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7 Steps to Use It in Any Campaign + Examples

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7 Steps to Use It in Any Campaign + Examples

Although you may have a desired path for your potential consumers to take when they interact with you online, the truth is you have no control over it.

Trigger marketing enables you to be at the ready, in whatever way your audience chooses to engage. In this article, we’ll cover all things trigger marketing, including its benefits, example, and the steps to leverage it.

When you hear about marketing automation, you often think of detailed diagram of emails sent to different segments, broken out by email engagement, drawing a line from lead to customer?

This has become the norm but there’s a flaw in this approach. It starts with the marketer’s timeline rather than the prospect’s.

The marketer sits down and defines what information the prospect will consume next, what actions the prospect will take next, and the path the prospect will take from becoming a lead to becoming a customer.

But if we’re honest with ourselves, we would admit that the world is not as straightforward as that.

Using the traditional stages of the funnel, from a lead to a customer, we often view things in a linear way. The leads download an ebook, then become an MQL once they start a trial, then an SQL when the sales person follows up with that prospect, an opportunity when they do a trial review call, and a customer when they purchase.

But what if they start a trial and then download an ebook? Or what if they get into a sales conversation after just downloading an ebook, never become a customer, and then go cold until they start a trial months later?

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The reality is that you can’t control what your prospect does or in what order your prospect does it. What you can control, however, is how you react to your prospect’s behaviors.

This is where automation and trigger marketing becomes powerful.

The “triggering” event can be anything measurable by your CRM and automation software. Here are just a few examples:

  • Form conversions
  • Email opens (or lack thereof)
  • Number of pages viewed
  • Chatbot interactions
  • Cart abandonment

Take this example below: On my birthday last year, wine brand McBride Sisters, one brand I’ve engaged with in the past, sent me birthday wishes along with a discount on their product.

mcbride sisters trigger marketing example

In this case, the triggering event was my birthday – a piece of data they collected at some point.

As a result of the triggering event, you can automate tasks and actions with your marketing automation software, such as:

  • Send them an email (or sequence of emails).
  • Update their CRM record.
  • Add them to a list.
  • Assign them to a sales rep.
  • Start an internal ticket.

The Benefits of Trigger Marketing

The biggest benefit to trigger marketing is the ability to quickly respond to consumer behavior.

We can’t always predict how users will behave – however, we can make sure we’re prepared with a response that align with our goals.

flower child trigger marketing example

Trigger marketing also allows you to automate certain marketing tactics so that you don’t miss the opportunity ot convert a lead.

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In addition, this strategy is a great credibility, trust, and loyalty builder with your audience. From welcome messages and birthday wishes to order confirmations and discount reminders, all of these interactions enhance your customer experience and promote a positive relationship with your audience.

1. Understand your buyer persona.

It should go without saying in the context of any marketing activity, but in marketing automation, knowing your buyer persona is critically important.

If you think through the lifecycle stages, pains, and motivations of your target audience(s), you can craft better trigger marketing strategies to guide them along their path to purchase.

The goal of marketing automation is to provide a great experience at scale, and part of that means meeting them where they are.

That’s why collecting data early is so valuable as you can use those insights to craft an effective trigger marketing strategy.

2. Think in terms of ‘if’ and ‘then.’

Software is simple. It sees in black and white rather than the complex outcome that you’re moving toward.

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However, you can reverse engineer a great trigger marketing strategy using automation by thinking through your outcome and the path to get there as a series of if/then statements:

  • If X happens, then do Y.
  • If the prospect fills out this form, then send them this email.
  • If the prospect has visited the pricing page, then notify a rep.

The “if” is the criteria. The “then” is the action you want to take.

3. Figure out your triggering events.

In order to get your messaging to the right people at the right time, you must identify the “trigger.” (In HubSpot, it’s called “enrollment criteria.”)

This is the “if” part of the equation, the concrete indicator that the software can use as a green light to execute the actions.

Triggering events are limited to the information you have in your system and your marketing automation’s capabilities. Common ones include:

  • Actions taken on the website.
  • Criteria met in the database.
  • Responses to past emails or campaigns.

