Three Tips for Improving Triggered E-mail Programs
The key to effective triggered e-mails is timing, according to Ian Lurie, president of Internet marketing agency Portent Interactive, in Seattle. He offers the following tips for getting better performance from your triggered e-mail campaigns.
#1. Use positive association.
Send triggered e-mails only after something positive has occurred—for instance, the customer took an action on your Web site or a service problem was resolved. If a customer had an online chat with a customer service representative, Lurie explains, you could send an e-mail saying, “We just want to make sure our customer service team answered your questions. If you have any more questions, please get in touch.” For orders, Lurie recommends waiting one week after a customer receives the shipment to send an e-mail to ensure the product arrived in good condition and the customer is enjoying her purchase.
#2. Mind your triggered e-mail manners.
Never use triggered e-mail in a crisis, Lurie says. “When something has gone wrong, people don’t want to feel like they are being contacted by a computer. Nothing drives someone crazier than if they e-mail a customer support line and then receive a computer-generated e-mail response saying, ‘We will respond as soon as possible.’” In a crisis, only send communications that help solve the problem, rather than remind the customer he will have to continue to wait for resolution. “That is like being stuck in a phone tree when trying to resolve a billing issue with a credit card company,” Lurie says. “I’ve never seen it work.”
#3. Wait for opt-in.
Don’t start sending triggered e-mail unless (1) the customer has opted in to receive e-mails from your company, and (2) she has whitelisted you. “Don’t just start cranking out triggered e-mails as soon as they sign up; they will just go to the spam folder,” Lurie says. “Give [customers] time to add you to the address book and use detailed instructions in your [initial] thank-you e-mail for how to opt-in.”