The Ultimate Guide to Buying Triggers: How Marketers Can Use Trigger Events to Reduce Costs and Drive Sales

In partnership with The Juice

Pre. S. Many marketing budgets have been slashed. 

If you’re a marketer who wants to hit your annual goals, you’ll likely need to figure out how to do more with less.

Enter: Buying Triggers

Marketers who understand the specific events that trigger buyers to enter the buying journey spend 80% less on direct marketing costs.

This guide will teach you how to turn buying triggers into sales… without needing to add extra money to your marketing budget.

But first… a story.

Imagine this…

It’s officially the beginning of Q4.

To be honest — you’re not that excited about it.

You’ve looked at the numbers and realized something needs to change if you want to hit your 2022 marketing goals. Your ROAS wasn’t what you’d hoped for and a few big bets you made in Q3 didn’t pay off.

But you know you can fix it. You just have to act fast. 

After doing the math you know exactly what change needs to happen. If you can decrease your customer acquisition costs by 4% you’ll reach your goals (without having to make any big changes to your marketing funnel).

The problem is that you’re too busy to do it yourself.

You decide to hire a consultant to optimize your key landing pages. 

While scrolling on Facebook one day you come across a sponsored video post explaining “Top 5 website practices to increase your ROAS and decrease customer acquisition costs”. 

The video comes from a CRO (conversion rate optimization) agency with a cute and memorable name. You watch it through and think it’s pretty good but quickly get distracted down the rabbit hole of social media. 

When you get back to work you see your open spreadsheet and the bolded 4% decrease you need to hit to reach your 2022 marketing goals.

You Google the agency that targeted you with the 5 best practices video and schedule a sales call for tomorrow morning.

What made you schedule the call?

Today, we’re talking about buying triggers: the most critical—and often ignored—stage of the buying journey.

What is a buying trigger?

A buying trigger (aka “trigger event”) is a struggling moment when your buyer moves from being uninterested in your product to being in the market for a new solution.

 You weren’t thinking about hiring someone to optimize your website until you realized you wouldn’t make your 2022 marketing goals. That was the trigger event that made you realize…

  1. You had a problem
  2. You needed a solution

When you circled back to your spreadsheet with the bolded “4%”, you felt compelled to fix this problem now.

That’s the power of buying triggers—you don’t need to create some elaborate 6-step funnel and hope that some people will be interested. By leveraging trigger events, prospects are already feeling urgency and are more likely to buy. 

Trigger events can be:

  • Biological (eg. Being hungry, Being cold, etc.)
  • Situational (eg. Raising VC funding, Getting a new job, Getting engaged, etc.)
  • Emotional (eg. Feeling imposter syndrome, Feeling jealous, etc.)
  • Social (eg. Wanting to impress coworkers, a fight with your spouse, etc.)

Why are buying triggers important?

Simple: if there’s no buying trigger, there’s no sale (whomp whomp).

Better yet?

According to Craig Elias, author of Shift!: Harness the Trigger Events That Turn Prospects into Customers, marketers who leverage trigger events can spend 80% less on direct marketing costs.

So unless you have money to burn, discovering and acting on your buyer’s trigger events is a BIG F’ING DEAL.

CASE STUDY

Nerd Digital used buying triggers to double their client’s online course sales.

Before launching we interviewed 10 customers… the insights we gathered led us to double-down on our partnership-building efforts.

The results:

  • We sold over 6-figures for our launch

  • Generated leads that required a much shorter lead time

  • Increased the average order value by 50%

  • Increased conversion rate by 29%

MARIO SANTOS
Founder, Nerd Digital

After a trigger event occurs, people start passively looking for solutions.

That means that they may notice possible solutions to their problem—like a sponsored post from a CRO agency breaking down the “Top 5 website practices to increase your ROAS and decrease customer acquisition costs”—but they’re not actively searching for a solution like yours… yet.

This is your chance to get in front of buyers sooner and earn their trust with highly relevant content or offers.

Once they begin actively looking for a solution, they’ll likely explore a variety of solutions, spend time evaluating them, and try to decide which solution may work best for them

They may explore a number of different types of solutions before they begin actively looking for one like yours. 

For instance, before searching for a CRO agency to hire, you may search The Juice for “conversion rate best practices” and read an article like this one from WebFX.

Once a prospective customer starts actively looking for a product like YOURS, that’s when competition amongst marketers gets fierce and expensive. If you’re coming at this stage for the first time with no brand awareness or trust, you’re already behind.

Understanding the context of your buyer’s situation is essential

As you’ll see in the Barkbox example below, having a baby could be a trigger event for dog owners to buy a subscription box for their dog. Seriously.

Recent divorcees may be 10X more likely to respond to an ad for a new gym than married folks.