For instance, if an email subscriber has been disengaged from your last four newsletters, you can trigger an automated unsubscribe button, followed by an email to the subscriber.

4. Determine the actions you want your system to perform.

Once you know your “trigger” or enrollment/starting criteria, then you can decide what happens next. This is the “then” part of the equation.

Common actions include:

  • Sending an email.
  • Enrolling in a sequence.
  • Categorizing the contact in the database.

5. Craft personalized messaging.

Studies have shown that consumers are more likely to purchase after a personalized experience.

If your action (“then” statement) includes a marketing task such as email sends or campaign enrollment, it’s critical to know exactly how this contact is different from others in your CRM and what messaging will uniquely appeal to them. Ask yourself:

  1. Where are they at in their journey?
  2. How can I provide value and move them to the next step?

6. Identify and eliminate repetitive marketing tasks.

If you’re still not sure where to begin with marketing automation, start by creating a list of your most repetitive tasks.

For example, if you send the same email over and over again to multiple contacts, using automation to eliminate this task from your day will increase productivity and, as a result, performance.

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This will help you focus on higher-impact tasks that can’t be automated.

7. Increase the value of your CRM.

Your marketing automation is only as limited as the CRM and the data that power it.

If you have messy data, marketing automation may hurt you. If you have incomplete data, you won’t be able to do the advanced personalization and segmentation that will make a world of difference.

With that in mind, understand how to make the most of your CRM. Part of this comes down to using automation to update CRM records and categorize contacts, but ultimately you’ll have to think about how your organization uses its CRM and ask yourself these questions:

  • What data (and when) can you gather about your prospects to help the effectiveness of your campaigns?
  • How can you use automation to ensure the cleanliness and accuracy of your database?
  • How often can you audit your database to ensure the integrity of these efforts?

Trigger-Based Marketing Email Examples

Trigger: Downloaded an educational offer.

This is a great place to start if you don’t have any triggered emails set up, as this is the broadest trigger – engaging the prospects at the earliest stage of the buyer’s journey.

What to Send: Transactional Email With Next Step Call-to-Action

In this situation, your triggered email can be a transactional email — confirming the download and including any information related to that download.

For example, if this is a follow-up to downloading an ebook, include the name of the ebook and a link to the PDF.

trigger marketing example: buttah skin

Once you’ve covered your bases on the transactional information, it’s time to think about what you want your prospect to do next. You have their attention — take advantage of it.

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Do you want them to convert on a middle-of-the-funnel offer like a demo request or complimentary consultation?

Or do you want to encourage them to share this offer with their network, to expand the reach of your content?

Think about that ideal next step, and include a call-to-action for that in your follow-up email.

Trigger: Took one action in a series, but not the next.

Say your prospect gets close to taking the action you want – like making a purchase – but they don’t quite get to the finish line.

This is an opportunity for you to follow up to get them to cross that finish line.

What to Send: Related Content and an Alternative Action

Perhaps they didn’t complete that action because of some hesitation. They didn’t want to fill out the form, or they had some additional questions.

trigger marketing example: amazon

This is an opportunity to follow up with a cart abandonment email reminding them of their items and offering relevant items to consider.

Trigger: Viewed high-intent content.

Say you have high-intent content, for instance, product pages or product-focused blog articles. When website visitors view that content, you can leverage that data to use in future communication with your user.

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What to Send: Tailored Follow-Up Content

Whether you trigger an email immediately or save this intelligence for future communications, the data you collect about which content people view can be used to make your marketing that much more relevant on a one-to-one basis.

In this case, a visitor viewing high-intent content could signal someone ready to view a demo or speak with a sales rep.

With this in mind, you can trigger a sequence of emails designed to lead that user further down the buyer’s journey.

The key takeaway here is to think about the various behavioral data points you have about your prospects, and what you can draw from them.

Trigger: Has been highly engaged (or disengaged).

Figure out what your bar is for a highly engaged prospect (perhaps they downloaded at least three ebooks and viewed at least ten blog articles) as well as an unengaged prospect, and respond and market to them accordingly.

What to Send: Timely Next Step Call-to-Action or Re-engagement Campaign

For your highly engaged prospects, you once again have the attention you can leverage. One great option is to encourage them to share the content they just downloaded.

