Even in small business marketing we can learn a lot from those large company surveys.
According to a MarketingSherpa study, 39% of marketers said that “automatically sending emails based on triggers” is the most effective tactic for improving email engagement."
Sending targeted emails to your contacts based on their actions and behaviours, is one of the most valuable email strategies an inbound business can adopt.
But, a lack of technical know-how can make doing behavioural email a difficult task. To make things complicated, there’s little education on behavioural email for small business marketing.
This article will explain the basics of behavioural email marketing: what it is and how you can implement it effectively for your business.
Behavioural email is the practice of sending automated, targeted emails to the contacts in your database based on their interactions with your company across multiple channels: social media, email, your website etc.
Basically, every interaction that a user has with your company should have an expected and appropriate reaction.
In a traditional email campaign, we develop an offer like an eBook, infographic, or whitepaper. Then we create a segment of people that might find that offer valuable and email them.
Behavioural email is about adopting a user-focused approach to sending email. I.e., it’s the actions of your site visitors that dictate what emails they receive, after opting in, not a decision made by you.
Now that we've defined what behavioural email is and why it matters, here is a three-step framework for implementing behavioural email marketing as part of your small business marketing strategy.
Track how people interact with your business online
The first step in running an effective behavioural email strategy is to study exactly what activities you can see, interpret and act upon. After all, you can’t send behavioural emails if you don’t know the which behaviours to use as a trigger.
You have many channels at your disposal to attract, engage, and close people into customers: website, social media, email, webinars, conducting surveys, etc.
Each channel is a chance to listen to users, learn more about them, and start a conversation based on what you gather. This means that you need to track, store and surface information about your visitors.
Your contact database is the nerve centre for all your inbound efforts. It works like your brain: listening to inputs, interpreting them, and deciding how to react.
Following that analogy, the contact properties would be the collective knowledge and memory stored in your brain. Contact properties store information about people like:
- website activity
- email engagement
- social media activity
- form submissions
- conversion information
- data from other integrated software.
You can then use that information to send emails to people based on this activity.
Determine the actions a user might take
Behavioural emails are effective because they are triggered based on a prospect’s behaviour. As a result, these emails are almost never a surprise. They are an expected reaction to an action taken by a user.
That’s the true power of behavioural emails - they are activated by the user, not the marketer.
The decision we must make is which user actions to react to. Here are three worth considering:
- Form submission for eBook/content: send a transactional email confirming a download
- View specific content on website: send targeted follow-up content. E.g., if someone views your case study page, send them one of your more popular case studies.
- Engagement/lack of engagement emails: Send them an email with another CTA or run a contact-re-engagement campaign.
Other actions you might consider as starting triggers might be active engagement on social media, subscribing to your blog or reading a specific blog post. This is where knowing your contact database becomes important. Once you know what you can track, creativity is your only limitation!
Start a conversation with the user based on that behaviour
So you understand what information your database tracks and stores, and you’ve identified some of the most important activities a user might take. The final step is to write a compelling email so you can start a conversation with the user based on that behaviour.
How can you make the most of the behavioural emails? By taking advantage that behavioural email exists at the centre of three important email best practices:
When you set up a behavioural email, you create a personal experience. You’ve essentially created a segment of one - the holy grail for email marketers.
Consider the social media messages you send, or the blog posts you write. They are the same for every reader. Using email taps into your contact database, which means you can make it highly personal.
Behavioural emails take that concept to the next level by creating a response to something a user just did.
Are you ready though for behavioural emails or are you still in the “batch and blast” stage? If so then look at the following first: