5 tips for successful action-prompted emails

By Scott Roth and Katrina Willis

A triggered email is any message sent to an individual based on the occurrence of an event (or a non-event). Consider one of our favorite examples — the “Birthday Club” email. On your Big Day, you receive an email message from your favorite restaurant offering a 20 percent discount on your dinner tab. You click through the email to the restaurant website, make an online reservation and receive a return email confirming a table for your party of six.

That scenario involved two triggered emails — the initial Birthday Club email automatically triggered by date, and the confirmation email triggered by the action you took on the website. The interaction was seamless for the recipient — and for you as a marketer. That’s quite possibly the best thing about triggered emails: They keep working for you, even when you’re not thinking about them.

If you haven’t yet incorporated triggered email into your business plan, it’s time to start. You’ll discover it’s well worth the front-end effort to experience the back-end benefit.

As email has evolved (see “Say goodbye to mass emailing“), subscribers have developed new expectations. They expect to receive a confirmation email after they purchase a product (or book a reservation). They expect to hear from you as soon as their item has shipped. Don’t disappoint them with an untimely delay — or worse yet, no response at all.

The following tips will help you think about triggered emails differently. Consider these the initial steps toward a well-rounded, fully functioning triggered email marketing campaign.

1. Think “response”
Triggered email can refer to a variety of scenarios; from password reminders to shopping cart abandonment to whitepaper downloads. The key to using triggered email effectively is to identify points of interaction with your business and prepare pre-defined responses to different scenarios. Start with simple interactions first, and then begin looking for areas where a little customer service can impact your business — and your bottom line.

2. Take control and free IT
Your IT department has coding to do. Take control of your one-to-one communications and free IT from the email grip. It’s easy with a program that gives you visibility into marketing campaigns and allows you to make changes on the fly to improve subscriber response. You can pause, change and restart your email marketing campaign without missing a beat. No IT intervention necessary.

3. Get them close
Research consistently shows that reducing the number of clicks required to take action on your site increases responsiveness. For example, instead of linking to a general product landing page, link to a page in your triggered email message that highlights the accessories directly related to a recently purchased product. 

4. Seize the opportunity
Emails triggered in response to website activity are highly anticipated by subscribers. Take advantage of getting in front of customers by offering an upsell, advertising a promotion or presenting a marketing call-to-action. Think of the wildly successful Amazon.com approach — “if you enjoyed this, you might like this.” Just make sure your marketing offer doesn’t overshadow your triggered message.

5. Look at the big picture
It’s easy to get caught up in the minutia of your triggered campaign reporting. Start measuring your triggered email effectiveness by looking at aggregate results. Is your overall campaign contributing incremental revenue or leads? Are your customer service calls decreasing?

Effective triggered campaigns keep subscribers engaged and make continued contributions to your bottom line. You can’t beat a program that keeps working while you sleep! You owe it to yourself, your subscribers and your bottom line to automate your digital communications plan with triggered email.

Source: http://www.imediaconnection.com/content/19653.asp

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