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Behavioral Email Ideas and Examples

  • Messaging and Automation

Behavioral email overview:

  • Marketers track events on their site. An event can be almost anything. For example, a customer visiting a product page three times in one week or a SaaS user exploring a new feature in the app. Events = behavior.
  • These marketers craft emails to fill very specific needs. For examples, if a gaming app has a user that hasn’t logged in for two weeks, a reminder or incentive can be automatically triggered. Or, if a customer on an e-commerce site is looking at a new blender, an email can be triggered that contains a positive customer review of that exact product. The goal is specificity.
  • Events are endless. You can track just about anything on your site, whether you’re an e-commerce vendor or a blogger, meaning you can trigger emails just about any behavior. Creativity is your only limitation.

To further illustrate the power of behavioral emails, here are a few examples from companies that are making the most of their user data, as well as an example from our own marketing.

1. Airbnb


This is a perfect examples of email remarketing. I visited Airbnb looking for a place to stay in San Diego (summers are hot here in Tucson). I found a listing I particularly liked and emailed it to my wife. We looked at the page a few more times and the next day, I received this email from Airbnb. It’s the exact listing we were looking at and a very smart approach to moving me through their conversion funnel.

Why This Email Rocks:

  • This email is just loaded with conversion best practices. There are photos of the listing as well as a photo of the renter. It makes me feel comfortable about the person I’m renting from and the photos make me want to start this vacation right now.
  • The language used here has obviously been crafted by an expert. There is no friction here, just comforting words that will help move me to the next step. Airbnb is looking for a second date, not a marriage proposal.
    • “see if it’s a good fit for your upcoming trip”
    • “read about the amenities and the neighborhood”
    • “contact the host to ask questions”
    • “Learn More” (big button and high contrast, a guaranteed winner)
  • Since I haven’t converted yet, Airbnb knows that this might not be the right listing for me. To prevent me from tossing the idea altogether, they have included rentals near the original that are in the same price range.

It’s a winning approach (and it was a great trip to San Diego!).

2. Target


Abandoned shopping cart emails are the first thing that come to mind when most people think of behavioral emails. And that’s probably because they are so effective. Read this excerpt from an Econsultancy post if you are skeptical:

Almost three-quarters of baskets were abandoned in Q1 2013

  • According to SaleCycle the average shopping cart, basket and booking abandonment rate reached 73.6% in Q1 2013, up from 70.7% in Q4 2012.
  • Most abandonments happened between 8pm and 9pm, with Thursday the most common day for ditching a purchase.
  • Looking at basket abandonment emails, 48.1% of basket abandonment emails were opened (up from 45.9% in Q4) and 33.3% of these clickers went on to purchase a product (up from 30.1% in Q4).
  • The [average order value] was 58% higher for purchases from basket abandonment emails compared with direct sales (up from 36% in Q4).

There’s no reason not to send abandoned shopping cart emails and Target really nails it with the example above.

Why This Email Rocks:

  • The subject lines grabs my attention immediately: “you’re so close. come back, check out & save $5.” I could save $5 just by opening this email so of course I’m going to do it.
  • There’s a reason this item was in my shopping cart – I really wanted it. Using images of the product, reminding me how close I am to actually having it and offering $5 off goes a long way towards to helping me complete the purchase.
  • Just like Airbnb, Target recognizes that I haven’t yet made the purchase and might be trying to decide if it’s right for me. We don’t normally advocate for backup plans – a single call to action is often best – but it makes sense in abandoned shopping cart emails. By showing me similar products in the same price range, they increase the chances that I’ll find the one that’s perfect for me or even add another item to my card.


We don’t often use our own emails as examples on the blog, but since Vero is a tool used for creating and sending behavioral email, it seems like the perfect time to do it.

Behavioral emails are especially awesome for onboarding new SaaS users. When someone signs up for a Vero free trial, we show them how to make the most of our software one step at a time. Using event tracking, we can send emails that either remind users to take a step or move them along to the next one.

For example, when a new user sends their first email with our software, we send them this email.


The idea is to congratulate them on taking a big step towards better marketing while also moving them along to the next step. This email obviously can only be sent to someone who has actually sent the first email so event tracking is key. Users who haven’t sent their first email get a different campaign until they take the action that moves them to this campaign. It’s dynamic segmenting at it’s best.

Two days later, these same users receive a follow-up note from our CEO Chris Hexton.


The first email is a reward to help motivate new users, while the second is a personal note from the CEO. It’s an email that Chris used to send manually but can now do automatically at the exact right moment every time.

These emails have extremely high open rates – 72.66% and 71.11% respectively – because of their specificity and timing. The best part is that we can nail this every time since it’s automated.

We’d love to how you are using – or would like to be using – behavioral emails. Let us know in the comments and, if you’re ready, check out our free trial to learn more about how Vero can help your marketing.

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