CRM Series #2: Delivering Top Performing Trigger Campaigns

June 20, 2024 Natalie Hutton

Welcome back to our mini-series of articles showing some love for the underappreciated art of email marketing.

In episode #1, we discussed the balance of quantity vs quality with email frequency. And, this week, we’re turning our attention to automated campaigns triggered by key stages in the customer journey.

With timely delivery and the right touch of personalisation, trigger campaigns deliver a more relevant and engaging experience, particularly during the crucial early weeks after a first order. So, let’s take a moment to recognise the top-performing trigger campaigns with some practical examples and best practices.

What are the top-performing trigger campaigns?

To answer this question, we run an internal system for measuring the performance of trigger campaigns. We track the revenue per email index for each campaign type against a base index of 1 for BAU newsletters. We compare over 15 different triggers and use the revenue index to help prioritise for the biggest wins. 

This way, we can quickly compare campaign types and see that – for example – abandoned basket campaigns generate 25x more revenue than BAU. Welcome campaigns generate 10x more revenue.

Of course, it takes a bit of time, testing and fine-tuning to achieve this performance. So, let’s take a look at these two top-performing trigger campaigns in more detail.

Abandoned trigger campaigns

As the top-performing trigger campaign type in our list, let’s start with abandoned trigger campaigns – and we’re not only talking about abandoned baskets here.
Yes, abandoned baskets are the priority but you can drive revenue from other interactions, too. We generally recommend running abandon trigger campaigns at three key stages: 

Triggered when visitors abandon the session after viewing a specific product or product category page
We’re not the only ones seeing this kind of performance from integrating basket and browsing abandonment campaigns.
The Klaviyo 2024 Benchmark Report finds abandoned basket sequences drive more revenue than any other campaign type, but also shows the added value of browser abandonment campaigns.


Just remember, the best abandonment campaigns pull visitors back into their stage of the customer journey. If we’re talking about abandoned basket campaigns, you want to get recipients back to that checkout page.

Best practice for abandoned trigger campaigns:

  • Show the products – remind prospects why they viewed or added these items in the first place
  • Show the checkout in abandoned basket emails, including all of the information customers want to confirm before completing a purchase (prices, total, sizes, etc.)
  • Invite prospects to “complete your purchase” or “proceed to checkout” in your CTA
  • Include personalisation – customer name, dynamic content based on previous purchases & browsing behaviour
  • Show related products – tempt them back to “continue shopping” if they’re not ready to complete the purchase
  • Set abandoned sequences to trigger four hours after the final interaction
  • Ensure customers do not receive more than one abandonment email in a specified time frame

    If you look at the examples below from TM Lewin, FatFace, and Orlebar Brown, they’ve embedded the checkout page into their emails. Aside from the hero section, the only other main element is a prominent CTA calling on recipients to complete the purchase.

    TMLewin Fatface2

At this stage of the customer cycle, these should be your most commercial emails. So, get straight to the point and reinspire them to take action while removing any unnecessary friction that could get in their way.

Welcome email sequences for new prospects

Only abandon and VIP trigger campaigns outperform welcome email sequences for new prospects in our analysis. Interestingly, “welcome flows” are also the second-top performer in the Klaviyo report referenced above – so, again, it’s not just us. 

When deciding on the number of stages, and the intervals between them, you need to use existing customer behaviour to get the timing right and then think about a suitable narrative that ensures you're covering your brand story, welcome messaging, any relevant offers and key product/category focuses. Think about their mindset at each stage and what you want them to do next. As always, you can test your way to the ideal mix or have a chat to us - we have analysed this a lot!

Best practice for welcome email sequences:

  • Build an emotional connection with the brand
  • Guide new prospects towards their first purchase
  • Make this new relationship sound exciting in your subject lines and preheaders
  • Set the tone with the text and imagery in your hero section
  • Highlight what makes the brand special, focusing on USPs and the customer experience
  • Increase motivation and stir purchase intent as the sequence progresses
  • Create reasons for recipients to return to your website
  • Automatically remove prospects from list when they make a purchase
  • Exclude prospects from all BAU emails while going through this programme

Boden does a wonderful job with its welcome email sequences. As a founder-led brand, it feels personal from the first words, and the focus is very much on brand values before trying to sell anything. For example, you can see sustainability, clothes for everyone, a sense of family and the pride of designing all their own products just in these few snapshots.

This creates a sense of personal connection with the brand and its mission. Boden amplifies this sentiment with the heading “We hope we hit the spot”, showing that they actually care that the customer is delighted with their experience. I’ve only received a few emails but it already feels like I’ve joined something special.

Nursery email sequences for new customers

Nursery sequences trigger when a new customer completes their first purchase and opt in to receive marketing messages. We won't go into the same depth on Nursery emails here, but do get in touch if you'd like us to carry out a detailed audit of your email comms and we'll work together to ensure each of your campaigns is up to best practice. 

In this final example, Superga makes it all about the customer with its nursery email sequence. The first email starts with a big “thank you” and encourages new customers to share their latest look for the chance to feature on their social channels.


The programme motivates customers to browse product ranges, view recommendations and “add to your collection”. Superga also asks for feedback in the first email, telling customers how important their experience is to the brand.

The second email offers personalised recommendations “just for you,” doubling down on the personal relationship with the customer. The company also uses purchase histories to show relevant images for CTAs encouraging them to browse new arrivals and other product ranges.

Studying competitor contact strategies can prove helpful  as a source of new ideas, but the power lies in knowing which components make the biggest revenue impact. Through our work with over 100 retail and ecommerce brands, we see what actually delivers results, and we tailor our recommendations to each brand.

Automating growth with high-performance trigger campaigns

Trigger campaigns can automate some of the most profitable sequences between online retailers and customers. With some careful campaign settings, you can turn abandoned sessions into purchases and nurture first time sales into many more.

That’s all for this episode and we’re already halfway through our series dedicated to email marketing. Stay tuned for more email strategies and insights in the next couple of weeks and – if you’re not already – follow us on LinkedIn for updates.

Finally, if you missed episode #1 in our series, why not head over there to learn how you can find the perfect balance with email frequency.


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