Use behavioral marketing to boost customer engagement

Wanna increase customer engagement? Bet on a behavioral marketing strategy

Marketing is all about understanding your customer, their interests, habits and preferences. Knowing your customer next steps is essential to trigger actions that may lead to actual sells, or in other words to acquire and retain your customer. This is called behavioral marketing.

The main challenge is to win the battle between millions of companies that are fighting for your customers attention. But how to correctly reach and impact your customers? For a long time, email marketing was one of the main strategies used by marketing professionals to activate and engage leads and opportunities. Basically based on promotions, newsletters and offers sent via email was almost mandatory on a digital marketing plan.

But now things have changed, the transactional emails arrived to improve the market, boost the power of the content sent via email and reach more customers in a more personalized way.

A report from Borrell Associates, Inc. and Merkle revealed that 64% of customers consider transactional emails to be the most valuable messages in their inbox. With that in mind, remember that the chances of having your transactional email read is very high, so work on your concept and make the most of it.

Table of contents:

What is behavioral marketing?

Customer behavior involves interactions, among people's thinking, feelings, actions and the environment. Marketing professionals need to understand what products and brands mean to customers, why do customers buy or use them, what makes them do or take these or that action and what influences them on those choices. The more professionals know this, the better they can satisfy customers needs.

Imagine putting together an individual's behaviors + planned actions, and voilá: the result is behavioral marketing! As opposed to direct marketing, where the same message is sent to everyone, behavioral marketing gathers information about the targeted customer and tailor a personalized message to the user. That way you not only understand your audience but you can also sell products and services that are actually interesting to your audience.

Most of the time this means using web analytics, cookies, browsing and search history, and IP addresses to create individual profiles for each customer.

Examples of behavioral marketing actions

Those who visit the fashion section of a general news site will start seeing stores ads as they browse other sections of that site. Consider Facebook, where users share a variety of information every day. That information is used not only to connect customers to ads in areas of interest, but also to create an online peer pressure of sorts - "XX likes this," so why shouldn't you?

The ads targeted at customers watching YouTube videos are also often the result of behavioral marketing. A customer's past likes, IP location, and even comments are taken into consideration when presenting the "right" ad for their tastes and location.

Another example of behavioral marketing is a highly personalized email sent to a registered user who clicked on the Pricing page of a service but didn't purchase anything. Without knowing, that user can receive an email, say 3 days after the access, offering a special discount for him. Isn't that great?

How do transactional emails can help your engagement strategy

Anyone who owns any kind of business will tell you that retaining customers is not an easy task. Learning how to retain your customers and keep their loyalty is one of the most important things for a business. Retaining means keeping customers happy, provide them with good experiences and giving them reasons to spread the word about your company or brand. This is when transactional emails get into the game.

Companies should focus on customer retention, as it costs 7x less than acquiring customers

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When your customer takes and action he is usually expecting some sort of reaction. For example, when someone makes a purchase, register on a website or just download an ebook they know they are going to receive an email as a result.

The right kind of email at the right time can help you build your credibility within your customer. Because it is almost like a one to one conversation, your customer is most likely to open your email and respond to the actions that they might be compelled to do. That's where the transactional emails come in: it's timely and follows a certain action from the customer - just like a trigger - to send an email message related to that specific action.

Transactional emails for all kinds of tastes

You should be careful and creative when sending emails for existing customers. Think of the emails you send users as part of their normal "experiencing your platform/service" flow. Which kind of transactional emails can engage your users? How often do your customers want to hear from you? At this stage, timing is everything. Sometimes a transactional email could even be sent without a proper action of the customer: in fact the lack of action could be a reason for an email to be sent.

Pinterest is a good example of that. The most known use of the social network is the image boards that are created by the user, followed by others and items that can pinned. However, did you know that you can also plan trips with location-based boards? This information its sent via email for members, usually when they are partially inactive.

Pinterest Trip Planner Transactional email

There are some types of transactional emails:

  • Reports emails
  • Notification emails
  • Account activity emails
  • Registration emails
  • Confirmation emails
  • Feedback emails

Reports Emails

Reports emails for example are usually welcome as the customer knows that they are not promotional, only informative and might actually trigger the customer into the re-engaging with the website or app.

For example, a travelling company sending a report email for existing customers talking about how many people have seen and shared their reviews in the website. The reports sent by the Facebook Ads page works the same way: not only the customer is informed about how well his ad has performed but also it can lead the customer to create a new ad campaign;

Notification Emails

The most simple and maybe the most common one. It's highly personalized and very used in social networks and ecommerce platforms, notifying the user about likes, comments, shares, mentions, direct messages, auctions and other types of engagement with their social profiles and products;

Account activity emails

Many website use account activity emails to remind the customer to login on their account after a period of time or to notify if an unauthorized device has logged in the account;

Registration or welcome emails

The emails that are sent when you register or first interact with the website or app. It invites the user to explore further or start using the service;

Confirmation emails

Usually sent to confirm a specific action from the customer or user. Could be a purchase of a product or service, a password reset request, an email address confirmation, download request, etc...

Feedback emails

Some companies have a great strategy of sending survey emails and feedback request for customers after they've got their hands and used the app or product. This is a good way of acquire more knowledge abour how your costumers perceive your product or service.

How to combine transactional emails with behavioral marketing?

One-to-one emails that help the customer throughout the process of shopping your product or service is the simplest example of transactional emails. But why do they work better than the simple email marketing? Actually, it's quite simple: since they've taken an certain action within your website or app, customers expect transactional emails from you. Most of users already know that with an action comes a reaction, and by reaction I mean transactional emails. With that, they are more likely to open it.

Customers expect transactional emails from you: with that, they are more likely to open it

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In order to create a successful behavioral marketing strategy using transactional emails, the keyword is planning it. It's important to acquire data about your customer before taking any actions. Check out these three steps to develop a great behavioral marketing strategy:

  • Knowing your customer behaviour

  • Google Analytics is a great example of tool that can get you through that. Analytics platforms gives you metrics like time spent in each page, where your customer is coming from, conversion rate, bounce rate, etc. Behavioral flow reporting is incredibly helpful when trying to uncover how your customers are behaving on your site. Once you've got crucial information about your customers and their behavior, you're ready to start planning your behavioral marketing strategy.

  • Study and evaluate your actions

  • After analyzing your customer behavior, it's time to think of what actions they are expecting and would be well received by them. While transactional emails can encourage sales with up-selling and cross-selling strategies, they can be also used to increase the customer engagement with your website or app. The transactional email's tone should funny or serious? They're expecting further directions or a simple notification directly on their inbox? They prefer colorful images or plain text messages?

  • Create the right type of email to the right type of action

  • As I said before, each action demand an appropriate reaction. This is when all that planning and thinking comes to action. At this stage you should apply everything your have learned from your customer's actions and create the perfect transactional for each one of them. Think of every element on your email: the subject line, the header, the content and links within it, etc. The transactional email is a tailored message!


    Whether is a confirmation email, password reset email or feedback email the opportunity to drive positive brand awareness and future sales is massive.

    It is important to keep in mind the possibilities of the transactional emails and to never loose track of the new trends in customer behavior and actions. Behavioral marketing is the immediate solution to long term marketing issues such as targeting the right public and sending useful, expected content at the right time.

    Engage your customers with transactional emails