Anyone who knows me knows I love triggered emails. Why? Simply because they are extremely effective and when done right customers love them too. It seems, however, that there are some simple keys to success are often overlooked:
- Just do it already: Home Depot recently revamped their website and introduced triggered personalized email communications, including an abandon cart email. Kudos to them. I like the new site and email program. But let’s review: It’s 2010 and Home Depot (#39 retailer on Internet Retailer’s top 500) JUST launched an abandoned cart email? It’s amazing how many companies can’t seem to get it together enough to implement a fairly easy program that can yield amazing results. It’s not rocket science and it doesn’t take a lot of resources. I’ve been running an abandoned cart program for S&S for 4 years now. Last time I checked we are a fraction the size of Home Depot.
- Your email address capture capabilities: Certain triggered emails require you to be up on your email capture capabilities. What good is an abandon search or browse email if you can only send it to 10% of all site visitors? Develop strategies to increase your average email capture rate for visitors. Surprisingly one of the easiest ways to do this is through promotional campaigns. That’s one reason why promotional campaigns still play an extremely important part in any program. Adding link parameters to capture the email of each subscriber when they click through a promotional email is an easy way to increase your capture rate.
- Identify your opportunities: Not all triggered emails are created equal, and not all are designed to bring in revenue. A successful program will look for opportunities throughout a customer’s relationship with your company. Communications are sent to heighten a customers overall experience with your business, not necessarily to add revenue to the bottom line. Each triggered email within your portfolio should each have a distinct objective and be diversified to compliment each other.
- Listen to your customers: When a customer replies to a triggered email, do they end up in a black hole somewhere? Listen to the customers who take the time to reply. Our Catalog Request follow up trigger- which fires 10 days after a customer requests a catalog on our site- is designed to increase responsiveness to the catalog, not necessarily drive sales to the site. I look at the anecdotal replies from customers to help judge success. Here is a recent comment from one customer:
“I just received my catalog- thanks for the reminder. Okay, I’m putting together an order for Halloween to fax in.”
Score! If I only looked at traditional email stats for this campaign, I may be disappointed with the lack of clicks and conversions without realizing the email is likely driving offline purchases.
Takeaway: Not all triggered emails are created equal, and not all are designed to bring in revenue. A successful program will look for opportunities throughout a customer’s relationship with your company.