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Triggered emails: A high-caliber re-engagement tool

Posted by Tom Power on June 11, 2015

I don’t know how I started doing this, but whenever I decide to go ahead and buy something of significant value, either online or at a store, I refer to it as pulling the trigger. As in, “I pulled the trigger on those concert tickets.”



Getting customers to pull the trigger is what marketing is all about. Of course, as any savvy marketer knows, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Any number of things can interrupt a transactional process along the customer lifecycle, especially with regard to online shoppers.


But marketers have triggers of their own that they can pull to get customers back into the path to purchase. One of the most effective of these triggers is the aptly named triggered email (also known as an abandonment email), which is an automated message that is activated by the behavior of customers. Frequently that behavior is abandoning a process that would have led to a transaction.


For example, say you’re an online shoe retailer and a customer who has registered on your site is browsing for high-heel shoes. This customer gets as far as selecting the style and color of the shoe and—poof!—gone girl. Who knows what happened. The computer could have crashed. The site might have timed out while the shopper answered a phone call. The average documented online shopping cart abandon rate is more than 68%.



According to HubSpot, 99% of first-time site visitors will not make a purchase. On the other hand, 75% of those visitors who abandon their carts do actually intend to buy. That’s why a triggered email automated to go out after the customer abandons the cart can get that customer to return if it’s crafted correctly.



Triggering a response
When compared with general email marketing messages that are sent to customers or prospects, triggered emails have a 152% higher click-through rate, according to the Email Stats Center. That means more customers are looking at triggered emails and clicking on links to take action.

To illustrate how a triggered email campaign works, let’s look at a situation that iPay Solutions was facing. As the leading provider of online bill pay services nationwide, iPay serves more than 3,600 different financial institutions across the country. It wanted to help these institutions drive adoption and increase usage of online bill pay, which would lead to stronger customer retention.


The problem for iPay was that a significant number of these institutions’ customers were reaching the enrollment page but they were abandoning the process before enrolling. So iPay reached out to Jacobs & Clevenger to re-engage these customers and increase enrollment in online bill pay.

The resulting email campaign needed to include behaviorally triggered communications that would educate prospects about online bill pay and overcome any inherent barriers to adopting the service. To add to the complexity of the marketing challenge, iPay also needed a program that would be turnkey for the 3,600-plus financial institutions it serves.


To make this important initiative a success, J&C had to meet these goals:

  • Map out each lifecycle stage to identify significant obstacles and define key motivators to adoption and usage
  • Develop behaviorally based communications that were highly tailored to each stage of the customer lifecycle
  • Engage and educate customers about online bill pay
  • Drive new enrollments, increase usage and a greater transaction volume
  • Use ongoing analytics to test, measure, refine and determine the most effective behaviorally triggered emails



An engaging experience
So how did it work? The triggered email campaign worked well on every level. The emails had open rates of nearly 40% and click-through rates of nearly 30%. Most important, the behaviorally based communications increased the conversion rate by four times over the control. To date, these emails have helped iPay Solutions grow overall transaction volume by 18%.


Marketers need to continue to optimize their email marketing efforts if they are to achieve email marketing success. Do you believe your email marketing efforts are optimized to their potential?

Topics: Email Marketing

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