THINK Contributor

Whereoware: Behavioral emails 101

By , March 17, 2017

Attending IBM Amplify 2017? Join Whereoware’s session “Whereoware Delivers Intelligent, Quick Marketing with Watson Customer Experience Analytics” on Wednesday, March 22 at 4:15 p.m. in Room 105.

One-to-one marketing is all the rage – and for good reason. According to Direct Marketing Association, 77 percent of email ROI comes from triggered campaigns. Why is this? Personalized emails are directly relevant to the recipient and thus get better engagement. Just think of when you receive an email from a clothing retailer. Wouldn’t you prefer they showed you products that were relevant to you? The same goes for your customers.

One-Off vs. Behavioral Emails 101

One-off emails (e.g., e-blasts or batch-and-blast emails) are general-purpose emails sent to a large email list. Batch-and-blast emails typically get a bad rap for sending the same message to a larger audience. One-off emails can be more sophisticated. You can segment your database by location and personalize the content, such as sending swimsuits to those in Florida and ski gear to those in Colorado. This way, you make sure your content is relevant to your audience.

A behavioral email kicks the sophistication up a couple of notches. Marketing automation tools allow you to build behavioral emails and programs. Your prospect takes an action which triggers an email program. Behavioral emails see higher engagement rates than one-off emails. The prospect that initiated the contact receives a timely email with relevant content.

3 Examples of Behavioral Emails

1) Cart Abandonment  

Getting a prospect to add an item to their cart is the first hurdle, but then you need to get them to complete the shopping cart in its entirety. Securing a conversion is no easy feat – 68.8 percent of online shopping carts get abandoned, according to the Baymard Institute. People fail to convert for all kinds of reasons. Perhaps the checkout process is too many steps, shipping is too expensive, or they just ran out of time.

Be proactive and reel cart abandoners back in with a timely cart abandonment email. These emails are sent within hours of abandonment, remind the prospect of the item, and can even include a promotion to entice the prospect to return.

2) Browse Abandonment

A browse abandonment email sends when a prospect visits web pages without converting. Browse abandonment emails are not as popular as cart abandonment emails. So, this may be an opportunity to be a little different from your competitors. According to the Relevancy Group, only about 15 percent of companies are following up with consumers who view a product page and then leave without buying.

Let’s say a prospect visits your website and browses four different product detail pages. They’re on a mission to find something specific, or they’re interested in your brand. The browse abandon emails are a reminder of their initial interest and an invite to come back and shop.

One of our clients, Plow and Hearth, redesigned their browse abandonment emails to show the items browsed. This campaign increased conversions by 182.9 percent! It also won the 2016 eec Email Marketing Program Award for Best or Most Innovative Use of Automation or Triggers.

3. Re-Engagement

Cart and browse abandonment are examples of triggered emails based on an action. Re-engagement emails are a little different since they’re triggered on the absence of an action. These emails are also known as “win-back” emails. They try to incentivize the recipient to engage with the brand. According to Return Path, 45 percent of contacts who received win-back emails read subsequent messages, meaning they re-engaged with the brand.

This type of campaign is set to bring in contacts who haven’t opened or clicked an email, visited a website or purchased an item. This email may have a coupon to incentivize the customer to come back to the site. Alternately, the email may lead customers to a preference center if they haven’t engaged with your emails.

Let’s say you’re a female looking for a birthday gift for your husband. You signed up for the emails hoping to get a coupon to use on the birthday gift. You receive a welcome email with a coupon, you buy a gift, and your husband loves it. Now the retailer keeps emailing you on a weekly basis. You’re no longer interested in men’s clothing, so you delete them from your inbox.

Next, you get an email from the retailer with a subject line like “We miss you!” and with snippet text like “Too many emails? Change your preferences.” This entices you to open it because you only want to receive those emails around the holidays when you’ll need another gift for your husband. You re-engaged with the brand, so it can continue to send personal relevant emails to you. This is a win for you and a win for the brand.

So, whether you’re following up on an action or the absence of an action, you need to have targeted emails. If you’re not already doing this, make it part of your 2017 marketing plan to have the best year yet! Need some visual design ideas to set you up for success in the new year? Our behavioral email inspiration guide will get you started.

Dan Caro is director, marketing pps with Whereoware. Whereoware is a digital agency specializing in email marketing, website design and development, mobile app design and development, search engine optimization (SEO), and pay-per-click (PPC).

Please note that DISQUS operates this forum. When you sign in to comment, IBM will provide your email, first name and last name to DISQUS. That information, along with your comments, will be governed by DISQUS’ privacy policy. By commenting, you are accepting the IBM commenting guidelines and the DISQUS terms of service.