One of the things that I get asked about the most in my role as Chief Strategy Advisor at the Content Marketing Institute is how to optimize the acquisition of audiences. Email is still the most reliable way to measure the effectiveness of content marketing from the aspect of the audiences we are building. The data that we can build around the simple email address – from rich demographic data, to behavioral and content consumption – is the source of the business value.
In fact, marketers who leverage automation in email see double open rates and more than 3 times the average click through rate.
So, it makes sense then to figure out ways to optimize the when, where and how we send emails to these audiences. Content Marketers who are not taking advantage of automated, triggered emails are missing out of an incredibly powerful way to optimize their audience acquisition efforts.
What is a triggered email?
A “triggered email” is an email that based on an event such as a person’s behavior, profile, or other data attribute, changing “triggers” an email to be sent to that person.”
So, because they are automated – and based on behavior or other data attributes – they are more likely to be timed just perfectly for the audience to take action on them.
If you’re just now considering the use of triggered emails in your content marketing, consider these 5 uses for them that can help you optimize your audience acquisition.
1. Welcome your content subscribers
One of the best times to establish your relationship with a subscriber is just after they subscribe. If your subscribers are registering for your Resource Center, or to subscribe to your blog, why not automatically send them an email that welcomes them and introduces them to some of your best content. For example, at CMI we welcome subscribers with an email that points to some of our “getting started” eBooks and upcoming events.
2. Subscriber activation emails
Once you’ve acquired a new subscriber, there are times when they don’t actually do anything. They don’t visit, or respond to the welcome email. Perhaps they need a reminder that they actually subscribed. Why not, after some period of non-response – automatically send them a gentle reminder that you’re there for them, and invite them to activate their account, or visit your platform.
3. Transactional or behavioral email
There are, of course, simple transactional emails that will help you automate things like sending receipts for purchases, confirmations of registrations, shipping confirmation etc. But you can also look outside the box here as well. For example, at CMI we’ve seen some real success in automatically sending emails based on downloading specific ebooks – helping them to take the next step in their education. Or in other cases, we’ve sent emails based on their registration to a webinar, encouraging them to read the white paper that prepares them for that webinar.
4. Achievement emails
One of the most successful triggered emails can be to congratulate your subscriber or customer on some milestone with your company. For example, for anyone who completes our CMIUniversity online course, we automatically send them a congratulatory email with their certificate.
Or, perhaps you could automatically send a triggered email to someone on the anniversary of their becoming a subscriber to your blog, or after they have reached a threshold of views to your blog.
And that brings us to a fifth great reason to use triggered email…
5. Real-time triggers
If you’re really ready to take things to the next level, consider sending different real-time triggers based on behavior, or even other separate events. For example, perhaps you can trigger a different email if someone visits an event page on your Web site. Or, if the unfortunate thing happens and you have someone unsubscribe from your digital magazine, perhaps you can save them by sending them a note in real time letting them know that you are unsubscribing them – but offering one last chance to stay subscribed.
The key in all of this is to make sure you’re not inundating your audience with email. It can be easy to set up so many triggers that you overwhelm your subscribers. But, here at CMI we’ve watched our subscribers grow and grow. And, in large part, it’s due to us being able to take advantage of triggered emails and automating the delivery of the right message and just the right time.