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How to Start a Triggered Email Campaign

You can’t always know when someone abandons a shopping cart to send them an email to follow up. Triggered email campaigns can do the work for you and help increase sales.

Connecting with a customer at the right moment can be the difference between getting the sale and not getting it. By sending what’s called a triggered email at the trigger of a specific event, you can increase the likelihood of a sale, and even increase the sale amount.

Triggered emails are automated within your email marketing system, and can be sent when:

  • A website visitor abandons his shopping cart
  • A customer has a birthday (with a special offer)
  • Someone buy a specific product (with a discount on a different product)
  • A client’s membership is up for renewal

You can schedule your email program to send trigger emails only when these events occur, or set them up as regularly scheduled emails (for, say, a customer’s birthday, or a few days before).

What Do You Want Out of the Campaign?

Before you start sending annoying emails, consider what you’re trying to do. If a visitor abandoned his shopping cart, you might want to either entice him to go back to your site to complete the purchase (if so, be sure to offer a good discount in the email) or you might want to know the reason he didn’t complete his purchase. In that case, you could send a short survey that lets him click on one of several reasons for shopping cart abandonment. That can help you tweak your site or prices accordingly for future customers.

If you’re sending an email once someone has created an account, your goal might be to give a bit of info on your site and the services/products you provide. A birthday email might be to remind a customer that you’re here at a time when she’s got a little money to spend.

It’s fine to have different goals for different types of trigger emails. Just provide incentive enough to get the recipient to take action and buy. A 5% discount might not be enough to stimulate a $10 sale, but on the other hand, a 25% discount or more might encourage someone who abandoned a shopping cart on a $10 product to upgrade to $30 or more.

Mapping it Out

Try this exercise. Map out the process a customer has from the first time she visits your site. It might look like this:

  1. Add items to shopping cart
  2. Create an account
  3. Complete purchase

or

  1. Create account for membership
  2. Use services each month
  3. Renew membership annually

With this map, insert opportunities you have to send a trigger email.

  1. 1. Add items to shopping cart
  2. 2. Create an account
  3. 3. Send welcome email
  4. 4. Complete purchase
  5. 5. Send order confirmation
  6. 6. One week later follow up with survey on product
  7. 7. One month later send coupon for 25% off purchase
  1. 1. Create account for membership
  2. 2. Send welcome email
  3. 3. One week later send coupon
  4. 4. Use services each month
  5. 5. Each month, send special offer on different service
  6. 6. Renew membership annually
  7. 7. 30 days before renewal, send special offer for upgraded membership
  8. 8. 10 day before renewal, send another offer
  9. 9. After renewal send 25% off coupon

Why Trigger

Trigger emails like this example make customers feel like you’re paying attention to them, and are more likely to respond immediately. They can keep a customer who might have abandoned his cart because he didn’t want to spend too much money when you send a trigger email with a special offer.

Trigger emails can also serve as an introduction to your brand upon creating an account. People often keep these emails as quick reference on how to contact your company.

You can also increase sales by sending emails cross selling or upselling your products. If people are already buying your products, they’re much more likely to buy different products, especially if they have been presented with a customized special offer.

Test out a few different trigger email versions to see which gets the best response from customers.

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