With a 50 percent higher open rate and over 150 percent higher click-through rate, trigger emails are an important tool in any retail marketer’s toolbox. And it’s also great for revenue — trigger emails generate at least 30 percent of email program revenue, although they account for a very small part of program volume.

Here are some pointers to help you build your own effective, profitable trigger campaign.

You probably already have some of the more popular triggers in place; if not, you should:


  • Abandoned cart
  • Cross-sell or up-sell
  • Win-back


  • Birthday
  • Birth of a child


  • Grand openings
  • Relocation re-openings


  • Welcome
  • Reward earned
  • Reward about to expire
  • Upgrade to a new program tier

But there are other behaviors tied to loyalty programs that can make effective triggers:

  1. Keep the Welcomes Coming
    Many retailers tend to have a once and done attitude when it comes to welcoming new members. But creating a series of emails is more effective. In a recent study, the welcome series had 40 percent higher click rates, three times the transaction rates and four times the revenue per email over promotional mailings sent during the same time period.

And if you’re feeling that’s a lot of content, remember that value-added messages should be delivered at least three to five times during the first 90 days. This might be content that focuses your brand’s value proposition or highlights specific loyalty program benefits.

Tip: Design your welcome emails to be impactful with images disabled since members will not have had the opportunity to engage images yet.

  1. Almost There!
    As your members get close to earning the next reward, let them know how close they are. Test different thresholds to determine what works best in your environment, but a good rule of thumb is to notify customers when they are within the average purchase amount of a reward and the amount seems attainable.

For example, if your average purchase is $65, consider starting the near threshold when a member is $50 or less from earning a reward.

Tip: If you have a points program, either translate the amount needed into dollars or include a section in the copy explaining how dollars are converted to points.

  1. Celebrate Them
    Sure, a member’s anniversary may seem to lack the “What’s in it for me?” perspective, but turn it around as a celebration of the member and an opportunity to recognize him or her. Consider giving a “gift” to thank them for their patronage — whether it’s bonus points, a discount or a free add-on.

Tip: Make the message personal by having it signed by the CEO — it should stand out from your regular promotional emails. And don’t forget to include a feedback mechanism.

Keep in mind that you may need to go back and make adjustments to your trigger emails based on the results you get. You should regularly evaluate your trigger email campaign to make sure it’s effective.

Keep the tips coming and find out how to score customers by their value to your business, read CCG’s Have You Scored Your Customers Today?