Say “No” to the Third Helping of Meatballs: The Strategy and Pursuit of Trigger Campaigns

Launching a trigger email is a little like going back for seconds and thirds at an all-you-can eat buffet: just because you can doesn’t mean you should. The temptation to launch a trigger campaign becomes stronger in light of the steady drum beat of email marketing experts who tell you it’s the right thing to do. However, what all this talk of email marketing “best practices” loses sight of is that, like any marketing tactic, trigger campaigns should be a logical response to a strategic problem.

The good news is that there are trigger campaign approaches that align with many common issues — you just need to figure out which campaign matches your strategic need. For example, let’s say you are a company that has made or will be making a commitment to content marketing as a driver of customer and prospect engagement. Your business model requires you to nurture contacts over a period of time until they are ready/have the need to buy. During this interval, you need to keep your company and products top-of-mind, but your response data suggests that you are not maximizing your potential to engage your audience.

In this scenario, the best application of a trigger campaign is to use your target audience’s responses to drive deeper engagement. Leveraging your available content, you can create a collection of emails triggered by a range of positive responses — clicking on an email, downloading a white paper from your website, visiting your booth at a conference — that offer the recipient “next steps” or additional information. The keys to making this kind of trigger successful are:

  • Clean data: Make sure that the email address to which you are sending the triggered email is the email address of the person who took the positive action.
  • Low friction: Make the featured content easy to consume to lower barriers to incremental engagement.
  • Timeliness: Deploy the triggered email within a day or two of the positive action to ensure that whatever spurred the initial engagement is still fresh in the target’s mind.

In our experience, triggered campaigns targeting those with a positive recent response have delivered view rates in the 60-70% range and engagement rates as high as 20%.