How to Use Behavioral Marketing to Turn Email Campaigns into a Conversation

“Email Blast.” That’s the term that we marketers coined for the act of sending out an email to our complete database. It’s no wonder that we started using this tactic as a megaphone, blasting our messages to the world, hoping that someone would listen to our cries and take action.

What we didn’t realize is that it’s hard to build a meaningful relationship when one person is vociferating while the other is hiding meekly in the corner, hoping to slip out unnoticed.

Then we got wise.

“What if email could become a tool to start a conversation?”

“What if we could use email to listen as much as we do to speak?”

“What would it look like if we started using email as a telephone, instead of a megaphone?”

Cue the gasps.

Shazzam! With a little marketing magic the megaphone becomes a telephone. Behavioral marketing is not some new-fangled idea, it’s been proven that consumers (specifically millennials) prefer to consume personalized content.

So how do you use email to listen?


What this says: While open data has previously gotten a bad rap as an unreliable metric, it’s finally earning its place at the big kid’s table. Many ESP’s are able to track and collect a variety of data on opens: what device (mobile or desktop), which email client, when an email is opened, and with the use of geo-targeting, even where a user is.

Your conversation starter: Use this rich data to segment your list and create a communication track for each group. For example, for those on mobile try quickly digestible share-friendly messaging with large CTA buttons. If you find that you get your greatest conversion 48 hours after someone opens an email, use that to trigger a lead alert and have a salesperson follow up with that lead on day 2.


What this says: When someone clicks a link in your email, they are telling you they want more. Whether you have multiple CTA’s (e.g. “Learn More” and “Register Now!”) or the same CTA presented in a different way (graphic vs. text link), when and where people click your email can tell you a lot about what they’re thinking.

Your conversation starter: If they click on a purchase link, this is a hot lead. Make sure the next interactions they have with your brand are conducive to conversion. Clicking to learn more, only to abandon the page, may indicate this lead is not ready yet. Use these interactions to filter this user into a warm lead nurture track, as opposed to a path intended for new leads.


What this says: There are a myriad of reasons why people choose to opt out, and believe it or not, this information can be just as useful as the two metrics we cited earlier. Unsubscribes help you to improve your messaging for the remaining audience.

Your conversation starter: When people opt out of your campaigns, they should be doing so via a preference center, so they can provide feedback that helps keep your content relevant. Use that information to improve your messaging, your lists, and/or adjust your strategy so that you are providing the appropriate audience with useful content.

Employing these listening techniques will allow you to better respond to your clients’ needs, making the conversation more interactive. When you make your email communication a two-way-dialogue, you’ll build a level of trust with your prospects that will prove invaluable.