Triggered emails are key to A LOT of online brands and retailers, especially when it comes to delivering helpful marketing that maintains engagement with customers, keeping your brand front of mind and, in most cases, driving customers to convert or complete a purchase.
But what are they?
Triggered emails help businesses deliver personalized, real-time content to shoppers at the moment they are most likely to convert.
These types of emails used in email marketing are usually triggered by an individual's activity, not sent as part of a scheduled send - so a large part of their content is likely to be very topical and timely.
Types of triggered emails
Here are 5 popular types of triggered emails.
1) Cart and browse abandonment emails
These are the best “quick wins” for triggered messaging within marketing automation. Cart abandonment is when a shopper adds an item to their cart but leaves the site before completing their purchase, while browse abandonment is when a shopper abandons a browsing session without taking any further actions on the site.
These shoppers are sent a personalized reminder email - including details of the items they carted or browsed - encouraging them to visit the website again as part of your eCommerce marketing strategy.
This means more customers will complete the purchase on your site, rather than starting again with a Google search for the product they found, and possibly buying from your competitor.
The average Fresh Relevance client sees a 13% sales uplift with cart and browse abandonment emails.
Here's a cart abandonment email example from Markwins Beauty Brands. The cosmetics retailer follows best practice by including details of the items that the shopper abandoned. They also highlight the free shipping spending threshold, helping to increase the AOV.
2) Account creation emails
These types of triggered emails can be a great way for customers to track their order history, and a welcome email or transactional email can make for an easier checkout experience.
3) Back in stock notification
Back in stock alerts target shoppers who have browsed out-of-stock products which are now back-in-stock. This type of email within your digital marketing campaign helps turn a potentially frustrating customer experience into a positive one.
4) Post-purchase program
This is a sequence of emails within your email marketing campaign that are triggered after a shopper makes a purchase, providing useful content related to their recent purchase and related product recommendations.
5) Replenishment emails
Using these email marketing tools triggered after the purchase of consumable products (such as vitamins and pet food), sent around the time that a typical customer might need to re-order to boost customer retention.
Other triggered emails include:
- Complete your profile reminder
- Booking/order confirmation
- Coupon/discount incentive to buy again
How to avoid sending too many triggered emails
No matter what type of triggered email functionality you're using or for what purpose, there is always one common denominator as to why they're being deployed - customer to brand interaction: you want your (potential) customers to engage with you repeatedly. However, there's a fine balance between sending good, informative communications and spamming when using marketing automation.
With customers now receiving multiple emails from a multitude of brands' and retailers' email marketing campaigns, you need to be mindful of not only the content and timeliness of your emails, but also the volume of emails you're sending them.
How many emails could a customer receive from your brand in a given week? Is it 4? 5? Maybe more? Do all customers need to be included in all comms? Should you exclude ‘active' customers from generic bulk activity?
All of this is made easier to control and define in Fresh Relevance by using customer data through a variety of tools:
- Remarketing suppression timeframes - by default we don't allow sending of more than one email every 24hrs to customers (this setting can be changed)
- Use of marketing rules to add a hierarchy to your triggered emails, for example ‘has not received a Cart Abandon email in the last week'
- Importing or using segments to have the ability to include or exclude customers from receiving certain triggered emails
Trying to drive those all-important interactions with customers can prove fruitless if you just ‘add to the noise' or end up in their spam folder because you haven't followed marketing suppression best practice (one marketing email a day is more than enough).
3 ways to optimize your triggered emails
So, when is the best time to send a customer an email and what should you be sending them? Well, it varies depending on your customer-base, brand affinity, products, purchase value etc. We may not have the exact answer but fortunately with Fresh Relevance you can test email timings, number of emails, and even the content in them with our Optimize Center.
Here are some of our top considerations for getting your triggered emails right:
1) Considering delay and wait times for emails
When has a customer truly abandoned their cart or browse session? In some instances with clients, we've seen that a shorter wait time actually increases conversions and sales uplift. So replicating your trigger programs and then adjusting the wait times to test against one another will really help you find the sweet spot for your email cadences.
> Test Stage 1 wait time: 20mins vs. 30mins or 30mins vs. 60mins
> Test Stage 2 wait time: 24hrs vs. 36hrs or 24hrs vs. 48hrs
2) Considering the number of email stages
Some shoppers occasionally want to sleep on a purchase, especially if it's an expensive or one-off buy. Others will try to wait for a coupon. Many simply get distracted or are still shopping around when that first abandonment email arrives. There's potential for sales uplift of up to 21% by adding multiple stages.
> Test number of stages: 1 email vs. 2 emails or 2 emails vs. 3 emails
> Test coupon/discount at different stages: Stage 1, Stage 2 or Stage 3
3) Considering subject line, email content, layout, design etc.
Mixing up your subject lines, layout, putting CTAs in different positions, or changing CTA colors in your email marketing can help draw in the customer's attention, especially if they've seen the same or similar emails from you over a period of time. Also, consider the content of the 2nd stage or 3rd stage email to be more informative and brand awareness-driven as opposed to salesy - if a customer hasn't converted after 2nd stage or 3rd stage they might not be ready to buy from you.
> Test subject line: Short and snappy vs. including name or product personalization
> Test content: Browsed/carted products only vs. including recommendations or informative brand content
One last thing to bear in mind when looking to test and trial different things is to make sure you keep the variables to a minimum so you can truly gauge what's working best.
Also, remember that this isn't an exact science and there isn't a ‘one size fits all' approach - different customers, segments, brands and messaging will often produce quite different results.
Learn more about getting started with triggered emails and finding the right technology to help you succeed with our Triggered Email Buyer’s Guide.