And raising VC-funding may trigger an early-stage SaaS founder to begin exploring CRMs.

This is why smart marketers love buying triggers.

If you can discover your customers’ specific buying triggers, you can figure out how to get in front of prospects sooner, in less crowded channels, with more compelling messages and offers.

Each business is different. The best way to discover your customer’s trigger events is by interviewing them—that’s how to get the nitty-gritty details of the buying journey

That said, there are some common buying trigger events that you can track and leverage. Let’s explore them…

This free guide is brought to you by The Juice

The Juice is the content curation platform for B2B marketers and salespeople. 

It helps you to stay ahead of trends in your industry and level-up your career—without wasting time searching for relevant content and resources.

Smart brands and creators (like yours truly) are flocking to The Juice too. 

If your business targets B2B marketers or salespeople, The Juice makes it easy to get in front of prospective buyers using your existing content.

Better yet? Their Intent Signals help you to:

  • See what content is resonating with your ideal customers 
  • Gather snapshots of real-time engagement 
  • Access qualitative insights from the dream accounts sales is trying to reach

“We love The Juice’s Intent Signals. They tell us if our content is resonating with our ICP and we even test or create unique content based on what’s resonating with this community specifically. Enriching our Salesforce with these signals means we can create unique experiences through our nurtures and sales process.”


ELIZABETH IRVINE,
VP Marketing, MarketMuse

Common B2B Buying Triggers

Trying to achieve your 2022 marketing goals is a B2B (business-to-business) buying trigger. It’s an event that creates an emotion—in this case, often stress—that drives prospects to take action.

At the end of the year, your customers are hustling to reach their goals. They’re experiencing the same emotions and looking for a specific solution (hence the scalability of buying triggers!). 

By tracking potential trigger events (using the tools or methods in the next section) you can create marketing materials that speak to the emotion buyers are likely experiencing right now.

Target your buyers to create the ultimate marketing experience that places your products top-of-mind… even before they start their search.

When B2B buying triggers are likely to occur:

  • Beginning of the new quarter
  • End of the quarter
  • End of the year approaching
  • Beginning of the year approaching
  • New product launch
  • The big project didn’t go to plan (ie. marketing campaign fizzles, over-budget, etc)
  • Increase in website visitors
  • A competitor launches a new product or makes a big move
  • Adoption of a new tool
  • Hiring new team members
  • Layoffs
  • Promoting a team member to executive
  • Hiring a new executive
  • Accepting a new job/position
  • New product or service announcement
  • Merger or acquisition
  • Announcing a funding round
  • Completing a funding round
  • New legislation relevant to their industry
  • Dissatisfaction with their current vendor
  • Press coverage (can be positive or negative)
  • Press coverage for a competitor (can be positive or negative)
  • Adding a new marketing channel
  • Receiving an award or recognition
  • Announcing an upcoming event (either recurring or new)
  • Opens a new location
  • Economic uncertainty (like a recession) 
  • Attending a conference

Not sure what triggers your buyer’s experience? Schedule 1:1 interviews with real buyers to pinpoint which triggers most impact them and how they relate to your products.

“One interview is worth 1000 surveys.”


DES TRAYNOR
CEO, INTERCOM

Our professional lives are only a part of our experience. We regularly make purchases to improve our lives… without necessarily realizing exactly what triggered us to hit the buy button. 

Next, let’s explore common B2C buying triggers.

Common B2C Buying Triggers

Buying triggers work the same way in the B2C (business-to-consumer) space as they do in B2B. The only difference is what causes the trigger. While work-related changes cause B2B triggers, B2C triggers come about from life-related changes.

When B2C buying triggers are likely to occur:

  • Having kids
  • Getting a pet
  • Moving
  • Starting school/university
  • Season change
  • Holidays (eg. Hanukkah, Halloween, National Hotdog Day, etc.)
  • Fresh Starts – beginning of the week, month, year, season
  • Special events (eg. wedding, birthday, anniversary)
  • Death of a loved one
  • Starting new job
  • Starting/ending a relationship
  • Broken appliance
  • Feeling insecure in a situation
  • Conversations with friends that recommend solutions
  • New legislation or policy changes relevant to individuals
  • Regional or global trends

This list is far from exhaustive. The events that trigger your buyers to enter the buying journey may be very unique. If you can’t talk 1:1 with buyers, consider mining online reviews for clues. 

You can read reviews for your own product or analyze a competitor’s reviews to unearth golden nugget insights.

CASE STUDY

Aazar Shad was the Growth Lead at a youth education company cofounded by Elon Musk.

Aazar helped the company grow rapidly using targeted ads. 

