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Most effective types of trigger-based messaging

10 Minute Read

Most effective types of trigger-based messaging

CordialMake a connection.

Put simply, trigger-based email marketing is the practice of reacting to customer interactions with personalized and timely messaging.

The idea is to match the intent of a customer’s action with a relevant value exchange. All of this is great, but if you can’t time the exchange for the attention span of your customer, all your efforts will be for naught.

Today, consumers expect seamless experiences when making a buying decision — from easy payment options, mobile-optimized e-commerce experiences, price comparisons, and up-to-date inventory snapshots. It’s not just about owning the point in time when a consumer is in buying mode. Consumers expect companies to adapt and personalize product recommendations and content to their interests.

The day of “set and forget” message automation has passed. Instead, trigger email campaigns empower you to automatically respond to key customer actions with highly contextualized messages. Populating these messages with information gleaned from dynamic consumer and market changes creates a better customer experience and helps create meaningful lift for your business.

Triggered messages are great, but I need scale.

In the past, the biggest drawback to using automation or triggered messages has been a sheer lack of scale. Why is it important if you only reach 1/100th of your audience versus a direct/broadcast campaign? And what can you do? Consumers are inherently unpredictable, with their behaviors changing just as rapidly as their latest device, location, and time zone. Modern-day triggered messages and automations allow you to adapt to the pace of your customer and their oft-changing behaviors.

When most marketers think about triggered messages they immediately go to cart abandonment emails or welcome emails. However, virtually every modern email service provider offers more advanced technology. JavaScript listeners and API’s can now track everything a customer does on your website, allowing marketers to create triggered messages based on just about anything: browse events, in-app behaviors, past purchase data, real-time purchase data, clicks, email opens, push message clicks — everything is on the table. Today, modern triggered messages tailored to your customers are only limited by one’s own imagination!

Although customers still prefer to communicate with their favorite brands via email, the average inbox sees more than 100 emails per day. Triggered email messages can break through the front line by delivering content that customers actually want, based on their behaviors, actions, and preferences. In fact, segmented and targeted emails can generate well more than 50% of email marketing revenue.

Three outcomes for using customer-centric automations and triggered messages:

1. Maximize conversions.

Action: Deliver contextually relevant messages that capitalize on customer intent.

Success begins with automating any commerce related interactions, such as cart abandonment, browse abandonment, and order confirmations. For instances, an abandoned shopping cart triggered email program can garner 300% higher open rates, 200% higher click-through rates (CTR), and 400% higher conversion rates than traditional emails. Keying into buyer intent with timely, contextual dialog will ensure your greatest success.

2. Increase engagement rates.

Action: Use customer behaviors, actions, and preferences to deliver engaging content.

Lasting engagement is created through fulfilling core needs and desires, and being artfully persuasive. With email inboxes overflowing with messages, all vying for customer attention, it’s more difficult than ever to get users to engage. So how do you rise above the noise?

Email offers one thing that other messaging channels don’t: the opportunity to apply a stacking effect. Think about the execution of a portfolio of messages versus a single message. Taking a strategic combination of actions, as it relates to your customers’ profile data, can enable you to personalize each shopping experience and show items that are geared towards each individual customer.

For example, you can show sales items related to past purchases, or suggest items based on birthday or anniversary dates provided. Use these triggered messages to re-engage inactive leads and help move the needle forward on engagement.

3. Save time.

Action: Automate over 50 percent of your messages and testing capabilities.

Automating more than half of your messages and testing will provide you with more time to focus on strategic initiatives, rather than implementation. Triggered messages accomplish this by taking advantage of automation and sending customized messages based on real-time data.

Many legacy email marketing tools only offer segmentation processes that require hours of data mining. The hazard is, as soon as segments are built, data could change again and any lists generated would be outdated. With modern customer communication platforms, you can quickly create custom audiences from within the product interface, in real-time, using virtually any piece of customer information or interactions.

Common types of triggered messages:

1. Transactional triggered messages

You’ve heard the countless stats touting the value behind shopping cart recovery tactics. Have you heard about how a highly personalized triggered email, sent at the exact right time, can recover lost revenue? Did you know it’s possible to have a 20% or higher recovery rate within the first hour of sending the triggered message?

Here are couple ways cart recovery triggered emails can be used:

Example in retail industry

Imagine you are a sporting equipment manufacturer selling online. A prospective customer comes to your site and browses the basketball category, clicking on three different products. They add just one of the three products to their cart, but abandon the cart before purchasing. If you were tracking everything the customer was doing on your site, you could automatically send a triggered email containing the products they viewed, along with related products, to invite them back and potentially get an upsell.

