3 Types of Triggered Email Campaigns You Can Personalize with User- Generated Content

Triggered email campaigns can help you reach potential customers at opportune times with relevant content. Furthermore, after the initial set up, triggered emails can save marketers a ton of time and work while maintaining high levels of customer attentiveness. While adding personalized visual content to even the most specific triggered email campaigns can greatly impact their effectiveness, until recently, it’s often been considered too tedious a task to undertake.

Today, we are excited to announce a strategic partnership between Pixlee and Listrak, which will allow our joint customers to easily display curated user-generated content visuals in their triggered email campaigns, delivering a more customer-centric email experience.

This integration enhances the ability of marketers to publish relevant, real-time content that contextualizes products and optimizes the impact of their triggered emails by delivering higher click-through rates and increased top line revenue.

With Pixlee and Listrak’s partnership, marketers can feature real customer photos and videos in various types of triggered email campaigns, such as: 

Abandoned Cart Emails
Marketers project almost visceral reactions when talking about shopping cart abandonment. They are aware that it’s a big problem yet at the same time a lucrative opportunity. Approximately $4.6 trillion worth of merchandise will be abandoned in online shopping carts this year and about 60% of that revenue is potentially recoverable [Business Insider].

Displaying product-specific customer photos and videos in abandoned cart emails can help to contextualize products for shoppers who are still in the early stages of the purchase funnel. It also adds a layer of social proof and peer validation to help shoppers, who may not be able to touch and feel a product as they would in a store, to make a purchase with confidence.
Browse Recovery Emails
While product page browsers may not have as high of intent to purchase as those who leave items in abandoned online carts, these browsers have still indicated some interest. By only emailing subscribers who have abandoned items in cart, marketers are missing the opportunity to re-engage with a huge percentage of other shoppers.

One way to display user-generated content in browse recovery emails is to highlight similar products to re-engage these browsers. It can help the browser to discover relevant products offered by your brand that peers are using and that he or she might be interested in.

Lifecycle Emails
Finally, lifecycle email campaigns (such as Welcome emails, Order Confirmation emails, or Shipping Confirmation emails) can play important roles in your customer loyalty and retention.

While the primary message of these emails is transactional, displaying user-generated content to upsell and cross-sell can help to personalize these email campaigns. Furthermore, incorporating shoppable photos and videos from real customers into lifecycle emails can also help you to highlight your greater brand story through email touchpoints.

Triggered emails are a powerful way to personalize brand messaging and to recover revenue. To improve your triggered email campaign engagement and increase click-through rate, consider your visual content. Does it contextualize your products in an authentic way? Does it help your subscriber to discover similar or complementary products? If the answer is no, consider using real customer photos and videos to enhance your email engagement and encourage website revisits.

For more information, please visit Pixlee.com

Miriam Tremelling
Content Marketing Lead at Pixlee

Digital Marketing – Risks to Avoid

The new rules of digital marketing predicate the need to take risks. Brands must be innovative. They must move quickly. They must be the early adopters of new technology. They must be first.

While there are risks associated with that it’s far riskier to remain status quo. If you aren’t implementing new, more personalized ways to reach your audience, you can bet your competitors are.

When it’s time to upgrade to a new digital marketing platform there are many factors to consider. We’ve outlined several considerations below to help you mitigate the risks.

What’s the cost of “free”?
There are many low cost or even free digital marketing services available. But buyer beware – you get what you pay for. Going with the cheapest solution often ends up costing brands more as the hidden costs for integration, implementation, customer service and support add up quickly. More importantly, companies have to consider the downtime and lost revenue being caused when solutions aren’t implemented in a timely manner, when all acquisition touchpoints aren’t firing correctly, when third party software breaks or when they simply have a support question but can’t reach a representative in a timely manner.

Low cost providers typically focus on customer acquisition, not customer service. Low cost providers “innovate” by offering new solutions from third parties rather than developing the technology themselves, which is the only way to fully ensure integration is accurate and easy to implement and giving you a single point of contact. And because low cost providers solely focus on their – and their investor’s - bottom lines, they aren’t focused on the ROI of their customers. Performance and metrics are secondary.

Free or low cost solutions come with a huge risk that rarely pays off as they end up costing much, much more in the long run – in the form of hidden fees, poor integration and service, and lost business.

