Adams & Knight Marketing Blog
POSTED BY: Ryan Jakubowski

Time to hone in on trigger-based marketing


Check out any marketing blog, digital marketing publication or even your own Twitter feed these days and you’re bound to find tips on refining your email marketing strategy by adopting a trigger-based approach.

No wonder.

Not only do trigger-based emails help build relationships with clients and prospects over time, they also let marketers target specific consumer behaviors and then automatically send relevant marketing messages to further engage them.

More importantly, current research shows that trigger-based campaigns work—and that clients actually prefer to hear from their favorite brands this way.

  • According to a 2013 Experian study, real-time, triggered campaigns have a 54 percent lift in revenue.
  • Open rates for trigger-based emails are as high as 49 percent. (emarketeer, May 2014)
  • reports that trigger-based emails can generate four times more revenue and 18 times greater profits. (Forrester Research, 2014)

But perhaps the biggest motivator for marketers to use trigger-based email is this statistic that comes from EmailExpert: For every $1 spent on email, $44.25 is returned.

So why are these types of emails so effective? In an age when individuals expect immediate and personalized communications, trigger-based emails allow brands to intervene at critical points in the “experience” and strengthen ties with consumers for their products or services.

Of course, the trick is that you must know . . . really know . . . your targets, your sales cycle and the key points and behaviors that drive consumers through your sales cycle. And reach out to them at critical moments so you can start having a virtual conversation with them. This could be, for instance, when a prospect downloads content from your website and they receive a link to a related topic. Or when an online shopper clicks on a particular item on a retailers website and then they receive a coupon to purchase that item at a discounted price.

Question is. . .how can you build an effective trigger-based email campaign

Try these four tips that can help get your campaign off to a good start.

Map triggers to behavior and timing that will advance through the sales cycle.

State your objectives for each and define the ideal target behavior at each point in the process. But don’t stop there. Think about the timing that a typical target will need to advance through each step of the cycle. For instance, how long it takes to convert a target from a lead to a client. Then, you can set “triggers” based on certain time frames to help advance them through your cycle.

Build a matrix of touchpoints that lets you reach out at critical moments.

In order to make sure you’re talking to your customers with the right message, at the right time, in the right channel, identify key touchpoints or points of interaction that prospects and clients have with your brand. Then, create a matrix that accounts for what you want to offer them and when you want to reach out. Welcome messages, abandoned carts, upcoming policy renewals, and time-sensitive alerts are just a few examples of possible triggers for reaching out to prospects at critical moments.

Make sure your email provider can integrate into your sales process.

Of course, there’s a lot you can do on your own. But based on the sophistication of the trigger matrix you outline, you’ll need an email partner that has the capability to fully integrate into your sales cycle and CRM for the best results. For example, only certain providers can tie results back to your website activity or attribute the number of downloads directly from your emails. So it’s best to specify the type of service you’re looking to get from a provider—and see which one(s) can provide that—before you commit to one.

Close the loop from a CRM perspective.

Since trigger emails are all about developing client relationships with your brand, it’s critical to close the loop from a CRM perspective. So make sure you track your targets’ actions/reactions from your campaign and gather feedback to make adjustments.

One final tip. . .make sure any campaign you create is responsive. That’s because 51 percent of all emails are now opened on a mobile device. (Litmus, 2014)

Bottomline: connect and engage your prospects and clients at times when they’re already thinking about your brand . . . and you’ll be poised to gain more ROI from your email marketing efforts.


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Ryan Jakubowski
VP Interactive Services
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