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

by Karen Talavera

11 29, 2010 | Posted in Customer Loyalty, Email Marketing, Targeting & Segmentation | 4 comments

Abandoned Cart Triggers, Trigger Based Email

Creative Commons License photo credit: FindYourSearch

If you’re just tuning into this series, Part 1 explored the difference between broadcast and triggered-email, explained the role of trigger-based email, and defined the fundamental characteristics that make it so powerful.  Part 2 took a deep dive into the first two of four must-have triggered-email campaigns no email marketing program should be without: welcome and re-marketing campaigns.  Here in Part 3, we’ll wrap things up with a look at the last two of four essential triggered-email campaigns: up-sell/cross-sell and reactivation campaigns.

The Up-Sell/Cross-Sell: Are You Leaving Money on the Table?

Too many marketers think about email campaigns as singular blasts rather than as a progression of offers and information interwoven into a conversation – a conversation designed to maximize customer lifetime value.  There are plenty of great tips for building ongoing engagement and loyalty with your list members here.  Still, if you’re thinking in terms of “one and done” campaigns, it’s time to develop an up-sell/cross-sell trigger program.

Here are three types of up-sell/cross-sell triggered email campaigns to implement during or after the conversion process. Whether conversion means someone has acted on a free or paid offer, you can be sure of one thing: the subscribers who have started or completed your call to action at least once are the ones most likely to convert again.

1. Follow-On Offer
After someone has downloaded your free report, viewed your webinar, accessed your online widget or visited your Facebook page lead capture form, do you email them?  You should. If they’ve just taken you up on your offer of something for free, it’s time to step them up to an offer to buy an entry-level product.  Or if you’re not selling online, send a follow-up email requesting a way to deepen the relationship.  That might mean you invite them into a series of more in-depth free information, attempt to set up a phone consult, or schedule an in-person meeting.

Enlightened Emarketing Tip: Have a follow-on email auto-responder ready to go after every conversion.  Don’t limit this follow-on campaign to a single message; you might create an entire series of triggered email known as a dialog track that continues the relationship until you receive a definitive response or decline.

2. Personalized Product Recommendations
Personalized product recommendations are proven to generate higher conversions on e-commerce sites, but they’re usually seen as return web-pages to which a buyer is re-directed immediately after ordering.  That’s a little quick for some folks, and not all will re-up again online immediately after purchase.

So, slow down the sale by using your order confirmation emails for up-sell/cross-sell recommendations.  Buyers except to receive buy confirmations by email and not only welcome, but also open and read them.  A recent Marketing Sherpa case study of health and wellness retail company Isabella found that 19% of those who do click a recommendation complete another purchase and that recommendations in transaction emails generate a 111% higher conversion rate than weekly alert emails.

Enlightened Emarketing Tip: Double-dip by including product recommendations in download/buy confirmation emails AND then following up a week or two weeks later to non-responders with triggered up-sell alert emails.

3. Abandonment Follow-Up

Have an online shopping cart? Then you probably know how common it is for customers to leave items in it without completing their purchases.  Abandoned cart triggered email programs can be a goldmine for retailers and any e-commerce enabled business with an online shopping cart.  They’ve been shown to recoup up to 15% of otherwise lost sales.  Yet studies like this one indicate that less than 15% of the top e-commerce enabled retail sites use abandoned cart email.  The good news: you’ll be ahead of the curve if you adopt this type of trigger now.

Enlightened Emarketing Tip: Abandoned cart emails are fertile ground for testing.  Test a plain vanilla reminder vs. a reminder with limited-time incentive or coupon for purchase.  With cart abandonment rates hovering near 60%, it’s worth finding out if timing, price or something totally unrelated to either was the primary reason for abandonment.

Abandonment recovery email programs are a rich topic. Head here for much more on this and the power of email as a channel

Reactivation:  Inviting Them Back

It happens to even the best email lists.  A percentage of their members become disengaged over time.  Maybe they were in the market when they joined, got what they needed, and are on the fringes waiting until they’re in need again.  Maybe they’re interested in you, but the time to buy isn’t right for them; they know it’s coming and want to stay in touch. Maybe they’re hanging in there, waiting for your juiciest seasonal offers.  Or maybe they’re just too lazy or busy to unsubscribe.  Any or all of these are reasons to attempt re-engagement via a reactivation campaign.

The sole purpose of an email reactivation campaign is to get the recipient to take some sort of action – either “positive” or “negative”, rather than do nothing.  So, an offer in a re-activation campaign should:

  • Recognize and acknowledge that the list member has had a prolonged period of inactivity
  • Recognize and thank the list member for their loyalty and attention
  • Provide a stronger incentive than the usual offers subscribers receive – this is your opportunity to pull out that super-juicy, one-time high value offer you’ve wanted to test.
  • Use exclusivity
  • Include a deadline
  • Explain what, if anything will happen if the subscriber doesn’t respond.  Some reactivation campaigns take the form of re-opt-in campaigns, asking subscribers to re-join or be dropped from the list.  If you might unsub members if they don’t reply, tell them so.
  • Provide a mechanism for extended feedback such as a survey, link to email Customer Service, or online feedback form.

The reason reactivation campaigns should be triggered campaigns is that some segment of your list will always be moving into inactive territory.  Decide what your definition of inactive is (no opens in the past six months? No clicks in a continuous year?) and when that trigger is tripped, out goes your reactivation campaign.

Thanks for tuning into this series on triggered email. I hope it has sparked several ideas you can implement to better leverage email marketing in your mix.  I’d love to hear more about your triggered email challenges in comments below, or let me know if I can help you figure out better ways to automate your email marketing.

Creative Commons License photo credit: FindYourSearch

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