Behavioral Email Marketing: What It Is and Why You Need It in 2020

man draws a plan of marketing email strategy

If you’re reading this guest post, you’re most probably wondering what behavioral marketing really is and how it can give new life to your email marketing campaigns.

While content is king when it comes to literally everything marketing, you could have the best content and still not make the virality and/or engagement cut.

This would be because timing is everything and you could have the best content at hand or the best offer, but if the prospect doesn’t want to check you out, then you’re doomed.

Lucky for all of us marketers out there, as well as entrepreneurs, solopreneurs and everything in between, there are plenty of free email marketing services, like Moosend, that can guarantee to help you delve into the magical world of behavioral messaging and behavioral email marketing as a whole.

But let’s take it one step at a time.

What Is Behavioral Email Marketing Exactly?

Imagine going to a website, creating a cart just to check out the shipping costs, figuring out it’s not worth it and then receiving an email that will be stating that you’ve got 10% off of your purchases. Would it make you reconsider?

This is what behavioral email marketing is for you. It’s trigger-based messages that are timely, relevant and make sense, seeing as the customer’s own behavior is what matters here. Customers receive marketing messages according to their own actions. And since they’ve acted a certain way, they’ll find the message to be of use.

Behavioral messages can be transactional, welcome messages (those are the most common), or they can go as far as being sent out as an alert when a prospect walks into a brick-and-mortar store or weather-based behavioral messages. It’s your call, really.

The point is that you-and any and all brands-need to send out behavioral email marketing messages as a part of a general marketing strategy.

Now, if you’re not convinced, just take a look at that:

Barnimages – Behavioral Email Marketing: What It Is and Why You Need It in 2020

Of course, it was to be expected. Behavioral email campaigns perform better, because they’re triggered. And you don’t need me to tell you that better engagement on emails means better conversion rates and better conversion rates mean more sales.

What Triggers Do You Need?

This is one of the primary things you’ll need to decide on, in order to create your marketing message.

Not all actions warrant an email and certainly, not all actions can help out with your endgame. So, your goals are what you need to decide on, first.

For example, you may want to increase sales on the products that you have made for you-aka your private label products. The trigger should go off when the prospect is interacting with those somehow.

Let’s say that you want to promote a webinar. For example, let’s say that you’re a designer, you’ve just released a new graph maker and you need to show users how making graphs using it will make their whole day.
Set a trigger for an email to be sent out right as soon as your prospects interact with your tool.

My point here is that the actions that will be deemed worthy of triggering an email, need to be those that will end up benefiting your company and helping it reach milestones that will lead to reaching a long-term goal.

The triggered emails that are the most common, would be the ones that urge users to complete their profiles, of course the welcome emails that are expected by the audience as well, the verification emails… But there is no reason for you to limit yourself to those.

Did someone look a little too into your FAQ section? Send them a triggered email asking them if they found what they needed and urge them to contact your support team.

Did someone abandon their cart? Send them another email that will be reminding them of their cart, utilizing FOMO and perhaps a little discount.
Just send anything to appease the customer’s hidden-or maybe not-so-hidden-need at that specific point.

Study Data and Set the Goals

You can’t expect to set the triggers without goal setting, as I mentioned above. But how are you going to set these goals anyway?

You do know your product and you’re more than certain on how it can benefit your customers. Perhaps you already know what it is that you would’ve liked to do, but… What about them?

If, for example, you’ve got a marketing automations platform and you’re about to promote your new email protocol to people that haven’t even reached this page, then what makes you think that they’ll even open your message?

Check your data. You need to know everything, from demographics to educational background and everything in between, in order to create triggers that will make sense.

You’ll need to invest into data science and AI for that, as you understand. Data never lies and AI can distinguish patterns you won’t be able to see at first, thus saving you time, effort and money, of course.

Not to mention that this way, your data scientists are putting much more time and effort into tasks that truly matter and your marketing team has all the information they need, from the get-go.

Data is the only surefire way to allow prospects to take control and satisfy their own needs while creating a marketing campaign that will benefit you in the long run.

Types of Behavioral Emails to Consider

Every business and brand needs to come up with what works best for them, of course. However, there are some staples that each one needs to utilize, in order to make their behavioral email strategy work and work efficiently.


