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Category: trigger

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The Ins and Outs of Trigger Campaigns

What’s the first thing you do after placing an online shopping order?


Most of us hop into our personal email as quickly as possible and wait for the ever satisfying “Thank You for Your Order” email to pop up. This email lets shoppers know that their payments were received and the order is processing - your shoes are on their way!


Even though online shopping is a B2C interaction, the same idea applies to the B2B world. In B2B marketing these autoresponders are referred to as trigger emails. A trigger email is an email, or series of emails, sent to an individual based on the activation of some form of “trigger.” The send date or time is relative to the action or relative to a previous trigger email.


The action may come from a variety of places - maybe on your website or from a previous email campaign. Once the recipient has completed (or in some cases, failed to complete) the desired action, they will be “dropped” in a trigger campaign and begin receiving timed emails. These desired actions may be:



  • Whitepaper download
  • Demo request
  • Opt-in request
  • Event registration
  • Survey completion


Used wisely, these interactions allow you to better track your customer and prospect activity to shorten sales cycles and maintain an open dialogue.


Characteristics of Trigger Email Campaigns:


  • They’re specific to a recurring need or objective: Trigger emails are ideal for communicating in response to regularly recurring actions (sign-ups, downloads, etc.)
  • Delivery and message are both automated: The key to successful trigger-based campaigns is automating the triggered message.
  • Emails can be personalized: Often, your trigger email audience is a single recipient because triggered messages are only sent to individuals who have taken a specific action or inaction on your website or previous email
  • Activated by explicit behavior: When an email is triggered by someone completing a specific action, such as downloading a document.
  • Activated by implicit behavior: This uses lead scoring or behavioral targeting to trigger an email, or emails, when someone completes a set of predefined steps or achieves a predetermined score.


Although trigger emails are based on a “set it and forget it” mentality, don’t totally forget about them! Make sure to review and update your message monthly.


In a B2B environment, triggers are low volume with very high open rates. These emails are used to reinforce your company brand and continually emphasize consistent messages and calls to action. Jupiter Research (in “The ROI of Email Relevance”) found that behaviorally-targeted trigger email campaigns get 30% higher open and click-through rates and three times the conversion rate of broadcast email. Some report open rates as much as 70% higher than broadcast email.


Before you pull the “trigger,” make sure your content is in a logical order. Even try creating a content map for each trigger campaign. Also consider the length of the campaign vs. the timeliness of the content and don’t include irrelevant content just to take up space.


Triggers should always focus on the goal with all content pointing to the same outcome or call to action.