When a prospect becomes highly engaged, this is a great opportunity to notify that prospect’s sales representative that this is a good time to follow up with the prospect. For your unengaged prospects, send a proactive re-engagement email.

trends trigger marketing example

You may even want to have multiple trigger points (e.g. haven’t clicked on an email in three weeks, three months, or more) where you send different campaigns to reengage these prospects or unsubscribe them.

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When done right, trigger marketing can yield much higher results than the typical linear marketing automation campaign.

Using some of the same technology, you can reorient your marketing to work around your prospect’s timeline instead of your own, while continuing to drive the actions you desire.

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Editor’s note: This post was originally published in April 2014 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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MARKETING

How To Create a Content Marketing Strategy for Your Personal Brand

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How To Create a Content Marketing Strategy for Your Personal Brand

Updated August 17, 2022

Anyone who didn’t win the billion-dollar Mega Millions jackpot this year needs to read this article.

With the talk about the Great Resignation (or Great Reshuffle), I bet you’ve pondered the future of your money-making work. Even if you’re completely satisfied with your current employment, it’s smart to plan for future promotions and pivots (especially unexpected ones).

And that requires doing something today that should feel very familiar: creating a content marketing strategy.

This time, though, you’ll create it for your personal brand.

Not sure you need to invest the time?

Consider these wise words from a CMWorld Twitter chat a couple of years ago that still ring true today:

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“Careers in marketing make personal branding even more important. If you can’t develop your own brand, people might not have the confidence that you can help them develop a company’s/product’s/agency’s brand,” Mike Myers tweeted.

The chat’s guest speaker, Anh Nguyen, agreed: “All the knowledge and experience gained for your personal brand can be scaled for content marketing for a client or an employer.”

The knowledge and experience you gain from marketing your #PersonalBrand can be scaled for employer or client #ContentMarketing, says @AnhTNguyen via @AnnGynn @CMIContent.

What is a personal brand?

Before you can craft your personal content marketing strategy, it’s important to understand what a personal brand is.

“Think of it as your reputation and calling card to the world,” Anh said in the Twitter chat. “Your personal brand helps you connect with prospective employers, clients, customers, collaborators, and so on.”

Gabriela Cardoza explained in the chat that a personal brand helps you:

  • Differentiate yourself
  • Build thought leadership
  • Grow trust and credibility
  • Build a network

You have a personal brand already. Every time you engage with people, you create perceptions of who you are in their minds.

When you craft a content marketing strategy for your personal brand, you’ll set yourself on a path toward shaping those perceptions to help you achieve your goals.

Craft a #ContentMarketing strategy for your personal brand and get on an intentional path to achieving your goals, says @AnnGynn via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

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Use these seven steps to create a documented content marketing strategy for your own brand.

1. Craft a brand mission statement

All good content marketing strategies start with understanding the mission and goals. Thus, the first step in your personal content marketing strategy is to create a mission statement.

Here’s how Gabriela broke down the components of a personal brand mission statement:

  • Who you are
  • What you do
  • What you stand for
  • What your unique value is

I’ll add one more – What do you want to achieve with your brand?

Here’s a personal brand mission statement that might work for a content marketing writer:

I use my creativity and sense of business to help B2B brands engage with their audiences through compelling content. I work to ensure my content is equitable and inclusive. I want to grow my recognition as a go-to resource in the content marketing industry.

TIP: You can’t develop your personal brand without considering your employer’s brand because you’re tied together publicly. Tweak or supplement your personal mission statement accordingly.

You can’t develop your #PersonalBrand without considering your employer’s brand. You’re tied together publicly, says @AnnGynn via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

2. Write an editorial mission statement

Put together your personal editorial mission statement, which connects to your brand mission.

CMI’s Jodi Harris writes that a great content mission statement details three elements (I’ll go into more depth on each later):

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  • Core audience – who you aim to help (serve) with your audience
  • What you’ll deliver – the kind of information you provide
  • Outcome or benefit – the things your audience can do (or will know) because of your content

A content mission statement answers the why, who, and what of your #content, says @joderama via @AnnGynn @CMIContent. #ContentMarketing #PersonalBrand Click To Tweet

You don’t need an elaborate statement. Just give a brief overview in a sentence or two.

