A mix of these types of triggers can make a powerful campaign, but setting up the program can be challenging.
“It all comes down to business rules,” explains John Rizzi, CEO and president of e-Dialog, a Boston-based e-mail marketing services provider.
Anything you do with your business, from customer service to renewals to continuity programs to customer surveys, you should be able to do—or at least support—with a triggered e-mail campaign.
The Shape of Things
Triggered campaigns are very different from batched campaigns in which all messages are sent at once. A triggered campaign is like a program that a customer can enter into at any time and progress through at her own pace.
So it’s helpful to visualize how the campaign will work. Every triggered e-mail campaign—from simple to complex—has a shape. The key to a triggered campaign is its decision tree, a cause-and-effect flowchart that maps out triggers and their resultant actions.
“The more moving parts, the more planning time you have to spend,” says Symon. “You have to know what’s going to happen [when a customer takes each action] and what dominoes will fall.”
You must anticipate every possible response from your customers for a triggered program to work with minimum supervision.
“What if someone tries to respond outside the system?” hypothesizes Symon. “It’s easy to go to the database and say they responded to this [via e-mail], but what if that person decides to pick up the phone, and they order over the phone? How does that get incorporated? You have to look at all your possible touchpoints and data inputs.”
Certain activities lend themselves particularly well to triggered campaigns.
“In the B-to-B world, with its long sales cycles and where the product costs are very high,” says Rizzi, “you want a process to economically stay in touch with those leads.”