At Listrak, our clients average $50 of ROI for every dollar spent. That’s 16.3 percent higher than industry averages of $43 as reported by the DMA. Our guiding philosophy and hallmark of our business is “customers come first in all we do”. We develop technology and many of the best practices in our industry in order to help our clients drive customer acquisition, retention and loyalty, resulting in higher revenue and customer lifetime value. Our client services team earned a world-class Net Promoter Score of 80, which is 60% higher than Disney’s score of 50. According to Net Promoter Score, any score above 50 is excellent while 70 or above is deemed world-class. A score of 80 is unparalleled in our industry.

Acquisition is risky business
It is rare for a technology company to grow organically without taking outside funds from venture capitalist firms or other investors. Similarly, many companies look at acquisition as a model for growth and innovation. Listrak is one of the exceptions. 

From Business Insider, “And yet history shows that, in at least half of all cases, after the deal closes, acquisitions sour. (There are dozens of studies and papers, and estimates of how many M&A deals fail to meet financial expectations run from 50 percent to as high as 90 percent.) The good news is that entrepreneurs, option-holders and investors cash out, but the bad news is that the employees find themselves in an oxygen-starved bureaucracy and customers end up confused or even orphaned.” 

Whether you’re looking for a new service provider or even if you’ve worked with a company for several years, you must remain aware of mergers and acquisitions in the industry in order to protect your organization. Remember – many times the customers of acquired companies end up confused or even orphaned. They’re left behind – shuffled among account representatives who may or may not understand the customer’s business or even know the new technology or corporate culture they are now a part of.

Customers of acquired companies end up confused or even orphaned, dealing with new account representatives who may or may not understand the customer’s business or even know the new technology or corporate culture they are now a part of. Working with organizations that are going through an acquisition – especially if it isn’t the first time – isn’t a risk you can’t afford to take.

The success of your business is paramount to our success here at Listrak, which is why we consider all clients a partner. Our client services, strategy services, technical project managers, learning and development, creative services, deliverability, support and other teams mean you have 350+ people on your side whose main purpose is ensuring your digital marketing solutions are optimized to maximize returns. We answer to our customers, not outside investors or shareholders or even to a parent company that focuses on goals that aren’t aligned with our core values and objectives.

What risks do pay off?
In the immortal words of Bruce Arians of the Arizona Cardinals – “no risk it no biscuit”. While you definitely don’t want to choose a risky organization to work with, there are some risks you’ll want to consider with your digital marketing solutions that will pay off big time.
  • Implementing new technology – Being the first to test new solutions puts you ahead of your competitors. Whether you’re implementing AI technology that can analyze customer data to predict what action they’ll take next or testing SMS to see if your audience responds to messaging in a new channel, don’t wait to see how other businesses do. Test the technology yourself. Being the first to market provides invaluable opportunities to engage consumers in exciting new ways. 
  • Testing new campaigns – Be the trendsetter. Take the “next practices” and find out how to make them your industry’s best practices. Even small and simple enhancements, like adding a third or fourth message to a cart abandonment series, can lead to big returns. Listrak’s resource center is full of strategies and tactics that are easy to implement. 
  • Segmenting audiences in new ways – If you are still just segmenting on simple preferences – or worse, not segmenting at all – it’s time to use your data more effectively. Try sending offers only to former customers who haven’t purchased in over 90 days to win them back. Or send back in stock or price drop alerts to people who browsed those particular product pages but didn’t buy anything. These messages are highly targeted and can even be automated. They’ll outperform many of your other campaigns. 

Was there a time you took a big risk with your digital marketing initiative that paid off? We’d love to hear about it in the comments section.

Megan Ouellet
Director, Content Marketing

How to Communicate Effectively with Your Email Designers

One of the biggest hurdles of working with others on a project is getting another person to understand your vision. Sure, it’s an exciting 4K cinematic glory playing in your head. You hear angels singing as a magnificent work of art is revealed in your mind (and yes, smoke machines are probably involved). But now, you need to make someone else see, understand, and create that dream in a concrete marketing piece. You need them to take photographs, fonts, and shapes into the amorphous abyss of computer design software to ultimately create what you envisioned.