With your personal brand and editorial mission statements complete, you now have the required footing to develop a content marketing strategy.

3. Detail your brand’s content marketing goals

Your personal content marketing can help you achieve your professional goals (to get a raise, a new job, more clients, etc.), but those aren’t your content marketing goals.

Content marketing involves creating and distributing content to attract and retain your audience and, ultimately, drive profitable action.

Here are some personal content marketing goals to consider:

  • Build brand awareness: Get your name out there.
  • Earn brand trust: Help people see you as a valuable, reputable resource.
  • Deepen brand loyalty: Connect with people on a deeper level (e.g., get them to sign up for your newsletter or share your content).
  • Attract strategic partners: Get people to want to help you (e.g., guest blogging and conference speaking).

Once you define your content marketing goals, you can zero in on the right audience.

4. Detail your target audience

You know what you want, but what does your audience want?

First, describe who your audience members are. What industries do they work in? What roles or titles do they have?

Then detail their interests and behaviors. What do they want to know? What are their pain points? Where do they live (online or geographically)?

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Let’s say you’re a content marketing specialist for a financial services company. Your goal is to build awareness of your name and skills. Your audience members are managers and directors of content marketing, communications, and marketing in the finance industry. They want to know more about how to get buy-in and budget support from their firm’s leaders. They check LinkedIn every few days but never use Facebook.

5. Identify your content sweet spot

Think of a Venn diagram. In one circle are your content marketing interests. In the other circle are your audience’s interests and needs. Where the two circles overlap is your content sweet spot.

These are the primary topics that your personal content marketing should cover.

You can also determine preferred content formats and distribution vehicles. For example, if your audience prefers podcasts over videos and you’re looking to build a subscriber database, you would want to create a podcast rather than start a YouTube channel. Or, if your audience usually attends an industry conference, you could submit a proposal to speak at the event. If your goal is brand awareness, you could offer guest blogs on sites your audience visits.

6. Build your content calendar

Now that you have identified your topics, formats, and distribution platforms, it’s time to build an editorial calendar. But remember, you’re just one person – and you probably already have a day job. This is not the time to be ambitious.

I recommend creating a minimum viable calendar – the least you know you can create and publish regularly. If that’s just one blog post a month or a quarterly LinkedIn profile review, that’s fine. If you attempt to do too much and fail to hit on every cylinder, you’re more likely to give up entirely. By setting realistic expectations, you’re more likely to keep going.

Create an editorial calendar for your personal #ContentMarketing. But don’t attempt to do too much, or you’ll give up, says @AnnGynn via @CMIContent. #PersonalBrand Click To Tweet

7. Set measurable goals

Now that you have documented your purpose, audience, content formats, and frequency, you should add numbers and dates to the personal content marketing goals established in Step 3.

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For example, if your content marketing goal is to earn brand trust, your metric might be to gain 50 subscribers to your newsletter in the next three months.

It’s important to connect measurable goals to all your tactics – it’s key to understanding how well your content works.

TIP: You might struggle to come up with realistic numeric goals in the beginning. Don’t let that prevent you from setting them. If you find your numbers were unrealistic in your review, change them. That’s one of the perks of developing your brand – no clients or bosses to complain about the shift.

Connect measurable goals to all your tactics so you’ll know if your #Content is working, says @AnnGynn via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Make yourself accountable

The hardest part of your personal content marketing strategy may be that you’re doing it alone. Without a boss or client expecting your content, it’s easier to push off the work.

Set deadlines for every step in the content production and distribution process. Mark them on your calendar. If you get overloaded and know you won’t meet one, move it out, but don’t remove it from the calendar, or you’ll never get it done.

Want to add one more layer to your accountability? Get an accountability partner. Share your production calendar with that person. Treat this partner as you would a client or boss – let them know when the step is done or tell them about the revised date for completion. (You can do this simply by using the calendar’s notification system.) Even better, become the accountability partner for them too.

Let’s get started. On what date will you complete your personal brand content marketing strategy? Note it in the comments, and I’ll reach out that day to see if you’re done.

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Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute



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