This is one of the triggered emails prospects and customers expect to receive-to the point where, if this email fails to come through, they will be convinced that something’s terribly wrong with their transaction.

So, never leave a receipt or a confirmation email out of your email marketing game. Also, try to not leave a confirmation email with the bare essentials. It’s not just an invoice, after all. What do I mean by that?

You can always suggest similar products for a future purchase (conversion), suggest that the buyer could give out a product review (engagement) and so on and so forth.

The logic behind these emails can be applied to other types of emails as well: People love a reminder of what’s to come, so if someone has RSVP’d to one of your webinars or perhaps events (if you’re that type of business), just make sure to send out a reminder email.

This’ll keep your prospects engaged and coming back for more. And as we all know, holding onto repeaters is cheaper than forever finding new leads.

Welcome Emails

Those are the emails most prospects-if not all of them-actually expect to receive, so make sure to send those out, no matter the type of brand you are.

Welcome emails typically contain some information about the brand and the service the prospect has decided to sign up to. So, it’s only logical that a welcome email is the best way to get started with your onboarding process.

You can always introduce yourself, let your new sign-ups know what you’re all about-i.e., is it a newsletter? Let them know when they’ll be receiving it.-perhaps ask for some feedback for future use, like what drew the prospect’s attention or what made them sign up/create a free account/anything you can imagine.

Use a video in your email that will be announcing a great new feature-tips on how to create an online course if you’re an e-learning platform or a SaaS platform, a presentation of the company and the products if you’re an eCommerce store, even a brief history of the hows and whys of your company will do.

That way, you’ll definitely drive engagement and you’ll most likely create an email that your prospects will be able to connect to your brand’s name.


Be it cart abandonment, an abandoned purchase or a half-done registration, abandonment emails always work like a charm.

The fact behind this is that you cannot know why your prospect never got through with their action. It could’ve been a connectivity issue or it could’ve been a distraction or perhaps it could’ve been the fact that they thought your product wasn’t of use or wasn’t worth the price.

Send out an email to remind them that they abandoned you and ask them to either complete the purchase or offer a discount code that they won’t be able to refuse.

The whole point is to take them by the hand and urge them to purchase or register and be a part of your customer base.


Those emails look like an opportunity to party-or as close as this could ever be, seeing as they’re there to celebrate something special.

Did your prospect complete their registration to your platform a year ago? Remind them with an email that will be thanking them for their trust!

This would be a great opportunity for your customer base to expand, as it’s the perfect time for you to ask for a referral or two.

Make it convincing. Show your gratitude. And perhaps, send a discount code or a little incentive-five dollars discount for each friend they’re going to refer. That sort of thing.

By celebrating milestones, you show your prospects that they’re the reason behind your very existence and you can turn them into brand ambassadors. And that’s highly important.


At some point, your customers will find something else, a brand just like yours that does the trick for them.

I mean if Levi’s and Diesel lost to the athleisure trend, then it can definitely happen to you as well. And this is a fact that you’ll need to be prepared for.

Re-engagement emails are your final chance to win your prospects back-but don’t fall into the trap of being overbearing.

Send an email a little while after your prospect’s last interaction with you, just to make sure you keep touch with them, after, of course, determining the average time each prospect needs to engage with you.

You’ll need different timeframes for those that used your product every day, as opposed to those that logged onto their accounts every couple of days.

And always follow up with an incentive that will gently push them to log back on. Tell your prospects that you miss them and use cute visuals that will put a smile on their face and some wins in your inventory.


Behavioral triggers can be more than effective, especially when it comes to email marketing. They can help you with creating personalized content, with figuring out the exact type of marketing message each prospect needs to see, but not only that.

Behavioral email marketing is what will help you open the dialogue between yourself and your prospects, but on their terms. Which will benefit you and help you reach your goals in the long run and portray the image of the brand who listens.

Just remember to be patient. As with everything email marketing, behavioral triggers are not quick wins, but rather, a game you’ll need to keep up with for the long run.

Picture of Téa Liarokapi

Téa Liarokapi

Téa Liarokapi is a content writer working for email marketing software company Moosend and an obsessive writer in general. In her free time, she tries to find new ways to stuff more books in her bookcase and content ideas-and cats-to play with.

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