Trigger-Based Marketing vs. Batch Email Marketing: Which One is Best For Converting Leads?

Trigger-Based Marketing vs. Batch Email Marketing: Which One is Best For Converting Leads?

As a digital marketer you must be constantly looking for new methods to provide value to your customers by providing personalized customer experience and improving engagement with your prospects. Know which works for you the best.

Emails that are “triggered” by a prospect’s actions are great for converting leads. But are they better than batch emails? Email is still an extremely valuable marketing tool in 2021. In fact, 81% of SMBs rely on email alone as their primary channel for acquiring new customers and 80% also use email for customer retention. 

Consumers receive up to hundreds of emails every day from different companies, with varying messages and offerings, so it can be tough for brands to stand out in an inbox full of marketing emails. 

Personalized subject lines and content are keys to raising open rates and increasing conversions, but what brands really need to catch their customers' attention is relevance. 

That’s where trigger-based marketing comes in. Trigger-based email marketing is a way of streamlining communications with leads and customers in a way that focuses on the customer experience. Batch emails on the other hand are less personalized and do not speak directly to customers' experience with your brand. 

Of course batch email techniques have their place in a marketing strategy, but when it comes to converting leads, which strategy has the most pull? Before we start comparing batch email and trigger email strategies, let’s dive into what trigger marketing is and how marketing teams can enhance their workflows using automated triggers.  

Trigger marketing

Automated triggered marketing emails are a powerful addition to any marketing strategy. Their relevance and timeliness provide leads with an unmatched personalized experience every time. The key to any effective email marketing strategy is personalization, timing and value, all of which are inherent to trigger-based email marketing. 

For example, research shows that it takes three abandoned cart follow up emails in order to significantly increase closed sales. When a customer abandons their cart, a trigger (the cart abandonment) engages the CRM to enroll them in a series of emails reminding them about their cart and asking if they need assistance checking out. 

To get started with trigger marketing, it’s especially important that you understand your buyer persona. Because you’ll be using automated software, the more specific the data is the more tangible the results will be

Crafting a trigger marketing strategy requires that you think through the entire lead lifecycle and customer journey. What are the key stages? What are the pain points? And what motivates your target audience to buy? 

Now you have the information necessary to establish your trigger events. When action is taken on your website, certain criteria met within your database, or they have responded (positively or negatively) to previous emails or social media campaigns, chatbot conversations; these can all be considered trigger events. 

Once one of these specific events occurs, then the system is triggered to do something with that information. What does the CRM do? It’s up to how you program your software. You could send them a relevant email sequence, update their information, add them to a segmented list, assign a sales rep to them or even receive an internal notification about the actions they are taking. 

If you are using a CRM manager, make sure that you find an easy-to-use invoicing service for customers and clients that comes with crucial features such as integrations with your other sales and marketing apps. 

Because personalization is so important when it comes to marketing, it's important that your triggered actions are highly personalized according to the unique qualities of a specific contact. To find out what makes them different from other leads and what messaging might appeal to them, pinpoint where they are at in their customer journey, how they got there, and what their next move might be - not what you want their next move to be. 

You can, however, use this information to provide value and nudge them along to the next step of their individual journey. In this way, you guide the customer through their own journey, instead of taking them through marketing’s idea of the ideal customer journey scenario. 

This not only allows the customer to go at their own pace without feeling the pressure of pushy marketing schemes, and creates a highly personalized experience for every customer, every time. 

Although more of the process is in the palms of your customer’s hands, it’s important to remember to use A/B testing to see which versions of your triggered emails provide the highest ROI. Proper testing allows marketing teams to discover what content is most attractive to customers, which content leads to conversions, and what subject lines create the most traction. Even in an environment where triggered email marketing is well integrated, testing is still of vital importance. 

Limitations of trigger-based marketing

Much of the limitations with a trigger-based email marketing strategy will come down to the capabilities that your automated CRM software provides and the quality of your lead data. Data that is messy, unorganized, and irrelevant can skew your results and the software won’t point you in the right direction, but complete data will enhance your personalization and segmentation efforts. 

Make sure that you are collecting the right data to produce the leads that you want and regularly audit your database, and then get rid of data that is clogging up your automation process. 

Triggered emails are 38% more likely to be opened because of their relevance to the customer’s experience, but relevance alone will not cause them to open your message. Remember the other two parts to a winning email marketing strategy are personalization and value. You need to accomplish all three in order to increase your open rates. 

In addition to your subject lines, your content marketing design within your email must also be curated especially for that specific customer at a particular point on their unique journey with your brand. Include rich content including embedded video and clickable ads along with tasteful branding and design that appeals to your target audience. 

Aside from these few limitations, the only limitations that you have when using trigger-based marketing is your creativity. There are so many possibilities and opportunities for brands to meet their prospects where they are at in their unique customer journeys, all teams need to do is put in the time, effort, research, and testing to find out what their consumers need from their brand. 

Trigger-based vs. batch emails

Email marketing campaigns, both trigger-based and batch-based, are a great way to reach customers without coming across as pushy or salsey. They are less intrusive than a phone call or even a parcel, and email marketing aligns perfectly with meeting your site’s revenue goals, such as reaching out to customers with new deals or advertising sponsored content. 

Trigger-based marketing campaigns do come with a few advantages. The personalization possibilities with trigger-based marketing can’t be matched with mass batch emails because they are naturally tailored to meet customers where they are at in their interest with your brand or a specific product. 

The intuitive nature of triggered emails are also unique in that customers are not necessarily seeing content that marketers want them to see, but they are seeing content that is relevant to their previous actions. Which brings us to the final pro - customer centricity. Triggered email marketing is purely based on individualized customer experiences and what their next steps will be. 

Batch emails also have their place in marketing strategy. These are great when you have major announcements like sales, discounts, brand updates, new products, and other news that you want to share with your leads and customers. There is also something to be said for the amount of reach you can achieve with a good batch email strategy. The ability to reach thousands of people in an instant is remarkable. 


Create a plan for several trigger-email marketing scenarios and try this technique out for yourself. Write down a list of potential trigger events and create customer journeys that flow from each of these events, and then use your CRM to put the plan into action. 

Use different subject lines, different content, and experiment with your timing to ensure that you are catching your audience at the most ideal moment. 

You can also use some trigger-based email marketing strategies to streamline your batch email strategies as well. Use thorough testing, and create several larger batches that can be personalized based on a group of consumer’s level of interest and the types of content that they like to see in their inbox. 

Unfortunately, batch emails lack the personalization that is necessary to entice today’s customers, especially ones that are on the fence about their purchase. 

Additionally, batch emails are not intuitive, meaning they aren’t going to have the same value that a hyper-segemented and personalized subject line that a triggered email can provide. 

Because of the value of personalization, the increased likelihood that customers will read an email sent after a trigger event, and the ability they have to help nurture relationships with customers long term, trigger-based marketing wins when it comes to converting leads.

This post was submitted by a TNS experts. Check out our Contributor page for details about how you can share your ideas on digital marketing, SEO, social media, growth hacking and content marketing with our audience.

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