How to Use Action-Triggered Emails

Presented live on Tuesday, December 8, 2020

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Action-triggered emails can turn your website and emails into good salespeople.

Because they stop you from just plain ignoring the people who show you intent again and again and again.

Those people show up at your website, click a link… and vanish.

Those people open your emails, click a link… and vanish.

There’s this whole huge conversion opportunity in that ellipsis.

The space between “click a link” and “vanish” is vast territory into which the best digital salespeople happily leap, offering all the help needed to move the prospect from clicking to deciding.

I’ll walk you through a great example of an action-triggered email I received recently.

And you’ll hear about the 4 action-triggered emails we sent, alongside our time-triggered emails, during our Black Friday Cyber Monday promotion, in which we enrolled 1000+ new students in Copy School.

It’s those action-triggered emails that are the opportunity to sell like a GOOD salesperson… instead of ignoring folks who’ve shown intent.


Introduction [00:00]

Joanna Wiebe: Now, I know we got some email love in the room right now we have email people. I’m very glad to see you. If you do not identify as an email person, you will by the end of today’s 20 minute Tutorial Tuesdays, focused on action or behavior triggered follow-up emails in particular.

What to Expect in This Tutorial [00:27]

Joanna Wiebe: So there are lots of ways that you can trigger emails. We’re going to talk about them, but the one that we’re focusing on is what we did for our recent Black Friday Cyber Monday Bonanza. I think there’s no other way to describe it. It was a bonanza! sort of talk about that. Make sure you add any questions you have someone already out of the question.

Follow up emails. That’s what we’re talking about today. Oh. Oh, I did the thing! My timings all off. I put this together. I’ve reviewed it without going into presentation mode, which is a super rookie mistake. I super apologize. One more super on top just to make it’s really clear how super sorry I am.

What Are Action-Triggered Follow Up Emails? [01:45]

This is where the whole idea came from. So we’ve always known about triggered emails. We’ve done triggered emails. But I really liked this example, and this was like after I got this email I wrote to Paul, who was running our Black Friday campaign. And I was like, we’re going to do some of these triggered emails.

So what happened here is I had clicked a digital marketing link somewhere on the General Assembly site and General Assembly had me “signed in,” cookie following me whatever, they recognized me.

And they sent me this email. The email is showing here the subject line is “Curious?”  and that’s just some good clickbait. Like, come on. You can overuse it. But in this particular case, I was curious, it’s actually, this is a little bit more relevant than just some random clickbait thing.

So I had clicked digital marketing. Then comes this email, perfect time. I think it arrived within about 30 minutes of me actually clicking that first link. So of course that’s going to increase relevance and that’s what’s so dope about triggered emails is they’re triggered, not by your timing.

Which is of course a way to trigger, you could say all emails are triggered, You’ve got time-based emails. So the time-trigger and then you have behavior or action based emails. And that’s an action, a lack of action, things like that. And they all work together in one beautiful email ecosystem.

So we’ve got this timely email that comes out and it’s here to nudge me further along. It is that thing where just like I said in today’s email you’re walking through, you’re ready, you’re curious about something. And a salesperson can either ignore you, and wait for you to take more effort than you should have to take to make a purchase.

Or they can come over and help you and that’s exactly what this email was doing was just coming over saying like, Hey, can I help you with this? And instead of just saying, how can I help you? It gave me the next action I should take if I’m actually a good prospect. To review this syllabus, which is really good at request and view the syllabus. So there, of course, the you deeper in as a lead.

But it’s really great and nudging me along to the point of most aware and as we all know, as conversion copywriters that is where conversions happen. That’s where the best conversions happen, where you’re more likely to get fewer refund requests and less churn because people really know what they’re getting into. Okay, no, I did test this one though. So I know this flow where this, this works. It’s got a little animations and it was pretty fancy. Don’t worry about it.

Action-Triggered Email Flow [03:48]

Joanna Wiebe: Okay, so the flow goes like so. For the General Assembly one. So I went on to this. I clicked this thing I was looking at this page. I don’t know if it was based on how long I was on there. I don’t know what else was going on behind the scenes at General Assembly at this time.

