10 Types of Triggered Email Marketing Campaigns (and How to Use Them)

The value of triggered email marketing campaigns to engage and retain consumers has been proven time and again, yet many retailers are not yet taking advantage of its potential.

The results of a recent study of retailers, which was reported on by Laurie Sullivan at Email Marketing Daily, indicated that only about a third of respondents said they have been sending reactive, triggered emails for two years or more, and 22% of respondents are not sending any type of triggered emails at all. These are surprising findings because retailers who do use triggered emails report that they achieve click-through rates of 56%, open rates of 50%, and on-site conversions and purchase completions of 44%.

“Triggered emails are some of the most effective ways to use email marketing automation,” writes Kevin Ho, at Wishpond. ‘When compared to a plain email drip campaign, triggered email marketing can mean higher engagement, higher click through rates, increased customer retention and increased overall customer and lead satisfaction.”

Ho encourages marketers to use triggered emails “for onboarding, lead nurturing and to optimize your conversion process. Remember, the more that you know about your users, the better you can cater to their specific needs, based on exactly where they are within your sales funnel. Using trigger-based emails you’ll be able to cut down on the total number of emails you’re sending, while increasing their overall impact.”

Douglas Karr writes on the MarTec Blog that “if you’re an email marketer, you should be working to incorporate as many types of triggered emails you can to increase engagement, acquisition, retention and upsell opportunities.”

“Because triggered email campaigns are behaviorally targeted and timed when a subscriber is expecting them, they achieve superior results when compared to business as usual (BAU) email campaigns like newsletters,” Karr writes. Those results include 197% higher open rates, 203-percent higher click-to-open rates and 406% higher click-through rates.

10 types of triggered emails

He describes ten types of triggered emails that he considers effective at creating and nurturing engagement with customers:

  1. Welcome – This message “sets” the new relationship and provides guidance for the behavior you wish to establish.
  2. Onboarding – These messages provide a “push” to new subscribers to help them set up their account or begin utilizing your platform or store.
  3. Early activation – These messages are designed to entice not-yet engaged subscribers to become active with your brand.
  4. Reactivation – These messages reengage subscribers who haven’t responded or clicked through within the purchase cycle.
  5. Remarketing – These messages, which are also known as “abandoned shopping cart” messages, “continue to drive the most conversions for email marketers, especially in the e-commerce space,” Karr writes.
  6. Transactional – These are messages regarding purchase confirmations, back orders, shipping confirmations and returns or refunds, etc.
  7. Account notifications – These messages inform consumers of changes to their account, like password updates, changes to email, profile changes, etc.
  8. Personal events – These are messages pertaining to birthdays, anniversaries, and other personal milestones.
  9. Milestone – These messages offer congratulations to subscribers that have reached a specific milestone with your brand.
  10. Real-time triggers – These are weather, location, and event-based triggers that facilitate deeper engagement with your prospects or customers.

Creating and implementing an email campaign that uses automated triggered messages can be a rather daunting proposition, but the potential results make navigating a steep learning curve worthwhile.

“At its core, triggered emails are simple,” writes Ho. “But they can quickly become complex as you start to stack the amount of specific conditions required to trigger an email.” To help get newbies started, Ho has compiled six examples of “real-life trigger-based emails” that can serve as “an entry point into the world of triggered emails.” He shares a welcome message, a “getting set-up” message, an empty queue message, two shopping cart abandonment messages and an inactivity message.

Start using triggered email marketing campaigns today

“Not sure where to start?” asks Chris Frasier at Click Z. “If email marketing automation is new to your business, start small,” he suggests. “Automate a single part of your total program, so that you can more easily test and analyze changes in opens, clicks and conversions. Continue to test and optimize regularly to maximize revenue-generating opportunities. You may need to adjust series cadence, creative, copy, promotions and offers, or content.”

And it turns out that right now might be the best time of year to get started with triggered messages, because they can help you capture sales that you have missed during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Or so writes Heike Young at Business 2 Community. “Take down the holiday design elements; it’s time for a new year,” she suggests.

“Set up triggered emails so customers are notified if a product in their holiday wish list comes back in stock. Offer recommendations for products that would perfectly accompany what customers received over the holidays.”