Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Behavioral Email: A Simple Strategy That Can Put Your Company Ahead

The "Behavioural Email Benchmark Study," a downloadable free report from the British consulting firm, is filled with findings about the power of behavioral email to increase customer satisfaction and buying. (Note that the Brits spell it "behavioural," unlike their marketing cousins here in the U.S.)

First of all, what is "behavioral" email? It is email that you send in response to a specific customer behavior or activity. When customers register on your website or buy a product, for example, you send them a thank-you email. So behavioral emails are responsive, making them different from marketing emails that you simply send out to a list of customers.

What behavioral emails can be the most effective? Here are some that the report suggests:

  • Abandoned Basket Emails — I really like these. When a customer places an item in the shopping cart on your website but fails to complete the purchase, he or she gets an email with incentives to click, return, and complete the order. According to the report, only 14% of online retailers bother to send emails like these. Talk about a missed opportunity!

  • Welcome Emails — You send these to customers after they register on your website, even before they buy anything. According to the report, many companies miss out on the chance to send them, because they do not give website visitors the option to register at all. If you are not using this opportunity, you should consider it. It's a great way to collect customer email addresses and other data that you can use throughout your marketing.

  • Registration Follow-Up Emails — After your first welcome email, you can send out a second one that offers something appealing like a free eNewsletter, or coupons. According to the report, only 39% of companies take this extra step.

The report uses insurance companies as case studies, pointing out the effectiveness of sending out follow-up emails to customers after they have obtained insurance quotes online. But insurance companies are just one kind of organization that can benefit from email that responds to customers instead of simply targeting them.

Can behavioural — or behavioral — email provide worthwhile returns for your company? No matter how you spell it, I am willing to bet that it can.


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