Are Triggered Emails Your Biggest Missed Opportunity?

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

email-marketing-conceptWhen business owners and marketers talk about email marketing, they normally think of email newsletters and coupons to customers. However, thinking this way can lead to missed opportunities. Retailers often send their customers automated emails for a variety of purposes. Recent research has shown that these triggered emails get a lot of attention from consumers.

A study from Epsilon found that though triggered emails only accounted for 3.9 percent of total email volume in the third quarter of 2014, they get opened and clicked more than traditional marketing messages. Though it requires nuance, there are ways that marketers can use these automated emails as extra chances to build their brand.

“Consumers demand that brands provide them with information they want and need when they need it,” said Shannon Aronson, the Vice President of Customer Experience Design at Epsilon in an interview with Loyalty360. “This is the mantra all marketers have been saying for years—trigger emails make this much more possible.”

The study found that the open rates of triggered emails were 76.7 percent higher than other types of marketing emails in the third quarter of 2014, up from 68.6 percent from the same time in 2013.

The researchers also noted that click through rates of triggered emails were 151.9 percent higher than other types of marketing emails during the third quarter of 2014, though this percentage was down slightly from the previous year. Regardless, the data shows that triggered emails get noticed.

The reason for these trends are easy enough to understand and this is something that marketers can use to their advantage. People open these emails because they contain useful information about their orders from a website. They normally contain useful information about estimated delivery dates, tracking numbers, and a receipt. So it’s understandable that triggered emails have high open and click through rates.

Marketers can take advantage of triggered emails in multiple ways. The first thing happens before the email even goes out. When customers are filling out their information on the website, include a box where they can agree to sign up for traditional marketing messages. Consumers who are shopping on a site would be welcome to receiving special offers from the retailers later.

Marketers can also include coupons and other offers on the triggered email. As the data indicated, people are open triggered emails, so including a coupon off their next purchase gives it a better chance of being  seen by the consumer than if the coupon was sent in an email by itself.

Triggered emails are also a good way to get reviews from customers. As was mentioned in a previous article on this site, Gmail has added a feature that will let business owners collect reviews directly from the emails they send customers. Even if the marketer is unable to get an additional sale from the customer, getting them to give a review will help the retailer get more customers in the future.

One of the best companies that use triggered emails for marketing is Amazon. When a person buys something from Amazon, they get several triggered emails over the couple of weeks. The first email gives the confirms the order and tells them how to track it. Though it’s a farily standard practice, these confirmations build customer confidence in the online retailer they just gave their money to.

The second email reminds the customer of the estimated delivery date and suggests other items they might want to buy based on other users who bought the same item. The Amazon system does a good job at selecting items customers may want to buy based on previous shopping habits, so this second round of triggered emails can generate more sales.

After the consumer receives the product, Amazon sends an automated email to confirm that the package should have arrived and to solicit a customer review on the product they just got. This is good because it makes it seem like the company cares (even though there’s little need for them to ask the customer if the package arrived since they can easily track the delivery status on their own).

Asking people for reviews soon after they get a product is also wise because people are usually enamored with things when they first get them, but haven’t had time to learn any of the flaws. And people who just get a item they wanted are usually excited and want to tell others about it. So the timing of the request couldn’t be better.

As the data from Episilon and the example of Amazon show, automatically triggered emails can be more than just functional. Besides giving customers valuable information about their order status, they provide an excellent opportunity for additional marketing for customer you know are already willing to buy.

For more information on how email marketing can help grow your business, read this article on why business owners should never stop using email marketing.


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