Respond to Your Customers, They Respond to You

Bryce MarshallThough this sort of tactic takes many names - event-based, activity-based, behavior-based, triggered, transactional, auto-responders - confirmation/response messages are a critically important part of an effective, integrated email program.
At the simplest level an event-based email (or SMS message) is one that provides a positive and quick response to a specific action taken by your customer. The goals of an event-based message can vary, but should always act to reinforce the value of the action the customer has just taken – making them feel more confident in the quality of product you are providing, and the service supporting it. It says you have your act together – and consumers like this.

What goes into a good event-based message? This can vary widely, but should include some combination of the following:

  • Thank the customer for the transaction: Let them know you value their activity – whether it’s a purchase, reservation, registration or subscription.
  • Confirm the details of the transaction: Take the time to work with IT to ensure this is being done correctly! And test, test, test!
  • Provide details related to the transaction: This can include shipping details, installation date, helpful online resources or usage tips, even next steps.
  • Contact information for customer service: Especially for changes or corrections to the order – consider a dedicated 800 number, web page or email address specifically for order corrections.
  • Is this a good time to market?: This can be a good opportunity for a targeted up-sell, but you must be smart about this. Don’t counteract the value or objective of the message with an inappropriate or overwhelming pitch. The customer will tune out the entire message and the program will miss its mark (plus, CAN-SPAM includes content restrictions for transactional emails).

When our clients launch a well thought-out and executed event-based email program they will generally see open rates 2x or 3x those of their scheduled email tactics. Looking for a way to jump into mobile marketing? Event-based SMS messaging can be extremely valuable for notifications or alerts that are time-sensitive.

Event-based programs provide a crucial balance in the online marketing mix. When the customer sees your brand name in the “From” line and starts associating this with valuable content (rather than non-stop pitches) guess how this effects their perception of the brand? Yes, in a good way.

Finally, these programs can be very cost-effective, usually requiring minimal maintenance costs compared to the ongoing value they provide (and sometimes Customer Care or CRM departments will pick up the tab for you).

It’s a marketing truth: Respond to your customers and they will respond to you.

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