To get to that final marketing piece, there is a lot of information filtering back and forth between those working on the project. A strong communication flow between team members will increase the quality and effectiveness of your email marketing to meet your goals.

So…how do you do it?

It seems like such an easy concept: an exchange of ideas from one person to another. But to explain something as nebulous as an idea is difficult. Buzz phrases like “think outside of the box” and “make it pop” don’t express the tiny details of what you truly want.

Through the years, I’ve picked up some helpful tips to make the communication on a project go a bit smoother.

Have a conversation

Before a design is even started, everyone should already be on the same page about what is expected. A design vision is multi-faceted, so trying to describe it with a two-sentence email or text message won’t get the full idea across. Instead, there should be a two-way, detailed conversation between both parties. This could be done through Slack, email, a phone call, or even face-to-face. During this time, nail down the specifics: Are there certain colors to use? Is a specific image or font needed? Do you have similar examples to reference?

Remember you are on the same team

When communicating about something as personal as a creative vision, the process can quickly turn sour if one or both sides of the conversation become defensive, argumentative, or unresponsive. If there is a difference of opinion, try to calmly come to terms. Each person should lay out their opinions and knowledge so the full picture can be seen. With the restrictions of email inboxes, some aesthetics aren’t possible. Other ideas might not be on-brand. Perhaps an idea is against your best practices. Working through these issues can be frustrating, but butting heads will just make the situation more stressful and emotional.

Provide assets and examples

It’s not a secret that designers are visual people. If you have an idea of what you want your final product to look like, send the designer specific examples or even try sketching it out for them! If nothing else, a simple grouping of rectangles can help give the designer a visual structure to start with.

This is a page from one of my notebooks on variations of an email design. They aren’t pretty. They aren’t fancy. But they tell a clear story of where the designs should go.

In addition to examples, remember to supply all the photos and graphics you want to be used in the design. Not sure what image you want? Supply a range of options or a robust image library to the designer and give an explanation of what type of images to use. Do you want images of the products? Do you want happy people? Would you like to see a natural landscape? Any direction is useful. Believe it or not, one of the hardest things to design is “Do whatever you want.” Without guidance, a designer may find a magical rabbit hole far away from the intended vision.

Advice for designers

One of my favorite quotes from a college professor is that “Artists create for themselves. Designers create for others.” While designers have that creative juice (or maybe it’s just coffee) running through their veins, each piece created is then left to the scrutiny of others: your boss, your coworkers, your customers, other designers. You’re likely proud of your creation. However, it also needs to be approved by all parties involved in the process. Their opinions matter too! And it doesn’t stop there. It also needs to perform. You need a measurable return.

And sometimes that can get painful. Sometimes your masterpiece is torn to shreds. As creatives, we get emotionally attached to our creations. Having someone change your creation is painful. The initial reaction can be anger or sadness. You may not be able to control that emotional response, but you can control how you deal with the situation.
  • Take a few minutes to calm down. A heated response will only make the situation worse for all parties involved. Go to the bathroom, grab a cup of coffee, or step outside and take a big, deep breath. Just a few minutes removed from the moment can make a world of difference. 
  • Start a dialogue to find out the reasons behind the change. There may be a legitimate reason – for example, following branding guidelines. Some requested changes might not be possible due to functionality or SPAM regulations, and that might need a discussion to explain. By creating a conversation, you open both parties to seeing the full picture and reduce confusion. 
  • Find your happy place. We all have something we love so much that we can’t help but smile at. I love my family. It’s a little unconventional: a husband and cats. But it’s mine. And those cats: they’re cute and fluffy. They have little lawn mower engines inside of them that turn on when you cuddle. As much as I wish I could have one plopped in my lap all day at work, I make do with about 3 million pics of them on my phone (and a few hung around my desk for good measure). In the heat of the moment, when I have more work than I can imagine getting done in a single day and I’m stressed beyond belief: I stop for just a moment and look at a little furball.
Seriously, who could be upset looking at this picture of Wedge?

Ultimately, to have the most effective communication during the creative process, you need to listen and remain open to each other’s ideas and needs. As long as you work together instead of against each other, you will create amazing things.

What communication methods do you use with your designers? Do you have any advice yourself? Let us know in the comments!

Melissa Lobach
Graphic Designer