Ok, I can’t guarantee that all emails are opened, but triggered emails have been shown to dramatically increase open and click rate.

The creative has to be tested, and each business will have its own unique customer sensibilities. However, this list, provided by Responsys at its Interact 2013, is a great starting point from which to think about your own automated programmes.

I’ve added examples from around the Econsultancy blog.

1. Welcome

Here's Dororthy Perkins with a great welcome. Including 10% off first order and advice to add their address to your contacts.

2. Nursery

Evans Cycles do a lot right on this front. This is post purchase, but included details of RideIt! events, to get started with a broader set of Evans' services, and really join the community.

3. Cross-sell / up-sell

A nice bit o' cross sell from Office.

4. Alerts

This could be about anything I guess, but here Made.com alert the user to the fact that they have a physical showroom - something which I, as a customer, wasn't aware of until this mail. This example isn't fully automated, but the segmentation works, as I am alerted to a store near me - nicely done.

Automated alerts could include details of a product update (e.g. new version of software) or perhaps the opening of check-in for a flight.

5. Promo reminder

Time is running out! Here Shutterfly tell us there's only two days left to enjoy free prints. (image from Joe Baz)

6. Augmented transactional message

Make sure there's a receipt but add some flavour. Amazon include options to see my recommendations, wish list, account etc.

7. Product reviews

One of the most powerful tools for filling out your site with product reviews. Incentivise the customer and mail them about it. This one from Evans Cycles again.

8. Customer surveys

Last one from Evans, and another great piece of best practice. Survey the customer and, again, offer an incentive.

9. Wish list

Here's Tesco with an ingenious 'wish list'. Clubcard data allows Tesco to tell this customer, 'your regular in-store shopping is waiting online', allowing a tailored product selection to be added to basket on first shop. There's even an offer in the same mail. Great stuff.

10. Abandon

Probably the best programme of emails to hit the bottom line and increase conversion. Boots' lovely example below. Check out Rhian Simm's masterclass.

11. Browse

More from Rhian, and this Quidco email shows how to politely broach the topic of browsing and not purchasing - 'Nothing float your boat?'.

12. Social media

Teaming social and email is a good idea if you can do it properly. Try collecting email addresses on your Facebook page, like BBC Shop below. If your dataset allows it, you can use social triggers such as customers that have entered a competition on your Facebook page.

13. Post-purchase

ASOS are great at post purchase emails. Here they nail customer care - info about delivery, returns, tracking, replying to mail.

14. Automated newsletter

Here's Econsultancy's Daily Pulse. Notice the section where you can manage the topics of your own alerts, to ensure relevance. Blog posts, reports and events are pulled in automatically each morning.

15. Birthday

Lancome's Joyeux Anniversaire! And a complimentary gift with each purchase above $49.


16. Anniversary

Here's a Tumblr note to tell me I've been a user for one year. No calls to action other than 'post this!', encouraging me to add more content to my blog, or share it with friends.

17. Loyalty / reward program

A daily reward might be overdoing it, after all this Zynga email is only delivering virtual goods (scoff scoff). But rewards are surely important - give them for loyalty or the opposite (ok, maybemore of a 'win back'), the customer will never be disappointed.

18. Re-engagement

A simple one from ebuyer.com. We miss you, and our site has improved. Single tear.

19. Re-permission

Similar to re-engagement but with the emphasis on 'do you still want to receive these emails?' Perhaps a little bit catch 22 if you think about it too long, but best practice and a light touch. Check out mailchimp's post on what makes a good permission reminder.

20. Win back

Pretty obviously a flagrant bribe. Baby come back! There's a whole bunch of examples here on slideshare.

Ben Davis

Published 3 July, 2013 by Ben Davis @ Econsultancy

Ben Davis is Editor at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester, England. You can contact him at ben.davis@econsultancy.com, follow at @herrhuld or connect via LinkedIn.

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Comments (7)

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Depesh Mandalia, CEO & Founder at SM Commerce

A good list Ben - it's all about relevancy!

about 5 years ago

Philip Thorman

Philip Thorman, Marketing Project Manager at University of Gloucestershire

Really valuable tips - something for everyone to apply. #7 was new to me (FB email sign-up). Have shared.

about 5 years ago


Sheridan Resorts

Great post! This is good for e-marketing. Thanks for sharing!

about 5 years ago


Becs Rivett

Some great ideas presented here, however a few of these are not automated emails like reactivation, and some are just parts of emails like the cross-sell.

A good reactivation plan will take into account the user's purchase history as well as whether they have opened your newsletters - data which is unlikely to be hooked into your email data unless you have serious spend on email.

about 5 years ago

Jon Stanesby

Jon Stanesby, Associate Director of Strategic Services, EMEA at Oracle Corporation UK Limited

With regards to automating your reactivation emails, it is absolutely possible. The simplest approach is to get hold of your customers’ last order dates and refresh it every day in your email platform. This way, the program can run in the most timely and efficient way. In addition, it gives you, the marketer, the control to decide after how many days without purchasing the program should be launched - giving you the power to test this and optimise the program as frequently as you wish. You may even want to segment your customers. For example, do higher value customers respond better to earlier reactivation programs or later ones?

Re-engagement (a program focused purely on getting consumers who have not opened or clicked emails for some time, to once again open or click emails) is a different kettle of fish, and its objective as a program is significantly different from reactivating lapsed purchasers. Having ready access to behavioural data like this is vital to running a successful email marketing program.

about 5 years ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Editor at EconsultancyStaff


Thanks for correcting, Jon, and makes perfect sense.

about 5 years ago

Joel Pressman

Joel Pressman, CEO at Remarkety

Our statistics shows that example #20 "Win-back inactive customers" turns out to be one of the best automatic email marketing strategies you can use for your online store. Very easy to implement and super effective. Thanks.

almost 5 years ago

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