Define Progressive Triggers for Content Marketing Programs


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One of the questions I get asked often is how to define and respond to triggers within content marketing programs for B2B complex sales. I wish there was a simple answer to this question because it feels like I'm copping out if I say, "Well, it depends…"

Unfortunately, it does. What works as a trigger for other companies' buyers may not work for your buyers. What works for one type of buyer may not work for another. Plus, there are a variety of different types of triggers, so which ones are you talking about?

Sales-ready indicators. Yes, I know. But back up for a minute. Triggers are about much more than that last click before the sales hand off.

Triggers are behavioral indications of a shift in prospect interest. They result from the ways in which prospects respond to and interact with your content marketing programs. The challenge for marketers is to define triggers that are consistently indicative of  specific shifts, not one-off behaviors that produce differing results.

Consider these 4 types of triggers:

Buying Stage Transition: This occurs when a prospect who's only viewing early stage educational content makes the shift to view best practices content, for example. This is an indication that the prospect has decided solving the problem is becoming more urgent. Otherwise they wouldn't take the time to move from "why should I solve it?" to "how do I solve it?" This is why it's important to map your content to the buying process to help you understand when a prospect's level of interest shifts enough to move them to the next stage in buying.

Attention Jump: If the average time a prospect spends with your content is 2 minutes and suddenly this becomes 4 minutes, this is a trigger that their interest has grown. Either that or your content suddenly became riveting. Either way, it's a good indication that you should take notice of their growth in attention as well as what may have caused it. It's also important to monitor to see if this trigger holds true or if it really was just related to that one content asset.

An additional attention jump would be if the prospect then chose to spend an hour with your company by registering for and attending a webinar.

Another scenario may be if they used to click on the link in your email, view that content, then leave – but now they stay to read other related content. [Hint: "related content" is the key phrase] And also why you need to build content pathways that enable them to easily choose to spend more time with your content. Every moment a prospect spends with your content means they're not engaging with a competitor's ideas.

Pro-active Visits: This is when a prospect who only visited your website in the past when you prompted them via email starts to visit on their own in search of more information on a particular topic.

Dialogue Initiation: This trigger is about the prospect making the effort to do something other than read. This can be leaving a comment on a blog
post, asking a question on Twitter, replying to an email you sent to
them, submitting an inquiry on your website or even picking up the
phone. A dialogue initiation can also be the completion of an opt-in
form giving you permission to stay in communication with them.

Defining triggers is essentially about discerning patterns of behavior that—strung together—lead to achieving the preferred end result. In this case, sales readiness.

But, beyond defining them, the key to being able to string the triggers together to get to sales readiness involves determining the type of response each trigger requires to keep up the progression.

It helps if you think about triggers as your prospects' self-determined calls to action. They are the only ones who can decide to pull the lever. Of course it follows that the better you know your prospects, the more you can influence them by giving them what they need, when they need it.

Now, before you get all wrapped around the axle on this, defining progressive triggers is a trial and error process. It takes time to identify patterns. Focusing only on the last click before conversion is not the answer. That's because unless you can figure out what gets them to that last click, you have no way to consistently put what they need in front of them to speed their time to that last click.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Ardath Albee

Ardath Albee is a B2B Marketing Strategist and the CEO of her firm, Marketing Interactions, Inc. She helps B2B companies with complex sales create and use persona-driven content marketing strategies to turn prospects into buyers and convince customers to stay. Ardath is the author of Digital Relevance: Developing Marketing Content and Strategies that Drive Results and eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale. She's also an in-demand industry speaker.


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