In some ways, there’s a myth surrounding email marketing. That if we build it, and keep emailing and emailing and emailing, we would be on the road to reaching our goals.

Perhaps. Having a list is better than none. That is true. But blindly emailing people anything and everything can also be ineffective. In fact, it might do more harm than good.

Behavioral EmailingIn the 9 years I’ve been doing email marketing, I’ve learned ways to build a bigger list. I learned to write better emails, create better opt-ins, ways to better connect with subscribers, and more.

These are all important. One thing I never did well and frankly never given much thought to was what people DO. Part of this had to do with available technology. When I started, autoresponders were pretty awesome and they still are.

Then, came the option to segment people. That was great. When the ability came to further segment people by what they clicked on the email and who opened the email. That was rather revolutionary.

But now… you can make your autoresponder messages even more effective and then some. So let me back up a little and explain why I’ve been re-thinking our emails.

I signed up with Customer.io recently to see what they have to offer. On the surface, what they do sounds rather technical and a little confusing. Then, I received an email that jolted me from my slumber.

It said drip campaigns (e.g. 7 day e-courses) were dumb. What?… I’ve been doing that for years. It is NOT dumb. Nuh-uh. The email goes on to say, assuming you sign up for a project management app and on day 3 you receive an email to add tasks to your project. But… you’ve already done that. That email is both a waste of time and opportunity. When this happens often enough, you might be unintentionally training people to ignore your emails because they aren’t relevant to them at the stage they are in.

Having launched a website backup system and an autoresponder campaign to lead new users through it, this was spot on for us. How would I know…

  • Whether a customer has logged into their account to create a backup?
  • If they have been checking in on their backups?
  • When they downloaded a backup?

As of right now, I don’t. That’s because our email system is completely separated from the website and does not have the ability to track that. This is where Customer.io comes in. It’s like the go-between your website and your email system. They call it behavioral emails.

Here’s how you can use it.

  • Send an email if a customer has not logged into their account for 30 days. This is very useful for those of us who run membership sites and require people to download their packages every month. You could make the time shorter maybe 20-25 days. This would give people time to download.
  • Send an email to affiliates who have not added their important information e.g. PayPal email or sent you their W-9
  • Send a thank you email people who have invited a friend to check out your website.

These are very basic examples. The nice thing about behavioral emailing is, it is not cookie cutter. You will have to sit down to figure out what events or action steps are important to your business, your service, or your app. In some ways this can be overwhelming too. On the other hand, it forces us to become better marketers and take a clear, honest look at usability and improving your customer’s experience.

Great customer experience = customer satisfaction.

That alone should be enough reason to re-think our emailing methods instead of  the rote autoresponder and broadcast blasts cycle. Don’t you think?