Lessons from Apple - a quick look at real-world triggers

By APSIS

2013-08-12

I like Apple’s personal computers and smartphones. I think they are stylish, reliable and easy to use.

This summer, I bought a new MacBook Air to replace my old, inherited MacBook.

As expected, Apple launched the new version of the computer in early June and a few days later I went to the Apple Store in Malmö.

A couple of days after my purchase, the email message flow from Apple started. I was impressed by how simple, yet effective, email triggers can be.

Let’s take a look at the messages that Apple sent to me. I think that they show just how smart triggers can be when you want to communicate with new customers.

June 11 – The computer is purchased

  1. Give the customer some time to try things out (it was two days before the first message arrived).
  2. Don’t try to sell something the first thing you do. The first message is not sales related at all – the message helps me get started with practical and useful information. Most likely, the recipient should be be even more satisfied with the purchase and feel positive towards getting more email from Apple.

June 13 – The first email – Get to know your new Mac

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This message is focused on helping the customer to get started with a Mac with texts and short videos. There are several different support areas, such as using the operating system and controlling the computer with hand gestures. This way, there is something for everybody.

  1. Once the positive attitude is established, try to be inspirational – not too pushy. Apple sends ”helpful suggestions” that clearly increase the value of my purchase, something that makes this message another positive experience. I may or may not not buy something as a result of this message, but it does not affect my views on Apple negatively.

June 25 – The second email – The best accessories for MacBook Air

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This message focuses on accessories to the new Mac and it arrives at a time when the customer starts to experience some of the limitations: storage space, external speakers or transportation of the shiny, new computer. Once again, the message has several product categories to make sure that as many customers as possible find something.

  1. Continue with inspiration, change the subject. If Apple had sent yet another message with tips on accessories, I would have thought that they were being repetitive. There would be nothing new (except even more accessories) or valuable for me. The third message does tries to sell me something – but it is different from the second message and there is content with practical value: ”How to use iPhoto”.

July 13 – The third email: Photo books, cards and much more with your Mac

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This message covers much less than the previous messages. It is focused on images and how to use photos in iPhoto for personal photo books. But it is still a message that appeals to many people – nearly everyone can relate to images.

A smart approach.

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Triggers may seem complicated and unnecessarily difficult, as is often the case with new marketing methods. But quite often, we marketers should try to make things easier. It is liberating to see major corporations succeed in using this technology in a simple and clear
way that both you and others can easily study and benefit from.

-    Consider the timing after the purchase. Do the customer need something directly, or should you wait for a while?

-    Confidence first, sales later. It will always be easier that way.

-    Produce content that is relevant to a majority of your recipients.

Good luck with your own triggers!

Anders Frankel

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