6 tips for trigger mailing or What are triggers and why you can not do without them

    Our first article was devoted to ( Email marketing for startups ) - how to build a database of first subscribers and what to do with them later. This is the second article in the "Email Marketing for Startup" series, and in it we will talk about triggers and share tips on how to set up and improve your trigger mailing.

    A trigger (or transactional letter ) is a letter that is automatically sent to the user by the system on some event in his user history (or on the fact of the absence of such an event - an abandoned basket / did not order a month). In English, trigger means “trigger”, and this bright image matches the subject as well as possible - the correct “hook” is pressed automatically, “shooting” exactly at the target.

    We made many trigger letters for clients of our email marketing agency, but when we began to build a system for our own project Email-Competitors.ru, we looked at some things differently. And now, on the basis of our vast practical experience, we want to bring to your attention 6 tips for setting up a trigger distribution.

    Tip 1. Use specially designed tools / services to send triggers

    Trigger emails are much better at spam filters than any mass mailing, they are more actively opened by recipients (on average, 80% of triggers versus 30% of marketing emails), and the purpose of the email can be tracked on the site. Often, these factors justify the sending of letters by your own mail server.

    Yes, it’s easier to integrate with your own mailer, but it is unlikely that your admin will regularly monitor his reputation, and the capabilities of email programs to collect statistics, track delivery errors and user complaints about spam are generally not encouraging. Given the penny cost of modern trigger mailing automation services - not using them is just plain stupid.

    We at Email-Competitors for trigger emails use mandrill.com. Why to them? Firstly, the same team did it as the Mailchimp, which we use for mailing, and these two services are easy to connect, toss templates, etc. Secondly, the free Mandrill functionality will be enough for you for a long time - we, despite our rapid growth, still use the free version. In addition, we are confident in the reputation of their servers, which means that for us it will be initially good, and not zero.
    Note: We have a case in which simply transferring trigger mailings from our own server to a professional platform led to the mail double the sales growth of a small online store. The reason is simple, like all ingenious - more accounts generated by the system began to reach customers.

    Tip 2. Do not try to think through everything at once, start doing

    Do not try to think through everything initially. The elephant must be eaten in pieces, and the trigger distribution system is the same monster. In our opinion, it’s much more efficient to start small, adding triggers as your understanding of what you and your users needs deepens and as your business grows and changes.

    If we are not talking about real-time interaction (a la “money came to the account”), then we proceed as follows. We single out a segment of users, for example, those who have never used search in our system. We form a letter for them with the necessary call-to-action in the same Mailchimp, send, look at the result. If everything is fine and the result suits us, then the letter is implemented in the trigger system - the user is registered, and if he does not use the search for a week, then he receives an already generated letter. If you introduce a new trigger immediately into the system, then you can judge its effectiveness or inefficiency when it works well at least 400 times. You can wait for weeks. Our approach allows you to get the effect in 2-3 days.

    At the start of the project through Mandrill, we made 2 of the simplest trigger letters - account registration and password recovery. This is a minimum necessary for everyone, since both of these actions can and should be performed automatically and instantly. This is what the password recovery trigger looks like:

    When registering, it’s worth doing double-opt-in, that is, confirmation of the email. After the user registers on the site, he receives an email with a link, clicking on which confirms the registration. Only after the second (double) confirmation (opt in), his address is entered into the database, which allows you to create a list of really interested and loyal customers.

    First, let’s have 2-3 of the most necessary triggers, it’s better not to spend extra money and valuable development hours: the idea came up - test, if the test is successful - only then implement it.

    Tip 3: Build Your Own Trigger System

    Triggers should make life easier and more convenient. Both to you and your client. Think: what is important to you, what information, how often? What is important to your client, in what volume? The more accurately you answer these questions, the better you can build a trigger system.

    How many triggers do you need?

    Few triggers can be “inconvenient” - you do not get enough information about the user’s behavior, you cannot affect him in time; at the same time, the user does not receive the usual confirmation of their actions on the site. For example, it’s customary to already receive notification of payment of the order, and not having received it, we are worried - the money was debited, but did it reach?
    A lot of triggers are also “inconvenient” - you have too much data that needs to be processed, and the user is flooded with trigger letters, and he sent all this to spam or unsubscribed at all.

    Speaking personally about our experience, Email-Competitors currently uses 11 triggers, and we already know which ones will be next.

    The minimum that almost everyone needs:

    • confirmation of registration (double-opt-in),
    • password recovery.

    If your site has paid services, it may be useful:

    • order confirmation and payment reminder,
    • payment was successful (the trigger for payment is double with us - one letter is sent to the user, the other to the administrator),
    • warning letter about the end of a free subscription or trial period,
    • a warning letter a few days before the end of the paid tariff / service (we have it - 4 days, they work fine, the user begins to actively use the service, even if he hasn’t logged in before, and is already taking a sensible approach to renewing the tariff)
    • reminder letter to pay for renewal the next day after the end of the tariff / service (if not paid).

    The number and interval of reminder letters depends, again, on your business and the cost of the service / product offered. So, for example, RU-CENTER sends customers 2-3 letters of warning and 2 letters of reminder (after the deadline). Modern people are very busy, and may forget to pay even what they need; reminders will allow you not to lose the client due to the fact that he forgot / did not have time, and the client will be grateful - the reminder removes the task of tracking payment deadlines from him.


    What else could be useful?

    • activator letter (we talked about this little trick last time ),
    • a letter to those who have not visited your site for a long time (the so-called “resuscitation”; we don’t know what happened and you can try to return the user),
    • letters of congratulations (happy birthday, 100th order, etc.),
    • welcome letters.

    Tip 4. Even trigger emails should be personalized.

    People like it when you contact them personally, and we respect our customers. Moreover, the inability to contact the subscriber in person is already bad news. For those who do not care about ethical issues (we hope there are very few of these), we add that users are less likely to send personalized letters to spam.

    Tip 5. Do not use a mailbox like noreply @, robots @ or “site name” @ gmail.com (mail.ru, ...) for sending

    If you send letters from a noreply mailbox, the ability to communicate with users is lost. E-mail is a communication space - do not break the official names of the boxes. This time.

    When sending letters with "site name / Vasya Pupkin" @ gmail.com (mail.ru, ...), the spam filter considers that you send letters from someone else’s domain, it does not matter that it is mail - you do not control it with any digital signatures You won’t be able to confirm ownership, which will lead to the fact that all your important notifications will sooner or later get into spam.
    Note: Make sure that the mailbox on behalf of which the mail is being sent exists and that there is a person receiving mail to it. This will help to avoid some rake hits.

    Tip 6. Always give the opportunity to quickly unsubscribe

    Many people specially complicate this process, but it is not only ugly, but also harmful for business - the user, when he cannot unsubscribe easily, gets angry and sends you to spam, pretty much ruining your karma. Users in the system are not “for show”. If you are not interested in a person, it makes no sense to keep him in the mailing list, annoying him and causing a negative. Meanwhile, the number of unsubscriptions is also an important analytics parameter. What happened if suddenly the number of unsubscribes increased? What have you done wrong and how can this be fixed?

    Of course, triggers are not the only means of communicating with your favorite customers, however, they have undeniable advantages. So, properly configured triggers do not fall into spam databases and are not delayed by spam filters, in addition - they have a very high percentage of openness - depending on the scope of activity, it can be up to 90%. Why is that? Because users are waiting for these letters and want to see!

    I wish you success - and let your letters fall right on target!


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