A commonly used email marketing tactic is to “re-mail” your campaign again to the same audience, suppressing the folks who have already responded to the offer.  This is both easy to do and can increase the overall campaign response rate up to thirty percent.  How come?  A campaign email offer is simply one in a long list of decisions and “to dos” that folks need to manage every day.  By allowing them a second chance to take advantage of the offer, a fair number will do it just because they were reminded.

With this in mind, here are three common email triggers, used in both B2C and B2B, which could see significant increases in effectiveness and response if turned from a single email message into a multi-touch sequence of messages.

The Welcome trigger

The humble welcome message is often just an auto-responder which confirms opt-in.  If so, it’s a huge loss of opportunity for both B2C and B2B email marketers.

When a person takes the time to subscribe, clearly the brand is top of mind.  Better advantage of this momentum could be taken with a thoughtful sequence of messages which introduces types of products or services, educates the subscriber on what to expect, and provides incentives for the subscriber to continue reading.  In parallel, the open and click behavior of that sequence of emails can be used to make future emails even more relevant.  Common email triggers

The Inactive trigger

Typically, the “inactive” trigger is sent after a subscriber has not opened, clicked, converted or visited the website for say, ninety days.  Some email marketers bring out their best offers and content to drive re-engagement.  Others may use the results of the inactive trigger to determine if a subscriber should be purged from the database entirely.  Either of these helps  to provide a strong rationale for multiple touches to your “dormant” subscribers.  How so?

First, all of that work put into coming up with a strong offer should not be wasted with only one email.  Second, a multi-touch approach is more likely to drive a response of some sort.  In some cases, if that response is to unsubscribe, it isn’t a bad thing.  Yes, some people will choose the “spam” option instead, but it likely will not happen any more than in any other campaign email.

Finally, the inactive sequence can be used similarly to the welcome sequence to re-introduce offerings and then to capture subscriber behavior than can later be used to make future communications more relevant.  A single trigger will not be anywhere near as effective for that.

The “Update Your Preferences” trigger

Another very commonly used trigger is a message that typically goes out between a week and a month after email sign up which asks the subscriber to update their “preferences” for how frequently they want to receive email and what types of offers or communications they would like to receive.  For the most part, this is a simple email with link to the preference page.  Again, this is a huge loss of opportunity.

The messages in a preference sequence should include links to very concrete examples of the categories of content, offers or information that a subscriber can expect, turning their very engagement with the content into an implied preference.  A preference sequence that spans say, four weeks, can actually provide implicit preferences for interests, frequency and device preference, simply based on the recipients’ activity across all of the messages.

Finally, by providing content with flavors that align to whether someone is an executive, manager or user of a product or service, a B2B email marketer can use the resulting click behavior to better categorize a subscriber and present them with the messaging that best suits their level within an organization and the related pain points.  Clearly, all of this would be very tough to capture via a single triggered email.

Remember that it takes some commitment for a subscriber to sign up for email.  In return, they expect information and education, not just immediate promotion.