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.
What is trigger marketing?
Trigger marketing refers to the use of marketing automation software to perform a task as a result of an event, often an action taken by a prospect or customer.
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 yourCRM and automation software. Here are just a few examples:
Email opens (or lack thereof)
Number of pages viewed
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.
In this case, the triggering event was my birthday – a piece of data they collected at some point.
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.
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.
How to Use Trigger Marketing
Understand your buyer persona.
Think in terms of ‘if’ and ‘then.’
Figure out your triggering events.
Determine the actions you want your system to perform.
Craft personalized messaging.
Identify and eliminate repetitive marketing tasks.
Increase the value of your CRM.
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 ofif/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:
Where are they at in their journey?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in April 2014 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
These are the engines you want to give extra consideration if you intend to expand internationally. They all have their own unique search algorithms that are in many ways as complex and developed as Google’s.
Why they matter and how to rank on them
If you’re like me a few years ago, a die-hard Apple fan remarkably repulsed by Microsoft’s products (I’ve now converted to the seamless team of PC), you might think prioritizing resources to optimize content for Bing or other engines is a waste of time. What I failed to consider then, and what you might be overlooking, is geographic segmentation.
Do you want to reach the American audience using voice search? Consider Bing.
Are you expanding into China? Check out Baidu.
Each search engine matters because of its unique user types. Regardless of how small that market share might look on a global scale, if there’s regional search volume from your target audience, it’s worth the optimization.
Bing Search, in combination with Yahoo, is without a doubt the strongest player after Google. Together, they have more than 10% of the global market share for desktop.
Now, some say that Bing’s market share will increase due to mergers and acquisitions, while others argue for its decline due to the death of Internet Explorer.
Still, all Microsoft browsers, such as Microsoft Edge Legacy and Chromium-based Microsoft Edge, have Bing as the default search engine, making Bing Search the natural choice for Microsoft product users. Yahoo, which is powered by Bing Search, is the default search engine for Mozilla’s browser Firefox, adding billions of impressions to Bing’s search results each year.
Although the algorithms differ, optimizing for Bing search results is not much different than optimizing for Google. With a bit of fine tuning, it’s more than possible to come up with a strategy that allows for high rankings on both.
To rank on Bing, and thus Yahoo, make sure to do the following:
1. List your business on Bing Places
Bing Places is the equivalent of Google My Business and is the fastest way to get your business ranking for local seo. Many even consider Bing Places to favor small business owners as Bing puts their information more prominently on display.
2. Upload an XML Sitemap using Bing’s Webmaster Tools
While the debate on how much sitemaps really do matter for Google SEO continues, uploading one with Bing’s Webmaster Tool for XML Sitemaps allows the algorithm to better categorize and manage your content, making it more visible and relevant to the search audience.
3. Match keywords in your content
Check that the exact keyword match can be found in your page titles, meta descriptions and overall content. It’s known that the impact of on-page tactics as a ranking factor is much greater in Bing than Google.
4. Keep your social media profiles up to date
Go social! Bing considers your social media presence more than any other search engine. The Webmaster Guidelines specifically states that Bing considers social signals from third-party platforms to rank your content. Bing might even extract certain information directly from your Facebook company page to your Bing Places display.
5. Use high-quality images to enhance your content
Bing’s image search is much more advanced than Google’s. If you want your landing page to rank, add high-quality design assets to showcase your offerings. If you want your blog to rank, attach too-long-to-read infographics to highlight your points. Like the one above.
While it looks a lot like Google, its algorithm is different in many ways. Most prominent is the way Yandex indexes pages. Unlike Google’s almost continuous indexation, Yandex indexes pages sporadically. That means that you might have to wait around for a while before your site shows up on Yandex.
Despite this, it is still possible to rank on Yandex. You just need to have a bit more patience.
While waiting for your site to be indexed, take a look at the following:
1. Focus on tags over internal site structure
According to The Ultimate Guide to Yandex SEO, your header tag, title tag and slug are way more important than your internal site structure. In fact, it was only recently that Yandex started to support hreflang tags. Before that, Yandex only allowed the <head> hreflang implementation.
2. Consider search intent to rank
Some argue that Yandex meets search intent better than Google. The modern ICS score, which replaced the Thematic Index Citation, is determined by how relevant a site is to the query. Yandex uses its own version of expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness (E-A-T) test to determine relevance.
3. Eliminate toxic links
Many do not know this, but Yandex was actually the first search engine to roll out a link-based algorithm. Already in 2005, 7 years before Google’s Penguin algorithm, Yandex introduced the Nepot filter, which specifically looked at the impact of toxic link exchanges and spam links.