The inspiration for the ads came from interviewing customers—parents of school-aged children. Aazar learned that many parents shared a similar trigger event

They knew that their kids were gifted, but there was a moment when they realized that their current schools weren’t equipped to help them reach their full potential.

That insight led Aazar to create ads like this one…

The result? Revenue grew by 233% in 3 months.

“When I understood the common trigger events that parents were experiencing, I knew who to target and what to say in our ads. That small insight led to a huge jump in revenue.”


AAZAR SHAD
Growth Marketing Consultant

How can you track buying triggers?

Modern marketers don’t need to guess if prospective buyers have experienced a trigger event—there are tools that can help them track buying triggers.

Let’s explore them…

Tools to track B2B buying triggers

The Juice’s Intent Signals

Spot interest trends — see who is interacting with your content (ie. their role, company size, sector, etc.)

CopyFoundry

  • New product launch

TalkWalker

Alternatives: Google Alerts, Feedly, RedditComber

  • New product launch
  • Dissatisfaction with the current vendor
  • Press coverage (can be positive or negative)
  • Opens a new location

LeadSift

Alternatives: LinkedIn Search

  • Receiving an award or recognition
  • A competitor launches a new product
  • Hiring new team members
  • Completing a funding round

Mattermark

Alternatives: LinkedIn Search

  • Hiring new team members

Twitter + LinkedIn Search

  • Layoffs
  • Promoting a team member to the executive
  • Hiring a new executive
  • Accepting a new job/position
  • New product or service announcement
  • Announcing a funding round
  • Completing a funding round

Crunchbase

Alternative: Awario, AngelList, Owler, LinkedIn Search, Twitter Search, Google Alerts

  • Promoting a team member to the executive
  • Hiring a new executive
  • Merger or acquisition
  • Announcing a funding round
  • Completing a funding round

SparkToro Trends

  • Marketing trends
  • Identify watering holes where ICP hangs out

Ahrefs

  • Increase in website visitors

BuiltWith

  • Adoption of a new tool

Google Alerts*

Alternative: Bombora and BuzzSumo

  • New legislation relevant to their industry
  • Press coverage (can be positive or negative)
  • Receiving an award or recognition
  • Opens a new location

* The list of things you can track is really endless with Google Alerts

Visualping

  • Opens a new location

Notifier

Alternatives: Mention, Awario

  • Prospect mentions your brand (or a competitor) on social media
  • Prospect searching for a product like yours on social media (eg. “I need a new [insert your product type]. Any recommendations?)

     

Tools to track B2C buying triggers

SparkToro

  • Current trends
  • Identify watering holes where ICP hangs out

Facebook Life Events

  • Engaged
  • Getting married
  • Having kids
  • Birthday
  • Anniversary
  • Starting/ending a relationship

Google Alerts*

Alternative: Bombora and BuzzSumo

  • Regional or global trends
  • Weather events
  • New legislation or policy changes relevant to individuals

* The list of things you can track is really endless with Google Alerts

Answer Socrates

Alternative: Exploding Topics

  • Regional or global trends

Google Ads

Alternative: YouTube ads

  • Getting a pet
  • Moving
  • Looking for a new jo
  • Broken appliance
  • Feeling insecure in a situation
  • Starting school or university
  • Looking for a new job
  • Feeling insecure in a situation

Now that your buying trigger strategy is starting to take form, let’s give you some inspiration to help you figure out your strategy.

4 ways to action buying triggers

We gathered 4 B2B and B2C buying trigger examples to show you how brands are using these in the real world. And how you use them to boost your marketing strategy, too.

Before you dive into these examples — let’s make something clear.

Just because your brand is B2B doesn’t mean you can’t grab inspiration from B2C (and vice versa!). 

As Jay Abraham, one of the legends of the marketing space would remind you: looking for inspiration outside of your industry is one of the fastest ways towards success.

Let’s start with the B2B examples.

B2B Example #1

Trigger Event: Marketer starts working with a team that is not clear on who their best-fit buyers are 😔


Opportunity:
Send post-purchase surveys to your customers asking what buying triggers motivated them to buy your products.

Idea: Create a lead magnet for your product page that allows you to capture fence-sitters who have likely experienced this trigger event.

If you don’t ask your customers what made them buy — you’ll never know. The importance of customer research can’t be overstated. Through post-purchase surveys, you can find out exactly what triggers motivated buyers. Ask questions like, “What’s going on in your world that motivated you to buy this product today?”or  “What was the final straw that made you buy this product?”

After sending out a post-purchase survey for my Clarity Call Cheatsheet I realized there was a common buying trigger. Marketers were buying the Clarity Call Cheatsheet when they started a new job—or when a consultant/freelancer got a new client—and discovered that the company didn’t know who their buyers were. This buying trigger motivated them to grab the cheatsheets so they could get clear on which buyers to target.

