During my career in email, I have worked for a number of companies – one in particular that made use of the practice of sending pre-scheduled or ”triggered” marketing emails to their recipients. At the time, I didn’t understand the logic or the impact this would have on the people receiving these messages. Many years later, I now have a better knowledge of what is acceptable and what is not when using triggered emails.
What is a triggered email?
A triggered email sent to a recipient relative to an event, or some kind of activity on with that recipient’s relationship to the sender. For example, I’m a member of LinkedIn, a social networking website. Whenever somebody views my profile or wants to add me to their network, I receive a triggered email, notifying me that I need to take some sort of action. However, not all triggered emails require action. An email send can also be triggered by a time-based event such as an upcoming birthday or anniversary. While almost always automated, triggered emails are usually very personalized, which set them apart from traditional autoresponders
When should triggered emails be used?
There are many instances when it is appropriate to send triggered emails. Here are some common examples:
- Purchase or transaction emails: an email is sent immediately after a purchase is made, confirming the details of the transaction. Other relevant triggered emails such as ”order processed” notifications and shipping confirmations.
- Follow up emails: Using the example of a purchase/transaction, a triggered follow up email can even be sent to request feedback on the user experience. This can also be tied into future purchase opportunities, utilizing strategies such as a gift certificate based on the original transaction.
- Notification emails: These are emails that are sent when an event occurs, such as a user signup, or calendar events, such as birthdays, or special occasions.
When should triggered emails NOT be used?
As previously noted, triggered emails are meant to be very personalized, very targeted messages relevant to a purchase, transaction, or an existing relationship between the sender and the user. As such, this does not give the sender permission to use a ”multiple email” strategy to bombard their customers with sales and marketing messages. Triggered emails can benefit both the email sender as well as the receiver, provided they are sent responsibly and with the correct parameters.
Until next time,
Drink Responsibly, Drive Responsibly, Email Responsibly
Director of Deliverability