While the site is available worldwide, the site predominantly favors simplified Chinese. So before taking any other steps, hire a native speaker to help you along the way. To win at global, you have to ditch translations.
Here’s a few steps to get your content ranking.
1. Localize your keywords and content appropriately
As with all multilingual SEO, you need to work with a native language expert to ensure proper keyword localization and content optimization. If your site experiences high bounce rates, Baidu will tank your rankings immediately. As with any search experience, localization matters.
2. Position relevant content and keywords to the top of the page
Baidu favors a completely opposite layout than the Westernized one. The sooner you get to the point the better. Therefore, it is important to position your keywords as early as possible in the text and introduce all relevant content already in the top of the page to rank.
3. Obtain a verification level and get certified
By registering and paying a small fee you can obtain a verification level to improve your domain authority and rankings on Baidu. If you want to secure top ratings, you can get certified and obtain an ICP license, which is much more difficult than getting verified.
Top alternative search engines by data privacy
While most of the search engines mentioned above are tied to big corporations or political forces, global initiatives are setting the stage for more privacy-focused search engines. Among these is DuckDuckGo, the forefront runner with over 130 billion searches processed since launch.
Why they matter and how to rank on them
In many ways, the movement is a response to Google’s invasiveness on privacy. Many are fed up with how they are capitalizing on personal data and controlling the narrative with targeted search.
Consequently, this attracts tech-savvy experts with a lower bounce rate. Once they commit to a search, they stay.
Here’s how to optimize for it:
1. Sharpen Your User Experience
UX continues to make an impact on SEO, not to mention for DuckDuckGo. Make your content easily scannable and stay away from intrusive pop ups that harm your users’ experience and ease of navigation.
2. Focus on High-Quality Backlinks
As with any SEO, high-quality backlinks play a huge role for ranking. If you already have a solid backlink profile from your Google strategy, you should be good to go. If your backlink profile has a high level of toxicity, do some cleansing.
3. Rethink Local SEO
Since there’s no location tracking available for searches, location-specific searches such as “services near me” don’t work. If you like to rank for these types of searches, include a specific location in your keyword strategy. Otherwise, you won’t be able to optimize for local seo.
Startpage could be my personal favorite among the alternative search engines. It basically is Google without the tracking.
And while many consider DuckDuckGo to be the forefront runner of the privacy-focused search movement, many forget how Startpage ‘blazed the trail in 2006’. Offering a search experience without IP recording or tracking back when it was more or less unheard of. Now, it is the common denominator among all privacy-safe search engines.
So, how do you rank in Startpage? Simple. You rank in Google.
There are many more privacy-safe alternatives to search engines than the two mentioned above. Perhaps one without equal is SwissCows – a search engine that prides itself on being the only family-friendly, privacy-safe semantic search engine available on the web.
This means that any intrusive search results, like adult entertainment or offensive content, is naturally censored from the search results. At the same time, they never store any data nor track user specific information.
SwissCows SERPs bring up organic results and paid ads directly from Bing so in order to rank in SwissCows, you need to rank in Bing. Just make sure to omit any content that’s not PG-13.
What do they all have in common?
In the end, none of these alternative search engines can replace Google. As an SEO, I’ll never advise starting out with anything other than a Google strategy.
But when you are ready to branch out and extend your reach, give these alternatives a try. Analyze where your target audience hangs out and optimize thereafter.
Many of the privacy-focused search engines require little optimization as they pull their search results directly from other sources anyways. Simply do a quick check to see how you rank on each one.
And who knows, perhaps Microsoft will continue to steal more of the global search landscape. If that happens, you’ll be there — ranking in first position, ready to reap the rewards of your diversified efforts in an ever-changing search landscape.
For your team, screen recorders can be used for several reasons — from creating tutorials for your website to recording a recurring tech issue to sending your marketing team a quick note instead of an email.
Looking ahead to 2023 and beyond, businesses worldwide face lots of uncertainty.
One thing will remain constant throughout this period — customers expect excellent experiences when interacting with a brand. According to Acquia’s latest CX Report, businesses plan to prioritize customer retention over the next 12 months: 56% plan to improve customer experience, and 58% will focus more on customer service.
This should be a common goal. To weather a potential storm, businesses must keep customers by meeting and exceeding customer expectations.
Cynthia Ramsaran is director of custom content at Third Door Media, publishers of Search Engine Land and MarTech. A multi-channel storyteller with over two decades of editorial/content marketing experience, Cynthia’s expertise spans the marketing, technology, finance, manufacturing and gaming industries. She was a writer/producer for CNBC.com and produced thought leadership for KPMG. Cynthia hails from Queens, NY and earned her Bachelor’s and MBA from St. John’s University.