Triggered Emails Are on Target for B2B Email Marketing

Triggered emails are getting plenty of attention these days. If you’re a B2B email marketer, don’t skip over those blogs and articles on triggered email. You can use them too.

Typically B2C sales cycles are short while B2B sales cycles are much longer. The consumer purchase is less expensive and time consuming, while the business purchase is costly and requires research and buy in. Often a B2B sales cycle is three or more months, with several people involved in the decision, while a B2C purchase can take place online in just a few clicks.

For all of those reasons, some B2B marketers think triggered emails don’t fit in their email marketing strategy.

Examples of common B2C triggered email messages are shopping cart abandonment, asking for feedback, reminder emails, welcome emails, and emails based on past purchases or behaviors. If you’ve been involved in email marketing for any length of time, you are probably familiar with some or all of those kinds of triggered emails. They are all intended to drive action.

B2B email marketing, on the other hand, is typically more about providing information on a solution without selling, and thought leadership. It’s a little tricky too, because if you have sales reps nurturing relationships with specific potential customers,  you don’t want your automated emails to interfere in some way with the relationship building the sales rep is doing. Finally, the goal of the B2B email is different. While the consumer counterpart is striving for the sale, the business messaging is usually striving to engage. An email recipient isn’t going to click on a call to action and invest $20,000 in a software system simply because your email was so compelling. But she might pick up the phone, download a whitepaper or register for a webinar.

That doesn’t mean you can’t use triggered emails! It means you use them in light of the different environment you’re selling in. Also consider that many types of triggered emails would be appropriate if sent “from” the sales rep, not the company. Below are some examples of triggered emails and how they could be used in B2B email marketing:

The welcome email
The welcome email is welcome in any industry! When a business customer signs up for your newsletter, webinar or some other offer, a well-written welcome email is a must. And I stipulate well-written because you don’t need a dry, boring, we’re-just-sending-this-because-we-have-to type message. Your welcome email should thank the recipient, remind them what they’re getting, and do a little to build your brand and relationship.

The “you might also like” confirmation email
Yes, this is typically a B2C email and a marketing technique made famous by Amazon, but why not use it after a whitepaper download or webinar registration? Surely you have papers or webcasts that are similar. It could even be that someone joins a group that makes them a likely candidate for something like a paper. Your confirmation email can tell the recipient about these other offers too. 

The post purchase email
OK, it’s not really post purchase, it’s more a follow-up. While the B2C world sends out post-purchase emails, the B2B marketer can do similar emails as a follow-up to a download, registration or event. You can set it up so these emails come from a sales rep.

The soliciting feedback email
Unlike the email you might send soliciting feedback from consumers who’ve made a purchase, you can solicit feedback after some other action a prospect has taken, like a download. There’s no reason not to ask if they found the case study helpful or what they learned from the webcast.

Triggered emails are an effective way to increase reach, relevance and conversion no matter your industry. Regardless of whether you’re a B2B or B2C marketer, there are rules you can and should set up to automate these communications.

Marco Marini
ClickMail Marketing