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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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

You ask the head of marketing how the team is doing and get a giant thumbs up. 👍

“Our MQLs are up!”

“Website conversion rates are at an all-time high!”

“Email click rates have never been this good!”

But when you ask the head of sales the same question, you get the response that echoes across sales desks worldwide — the leads from marketing suck. 

If you’re in this boat, you’re not alone. The issue of “leads from marketing suck” is a common situation in most organizations. In a HubSpot survey, only 9.1% of salespeople said leads they received from marketing were of very high quality.

Why do sales teams hate marketing-generated leads? And how can marketers help their sales peers fall in love with their leads? 

Let’s dive into the answers to these questions. Then, I’ll give you my secret lead gen kung-fu to ensure your sales team loves their marketing leads. 

Marketers Must Take Ownership

“I’ve hit the lead goal. If sales can’t close them, it’s their problem.”

How many times have you heard one of your marketers say something like this? When your teams are heavily siloed, it’s not hard to see how they get to this mindset — after all, if your marketing metrics look strong, they’ve done their part, right?

Not necessarily. 

The job of a marketer is not to drive traffic or even leads. The job of the marketer is to create messaging and offers that lead to revenue. Marketing is not a 100-meter sprint — it’s a relay race. The marketing team runs the first leg and hands the baton to sales to sprint to the finish.

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via GIPHY

To make leads valuable beyond the vanity metric of watching your MQLs tick up, you need to segment and nurture them. Screen the leads to see if they meet the parameters of your ideal customer profile. If yes, nurture them to find out how close their intent is to a sale. Only then should you pass the leads to sales. 

Lead Quality Control is a Bitter Pill that Works

Tighter quality control might reduce your overall MQLs. Still, it will ensure only the relevant leads go to sales, which is a win for your team and your organization.

This shift will require a mindset shift for your marketing team: instead of living and dying by the sheer number of MQLs, you need to create a collaborative culture between sales and marketing. Reinforce that “strong” marketing metrics that result in poor leads going to sales aren’t really strong at all.  

When you foster this culture of collaboration and accountability, it will be easier for the marketing team to receive feedback from sales about lead quality without getting defensive. 

Remember, the sales team is only holding marketing accountable so the entire organization can achieve the right results. It’s not sales vs marketing — it’s sales and marketing working together to get a great result. Nothing more, nothing less. 

We’ve identified the problem and where we need to go. So, how you do you get there?

Fix #1: Focus On High ROI Marketing Activities First

What is more valuable to you:

  • One more blog post for a few more views? 
  • One great review that prospective buyers strongly relate to?

Hopefully, you’ll choose the latter. After all, talking to customers and getting a solid testimonial can help your sales team close leads today.  Current customers talking about their previous issues, the other solutions they tried, why they chose you, and the results you helped them achieve is marketing gold.

On the other hand, even the best blog content will take months to gain enough traction to impact your revenue.

Still, many marketers who say they want to prioritize customer reviews focus all their efforts on blog content and other “top of the funnel” (Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation) efforts. 

The bottom half of the growth marketing funnel (Retention, Reputation, and Revenue) often gets ignored, even though it’s where you’ll find some of the highest ROI activities.

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Most marketers know retaining a customer is easier than acquiring a new one. But knowing this and working with sales on retention and account expansion are two different things. 

When you start focusing on retention, upselling, and expansion, your entire organization will feel it, from sales to customer success. These happier customers will increase your average account value and drive awareness through strong word of mouth, giving you one heck of a win/win.

Winning the Retention, Reputation, and Referral game also helps feed your Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation activities:

  • Increasing customer retention means more dollars stay within your organization to help achieve revenue goals and fund lead gen initiatives.
  • A fully functioning referral system lowers your customer acquisition cost (CAC) because these leads are already warm coming in the door.
  • Case studies and reviews are powerful marketing assets for lead gen and nurture activities as they demonstrate how you’ve solved identical issues for other companies.

Remember that the bottom half of your marketing and sales funnel is just as important as the top half. After all, there’s no point pouring leads into a leaky funnel. Instead, you want to build a frictionless, powerful growth engine that brings in the right leads, nurtures them into customers, and then delights those customers to the point that they can’t help but rave about you.

So, build a strong foundation and start from the bottom up. You’ll find a better return on your investment. 

Fix #2: Join Sales Calls to Better Understand Your Target Audience

You can’t market well what you don’t know how to sell.

Your sales team speaks directly to customers, understands their pain points, and knows the language they use to talk about those pains. Your marketing team needs this information to craft the perfect marketing messaging your target audience will identify with.

When marketers join sales calls or speak to existing customers, they get firsthand introductions to these pain points. Often, marketers realize that customers’ pain points and reservations are very different from those they address in their messaging. 

