand more about why people unsubscribe?
  2. Do your abandoned cart emails bring customers back to purchase?
  3. Do your thank you and confirmation emails minimize customer support inquiries and provide new audience engagement opportunities?
  4. Are current customers taking advantage of your special sales and promotions?

If your triggered emails aren’t driving marketing goals the way you expected, there could be issues with your timing, frequency, or email message. Make necessary adjustments and see if it impacts email performance long term.

This is where A/B testing, also known as split testing can come in handy. Provide different versions of your email to statistically significant groups of subscribers allowing you to measure the effect each version has on your goals. Then, when you optimize your email marketing strategy you are working off of actual data, not just a hunch.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to A/B testing. Here are just a few ideas for changes to test:

  • Personalization in headline or body copy? Or a more generic email?
  • What time of day performs best?
  • What day of week performs best?
  • Length- short and sweet, or long and detailed?
  • Tone– Straightforward? Funny? Mysterious?
  • Offer in the subject line? In the copy? (Free v. percentage off, demo v. trial)
  • Call to Action – Buy now? Purchase Now? Add to Cart? Play around with various calls to action depending on your end goal.
  • Utilize Dynamic Lists you’ve created in the SharpSpring interface to take your testing a step further, and test specific variables with different segments.

Maximize the Value of Triggered Emails

There’s no denying that triggered emails are a powerful marketing tool. SharpSpring has a wide range of out-of-the-box triggers built right into its visual workflow builder. You can expand your trigger options even more by utilizing third-party tools like Zapier, which help to remove the technical barriers that might otherwise be necessary to set up these integrations.

These emails are more targeted, relevant, and timely than any other kind of email message. If you want to maximize the value of your business, take advantage of the many triggered email types available. Segment well, time it right, set limits, test and optimize. Then you’ll be on the road to success with triggered emails.

Gary Reinhard