But I clicked it and then this email showed up and then I was prompted back to request that syllabus. Now it’s a little unfortunate that they already know who I am and yet they’re asking me to fill this in all over again. There’s smarter triggers in there, but nonetheless, the general flow is appropriate.

It’d be nicer to actually have that conversion happen or maybe trigger a bot or something on that page when you drive me back there, so that I can ask any other questions I have. Don’t make me request the syllabus. I just clicked to view it. So there are ways to optimize it. I’m not saying it’s perfect.

What I am saying is great is that I did something I showed intent and this email followed up on it is a really simple thing that you can share with your team, with your clients to get them to do more of that bottom of funnel work. We do a lot of top of funnel work, a lot of landing pages, optimizing things that are on our website.

But this is going to move, like widen the bottom part of the funnel and that’s a beautiful thing right there. Okay. Most of us have ever have no flow, we’ve got this click, then nothing and then hope. There’s a whole lot of hope going on here like oh great people. And you can see in your analytics people are coming to this page.

And then what happens? Well nothing happens. Yeah, so we have to do something with them wherever we can. We should try these smaller enhancements to our flows.

Our Action-Triggered Follow Up Email Flow [05:50]

Okay, so we totally swipe this whole flow for Black Friday Cyber Monday launch, including the curious question marks subject line for one of the emails that we send out sourced white flow went click something to show into start intent.

This was one email this went out on November 25 to say, hey, this is coming tomorrow. Let us know if you’re down to hear more about our Black Friday offer or opt out and we won’t tell you anything about it. So those are the two links there when someone clicked go here to opt in. They then landed on a page that confirmed they were going to opt in.

But then we also follow it up about 30 minutes to an hour later with this email. Subject line, “Curious?” Nudging them toward our wall of love, which was a new thing that we added. We did a lot of different things with Black Friday launch, it was awesome.

But the wall of love is like, okay, if we’re going to move them further along, through their product awareness stage, they’re probably super early product aware, if not, solution aware, so they’re in that early phase. And how do we move them along. We’re going to show them something instead of overwhelming them with all the things in Copy School because there’s a lot in Copy School.

We wanted to get them hyped about like, you’re not the first person to think this is a good idea getting into Copy School. Here’s our wall of love. And then that drove them to a landing page, the wall of love that had the waitlist on there still of course, but it turned into a page you could buy from, from that point on. So anytime.

But the point here is if we have sent in this on November 26 and drove them to the wall of love. Instead of seeing get on the waitlist, they would have seen buy now. And we got a lot of sales off the wall of love page that we tracked. So that’s what we’re doing here, moving them along. That second email is not necessarily to sell them, but to get them further along so they can confidently move back into the purchasing flow.

What Emails Did We Send? [07:47]

So throughout the Black Friday Cyber Monday launch. We used for click triggered follow up emails. These click triggers are basically did you open, or did you click? There were different rules for the different emails that we had.

But for the second email, we sent the third, the fourth and the fifth, each one of those had a follow up if you did something in there. So some people got, if you were watching these emails, you probably got a lot of emails. If you’re one of those people out there. I’m like you, where you sign up for things just so you can read and learn from them. Like, you’re just observing what’s going on.

And anytime you clicked in email two, three, four or five, you would have got a follow up email. So you might have been like, holy shit, Jo is emailing a lot! And that would be true, but you’re also an exception if you were watching those emails, because most people were just getting the one email that would follow up on something whenever they authentically clicked.

What Days Did We Send The Emails? [08:43]

Joanna Wiebe: The days we sent those triggered emails were the days we got the most sales, that does not mean that every triggered email was uniquely responsible for bringing in those sales. We know that I’ve already said the word ecosystem, all of these things work together. Our Facebook ads helped a lot. Our emails helped a lot. Our actual landing pages and all sorts of different things helped a lot.

However, would we do triggered emails again? Oh, yes, we would absolutely do these triggered emails. Again, we saw nothing but great results.

