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Are You Pulling the Trigger? (part 1 of 3)

by Karen Talavera

09 28, 2010 | Posted in Email Marketing, Targeting & Segmentation | 1 comments

When I teach email marketing, I always explain that there are two main “flavors” of messages: broadcast email – a uniform message sent to everyone on the list, and triggered email – a message triggered by an event, time or action sent to a specific person for a specific reason.  Although you can segment your list and version your broadcast campaigns to specified groups with different offers and creative for say, men vs. women, the real power of personalization and relevance lies in trigger-based email.

Jupiter Research* found that behaviorally-targeted trigger email campaigns get 30% higher open and click-through rates and three times the conversion rates of broadcast email (this is even higher response than tightly-segmented broadcast campaigns receive).  And if that’s not enough reason to get on board, eMarketer just reported that twice as many marketers are planning to use triggered remarketing campaigns in the next year compared to the amount who do so now.

Event- or action-triggered automation makes it possible to send relevant emails to list members at exactly the optimum moment based on a specified time, date, event or action. Marketers using triggered email automation solutions are able to map out each element of a triggered campaign, including:

  • The event, action or specified time (the “trigger”) that initiates the sending of an email
  • Timer delays for scheduling and initiating message delivery
  • The subject line and content of the message
  • The individual or group of individuals that should receive it
  • The cadence of messages in a sequence, or “track”
  • The number of messages in a track

So, the three main characteristics of trigger-based email are:

  1. It’s specific to a recurring need or objective.  Triggered-email campaigns are ideal for communicating in response to regularly-recurring actions, such as when a new member subscribes to your list, a shopper leaves an item in an online shopping cart, or a product warranty is about to expire.  In all three cases, you can develop a campaign ONCE to address the situation, and send the same message to an individual when the trigger is tripped.
  2. It’s automated.  The key to successful trigger-based email is automating the triggered messages.  This is “set and forget” email.  Caution: don’t completely forget about it!  Review your triggered email campaigns at least twice a year.
  3. It’s individualized .  Often, the audience for a triggered-email is a single person.  Triggered messages are sent only to specific individuals who have taken a specific action or inaction on your Web page, site, or with your previous email.  They deploy only when relevant to the individual receiving them.

Mastering email marketing means creating a blend of broadcast and triggered email programs.  Naturally there are times you justifiably need to communicate the same message to everyone at the same time (your email newsletter, your holiday free shipping offer, etc.) so broadcast email has its place.  Triggered email is for those times when you need a confirmation, follow-up, prompt, reminder or alert.

Parts 2 and 3 of this series will explore four must-have triggered-email campaigns no business should be without.  Stay tuned in the coming weeks as I explain how to use triggered-email for

  1. Remarketing to boost conversion
  2. Welcome and onboarding programs
  3. Product Up-sells
  4. Reactivation

And that’s just for starters.  Specific behavioral actions in your target audience can trigger an entire special series of email messages (known as a “dialog track”) limited only by your imagination (and maybe a little by your creative resources!).

In the meantime, tell me how you’re using triggered-email or let me know if I can help you figure it out.

*JupiterResearch, “The ROI of E-mail Relevance”

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  1. Pingback: Synchronicity Marketing :: Are You Pulling the Trigger? Part 2

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