Tips for Digital Marketers: Sending Broadcast and Triggered Emails

By Ryan Deiss, Russ Henneberry

Email best practices say that digital marketers shouldn’t just send every email to every subscriber on your list, and time management best practices say you can’t spend every day manually sending emails to customers. For these reasons, your emails should be divided into two types: broadcast and triggered.

Broadcast emails

Broadcast emails are emails that you manually send to your entire list at a given time. They aren’t responses to customer actions; you send them at a specific time and for a specific purpose. What we’re going to say next may make you a bit upset, but we’ll say it anyway: Overusing broadcast emails can hurt your customer relationships and cause customers to stop proceeding on the customer journey. Broadcast emails should be used for only three purposes:

  • Newsletters: You should send your regular daily, weekly, or monthly email newsletter to your entire list as promised when your subscribers subscribed.
  • Promotions: Not all promotions should be broadcasted to your entire audience. Only major promotions that you feel deliver value to your entire customer base should be sent to everyone. The rest should be sent to a segmented list (see the next paragraph).
  • Segmentation: Send a broadcast email to your entire list to determine the specific interests of certain customers and then segment your email lists.

Triggered emails

Most of the emails that you send should be triggered emails, which are fully automated. After you get the content honed and ready, you can let your email service provider do the work for you.

Triggered emails automatically go out after customers take a specific action. But there’s a catch: Just because you can trigger something doesn’t mean you should. In this day of detailed digital automation, you can probably get data to trigger an email every time your customer logs on to a computer or pours a cup of coffee. But that would just annoy your customers. Specific actions that trigger an automated email for each customer action might include

  • New subscriber welcome email
  • Gated offer email
  • Registration confirmations
  • Purchase receipts
  • Segmented promotion
  • Referral requests after customers leave a review
  • Abandonment of a shopping cart
  • Reengagement after a subscriber has ignored your brand emails for a specific period