5 Ways to Use Trigger Campaigns to Effectively Nurture Leads
Whether you work for a Fortune 500 company or an evolving startup, marketers are busy folks — swamped, actually.
For instance, here’s just a glimpse into a day in the life of Act-On’s Marketing Department:
- Content marketing PPC campaign to create and launch
- SEO updates to the website
- New landing page templates to design and build
- Final editorial review for an upcoming press release
- Create 301 redirects to 30+ pages
- Develop an automated email campaign for distinct customer segments
- Coordinate with partners to co-brand an eBook
- Analyze and report last month’s KPIs and ROI
- Build a slider deck for next week’s prospect webinar
- Perform discovery call for an upcoming customer success story
- And somewhere in the neighborhood of roughly 3,429 meetings…
With so much going on, it can be really easy to focus on just getting things done and really hard to find time to do things the right way. That’s why we use our own software to automate dozens of marketing initiatives every day. And perhaps our most reliable and effective automation feature is automated email trigger campaigns.
Never heard of them? Not sure how to use them? Already using them but without much success?
Keep reading to learn more about triggered email campaigns and how to get the most out of this digital marketing automation goldmine.
What Are Triggered Email Campaigns?
Different than standard lead nurturing email campaigns (which generally send a series of emails in a predetermined cadence), triggered emails are designed to fire as soon as someone who is visiting one of your digital properties performs a specific action.
Sending triggered emails based on user behavior is one of the best ways to personalize your digital marketing campaigns because it allows you to tailor your messaging based on those behaviors. In fact, according to a study conducted by WebFx, triggered email campaigns have a 70.5% higher open rate than traditional marketing emails.
Other benefits of triggered email campaigns include:
- Increased user engagement
- Higher click-through rates and conversions
- Better customer retention and upselling
- Improved user experience and satisfaction
But if you really want to succeed, the name of the game is relevance.
For example, trigger campaigns can be useful if a known potential customer visits your website looking to learn more about a particular product or service line but leaves the page before downloading an informative asset or completing a contact form. You can seize this opportunity to engage by sending them an immediate follow-up email letting them know about all the great content or products they’re missing out on.
Based on their engagement with your first email, you can add this contact to a segmented list and continue messaging them in a related topic-based automated email program. This way you remain top of mind while also gradually moving your prospect through the sales funnel.
Trigger Campaign Use Cases That Work!
Since trigger campaigns are based on timeliness and relevance, you need to build emails that deliver the right messaging based on how the prospect is (or isn’t) engaging with your digital properties and content.
Let’s take a look at five ways you can continue the conversation after the fact to improve lead generation and retain loyal customers!
1) Deliver on Your Promise
The majority of triggered emails are designed to follow-up on a positive user interaction, such as subscribing to a newsletter or downloading an eBook. Therefore, it’s no surprise that these campaigns are so successful. After all, the recipients are actually looking forward to receiving your emails! (How often can you honestly say that?)
To take full advantage of all this goodwill, you need to deliver on your promise. That is, you need to send purposeful emails that confirm (and affirm) the customer’s action. So if someone really loves your blog and signs up to receive your monthly newsletter, but they don’t receive a welcome email confirming they’ve done so, they might wonder if they filled out your form correctly or if there’s an issue with their email server. Either way, this is a terrible user experience that reflects poorly on your organization and will likely cost you what might’ve been a promising lead.
Failing to send an introductory email might also make your recipient forget that they signed up to receive content from you in the first place. This increases the probability of them marking your message as Spam, which could negatively impact your deliverability and your nurturing efforts as a whole.
It’s best practice to always remind your consumers that they signed up to receive emails and reassure them that you’re doing exactly what you said you were going to do by following up on user actions with trigger emails.
2) Target Non-Action Prospects
It’s not always about the actions your prospects are taking. In fact, some of the most successful triggered email campaigns are those that focus on known website visitors who didn’t perform a desired action before bouncing from the page. You already know these potential customers are at least somewhat interested in what you have to say or sell, so why not dangle a carrot by shooting out a cheerful and personalized email to those users who have visited your various service pages?
Or, you could send a re-engagement email to existing leads who haven’t interacted with your nurturing email campaigns over the last few months. Perhaps you can offer a special discount or a limited free trial to see if you can get them engaged. Once they respond to the pitch, of course, you’ll want to place them in a new series of automated emails.
3) Don’t Forget About Existing Customers
Every now and then we need to remind ourselves that keeping our existing customers happy should be our top priority. What’s more, people who have already bought from you are your best leads for potential upsells! And since you have all the information (and permission, in most cases) you need to market to these people, they’re perfect candidates for triggered email campaigns.
So when a customer makes a purchase, you should…
- Immediately send them a confirmation email thanking them for the sale and letting them know when and how they’ll be receiving their product.
- Once the product ships, send another email letting the customer know an estimated arrival time along with a tracking number.
- Finally, when you know the product has arrived, send an email asking for feedback or giving additional information on how to get the most value out of what your customer has just received.
All three of these follow-up emails present a great opportunity to sneak in additional product or content recommendations to continue the sales engagement.
4) Messaging Based on Lead Score
Every company scores and prioritizes their leads differently, but all organizations should have a threshold for determining a marketing qualified lead (MQL) and a protocol for passing those MQLs to Sales. Once a prospect meets that threshold (whether by opening an email, visiting a webpage, or clicking on a paid ad), you should send an automated trigger email to the prospect that invites them to take a more dedicated action like scheduling a call or booking a demo. By this point, the prospect should be extremely familiar with your brand, educated about your products and service lines, and even doing some competitive research, which means now is the time to take this relationship to the next level.
Conversely, MQLs often drop below your lead scoring threshold following a period of inactivity or by doing things you’ve determined a negative action, such as unsubscribing from your monthly newsletter. This is another good opportunity for you to attempt to re-engage with the prospect by offering highly personalized content and/or an exclusive offer. Once the prospect is requalified, be sure your sales team reaches out to strike while the iron is hot!
5) Instruct Your Customers on How to Use Your Products and Services
There’s nothing more frustrating than making an expensive purchase and then being completely lost about how to actually use the thing you just bought. Familiarity breeds a lot of assumptions, and just because you think something is easy to use or self-explanatory doesn’t mean your customers will feel the same. Thankfully, this provides a great opportunity to trigger a helpful email!
Whenever your customer makes a purchase and then receives their product or service, send a follow-up email providing clear and simple directions for how to implement or use it. You can then send a series of automated follow-up emails detailing some best practices and innovative techniques to help them get the most out of their purchase.
Again, this is highly personalized material that keeps prospects and customers engaged with your brand over time.
Event-Triggered Email Marketing Automation Software from Act-On
As you can see, event-triggered email marketing is a great way to connect with interested prospects, promising leads, and existing customers to deliver relevant and personalized messaging that keeps you and your brand top of mind throughout the sales cycle and beyond.
At Act-On, we believe that trigger emails are one of our strongest product features and marketing tactics. We use these emails in all the ways listed above (and more), and we’ve seen fantastic results time and time again.
If you’d like to learn more about other proven email marketing tactics and how they can play a major role in your larger marketing automation strategy, please download our eBook, “Marketing Automation Strategy Guide: Get the Most Out of Your Investment” or complete this brief to see our platform in action!