Email marketing is a dialogue.

A conversation between one brand and one consumer.

It is a conversation which can seem a bit one-sided at times but is a conversation nonetheless. And, in almost every case, the onus of keeping the conversation going falls squarely upon the shoulders of the brand.

But who wants to have a conversation with someone who doesn’t listen?

Nobody.

Which is why it behooves brands to learn how to be better listeners.

In these times of short attention spans and inboxes filled to capacity, relevance is king. It is the most effective tool at the marketer’s disposal to cut through the noise and make a human connection that transcends the inbox.

But how can this be accomplished in an email? How can a brand demonstrate that it is paying attention and that it has something of value – something relevant to the very real needs of the consumer – to offer?

Behavior-triggered emails may hold the answer.

According to data compiled by the Jupiter Research Group, sending marketing emails based on user actions increases open rates by 35%, and more than doubles conversion rates when compared with the performance of traditional marketing emails.

Those are impressive numbers.

But to see the real benefit of behavior-triggered emails, we must look beyond shortsighted metrics like opens and clicks, and toward customer relationship management (CRM) and customer lifetime value (CLV).

As we’ve said, nobody wants to have a conversation with someone who doesn’t listen.

Brands that practice poor listening skills and fall flat as conversationalists will be rewarded with high unsubscribe rates and repeated trips to the “spam” folder.

Which is a shame, because implementing behavior-triggered emails into your email marketing strategy might be less complicated than you think.

To get you started, here are 7 types of behavior-triggered emails every email marketer should start making use of immediately (if they’re not already):

1. Welcome

Welcome emails are important. They formalize the dialogue between brand and consumer at the peak of their excitement with what the brand has to offer. They also let the user know that their interest/purchase has not gone unnoticed. This can be essential in building the relationship between marketer and subscriber, be it with someone who has already made their first purchase or someone who has merely expressed interest in a product or service.

But the process shouldn’t end there.

A well-crafted onboarding process for new subscribers can pay dividends in both the short term and throughout the customer lifecycle. Depending on the product or service on offer, this onboarding process can encompass many different types of onboarding email correspondence.

For example, retailers might send out a “thanks for subscribing” email, further information about products the subscriber may be interested in, or even a “get started” discount.

Offering a discounted rate for first-time buyers can quickly move a prospect along the sales funnel and create a much-needed incentive to buy.

Such emails are ideal for prospects who have shown a keen interest but failed to make a purchase. The small loss of revenue associated with the discounted price is likely to pay off in the long run, as the sender has (presumably) just added a high-quality subscriber to their mailing list.

2. Post-Purchase

Once a purchase has been made, keeping the email dialogue going can become even more important.

Post-purchase emails can serve several different purposes:

  1. Keeping the customer apprised of how his/her order is progressing (eg. order confirmation, shipping confirmation, and delivery confirmation emails)
  2. Provide additional key information about the purchased product (eg. Instructional information, maintenance/care instruction emails)
  3. Check up on customer satisfaction for the purposes of quality control and path to purchase streamlining (eg. product quality check or customer satisfaction survey emails)

3. Account Summary/Milestone

Particularly for brands offering a service (banks, marketing services, etc.), regular reports can be a very useful email marketing tool. This is true not only because they reflect the positive benefits of the service (“look how much your account has grown!”), but also because they are highly likely to be opened, and thus present an excellent opportunity to market other products/services your brand may offer.

Recognizing customer milestones is beneficial for similar reasons, as well as because they demonstrate that your brand is paying attention to the subscriber and their progress.

4. Status Alert/Notification

Sending relevant alert and notification emails serves two purposes: First, it is an act of courtesy, demonstrating that a brand still has an interest in making sure that the customer has a positive experience, and second as a means to extend the email marketing dialogue.

Such alerts and notifications can be industry-specific, like a flight schedule change notification, or product-specific, like an updated product price or a new related accessory product on offer.

In cases like a product which was out of stock when a customer attempted to purchase it followed up with an “item back in stock!” email, the benefits of such emails are pretty self-explanatory.

5. Abandoned Cart/Browse

Abandoned carts can be infuriating for marketers. So can abandoned browsing sessions. To come so close to a potential conversion only to have it slip through your fingers for reasons you don’t fully understand is, quite simply, a frustrating outcome.

But all is not lost! A well-timed and well-crafted abandoned cart email can bring that sale back from the dead.

Who knows why that cart or browsing session was abandoned? Maybe an emergency came up, maybe the kids wanted their lunch, maybe the prospect just got distracted. Sending an email reminding the prospect that they forgot to complete their purchase could be just the ticket to closing the sale.

6. Re-engagement/Win-Back

People are busy these days. Also: attention spans are shrinking. In the digital age, it is easy to get lost in the shuffle. The all-encompassing passion with which a consumer is researching your product today can fade to a distant memory in a matter of hours.

But don’t cry. Reminding a subscriber you haven’t heard from in a while why they fell in love with you in the first place could rekindle that fire. Even if the odds of getting someone to re-engage with your brand is slim, it’s still worth a try, right?

7. Product/Content Suggestions

If someone bought one product from your brand, maybe they’ll buy others! Following up the purchase of a product or service with emails offering similar/related products or services should be a no-brainer for any brand using email marketing.

Such emails are a great way to make the most of an open dialogue with a satisfied customer who can often be expected to purchase again.

 

Recovering lost sales and customers, re-engaging subscribers, and building robust customer relationships are just a few of the important benefits of behavior-triggered emails for brands and marketers.

Beyond the types of behavior-triggered emails we’ve just covered, there are many more. Each industry, product, and service should have its own custom-made schedule of such emails to maximize the revenue potential of the email dialogue and build the kinds of customer relationships which stand the test of time.