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Including Trigger Emails in Your Email Marketing Strategies

There are all sorts of reasons to send an email message to your customers or prospects.  You could be alerting them to a new product or service, following up on a purchase, or responding to an inquiry. The chart below summarizes the types of email messages B2B and B2C companies sent in February 2011 based on a percentage of respondents.

Source: Multichannel Merchant

According to the survey, while traditional email messages, such as promotional and transactional, make up the bulk of those sent by companies, “a growing percentage are using trigger emails such as birthday messages or cart abandonment follow-ups, with just more than 20% indicating that this was a practice they’ve done more frequently in the past year.” 

What’s the benefit of sending these types of trigger emails when considering new email marketing strategies?  In the age of analytics, companies have much of this information available, so why not put it to use?  On the other side, companies are realizing that these types of trigger emails show the prospect that you are interested in them.  Everyone loves when someone remembers their birthday, or if you thank them for their continued patronage of your business. As a result, they are more likely to think of you when they need the product or service that you provide.

So what types of email messages can be categorized as “trigger emails”? Bronto Software’s Online Marketing Manager Sally Lowery defines a trigger email as, “a message generated based on a meaningful change or event in a customer behavior or profile.”  Examples can include a welcome message after a prospects opts-in to an offer, order emails, shipment confirmations, request for feedback or a product/service review, birthday emails, cart abandonment notifications, or a promotional email based on products or services the recipient recently showed interest in.

Trigger emails can be easily added to your overall email marketing strategy, and you’ll be adding another degree of personalization to your customer interactions.


The Advantages of Using An Email Marketing Specialist

For marketers with a limited budget, email marketing can look quite attractive. Email is inexpensive to produce, and specialized equipment is not required. However, you run the risk of not conveying the same level of professionalism that you express in your print media if you don’t have the necessary experience and expertise. It might be worth your while to hire an email marking specialist to ensure that your message is conveyed clearly and delivered properly to your prospects.

A big difference between print messages and email messages is how they are viewed. Print media is viewed however you print it, so you are in control of its appearance. On the other hand, email messages can be viewed on a computer monitor, a tablet computer, or on a smart phone, so the message can appear very different depending on the device that its being read on. An email marketing specialist can design the appearance of an email message to ensure that it is effective in any form.

A specialist can also assist you in developing a personalization strategy for your email marketing. Your email messages can contain specific graphics, information, and offers that are based on the demographics and other information associated with each customer. Recipients are more likely to open email from companies that they trust who provide them with value. Research from GI Insight shows that 53% of the British public feel that almost all the emails they receive from companies and organizations is not relevant to them.

Finally, an email marketing specialist can help you ensure that your email marketing campaign is delivered on time and reduce the probability that yours messages are marked as spam by Internet service providers. They can also help you keep your database accurate and clean by reporting non-deliverable email addresses and opt-outs.


Making the Most of Permission Email Marketing

Email marketing is an integral part of many marketing campaigns today.  It’s inexpensive to produce and you can reach a large group of people quickly.  However, due to the volume of email that people receive, many are becoming numb to or irritated by unsolicited email. 

In an article on Gannett’s website, it’s stated perfectly, “Responsible email marketing is hinged on permission-based deployments.”  If your prospect did not give you specific permission to contact him via email, chances are your message will be deleted without being read, or worse, be marked as spam.

Permission email marketing hinges on your customers opting-in to your marketing campaign.  This can be done when your customer registers on your web site, or can be included as a check box when the customer orders from you.  For retail establishments, the customer could fill out a paper form on your check out counter.  In any case, the customer gives you express permission to contact them via email when they opt-in.

However, once you have a list of customers and prospects who have given you permission to contact them, it’s not enough just to send generic messages to the whole list.  Permission email marketing requires the same planning, design, and personalization used in other media.  The Direct Marketing Association (UK) recently reported the results of a survey by GI Insight, stating that, “53 per cent of those questioned did not believe the emails they received from brands were relevant to them.” 

The same databases that allow companies to tailor messages to each recipient in direct mail can be applied to email marketing as well, and in fact it’s even easier, because the printing part of the equation is not required.  You can create email messages that include information on products and services that are relevant to the specific individual, and this customization will make the recipient more likely to consistently open your email and click through for more information.


B2B Email Marketing Strategies

A recently released survey by shows that 68% of B2B marketers intend to increase their budgets for email marketing in 2011 over the previous year.  This level of increase was second only to website investment, showing the power that B2B email marketing has. 

While marketing managers love email marketing because it is inexpensive, it is also less likely to be read and acted upon.  Email marketing, like traditional direct mail marketing, can provide the highest levels of benefits when the messages are targeted to the recipients and contain useful information.

A B2B audience requires a totally different approach than for B2C marketing.  When developing an email marketing campaign for a B2B audience, your messages should have the same tone as they would in a face to face meeting; i.e. professional and concise.  Graphics should be simple and your message should be clear, so your recipients can quickly glean your intentions from your content “above the fold” in the message. 

Embedded hyperlinks for more information will allow your recipients to easily navigate to your website, and you can create targeted landing pages specifically for your recipients to visit. Furthermore, analytics will help you determine what is catching the eyes of your prospects.

One of the trends we saw in 2010 that will continue into 2011 is the integration of multiple marketing media into a cohesive strategy, and email marketing is an important link between direct mail, web marketing, social media, and other advertising methods.  Your email approach should mesh with your other media methods in terms of design and feel, as well as message, to avoid confusing your prospects.  This particularly applies to B2B email marketing where you already know who you want as your customers, so you can build an approach to develop a relationship with those prospects.

Email is a great springboard for your prospects to interact with you, whether it’s on your website, in person, or through social media channels.  People are more interested in doing business with companies they trust, and this is true for B2B relationships as well.


Email Marketing Strategy: How Much is Too Much?

One of the factors when developing an email marketing strategy is determining the frequency of sending email to your prospects.  You of course want to keep your prospects up to date on your products and service offerings, but too many mailings could irritate your potential customers.

Brian Massey of Conversion Scientist recently released the results of an “extreme email experiment”, where they chose a section of their mailing list to receive daily emails over a period of two weeks.  The content of these emails linked to articles on the Conversion Scientist website.  The results are interesting, in that there was a significant increase in the percent of click throughs from the emails, but also a significant increase in the percentage of recipients unsubscribing from the email list.

The optimal frequency of contact between you and your email list recipients will vary depending on the information you have to offer and the perceived value of that information to the recipients.  If you have enough quality information to provide to your list recipients on a daily basis, then your recipients will value that information.  However, if you’re sending the same information each time, it may be time to scale back your frequency to weekly touches.

The bottom line is that analytics can help you gauge the success of your email marketing strategy.  If you’re looking to refine your list to more qualified leads, a slight increase in unsubscribes may be acceptable.  However, if you see a significant increase in unsubscribes without an increase in clickthroughs or conversions, it may be time to review the frequency that you send out email.