Pulling the Trigger on Trigger-Based Campaigns

Posted by Bonnie Malone on

As every marketer continues on the quest for higher response and ROI, triggered campaigns centered around website behaviors (previous purchases, abandoned carts, browse history, etc) are becoming more and more popular due to their high subscriber relevancy and response. However, in the whirlwind to implement such high impact programs, it’s easy to lose focus on the subscriber experience. To truly optimize results, and foster your relationship with the subscriber, keep these three tips in mind:

  • Be thorough in writing business rules to guide the program. Although I’m sure the marketer had only the best of intentions, I recently received a Spring-themed email, with “personalized offers” for Christmas ornaments! If they would have considered seasonal goods in their business rules, I never would have received the odd, disjointed message – or better yet, they would have recognized my interest in seasonal holiday products and sent similarly related Spring items. A missed opportunity to wow the subscriber.
  • Remember to set frequency limits. One company recently promoted a sweepstakes through their email program. In one week, I received two regular promotional campaigns, but because I registered for the sweepstakes, also received the exact same sweepstakes email five times. Seven campaigns in seven days were overwhelming and disengaging. They could have tested to determine the ideal mix of promotional and triggered campaigns. Then, set frequency limits and prioritized campaign types to best manage the subscriber experience.
  • Don’t forget about recency. The reason behavior-based campaigns work so well is due to their timeliness and relevance. One company makes it “convenient” to reorder by sending a list of every item I ever ordered from them, twice a month, regardless of whether or not I’ve made a purchase. This type of “shopping list” email could be helpful, if used as a gentle reorder reminder for replenishable goods, due to lapsed buying activity. However, in this case, the static content promoting items that I have often just purchased, has a negative conditioning effect on response.

Like most great email marketing ideas, the best tip of all is to start small and slow. Instead of creating a huge, complicated program that will be difficult to execute and hard to get resources for, start with a tiny piece. Figure out a common behavior that would be easy to trigger a message off of and then create just that message. Follow the tips here, measure the results then lather, rinse, repeat. Soon you’ll find that you’ve created a response-driving, trigger-based email program with seemingly no effort.

Want more great email marketing strategy ideas? Email me – I’d love to brainstorm with you.


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About Bonnie Malone

Bonnie is passionate about excellent customer experience. With a background in marketing, merchandise buying, and retail management, she helps companies stay relevant amid the changing digital landscape. Bonnie leads the knowledge and consulting teams at Return Path, the global leader in email deliverability. She is an active Email Experience Council committee member, featured speaker for events, and writes monthly for the Return Path blog and TotalRetail.

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