How savvy brands are capitalising on triggered messages

Triggered messages are substantially more likely to be opened and interacted with, with opens often exceeding 50% and click through rates reaching double digits. If done right, triggered messages can also be more useful to the receiver and improve customer experience. However, most organisations are still using triggered messages like an afterthought. Your customers are probably already receiving triggered “transactional” emails, like order, subscription, or registration confirmations. However if these aren’t being touched by marketing, you’re losing out on sales, subscribers, and engagement opportunities. A few weeks later, your recipient might receive your carefully crafted monthly email newsletter, which they’re now much less likely to open because the recipient has half forgotten who you are or why they care about you. It’s not a very nice way to start a relationship with someone who just put their hand up to buy or hear from you.

[Tweet “What’s missing in your triggered messages?”]

In some cases, “broadcasts” may still have their place. However, adding in “triggered” interactivity, or making better use of your existing triggered messages, can make those messages so much more effective and deliver huge boosts to your results. This is because triggered messages are always timely and respond to user interaction with your brand, so they are expected and you are far more familiar to the recipient when they receive your message. Here are some of the ways our clients have used the immediacy and high open rate of triggered messages to their advantage:

Boosting sales and marketing goals with welcome & re-engagement emails

Shell’s welcome email sells one of their key added value features (the ability to download all locations to a vehicle’s sat nav) to make it easier for customers to actually buy from them. This is a great way to highlight a helpful feature that also helps drive purchases.

XXXX Gold make use of the high open rate for their triggered welcome email by asking for a little more data on their new subscriber. This helps fill out the customer’s profile for more targeted, relevant emails in future. It also minimises the need for a dedicated “survey” send request which wouldn’t get an open rate as high.

To reward their subscribers from the very start, Taylors wines offer $30 credit on their online store in their triggered welcome email, to turn new subscribers into valuable customers. It also helps subscribers sample a little more of the range.

In their re-activation email, Bookworld offer a special discount that is triggered to subscribers who haven’t made a purchase in over a year. This not only helps drive sales, it is also a nice way to reward customers who have stayed subscribed and retain their loyalty and interest.

Surprising customers and building loyalty and brand love with birthday emails

In addition to remembering their customers’ birthdays, PG Tips also provide their loyalty “Cuppa Club” members ten points to put towards their next reward. This is not only a lovely way to establish warm fuzzies, it also reminds customers about the goodies they’re saving towards and provides a perfect excuse to spoil themselves! Check out some more great examples from Litmus.

Adding value and helpfulness based on context

As our recent post on the Ashton Media blog highlighted, quality content is not enough. With more organisations creating content, context is becoming increasingly important. There are a few ways you can be more contextual – whether it’s with data that the customer enters, or inferred data.

Using form fields to trigger useful, contextualised messaging

Foxtel’s welcome email for new customers includes a huge array of personalised content to improve customer experience, ensuring it’s easier for Foxtel to provide services easier. All the usual helpful transactional data is confirmed (the account number and product type) to make it easy for customers to identify themselves if they ever need to call Foxtel:

However they also provide a timely checklist and even customise the day and time they’ll install:

Seaworld’s UK marketing team have an interesting challenge – they not only need to sell tickets to the Florida theme park, but that is entirely dependent on their prospective customers having booked flights to Florida first! One of their campaigns is offering a free DVD showcasing Seaworld and the other attractions in the group. When ordering, one of the request form fields asks whether the customer has booked the requisite flights to Florida. Depending on what the customer fills in, they get content that suits that context. Below is an email sent to those who indicate they have booked, with tips for the specific attraction the customer selected they were interested in.

Hitting two goals with one data point

Following their successful “Hit the Button” promotion, Toohey’s Extra Dry used the postcode data collected on the entry form to highlight a local special deal on the promotional product. This offered entrants more chances to win, supported their retail partners, and helped boost further sales from the promotion.

Using inferred context

Sydney Airport offer free wifi, and when a user takes up that offer, they receive a one off welcome email. Since wifi users will be located within the Airport, it makes contextual sense to use this opportune moment to provide the shopping guide. Instead of sending this at a later date via a newsletter when it is no longer directly applicable to the recipient, Sydney Airport effectively target based on the right time and place. In this context presenting the shopping guide is useful and relevant rather than coming across as disruptive.

Growing subscribers and customers with transactional email

Seaworld UK offer website visitors a free DVD to build excitement and anticipation about their attractions. In their triggered email following up with those who order their DVD, they give a gentle nudge to send the same free DVD offer to friends, helping them cost effectively grow relevant potential customers.

Sydney Airport offer free wifi, however they were struggling (as most marketers do!) to get users to opt-in to their email. However, when a user signs up for wifi, they receive a one off triggered welcome email. Those who haven’t opted in receive a version that includes one last additional opportunity to subscribe. At this point the proposition is usually more appealing once the user gets a peek of the kind of content Sydney Airport will send them, and notice that it’s useful and relevant. Given the large number of free wifi users, even a small percentage uptake can result in thousands of quality subscribers won over.

A similar principle can be applied to Taylors wines, who present a second opportunity to subscribe in their triggered thank you message just after a purchase from their online store. Except this time, the reward for joining is specifically advertised, so it’s a lot more appealing. However, only buyers who open this email find out about the offer, which acts as a bit of a quality filter on new members.

Many confirmation or receipt emails are a great opportunity to engage (see Litmus’ post on Optimizing Order Confirmation Emailsfor some great examples). Someone has just bought from you – the perfect context to be helpful, cross sell, or help them use the product to its full potential with related content.

Of course, making better use of your triggered messages is a good start – but it’s helpful to change the way you approach communicating with your customers too.

Reconceptualising campaigns as conversations

One of the greatest advantages of 1 to 1 digital channels is that you can have hyper relevant conversations with your customers, but at scale. Even better – using marketing automation, it can be efficient too. However, many marketers still batch-and-blast. For example, a 2014 Automated Marketing Report by Forrester showed that 94% of marketers don’t segment their customers to send behavioural and lifecycle email campaigns. Great marketers in the age of digital need to be good listeners attuned to the “digital body language” that customer data provides, and respond accordingly. Crafting effective triggered messages is an easy yet valuable way to consistently “action” the actionable customer data you’re amassing.

Wishing you could make more use of triggered messages, but don’t think you have the ability to implement? Check out our post on how we’re making automated campaigns easier and visual.

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