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6 Ways to Trigger Automated Marketing Programs

Automated programs (or whatever you may call them) are the most powerful function of a marketing automation system.

This is where your marketing platform finally makes use of all its data to both simplify your life and save you time. But more importantly, this is where it performs the right task at the right time, right when your prospects need your attention.

While there is most certainly no shortage of ways to initiate an automated campaign, here are 6 proven ways to trigger them to help you get started.

1. Conversion items

Someone converts on a form to access a video or white paper, or even signs up to try out your product. This is the most basic trigger for an automated follow-up. It’s a no-brainer that you should build a custom program that will nurture the contact with content that is relevant to their most recent conversion.

But with this kind of trigger, it’s important to keep in mind that you should prioritize different types of conversions so that, when a contact fills out multiple forms, they will not enroll in multiple programs all at once.

The last thing you want is to bombard them with several emails every day that cause them to unsubscribe from your emails forever.

2. Hidden fields

If you want to go a step further with your conversion follow-ups, you could trigger campaigns based on critical information contained in the query string of a URL. That data can be captured by your form through hidden fields. Most marketing automation platforms, and Uberflip too, allow you to capture such fields.

The presence of a new value for a hidden field can be the trigger of a highly personalized campaign, tailored to the source or the medium where the contact originated.

For example, if you receive traffic from a partner and those visitors qualify for a discount or promotional offer, you can route those contacts to a different program that will fully leverage that benefit in the copy and visual assets of every email after.

3. Areas of interest

Why wait before someone fills out a form for your white paper before you share it with them?

Once you know that a contact is interested in a certain topic, be proactive whenever you can to provide them value around their area of interest.

But how do you find out about someone's interests?

You can identify an area of interest based on visits to a set number of articles, videos or eBooks that are part of the same tag or category in your resource center.

For Uberflip customers, it’s even simpler. You can base it on a set number of visits to items in a marketing stream that contains content about a specific interest. Hitting the magic number, let’s say 10 items, would trigger a relevant program.

Be careful you’re not recommending resources that a prospect has already consumed. I don’t need to say that recommending the same content twice will be a major turn off with the opposite effect of what you really want: to delight your prospects.

You need to put the right filters in place to ensure your program will exclude anyone who has already consumed or been recommended a certain piece of content.

4. Critical pages visited

Visiting a specific page (or a combination of pages) could suggest a strong intent. It’s usually the best time to pull the trigger, while a contact is actively engaged on your site.

If you don’t use a behavioral website automation tool such as Qualaroo or Bounce Exchange that allows you to nudge them right on the page, sending an email at the right time is an alternative that does the trick.

Ask them if they need additional information or are interested in a live demo, because now is the time! You can’t expect prospects to engage only on your time. 

I suggest you be careful with automated follow-ups based on page visits though. You don’t want people to find it creepy or out of place. But if your message is broad enough and simply shows an openness to help, no one is going to hate you for that.

5. Date of conversion or sign-up

If the desired outcome doesn’t happen over a certain period of time— for example, becoming a customer after signing up for a free trial—you can trigger a new program with the same goal in mind.

Maybe your messaging in the first drip campaign was too complex? Maybe you got into the pricing, features and other details too quickly? Start from scratch and re-educate your prospect about your offering from a different angle in a new program.

This is also good timing to trigger an offer like a free trial extension or a limited time discount. That—in addition to a new, full-fledged nurture program—should help convert those who didn’t in the first place.

6. Inactivity

Whether it's on your website or with your emails, inactivity must be taken care of as much as activity.

Act before it's too late, before they put the final nail in the coffin and unsubscribe from your communications. One thing to keep in mind though is that you will need a pretty good headline or a different offer to bring a contact back from the dead.

If someone subscribed to a series of emails and suddenly stops opening or clicking them—stop everything. Maybe those emails are overwhelming? Maybe they want to unsubscribe but don’t want to hurt your feelings ;).

As Anum Hussain puts it in this presentation, it’s sometimes a better idea to sacrifice a large list of subscribers in order to increase engagement in your campaigns. People who aren’t interested anymore will thank you for it!


Even if these ideas for automated programs don’t exactly fit in with the day-to-day of your business or current marketing campaigns, I hope they help you come up with your own creative ways of delighting prospects and customers through marketing automation.

It is a powerful tool that, when mastered, can unlock unlimited growth opportunities for your business.

For even more creative marketing automation ideas, take a look at our Marketing Automation Hacks series.

About the Author

Francois Mathieu is a Marketing Consultant and Entrepreneur based in Toronto, Canada. He is the Co-Founder of <a href="">Hōjicha Co.</a>, a specialty tea distributor and retailer.

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