Example in publishing industry

In publishing, the main revenue streams are advertising and the subscribers who make those advertisements valuable. How much monthly revenue is potentially lost each month because people aren’t finishing their sign-ups? Collecting emails for the “free” version of the publication provides the necessary information to utilize triggered messages, even if a subscriber abandons before entering their email address. Triggered messages provide an opportunity to send a reminder of all the great benefits they are walking away from when the potential subscriber abandons their checkout.

2. Behavior-based triggered messages

Behavior-based triggered messages are associated with customer interactions on your site, social media, search, or email. Consider real-time events and a measured interaction that can be tied to intent.

But how do you get your users to actively engage with your content? How can you get your active customers to engage more often with your content? Traditionally, triggered messages could only be generated from a handful of predefined actions, such as “add to cart.” However, browser-based messages let you send messages based on virtually any data point or event. This gives you infinitely more flexibility.

Example in travel industry

Before customers even get to checkout, they could be taking valuable actions on your site that can be used as a point for further communication. Think about a booking website for an airline: A member of the loyalty program is browsing the website. They seem to be exploring ticket prices to various tropical destinations, but they neglect to add any trips to their cart. When a price drop occurs for a destination similar to what they were previously browsing, a triggered email goes out enticing the member to explore those deals.

3. Event-based triggered messages

Triggered by an event signaling a need to communicate through a change in status, occasion, or data-driven milestone, event-based triggered messages might include renewals, purchase value milestones, or high-value category purchases, for just a few examples.

So when is the best time to engage with customers to draw them back to your site? How can you retain your most loyal customers by enhancing their experience? Event-based triggered messages are the powerhouse behind real-time engagement. According to data from Cordial clients, event triggered messages based on real-time data will produce twice the response and engagement rates of latent data-driven communications.

Example in hospitality industry

The travel industry’s bread-and-butter is positive online customer reviews, making strategically crafted customer satisfaction emails crucial. In fact, an online travel booking poll conducted by Webcredible revealed 29% of consumers consider positive reviews when choosing whether or not to book a holiday online. Timely execution of customer satisfaction emails make them far more effective and powerful. Since hospitality sites collect the dates of a customer’s travel itinerary, they know when a trip begins and when it’s scheduled to end. Seize the opportunity shortly after a customer checks out of their hotel or completes their trip to ask for a review and find out how they enjoyed their stay.

4. Lifecycle triggered messages

Early lifecycle, late lifecycle, rewards-based triggered messages, next logical product, and all forms of trial messaging sequences fall in this category. But don’t limit lifecycle thinking to times. Also, consider the device lifecycle and behaviors based on device shifting.

So how do you engage with customers in a meaningful way at each lifecycle shift to increase the likelihood of retention? With data from Cordial clients, we’ve found that lifecycle triggered messages not only offer an exponential return on engagement, but they can also offer up to 30-40% in cost savings by automating messages. Imagine the benefits — less cost for creative, production, and campaign work!

Example in publishing industry

Use lifecycle triggered messages to advance readers from a free member to paid subscribers. Starting with a free trial or a free account with limited article views allows users to get to know and trust the media site. When a reader hits the end of their trial or limit, a triggered message can be employed to convert readers. These types of trial-ending triggered messages can be quite effective. Totango studied this phenomenon, and noted you can expect roughly 15-20% of your free trial users to actually become paying customers — and even that percentage will drop off after 90 days.

More examples in our personalized email campaign series:


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Amp up engagement and revenue with personalized marketing

No doubt about it: personalization is here to stay. People of all ages appreciate it when brands they know and trust provide customized information and offers. The only question is will your brand step up and embrace this reality? By harnessing the power of an advanced customer data platform (CDP), your company can achieve best-in-class personalization tactics.

A good CDP platform needs to:

  • Unite robust data management with email, SMS, and mobile app marketing — all in one platform
  • Consolidate all data from anywhere in your tech stack and activate it to power your outreach
  • Provide easy-to-use workflows to simplify and accelerate campaign development
  • Leverage predictive analytics to let you delight customers by anticipating their needs
  • Empower you to deliver the consistent, cross-channel experiences customers expect

Brands today are on the edge of an unprecedented opportunity to transform how they engage with customers. Those that move swiftly and embrace personalization can dramatically improve their customer experience, increase retention and remain powerful players in the market.

At Cordial, we’re customer data experts who can guide you to personalization success. Get in touch to schedule a demo and find out how we can put our insights to work for you.