The If and Then of Automated E-Mail

Apr 14, 2008 11:39 PM  By

If your customer does this… then you send that. The basic “If … then …” conditional statement we see in contracts and computer programming can be applied effectively to your benefit in triggered e-mail.

The root of this idea is to identify actions your customers take and respond by presenting relevant offers that complement or support the first action they took.

The key here is understanding your customer’s mindset. An unlimited number of “If … then …” triggered e-mails can be set up responding to the purchase of specific items. For example, if a customer purchases a bathing suit, then you send an e-mail offering a beach cover-up and flip-flops in complementary colors.

You see envision how this can be taken to any level of offers. You can focus your efforts on creating “If … then …” e-mails triggered to respond to purchases of any of your top 50 or 100 products. Conditional triggered e-mails can also be created based on product category. For example, any time someone purchases any electronics, a triggered e-mail is initiated sharing tips for keeping electronics in peak condition and offering an extended 2-year warranty.

Combining these two ideas allows you to cover all bases. Sending the conditional e-mail for the top 50 or 100 products takes priority over the category e-mails because the relevancy is stronger. If both apply you could test whether one e-mail with both the top 50 and the category offers is best or if two unique e-mails separated by a few days generates a better results.

Conditional triggered e-mails aren’t necessarily just for promotions and offers. They can be used for delivering relevant content on how to best use and enjoy the product purchased. Some categories—computers, software, beauty products, etc.—easily lend themselves to content triggers.

These triggers can spawn an entire e-newsletter series of tips. For example, think of an ongoing e-newsletter with tips for software use after a package is purchased.

First, create the graphic look for the e-mails, as well as a table of relevant offers and content. As with all triggered e-mail campaigns, your hard work in creating the initial e-mail set-ups will be rewarded many times over as the triggers are executed again and again.

Shari Altman is president of Altman Dedicated Direct, a direct marketing consultancy.