E-mail marketing has come a long way since its inception. In the nascent stages, it was all about creating text-based e-mails and sending them to a list you had bought.
Today it is so much more refined. From intelligently designed graphics and key messages to carefully tailored nurturing programs, e-mail marketing is now a science where a user is led onto the journey of being a prospect to becoming a customer. And this is where marketers end up creating detailed flowcharts to map out all the e-mails that will be sent to different segments based on the defined user journey.
But what if the user is not following the same journey? We have all read and understood that every individual is different, yet here we are creating set rules based on user buying behaviors. The inherent flaw in this approach is that we are second guessing user behaviors based on our understanding of the market, but what if the user is following a different path?
The real world is not that straightforward, hence there is a need to tailor e-mail marketing to user behavior.
To me, the three things that are required for any e-mail marketing program to be successful are – Relevance + Timeliness + Value-Adding Content.
This means trigger-based e-mails / automated marketing messages that are based on user behaviors are among the most powerful tools in any e-mail marketer’s kit today. This is primarily because they are essentially the most relevant and timely one can be with their marketing program.
Need some ideas on how to kick start triggered based e-mails? Here are some suggestions to help you get started:
E-mail 1: Download Follow-up E-mails
This is probably the easiest and the most logical step to start action-based e-mail marketing triggers. You can easily send a next-step e-mail with a logical call to action.
The e-mail can simply be the same content the user downloaded from the website as a PDF attachment or a web link with a probable next set of calls to action; ask the user to share it with a friend or share across social media or another promotional offer. It should nudge them to sign-up for the product trial or discount offer.
E-mail 2: Push User in the Right Direction
Let’s say the user on your website visits the buy page, trial page or adds a product in the cart but doesn’t make it to the end of the buying journey. This is the prime time for you to send them an automated e-mail with either related content or alternative action to perform, like product videos or resources for the trial or an option for them to speak to a sales rep.
You can even ask what stopped them from taking the step or if there is anything you can do to help. And you’ll be amazed by how many reactions you'll get. After all, these are the people who got close to taking an action but had some specific hesitation. And I am sure you want to both understand and resolve those issues ASAP.
E-mail 3: Viewed Specific Content
Analytics play an important role in understanding the user journey and tailoring the content according to the content they have viewed or downloaded.
When you trigger an e-mail, this intelligence will help you understand what industry the user is specifically from or what pain point he or she has. You can then use this information to tailor a message or trigger the next e-mail with much efficiency. This data and method makes your content more relevant and on one to one basis - the best tool to use for tailoring future marketing e-mails.
E-mail 4: Highly Engaged User
Right before the buying decision, when users are deciding between different products, we generally see them becoming more heavily engaged with the website. They might be visiting more often, viewing more pages in one session or spending more time or downloading more PDFs. This is one of the perfect moments to engage with them, maybe at a personal level.
The e-mail here could either be a next-step, call-to-action based e-mail to the user. Or perhaps even an internal e-mail trigger to sales representatives, alerting them of user behavior, enlisting in detail all user actions and prompting them to make a call or send an e-mail i.e. take the next step with user in their sales process.
E-mail 5: No Engagement
For your inactive prospects who haven’t visited your website in last 3 or 6 months, you can trigger re-engagement e-mails based on rules such as haven’t visited any page on website in 3 months / 6 months, etc.
Email 6: Social Media Interaction or Mention
Listening and following what your prospects say about you in social media can also provide you with another opportunity to interact with them through e-mail marketing.
When you see that there is a mention about you or a competitor by your prospect, it is probably the prime time to send them a case study or comparison guide.
You should also choose to respond via a social media channel along with the e-mail but an automated message in social media is easy to spot and might look tactless; avoid that at any cost.
Finally, always remember that action based e-mails are always going to get a higher (as well as better) response and engagement from the user and therefore in the end, better returns on all effort and time you have spent in configuring your e-mail campaigns.