Triggered emails – it’s never ‘set it and forget it’!

I’ve been reading the Litmus blog recently and there are some really interesting articles, all to do with email marketing. Analytics, triggered emails, display testing, subject line testing, designs of buttons, image blocking – if you can think of it, there’s probably a post about it!

I came across this article which is all about triggered emails and their reputation of being ‘set it and forget it’ programs. Some people have even gone so far as to say that once the emails are set up, just quietly run in the background, bringing in revenue and you don’t have to touch them again.

This just isn’t true.

Triggered emails should be called ‘review and renew’ programs, because you should always be keeping an inventory of your triggered email programs to regularly fine-tune them. Make sure you check your emails at least once every quarter to ensure images, links, display rendering and other functionality (such as the View Online link) remains intact.

The team at Litmus came up with two great reasons why you should constantly check your triggered emails: quality assurance and optimisation.

Quality assurance is such a big part of email marketing, because your emails connect your customers to your website, product or service, are an expression of your brand identity, tie into your other marketing strategies and are delivered to a variety of email clients across various browsers and devices. If you don’t check these programs on a regular basis, you could find that they have:

  • Broken links/redirects and old navigation links
  • Out-of-date branding or messaging
  • Faulty trigger logic
  • Broken rendering and functionality because of code support changes at ISPs

If you’re not sure how old the content of your email is, looking at copyright notices is a cheat’s way to confirm. There are ESPs available that let you make automatic updates to these programs, but it’s recommended that you do manual updates, as it forces you to physically view the email and to make other necessary updates.

Take the example below – a lot of subscribers missed the primary message from this cart abandonment email because data about the specific product didn’t populate correctly.

Cart abandonment issue

One major thing to test with all emails – I will do a blog post on this over the coming weeks – is rendering. This is how the eDM will display across multiple browsers and email clients. HTML and CSS is always changing for different Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and there are no standards of support. The example below is a classic example – the alignment of the background is misaligned when the text was added:

Display rendering

Optimisation is key when it comes to reviewing triggered emails. With more businesses adopting a welcome triggered program (consisting of more than one email), there are so many more opportunities for things to be incorrect UNLESS you are constantly reviewing them. Think about that. If you have a triggered email program that has a welcome email with a sign-up link, a birthday email and a cart abandonment email, that is at least three emails to review, renew and retest. Things to consider include:

  • The conditions in which the next email in the series will be/won’t be sent
  • Timing of all emails
  • The messaging across the program and how they interact with one another

Do you have any tips or guidelines when it comes to reviewing your triggered email content? If you do, leave a comment below!

Do you use emojis in your subject line?

A recent report published by MailChimp wanted to find out what the most popular emojis were to use within your subject lines. So which emojis – those small small icons used to convey emotions, things, and ideas – do you think email markets are employing most in their subject lines?

MailChimp set out to find the answer.

After examining 214,000 email campaigns, they came up with a list of the top 15 emojis used most often. These ranks are based on the number of subject line appearances made by each emoji. Probably not surprisingly, the registered trademark emoji took the number one spot, followed by the big-eyed happy emoji, then a smiley with heart eyes. An actual heart and a more standard smiley round out the top 5.

What are the top emojis used within subject lines?

What were the most popular combinations?
Having one emoji within a subject line is great to help drive opens but have you tried using different combinations? From the report, 31% of campaigns with emojis used more than one. The image below was created by MailChimp to map the network of which emojis are used together. In the map, emojis that are closer together are used together more frequently, and emojis that are larger are more popular pairing partners. After removing emojis and pairs that are infrequently used, this chart enables us to learn a lot about how people combine emojis.

Emojis map

What you can see from the above map is that emojis from the same category are often used together (food, faces, animals, weather, etc.). Also, certain emojis connect other small groups. The plane connects earth, travel, and transportation. The heart connects love, fashion, and exclamations.

Using emojis in subject lines is a great way to convey meaning rather than being used as a gimmick. With the subject line being the first thing customers see before they even open the email, it needs to make an impact. Why not try a variety of emojis the next time you send out an email.