Once you understand your ideal customers’ objections, anxieties, and pressing questions, you can create content and messaging to remove some of these reservations before the sales call. This effort removes a barrier for your sales team, resulting in more SQLs.

Fix #3: Create Collateral That Closes Deals

One-pagers, landing pages, PDFs, decks — sales collateral could be anything that helps increase the chance of closing a deal. Let me share an example from Lean Labs. 

Our webinar page has a CTA form that allows visitors to talk to our team. Instead of a simple “get in touch” form, we created a drop-down segmentation based on the user’s challenge and need. This step helps the reader feel seen, gives them hope that they’ll receive real value from the interaction, and provides unique content to users based on their selection.

1716755163 298 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755163 298 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

So, if they select I need help with crushing it on HubSpot, they’ll get a landing page with HubSpot-specific content (including a video) and a meeting scheduler. 

Speaking directly to your audience’s needs and pain points through these steps dramatically increases the chances of them booking a call. Why? Because instead of trusting that a generic “expert” will be able to help them with their highly specific problem, they can see through our content and our form design that Lean Labs can solve their most pressing pain point. 

Fix #4: Focus On Reviews and Create an Impact Loop

A lot of people think good marketing is expensive. You know what’s even more expensive? Bad marketing

To get the best ROI on your marketing efforts, you need to create a marketing machine that pays for itself. When you create this machine, you need to think about two loops: the growth loop and the impact loop.

1716755163 789 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755163 789 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To
  • Growth loop — Awareness ➡ Acquisition ➡ Activation ➡ Revenue ➡ Awareness: This is where most marketers start. 
  • Impact loop — Results ➡ Reviews ➡ Retention ➡ Referrals ➡ Results: This is where great marketers start. 

Most marketers start with their growth loop and then hope that traction feeds into their impact loop. However, the reality is that starting with your impact loop is going to be far more likely to set your marketing engine up for success

Let me share a client story to show you what this looks like in real life.

Client Story: 4X Website Leads In A Single Quarter

We partnered with a health tech startup looking to grow their website leads. One way to grow website leads is to boost organic traffic, of course, but any organic play is going to take time. If you’re playing the SEO game alone, quadrupling conversions can take up to a year or longer.

But we did it in a single quarter. Here’s how.

We realized that the startup’s demos were converting lower than industry standards. A little more digging showed us why: our client was new enough to the market that the average person didn’t trust them enough yet to want to invest in checking out a demo. So, what did we do?

We prioritized the last part of the funnel: reputation.

We ran a 5-star reputation campaign to collect reviews. Once we had the reviews we needed, we showcased them at critical parts of the website and then made sure those same reviews were posted and shown on other third-party review platforms. 

Remember that reputation plays are vital, and they’re one of the plays startups often neglect at best and ignore at worst. What others say about your business is ten times more important than what you say about yourself

By providing customer validation at critical points in the buyer journey, we were able to 4X the website leads in a single quarter!

1716755164 910 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755164 910 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

So, when you talk to customers, always look for opportunities to drive review/referral conversations and use them in marketing collateral throughout the buyer journey. 

Fix #5: Launch Phantom Offers for Higher Quality Leads 

You may be reading this post thinking, okay, my lead magnets and offers might be way off the mark, but how will I get the budget to create a new one that might not even work?

It’s an age-old issue: marketing teams invest way too much time and resources into creating lead magnets that fail to generate quality leads

One way to improve your chances of success, remain nimble, and stay aligned with your audience without breaking the bank is to create phantom offers, i.e., gauge the audience interest in your lead magnet before you create them.

For example, if you want to create a “World Security Report” for Chief Security Officers, don’t do all the research and complete the report as Step One. Instead, tease the offer to your audience before you spend time making it. Put an offer on your site asking visitors to join the waitlist for this report. Then wait and see how that phantom offer converts. 

This is precisely what we did for a report by Allied Universal that ended up generating 80 conversions before its release.

1716755164 348 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755164 348 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

The best thing about a phantom offer is that it’s a win/win scenario: 

  • Best case: You get conversions even before you create your lead magnet.
  • Worst case: You save resources by not creating a lead magnet no one wants.  

Remember, You’re On The Same Team 

We’ve talked a lot about the reasons your marketing leads might suck. However, remember that it’s not all on marketers, either. At the end of the day, marketing and sales professionals are on the same team. They are not in competition with each other. They are allies working together toward a common goal. 

Smaller companies — or anyone under $10M in net new revenue — shouldn’t even separate sales and marketing into different departments. These teams need to be so in sync with one another that your best bet is to align them into a single growth team, one cohesive front with a single goal: profitable customer acquisition.

Interested in learning more about the growth marketing mindset? Check out the Lean Labs Growth Playbook that’s helped 25+ B2B SaaS marketing teams plan, budget, and accelerate growth.


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