Marketing & Advertising

How to Make Triggered Emails More Effective

Triggered emails are automated messages in response to the actions of website visitors. Examples based on visitor activity include:

  • Welcome series to new subscribers.
  • Recovery attempts for abandoned carts.
  • Re-engagement from abandoned searches and browses.
  • Notification of changes to viewed products, such as price drops, replenishments, or in-stock notifications.

Post-purchase emails may include:

  • Order confirmation.
  • Shipment notification.
  • Re-order reminder or anniversary of order.
  • Product review request or survey.

Done correctly, triggered emails can be more effective than promotional ones because they are timely and relevant to recipients. They often have higher-than-average open, click, and conversion rates.

Listrak, an email service provider, reviewed 32 billion emails sent in 2017. It found that abandoned cart emails had the highest revenue per email than any other message. Price-drop alerts had the highest open and click-to-open rates.

According to Listrak’s analysis, in 2017 triggered price drop alerts had the highest open rate and click-to-open rate at 38.33 and 57.08 percent, respectively. Triggered stock replenishment emails had the highest conversion rate, at 31.03 percent.

According to Listrak’s analysis, in 2017 triggered price drop alerts had the highest open and click-to-open rates, at 38.33 and 57.08 percent, respectively. Triggered stock replenishment emails had the highest conversion rate, at 31.03 percent. Click image to enlarge.

In this post, I’ll offer five tips for driving opens, clicks, and conversions from triggered emails.

How to Make Triggered Emails More Effective

Use preheaders. Sometimes an email can be effective without the recipient opening it. Since most email opens occur on smartphones, the preheader allows retailers to extend the subject line. When recipients view emails regarding order status, for example, the information conveyed in the combined subject line and preheader can be enough, without opening.

In other instances, the preheader can prompt an open by explaining the nature of the message.

A preheader can sometimes communicate essential data so that the recipient doesn't have to open the email. Other times, the preheader can prompt an open, such as this example of "Thank you for your order! Please review the details of your order below."

A preheader can sometimes communicate essential data so that the recipient doesn’t have to open the email. Other times, the preheader can prompt an open, such as this example of “Thank you for your order! Please review the details of your order below.”

Product notifications. Price-drop and in-stock notifications have among the highest triggered email engagement metrics. Setting these up for visitors who viewed those products but did not purchase them may secure orders

Review content, links. Triggered emails are automated and easy to maintain. Despite this, it’s important to periodically review the content and the links, such as:

  • Offer expiration dates and coupon codes.
  • Images are in the same hosted location.
  • URLs are functioning.
  • Copyright or other dates are current.
  • Email is responsive on all devices, including smartphones.

In my experience, it’s best to review and update triggered email templates at least every six months.

Encourage orders. Recipients tend to keep triggered emails in their inbox longer than others because they often contain info on order status, account details, or previous purchases. Clicks from these types of triggered emails may generate sales weeks or even months afterward.

To make it easy to shop from a triggered email, include:

  • An obvious way to click to the site.
  • The company logo with a link to the home page.
  • A link directly to the login or account page.
  • Special offers or deals on future purchases.

Triggered emails can also help merchants cross-sell and upsell. Thus offering complementary products may spur conversions.

Check deliverability. To ensure deliverability, consider sending triggered emails on a separate IP address and domain than marketing messages. By keeping the two separate, you could preserve deliverability of important triggered notices in the event negative feedback to marketing emails temporarily prevents it.

And don’t fear trying something new. For 2019 try introducing one new type of triggered email. Even if the quantity is low, high response rates could make it worthwhile.

Carolyn Nye

Carolyn Nye

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