What is Behavior Triggered Marketing Automation

It has been said that behavior-triggered marketing automation is best described as a process which automates actions, based on certain behavior or action triggers. For example, in a B2B Sales context, where you might be selling a new kind of technology, the behavior triggers and the automated responses might go something like this:


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Time and again, marketers have responded to surveys by saying that sending targeted emails to contacts which are directly triggered by actions or behaviors, are the most valuable and effective strategies that any inbound business could possibly adopt.

Yet for some curious reason, only about 20% of email marketers actually use behavioral targeting, which means there’s a wide disparity between known best practice strategies and those which are actually put into practice. This could be because of a general lack of know-how in setting up such behavioral email campaigns, and that would make sense, since there isn’t really an awful lot of material available currently to illuminate the general concept.

How it works

Behavioral responses like emails are sent to a number of contacts from your CRM, based on their previous interactions with your company, either via your website, emails social media, or other existing channels. In some cases, a marketer will develop an offer like an e-book, or a white paper which has value to the segment of leads being considered, or possibly even an infographic which can be used as an informative reference by people on the list.

Then the marketer will develop a targeted list of users which might find this offering to be of value to their businesses. When the offering and the list have been prepared, the entire list of people will be emailed with the offering, pretty much out of the blue.

The aspect of this process which makes it unique from other business processes is that it is in no way based on decisions originating with the marketer. Instead, the process is triggered by behaviors or actions of visitors to your website, and these are the sole criteria which dictate the kind of response emails which are sent to them.

Step 1 – Determine activities to be tracked

The first step in the process is to determine exactly which activities to track, analyze, and develop a response for. This is a key part of the whole process, because it identifies the behaviors or actions of your target audience, to let you know what kind of response would be appropriate for them.

This can be very broad in context, because you may be using several different channels to engage with the user community. Each one of those channels represents an opportunity to learn more about users, to listen to their wants and needs, and to engage with them on whatever level is appropriate for that channel. At the back end of all this, is a system which is fully capable of tracking, storing, and analyzing all the information you’ve gathered about your users.

Step 2 – Anticipate user actions

Next you have to determine which actions are the most important ones a user might take, specific to each of the channels being used. This is what makes behavioral emails so effective – they are always triggered by the behavior of a lead, and they are one of the expected reactions already identified by the marketer. The fact that behavioral emails are activated by the user rather than the marketer is really the dream scenario, because it calls for the user to be reaching out rather than the marketer. Some examples of anticipated actions might be a form submission for an e-book, viewing certain content on your website, engagement emails, social media involvement, subscriptions to your blog, or reviewing product videos on your site.

Step 3 – Develop a personalized email

The final step in establishing behavioral triggered marketing automation campaign is to develop a compelling email which will initiate a conversation with the user, based on whatever action or behavior was originally detected and tracked. Great care should be taken to keep this in the form of a conversation, so as to maintain engagement with the user, rather than having it evolve into a one-sided sales pitch from your team.

The beauty of this whole process is that it becomes a an extremely personal experience for the user, and in fact has become a segment of one, i.e. a targeted audience that is limited to a single user. Because you’re using your email system to customize it for that one person, the opportunity is provided to make it more personal than any other medium could be. Even better, there is virtually no time lapse between the time an action or behavior is detected, and the automated email response is sent to that same user.

As all marketers are aware, the longer a lead sits in a lead state without engagement, the less likely that lead is to progress along the purchase cycle. With an automated marketing system, a user is contacted almost immediately after having taken some kind of action that indicated interest, which means that you will be following up in the promptest and most personalized manner possible.

And that is something which is almost certain to lead to greater sales and greater business success!