Are you automating your emails with trigger and drip campaigns? (an overview and 3 good tips)

Lately I’ve been working with clients on automating their marketing tasks, specifically their emails. The more I work in this channel, the more I realize how wide-open a frontier — with a huge upside — it is for cross-channel merchants.

Most medium- to high-end email service providers (ESPs) offer some sort of automated functionality. This gives marketers the opportunity to create “set-it-and-forget-it type” campaigns.

When you acquire a new prospect, for example, you can create a triggered drip campaign. A drip campaign involves a series of emails that are sent to prospects at pre-specified intervals, say once a week over a four-week period.  Each email is designed to either highlight a key company benefit (part of the unique selling proposition), or have a series of progressively stronger offers.

Most ESPs have application programming interfaces available to their clients. By having your IT folks set this up, your ESP can automatically communicate with your database. In simple terms, once a prospect becomes a customer, no more drip emails are sent to them as they move to a different bucket (customer) in your email database. And once prospects become customers, they’re promoted into a different automated email series.

You can set up campaigns for all of your customer statuses — prospects, single, multibuyers, past customers, gift purchasers, cancels and so on. The sky is the limit based on your creativity.

Furthermore, some ESPs have pretty good list management tools available for automated and/or one-off campaigns. For example, a client of mine chose Bronto’s solution, which allows it to store 100 different customer attributes. It can then create campaigns based on whatever criteria meets its needs from Bronto’s list selection module. Want to send an email to someone whose birthday is coming up? It’s simple: Whatever data you collect from customers and prospects can all be sliced and diced within a good ESP’s system.

Try the following three ideas for triggered email campaigns:

  • customer satisfaction surveys X number of days after a purchase;
  • tell-a-friend offers when customers becomes multibuyers; and
  • customer reactivation emails. Instead of doing a query each time you want to send a reactivation message from your internal database and uploading a new list, just create it for X number of days/months/years and the message automatically goes out.

Of course, no new form of direct marketing should be done without testing. Test offers, creative and especially the timing of your messaging.

You’ve worked hard, now let email marketing automation help you drive revenue! Are you automating your marketing efforts? Tell us how it’s working by posting a comment below.

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