Did you ever receive a birthday email marketing campaign on your birthday?  Or a great offer from a retailer via email, just some hours after you were searching on their website?

Good chance those were Event Driven emails. Event Driven Email campaigns can be composed and sent automatically, precicely at the right time.

And as we will see, they are very effective. So why are they an essential part of your email strategy?

Event driven email: AutoMagical

In a regular email marketing campaign, a marketer crafts the email, then selects a group of receipients and schedule the email for sending.

Event driven email is a bit different. A marketer doesn’t send the emailcampaign to a preselected group. But he defines an email trigger instead, which will automatically send the email.

These email triggers are actually scripts that check if they can send the email. They can get activated by different kinds of data. Like a change in the database, a value in the database or specific action by a customer. The email is sent when all of the conditions of that trigger are met.  This is why event driven email is also called triggered email. Sounds a bit theoretical, isn’t it?

The inner working of event driven email marketing

An event driven email works like a vending machine. The marketer prepares the e-mail campaigns and sets up the triggers. Just like he would fill the vending machine and put the products in the right slots.

Of course preceeding would be the strategy part. What products would be popular, his target audience, where to put the vending machine…

The potential customer comes by and he (or his data) pushes the right button. This sets a process in motion, making sure that message and value are delivered.

The data to ignite the campaigns

Because the customer data ignites the campaign, these email campaigns can yield impressive results. You wouldn’t go to get a products from a vending machine unless you wanted them. The customer data and behavior give insight into their needs. The customer “is hungry” and just as important, what  he is craving. You can imagine how these triggered messages work to construct   the most interesting messages.

A marketers’ ability to immediately respond to a customer’s behavior with the right message can be the difference between generating revenue and a missed opportunity. The data triggers the email, when it recognizes the need and times the message(s) accordingly. If the campaign is intelligently set up and the data is available, event driven emails are precisely on target.

Marketing automation

Event driven email is a form of marketing automation. A large benefit is that there are little costs to keep a campaign running. It will require monitoring (the campaign has to keep working). In the best scenario the campaign would be developed further, updated, fine-tuned and tested for optimization.

Event driven emails will let you plan out communication for a complete customer life cycle. Unlocking the potential for very interesting email marketing strategies that include lead nurturing, sales, cross- and upsell, loyalty and win-back programs. Why not go for an abundant use of event driven email?

Most popular event driven emails

There are many uses for event triggered email. Some are more popular than others. Across the board about 60% of email marketers use some kind of triggered email.

The top three most often used triggered email campaigns are:

* Welcome campaigns (31% according to eConsultancy studies)
* Triggers based on Registration and Website visits (28 percent).
* Reactivation campaigns for inactive clients (28 percent).

Many simple and midlevel email tools already offer basic event driven email functionality. Sometimes they are called email triggers or autoresponders. Mass  emailings can be complemented or even replaced by triggered email campaigns aimed at the individual need of the customer, at the time they want it.

But triggered email is still not used to its full potential. One of the reasons is that triggered email campaigns sometimes tend to unmask complexities not immediately apparent. One way of uncovering this is running scenarios for your event driven email campaigns. This calls for the use of business rules.

Business rules do apply

You don’t have to remind people of something they already did. This is where business rules come in. Business rules can be set in your email tool and determine if an email is sent and which email it should be. This using logical “if-then-else” statements. A business rule could be used to send a reminder email to download a whitepaper, but excluding the ones that already downloaded it. Business rules can use each field available in the database.

Get ready to be impressed by event driven email

Event driven emails generally account for a small percentage of the total emails sent. But with a low number of  emails, they do foster very impressive results. A study by Experian showed that for instance welcome emails are opened 4x as often as normal run of the mill emails. Triggered welcome emails generate 5x as many clicks and 8 times as much revenue. Making the event driven emails a very juice email marketing tactic.

Image courtesy of  museum of the future (CC)