With this insight, I used my trigger technique framework to design an experiment.  create an exit intent pop-up on the cheatsheets page promoting my Customer Ranking Scorecard template

This popup converts at 10.4% (166% better than average popup)

I send a short post signup email sequence when people opt-in for the scorecard.

The results? 18% of people who download the scorecard end up buying the cheatsheets.

 B2B Example #2

Trigger Event: Economic uncertainty 🧑‍💻


Opportunity:
Monitor the conversation online for hot topics using tools like Talkwalker Alerts, BuzzSumo, or Sparktoro Trends.

Idea: Offer a limited-time discount on your product that draws attention to inflation and activates buyers by reminding them about uncertain times.

What are the hot topics happening in your industry? What topics are consuming the world? These topics are triggers for your audience. They’re driving emotion and making your buyers think: I need a solution to “X” ASAP.”

Justin Welsh took notice of one of the hottest topics in the world right now: inflation. 

He realized his buyers were feeling the pressure of inflation. Many may be considering starting a side hustle to diversify their income or looking for ways to grow their existing solopreneur business, which Justin could help with.

Justin decided to run a special deal. He offered a discount on his video courses based on the current inflation rate in the buyers’ country—smart, huh? 

Justin took the trigger of economic uncertainty and created a relatable campaign for his audience. By making his products inflation-friendly, Justin Welsh drove $104.3k in sales in just 14 days—a 63% increase from the previous 2-week period. 

B2C Example #1

Trigger Event: Laying in bed unable to sleep 💤


Opportunity:
Host 1:1 interviews with real buyers to understand what their buying triggers are.

Idea: Use ads to get in front of prospects that have likely experienced a trigger event. 

What do people do when they can’t fall asleep? They often grab their phone. They may search Google looking for sleep remedies, which is why Casper’s blog ranks for terms like “can’t sleep,” “sleeping positions,” and “how to go to sleep earlier.” As customers look to Google to solve their insomnia — Casper appears. 

Some insomniacs may search YouTube for sleep meditations. That insight led Casper to create the Casper Sleep Channel on YouTube.

And some people may just mindless scroll through social media.

And when they do, Casper appears again. Casper can use Facebook Ads’s dayparting feature to show their meditation videos to people who scrolling through social media at 2am. Smart, right?

B2C Example #2

Trigger Event: A dog owner has a baby 🍼


Opportunity:
Look at your 1:1 interviews with real buyers to determine what upcoming life events will trigger a purchase.

Idea: Partner with influencers who your target buyers trust and get them to recommend your product. Turn native posts from influencers into ads and use Facebook life events to target people experiencing that same lifestyle change.

Dog owners want to keep their dogs happy and entertained when they’re busy with their new baby. The “dog mom guilt” sets in when they realize how expensive doggy daycare is and how much more difficult leaving the house is when they bring their furry companion.

BarkBox can use this trigger event through advertisements on Instagram or sponsorships inside new mom Facebook Groups to get their product in front of the ideal audience… at the perfect time. They can also create Google ads for the search query “doggy daycare near me,” “how to distract dog,” or “how to keep dogs busy.”

They can even build out a “new” product (a.k.a their same BarkBox subscription but with different copy) specifically for dog owners feeling guilty that they can’t give their pet the same amount of attention.

Buying Triggers 🤝 Smart Marketers 

Understanding buying triggers is essential to a successful marketing strategy.

These events are happening in your prospect’s real lives—not in your funnels—so identifying potential buying events and developing a plan to action them is mission critical.

That’s how you skip the line and become the first brand to reach them when they’re first experiencing their pain point (like missing their Q4 goals).

If you need help identifying your prospect’s trigger events, 1:1 interviews with real buyers is the best method. 

You can also try surveying your customers—ideally immediately after they buy or signup—or mining online reviews for insight. These methods can work well, but people will typically share much more detail in a 1:1 interview.

Once you’ve discovered your customers buying triggers, you’re ready to design smart marketing campaigns. 

Check out our free webinar on The Trigger Technique for a step-by-step approach to follow.

Is your marketing mind already overflowing with creative ideas to leverage buying triggers?

If you run into any barriers, be sure to search The Juice for the best B2B marketing and sales content.  

You can search by content specifically for the roles of your buyers or your own marketing needs. Good luck in hitting your Q4 growth goals!

“If you are tired of sifting through page after page of Google searches trying to find the right content for you then you MUST check out The Juice.”


MORGAN J.
CONTENT & COMMUNITY MANAGER

Thank you to our sponsor

Written By Katelyn

Katelyn Bourgoin is the CEO of Customer Camp, a 4X founder, and a cheese lover. She lives by a simple mantra: whoever gets closer to the customer wins.

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