Sephora embedding augmented reality into their app so shoppers can see exactly how cosmetics will look like on them. Walmart putting produce on the blockchain. eBay rolling out a chatbot that’s just as helpful and schmoozy as a human sales associate. We constantly write about the way brands use cutting-edge technology to differentiate themselves. In this industry, it’s all too easy to fall victim to Shiny Object Syndrome.
One side effect of that common affliction is not paying attention to the tried and true, if less sexy, forms of marketing technology. Of course, that’s a thinly-veiled reference to email.
According to the Data & Marketing Association (D&MA), email marketing has a median ROI of 122%, four times higher than any other channel. Last month, Yes Lifecycle Marketing surveyed 1,000 consumers and found that 47% prefer to receive messages from brands via email. That shows that email marketing is so lucrative because consumers are actually receptive to it. But only when it’s good.
It’s often not, as evidenced by the crap that makes it to your inbox. (I can’t be the only person seemingly unable to opt out of marketing messages from airports where I connected to the WiFi once four years ago, right?) On the other hand, triggered messages show how good email marketing could be.
Countless studies have shown that people are most receptive to personalized marketing. Triggered messages lend themselves well to personalization because they’re generally based on a consumer’s behavior, rather than a batch-and-blast. They also account for more than three-quarters of email revenue, according to the D&MA. Here’s a breakdown of five common varieties:
Welcome emails have an unusually high open rate and drive even more revenue. 320% more, according to Easy-STMP. It makes sense. These triggered messages are in response to someone taking an action, like signing up for your email list or downloading your app. People want to hear from you. Welcome emails are your chance to make a good first impression. Don’t blow it by being the digital version of the sales associate who greets you as you walk in and goes promptly back on their phone.
Dollar Shave Club does this extremely well. The grooming subscription service’s onboarding process involves a questionnaire about your appearance and grooming habits. From there, Dollar Shave Club is able to better personalize recommendations, and not, say, suggest pomade to a bald guy.
If signing up for your mailing list wasn’t enough of a clue, the purchase clears it up. They like you. A good post-purchase message could cement that. Instead of sending a generic purchase confirmation, thank the customer, especially if you want them to do something, like leave a review. Or you know, buy something else.
Post-purchase emails don’t have to happen immediately, either. Brands with consumable products often go the replenishment route, like Lancôme reminding you that you’ll probably run out of foundation soon.
Abandonment triggered messages
Cart abandonment emails are crucial because unfortunately for you, the overwhelming majority of online shopping carts are abandoned, especially those full of clothing. If they create a seamless experience—deep linking to right to the cart, for example—they can be incredibly effective. SaleCycle found that 48% are opened and a third of those lead to a sale.
A similar triggered message is the cart abandonment email’s cousin, the browse abandonment email. They’re tricky to pull off because while browsing does indicate interest, it has potential to be really off-putting. Tiffany & Co. nails browse abandonment, avoiding seeming intrusive by acknowledging that they noticed you noticing them.
Unfortunately for marketers, “doing nothing” is also a pretty common consumer behavior. As a result, one popular triggered message are the re-engagement emails sent to those people who haven’t opened your emails or shopped in a while. It’s cheaper to re-engage a lapsed customer than a acquire a new one, right?
Seamless does a great job here. Maybe you learned to cook, but the brand doesn’t know that. If something Seamless did turned you off, there’s a link to a survey so you can provide feedback. Seamless can then try to make it up to you and win back your business.
Milestone emails differ from the previous triggered messages because they’re more proactive than reactive. They’re prompted by an event rather than a behavior, such as an anniversary or a promotion to another tier in your loyalty program.
Birthday emails are probably the most common of the milestone triggered messages. They can help build loyalty because people love getting birthday wishes; just ask Facebook. But they can also bring that loyalty to fruition with another sale. Especially if you include a discount like Bloomingdale’s does.