12 min read

A complete guide to getting behavioural emails right

Ve Global
Ve Global
Digital Revenue Optimisation
A complete guide to getting behavioural emails right

Email marketing is one of the most effective and popular of all digital marketing channels. Nearly half of participants in a recent survey said they plan to send more emails as a result of the recent pandemic.

However, while widely used, not all email marketing is effective. Mildly personal or completely irrelevant emails don’t serve to engage users or incite them to purchase. Traditional email marketing generally involved sending users offers of ebooks, infographics, or whitepapers in the hope they might be interested, via messages that often arrived out of the blue.

Behavioural email on the other hand adopts a user-focused approach. It’s the actions a user has taken on a site which dictates the emails they receive, not the decisions taken by a marketer.

Read on to learn more about:

What is a behavioural email?

Behavioural email generally uses automation to send emails to contacts based on the behaviours or actions they’ve taken after they’ve interacted on a website, social network, or any other channel.

It’s a highly effective form of marketing that’s used to boost engagement and sales.

What is behavioural email marketing?

Behavioural email marketing is a highly valuable email strategy. It entails sending highly relevant emails based on specific behaviours, such as signing up for a newsletter, purchasing a product, or abandoning a cart.

Behavioural marketing provides a way for businesses to facilitate a conversation with a customer. Some more typical kinds of behavioural emails include welcome messages, receipts, and shipping confirmations, as well as account statements.

How to conduct behavioural email marketing

There are three main steps to getting started with behavioural email marketing:

  1. Track how users are interacting with your brand online so you can listen to and interpret their activities and act upon them. There are lots of channels to keep a close eye on, from your website and social media to webinars, surveys, and more.
  2. Determine the types of actions a user might make during their journey with your brand, such as cart abandonment or placing an order. Behavioural targeting via emails is effective because emails are triggered by a prospect’s actions. Recipients are rarely surprised to receive them because they themselves have in some way activated the emails by their previous actions.
  3. Start conversations with users based on their behaviours. Now you’ve identified some main actions, you need to write engaging and compelling emails and CTAs, and start conversations with users that are highly personal.  Automated email software can help you ensure your emails are both timely and targeted.

Customer behaviour that warrants emails

Not all customer actions are “email worthy”, so you need to identify which actions should trigger an email response. As an example, if someone signs up for a product or service but hasn’t completed their profile, you could send them an automated email to remind them to do so.

Other instances which might trigger a targeted email could be when a customer:

  • Submits a form to download your video, case study, or white paper (or any other free item you’re providing).
  • Views certain pieces of your content. If, for example, they’ve been browsing your FAQs, you could send them a behavioural email to check in and ask them if there are any specific questions they need answering.
  • Abandons their shopping cart without checking out. You could send them an email reminding them to proceed with their transaction, maybe offering them a discount for doing so. Alternatively, a simple message after an abandoned cart notifying them that this item is low on stock—or that their cart is due to expire—could nudge them into action.

With behavioural email marketing the customer is at the wheel, not the marketer. They are the ones making choices when they interact with you and your content. Behavioural marketing enables you to capitalise on those choices with engaging and relevant messaging in order to increase conversions and ultimately your bottom line.

There’s a whole host of ways to use behavioural email marketing.

Ideas in using behavioural emails

There are loads of ways you can use behavioural emails to benefit your business. Here are just a few:


The getting started or welcome email is also known as an onboarding email and it’s usually a trigger email that’s sent after new customers create an account or register for a service. It’s aim is to get users clicking and interacting with your service or product as quickly and seamlessly as possible.


This can continue the onboarding process by providing new users with information to enhance their experience of your brand. Offer valuable insights by sharing tips and industry news or let users know about any new features.


This is generally a canned transactional email from your account or user management software that informs users of their username and password—or maybe provides some links to documentation to get set up.

To make this process as frustration-free as possible (and to keep people in the loop) consider offering users a tour. If you’re a SaaS provider, you could walk users through the software. Guided popup tours help make users feel at ease and (win-win) you can also gain lots of valuable data for improving behavioural targeting marketing further.


A callback doesn’t have to be via a phone number. It’s worth touching base with a follow up email after a demo or sales call.


Everyone loves an unexpected reward, even if it’s just a digital pat on the back. Badges on progress made on health goals, like on health tracking equipment, etc., can provide motivational boosts and keep your brand top of mind.


Emails that involve distributing free merchandise or services to keep users interested in an event or to encourage them to try a product they’ve visited on your website can be highly effective. Make sure to provide an exciting subject line to entice users to open the email.


Once a user has taken specific actions, provide them with an opportunity to give you feedback or referrals. Create simple surveys and offer incentives to increase completion rates.

How does Ve behavioural email marketing work?

Ve’s email remarketing solution helps you connect with customers and recover lost sales. Using Ve’s Digital Assistant you can send automated emails based on the behaviours of your customers and subscribers.

Ve’s behavioural remarketing email service enables to you:

  • Send triggered emails based on customer interactions so you can recover lost sales at any point in the customer lifecycle.
  • Increase customer convenience by, for example, directing users to products they may find useful. These types of retargeting emails offer you a way to upsell and cross-sell your items.
  • Actively re-engage your customers after they’ve left your site with motivational offers.
  • Send emails based on customer actions. For example, if a customer visited a certain product page you could provide them with more product information or a link to a related blog post.
  • Remind customers where they have dropped off, by sending them an email that, for example, tells them that there are items left in their cart.
  • Elevate customer engagement through personalisation. Ve’s marketing solutions allows you to automate and deliver customers an optimised customer experience, as well as boost retention rates.
  • Deliver relevant emails based on what the customer cares about. Ve allows you to perform multivariate testing and monitor email campaign performance so you can continuously improve every email you send based on behavioural insights.
  • Tailor emails and email lists via demographic and behavioural segmentation.


Behavioural email marketing is a powerful tool for responding to critical touchpoints in the customer journey. It’s a way to increase the effectiveness of email marketing campaigns and make them hyper-accurate.

By focusing on consumer behaviour, you can align your email marketing strategy with the specific interests and needs of your customers. If you’re looking to incorporate behavioural marketing into your email marketing strategy, Ve can help.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What are behavioural emails?

Behavioural email marketing refers to the techniques and strategies used by email marketers to collect data about customers so they can target specific campaigns to those users, based on their behaviours.

It’s generally delivered in the form of automated emails using dedicated email software. Data is collected in a database and connects to web analytics and email data. When a marketer delivers an email to a user, it’s highly relevant to that individual based on the data that’s been collected around their recently tracked behaviours.

Why do behavioural emails matter?

Behavioural emails offer marketers opportunities to reconnect with a target audience after they’ve engaged with their company. They enable businesses to support customers as they progress through their buyer journey.

Behavioural marketing has been a big factor in the success of businesses like Amazon and airbnb. They’ve long understood the need to resonate with customers individually by focusing on their behaviours.

It’s an approach that goes way beyond blanket advertising, and offers an opportunity to speak directly to each customer and optimise the user experience.

This level of personalisation offers marketers a way to achieve higher conversion rates by giving customers a reason to reconnect with their brand. Most emails have open rates of 20-45%, while behavioural emails have an average open rate of 47.1%.

How can you include behavioural emails in a marketing strategy?

Behavioural email marketing can seem overwhelming when you’re getting started. You need to gather and analyse a lot of data across multiple channels.  This is where email marketing automation software can be invaluable to help you track customer behaviours and trigger automated emails.

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