Automated emails, also known as behavioural or triggered emails, are emails that are set up to fire off to your audience’s inbox based on an action a site visitor has taken.

They are the opposite of bulk emails, which are sent in a batch and are not dependent on an action having been taken on site.

Actions that trigger emails may be: an email sign up, a product purchase, adding a product to your basket, viewing a range of products.

Triggered emails have higher engagement rates than bulk emails and therefore improve your deliverability rate (this is your ability to get into the recipient’s inbox). The rule that a lot of email clients (ie Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo) work by is the more positive signals your emails receive (opens, clicks, forwards), the more they will let your emails breeze gracefully through the spam filter.

The reverse is also true. The more negative signals an email client picks up (unsubscribes, deletes, spam reports), the more likely your email is to get redirected to the spam folder or worse still, bounce.

So, is automated email a good thing for the health of your email list? Absolutely.

People do not like unsolicited email. Let’s consider this in terms of phone calls.

If I phone your business up with an order, and later on you call me back to confirm and let me know the shipping date, I will be really happy you called. What’s more, I will be expecting a confirmation call from you.

If you call me up just to sell to me and I haven’t had any dealings with you for months, I will be annoyed. It’s the same with email.

What is just as annoying as getting emails when I don’t want them is not getting an email that I should have received. That password reset email, for instance.

This is why you need to think seriously about your email customer journeys to ensure that those emails are landing in people’s inboxes when they are supposed to.

Let’s have a walk-through the six automated email campaigns you need to start using.

EMAIL 1: Signup Confirmation (Double Opt In)

What: An email to check if your customer really wanted to sign up.

When: Someone signed up on your site and you’re just giving them an easy way out if they changed their mind.

Who for: Everyone who collects emails.

Anything else?

Also known as the double opt in, this is to verify your new signup really wanted to register and to check the email is a bonafide one, not just some spammer.

EMAIL 2: Welcome

What: A polite email to welcome you aboard.

When: Someone has just signed up with you, either to receive emails or they have opened an account.

Who for: Companies that have an email newsletter or subscription accounts. In short, if ever you collect an email address, send them a welcome email.

Anything else?

These emails are expected. They are a great opportunity to make a positive first impression and often deliver good open rates. Use this email as a platform to tell people more about you, and maybe follow up with a couple more emails to offer a “virtual tour” of your service.

EMAIL 3: Abandoned Basket

What: An email to remind your customer they still have goods in their virtual basket they still haven’t paid for.

When: Someone was browsing your site, they were about to pay and then clearly got distracted or had second thoughts.

Who for: E-commerce sites.

Anything else?

Abandonment emails come in the form of abandoned basket (customer added to basket but didn’t finish the order), abandoned browse (the visitor was looking around your site but didn’t add anything to their basket) and abandoned search (the customer performed a search on your site but didn’t look at any of the products).

This email type requires some advanced data processing as you will want to display the products that are relevant to the recipient. You will most likely be using cookies on your site, and as such, it is essential you make sure you are acting in accordance with the GDPR and only contacting those who are opted in. Always give people a way to unsubscribe.

EMAIL 4: Order Confirmation

What: An email to confirm that a purchase has been successful.

When: Someone has just checked out.

Who for: Any e-commerce site.

Anything else?

Of all the automated emails, this is the most important as it gives people confidence that the order has gone through correctly and that you have received payment. It is also evidence in case something else turns up at their door other than what you ordered.

EMAIL 5: Review Invitation

What: An email inviting the customer to leave a review.

When: Someone has bought from your site recently or used your service.

Who for: Any business that sells products or services – So everyone.

Anything else?

Link directly to where you are collecting your reviews, ie Google, Facebook or Trustpilot:

“In our experience, there’s often a large pool of customers who don’t think about leaving reviews. Sometimes all it takes to activate these customers is a polite request. Invitations make it easy for people to leave a review, and remind them that their opinions matter.” Trustpilot 

EMAIL 6: Back in Stock

What: An email to tell customers that a product is back in stock.

When: A customer searched for a product that was out of stock. Tell them you’ve got it in again so they remember they were interested in it.

Who for: Any e-commerce site selling products.

Anything else?

Like with abandonment emails, you will need some sophisticated plugins to capture your customer’s behavior. Make sure that you’re GDPR compliant, your privacy policies are up to date and that your customers are opted into receiving your emails.