AutomationMailing List & Subscribers

Behavioral Email Marketing: How to Take Your Email Marketing to the Next Level


We’ve recently looked at nine emotional triggers that can be used in email marketing. Today, we would like to learn more about how customer behavior and actions can help improve email marketing. Behavioral marketing practice isn’t new, but its adoption feels somewhat slow. So, let’s see what behavioral email marketing is all about!

What is Behavioural Marketing?

Behavioral marketing practice is used to display targeted content based on the user’s previous actions and behaviors. Behavioral marketing can be applied to various digital channels. Therefore, in general, targeted content is not limited to emails but can also be digital ads and other types of content.

From an email marketing perspective, behavioral marketing refers to automated emails that are sent to recipients based on their behavior or actions. And, yes, these emails should not be manual deployments.

Behavioural Email Marketing Drives Engagement

It’s a universal marketing truth: the more relevant the content, the higher the chance for a positive reaction and action. Emails sent using behavioral triggers drive better results, such as better email open rates and clicks. With behavioral marketing, you’ll also learn to understand and address customers’ needs and, in turn, boost customer engagement.

With behavioral triggers, your automated journeys and sales funnels become much more effective. You can achieve precise email delivery when customers are interested and active and share content that is relevant to each of the recipients.

Identify Behavioural Triggers That Can Be Used in Your Workflows

Behavioral email marketing automation uses multiple triggers to enhance the customer journey flows. Moreover, customer actions and behavior give great insights to develop targeted marketing segmentation. Here are some examples of customer actions (or lack of actions) you can consider for your email marketing:

  • Interactions with your email marketing campaigns
  • Landing page and website actions and behavior
  • Browsing history
  • Purchasing history
  • Social media triggers
  • App data

You don’t need to have all possible triggers ready to start email marketing customer journeys. Not all your actions should result in an email deployment. However, understanding them and their impact on your business, results, and KPIs is important. Try to review what actions your customers or leads are taking (or are not taking). Brainstorm how this information helps you optimize and improve your email marketing content, segmentation, and automation.

Behavioural Trigger Workflows

Let’s take a look at some good examples of behavioral targeting. The first automated flow that illustrates it well is the abandoned cart email. In this scenario, a customer leaves items in their virtual shopping cart and does not complete the check-out. This is a perfect behavioral trigger for a very effective email reminder. You can learn more about abandoned cart emails here.

Email Examples

Here’s a beautiful cart abandonment email from Peel, encouraging the recipient to complete the check-out:

Many companies use lead magnets to increase their subscription rate or drive sales. Let’s say an online business is offering an ebook to new subscribers. A form is being submitted – an email with the download link is being sent. From that point, other behavioral triggers can be added to the workflow: such as downloading the e-book or, on the contrary, not opening the email with the download link at all. These triggers can be used to send highly targeted emails to the recipients.

Here’s an example from Pixel Buddha – a clean transactional email with the download link. This email deployment is triggered by customers’ actions. That said, if you have proper marketing consent, this email can easily be converted into a message with more promotional content or developed into a series of emails to encourage feedback and move customers further down the sales funnels.

If you use Amazon for online shopping, you have probably seen many emails sent based on your purchase or browsing history. For instance, you’ve been looking for gifts for kids but haven’t purchased anything. Shortly after, you’ll get emails with product recommendations based on your search.

Here’s another example. After searching for video game chairs on Amazon, this email was received:

Behavioral marketing mechanism is based on reacting to customers’ choices, their actions. If you analyze their behavior, you can craft better automated email campaigns: they will feel more unique and relevant to each recipient.

Behavioural Segmentation

Behavioral triggers are very useful in email marketing automation and workflow building. In addition to direct triggers and automation, you can use behavioral data to build meaningful segments too. While there might be many different types of behavioral segmentation, here’s a quick review of the most popular methods:

  • Segmentation based on purchase behavior: this segmentation can provide beneficial insights into what stage of their purchasing journey the customers are in. This will be very handy for marketers looking for ways to influence their customer decisions.
  • Segmentation based on occasion or timing: these segments can help you find leads or customers who are most likely to interact with your brand or make a purchase on specific occasions, such as Black Friday or Christmas. Sometimes, this can even provide segments based on particular times: for example, group all customers who usually open their emails on Sunday afternoons.
  • Benefits sought segmentation: a segment of your subscribers based on the unique value propositions they are looking to gain. Some customers might be looking for a lower price. Others might be searching for exceptional quality and big brand names.
  • Segmentation based on customer loyalty: these segments can help you group your subscribers into different lists based on their different stages of brand loyalty.

Final Thoughts

With behavioral email marketing, businesses can significantly improve their email marketing quality and customer experience. It’s not surprising because the more relevant and timely your emails are, the more likely you’ll get a positive reaction from your recipients. This will help you drive engagement and results. Start by identifying possible behavioral triggers, analyze your audience behavior, build your flows and create segments. It’s definitely worth the effort!