Why You Need These Triggered Emails for You to Make Your Marketing Automation Work
September 19, 2017
When people hear “marketing automation” they commonly think of automated email marketing or triggered emails. People commonly associate marketing automation with a detailed email diagram sent to different email segments. This idea has become common when marketers discuss marketing automation. But this is not the most effective automation approaches you can implement as a marketer.
The marketer’s timeline, rather than the prospect is this strategy’s inherent flaw. It is the marketer who designates what kind of information will the prospect consume next, and what actions will the prospect take afterward and the journey that the prospect undergoes from being converted from a lead to a customer.
But if we are true to ourselves, we should admit that customer or lead behavior is not like that. You could define the funnel stages as Lead to Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) to Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) to Opportunity to Customer, where leads download an ebook, then become an MQL when they start a trial, an SQL when the salesperson calls up with that prospect, an opportunity when they do a trial review call, and customer when they purchase.
But now how about if they choose to start the trial first and then later decide to download an ebook? Or how about if they get into a sales conversation right immediately after downloading an ebook and then never become a customer? They can go stop showing interest until they start the trial after some months. The fact is that you can never control what your prospects do, or in what order your prospect does it. However, what you can control is how you react to behavior prospect. This is where marketing automation becomes most powerful at.
Triggered email marketing are automated messages which are based on prospect behaviors — they are super effective because they are inherently timely and relevant. Timeliness plus relevance plus value is the key to effective emails. The first two are baked into triggered emails. It is now up to the marketer to jump on that opportunity and align good value offers to those recipients.
Are you not using email marketing strategy? Here is a few recipes marketing automation that’s triggered to have you started.
If you don’t have any triggered emails set up then this is a great place to start. This is the broadest trigger — engaging the prospects at the first stage in the buyer’s journey.
What to Send: Transactional Email With Next Step Call-to-Action
Now in this situation, the triggered email which you want to set can be a transactional email. This should confirm the download (or request or registration), and it should include any information related to that download.
For example, if this is a follow-up message sent after downloading an ebook, you should include a link to the PDF file and the name of the ebook. Now if it is a follow-up message after registration for a webinar, you must include the important information regarding the webinar which consists of the date, time, and instructions on who to log in.
Once you have covered your bases on the transactional information, it is time to think of ideas on what you want the prospect to do next. Now that you have gotten their attention — you should take advantage of it. Do you want them to convert on a middle of the funnel complimentary consultation or demo offer? Or do you want to encourage them to share this offer with their network in order to extend the reach of your content? Now think about the next ideal step, and include a call-to-action for that in your follow up email.
Let’s say that your prospect gets close to taking the action you want– like starting a demo of your service or a trial of your product — but they don’t usually reach the finish line. They visit the trial landing page or view a piece of content on your product page, but they still don’t avail the free trial. This is now an opportunity for you to follow up to get them to cross that finish line.
What to Send: Triggered Emails With More Related Content and an Alternative Action
Perhaps they did not complete the action because of some hesitation — they did not want to fill out a form, or they had some additional questions that stopped them from starting that trial. This is now an opportunity to follow up with related content (like resources for the free trial or product videos) and an alternative action (maybe they do not want to use a trial they just simply want to get a demo or speak immediately with a sales representative).
You can even simply ask them in your follow up email what has stopped them from signing up? Then ask them is there anything we can do to help? You will be surprised by how many responses you will get. And after all, these are people who got really close to making a conversion but had some hesitation. You want to both discover and address that hesitation head-on.
Whether you have content on specific topics (product pain points, for example), or content aligned with specific parts of the funnels (blog articles vs. product pages), when your prospects view that content, you have more data to use in your follow-up emails.
What to Send: Tailored Follow-Up Content
Whether you immediately trigger an email or save this intelligence for future interactions, the collected data you have on which content people view can be used to make your marketing that much more relevant on a one-to-one basis.
For example, if you have content on your website (blog articles, case studies, etc.) that is related to specific niches or you are the markets which you target, you can then infer that people who view that content are in that industry, and tailor your future marketing emails accordingly. Or, if you have website content which is related to pain points or specific topics of interest that you address, you can then infer that people who view that content care about that pain point and tailor your future marketing messages around the topic.
Think about the various behavioral data points you have about your prospects, and what you can draw from that to determine what they care about.
Figure out what your standard is for prospects to be classified as highly engaged (perhaps they have read at least 10 blog articles and downloaded at least 3 ebooks) as well as an unengaged prospect, and respond and market to them accordingly.
What to Send: Timely Next Step Call-to-Action or Re-engagement Campaign
For your highly engaged prospects, you have their attention once again, and now you can leverage. A great idea is to encourage them to share the content they have just downloaded. But do also remember that triggered marketing automation does not need to be solely external (sent to prospects), it can also be internal (sent to your fellow employees)!.
When a prospect becomes highly engaged, this is a great opportunity to notify the sales representative that it is a good time to follow up with the prospect. Now for your prospects who do not engage as much, you need to send out a reengagement email. You may even want to set up multiple trigger points (e.g. haven’t clicked on an email in 3 months to a year) where you send out different email campaigns to re-engage these prospects.
For example, after 3 months, you send a reminder email so that people on your email list will update their email preferences. And after 6 months, you should ask them if the content is irrelevant to them, and offer them to unsubscribe. And finally, after one year, you tell them that you won’t email them anymore unless they do not respond. This is a good way to clean your email list of people who no longer want to engage with your brand.
As you listen to what your prospects are saying in social media, you have the opportunity to follow up with those who interact with your company, or to those who mention specific pain points that you address or your competitors in the niche.
What to Send: Comparison Guides, Product Information, or Educational Content
Identify a valuable and common interaction which occurs between you and your prospects in social media channels. This could be them asking for your products, mentioning that they are evaluating a competitor, or simply asking a question that relates to the pain points your product addresses.
If you respond to social media, you are more likely to not actually want to automate your responses. It will be very easy for your prospects to recognize the nature of the interaction which is obviously impersonal. But, you can supplement your one on one social media engagement with a triggered email marketing campaign with supporting content. Now for example, if your prospect asks you questions about your product, you can send how-to and product feature information. If your prospects mention they are evaluating a competitor, you can send comparison guides to them or even case studies or third-party reviews to use in their evaluation process. Or if your prospect simply asks a question related to your niche or industry, you can follow up with more educational content on the topic of interest.
These trigger-based email marketing are very likely to get a higher engagement and give you higher rewards for your efforts at the end of the day. This is better than a typical marketing automation campaign that’s linear. Using some of the same technology, you can reorient your marketing to work on your prospect’s timeline instead of your own, while continually getting more conversions.