Results of Our Black Friday Launch [09:18]

Joanna Wiebe: Okay, so for this particular Black Friday Cyber Monday launch, we welcome more than 1000 students to copy school and 100%, I have nothing but data to suggest that these emails help to contribute to those results.

Now your question may be, okay, so Jo, I’m supposed to tell my clients or tell my team that what we want to do is when someone clicks, something we want to trigger emails. That sounds like it’s going to be a lot of work.

How to Get Started Action-Triggered-Emails [09:44]

Joanna Wiebe: What if we only, like, what if I trigger emails from all these different events that happen across a website or a funnel.

Trigger these smaller follow up emails and they only bring in like one or two sales a day because you’re not going broad. You are focusing in only on people who click or do something so you could be sending an email to 100,000 people, but if you only have 5000 of them actually clicking through.

Let’s say that instead of talking to 100,000 people you’re only talking to 5000 people and that can look like, Oh, is that really worth it? But it is really worth it, because these are the ones who’ve shown intent. These are the ones that should be buying or be close to buying that you should be able, with your copy supported by smart technology, like what we’re talking about here with automations.

Then you can actually help increase conversions and it’s all about these like incremental increases. If you’ve ever worked for conversion consultancy, or if you’ve worked alongside one or if you’re in an organization where there is a growth team in place, they are typically not going for these giants swing for the fences wins. You don’t see a lot of multi million dollar wins.

You see smart incremental growth because sure you might only bring you one or two sales a day but it’s happening every single time. If this is on evergreen, at least it’s happening all the time. You let that automated sales machine run and then you do the same thing for another part and another part. Another part and all you have to do is this is one email that was like, “Curious?” Go here and do this next thing.

And you can do that all over the place. And that’s how you start to bring in real wins for your clients. It’s not necessarily going to be a single campaign that you run, but if you do have a client or if your team is selling things on evergreen, like a lot of SaaS companies, most ecommerce people who don’t live in the world of launches.

They’re going to have emails running, you’re going to have people visiting your site. And that’s where you want to start triggering these emails that are meant to move people further along so that they’re ready-er to buy.

What Data Should You Collect? [11:59]

Joanna Wiebe: This also is a case. Last week we talked about customer lifetime value, different data things for different metrics for copywriters to think about. Subscriber lifetime value is another one, LTV you’ll recognize if you were here for that Tutorial Tuesdays.

So subscriber lifetime value and customer lifetime value. If you know those things, then that can really help you make a good case for doing these emails to nudge people closer to buying. In case your client or your company is like, “Do we want to do this? It feels like work.” And again, it’s not. It’s just like introducing a new project into the flow of things just here’s a new email.

Let’s just identify where we’re seeing people click where they should be converting, where they’re not converting. What is that dot, dot, dot between that click and what you want them to do? You have to fill in that little dot, dot, dot, that ellipses in there. So understanding more about what a person what a subscriber is worth to you what a customer is worth to you can actually help you make a really good case for saying, “Well, if we bring into more sales a day though, it’ll pay for itself in a week.

Summary of Triggered-Email Flow [13:12]

  • Click something to show interest or intent
  • Get email with CTA nudging to next stage of awareness
  • Drive on-page conversions

Joanna Wiebe: So again, here’s how the flow goes someone clicks something to show interest or intent. They get a follow up email nudging them to them further along in the stage of awareness and then they’re driven to a place where they’re more likely to convert.

Alright, thank you for all of your questions today, everybody. I know that triggering this stuff depends on having the right tech in place, but talk to your clients about the need for this. Make the case for the need for better software so that you can send more relevant emails and get more people back to your site where they belong, doing the converting.

Alright. Thanks, everybody. Next tutorial Tuesday on the 15th is a guest we’re having in, it’s going to be very, very cool. We’re super excited and that will be the last one before we go on winter break. So join us next Tuesday, have a good rest of your week, everybody. Thanks, Ange. Thanks, everybody. Bye, stay safe.

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