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Guide to Trigger-Based Direct Mail Marketing

Trigger Based Direct Mail

Imagine if you could just set and forget your direct mail campaigns and the benefits would automatically flow in, without the hassle of placing a print order or uploading art files and mailing lists.

By automating your direct mail and setting up a trigger-based campaign, that can actually happen.

With trigger-based direct mail campaigns, your direct mail marketing is just as effortless as digital marketing, but you’ll receive higher response rates and return on investment.

What are Trigger-Based Direct Mail Campaigns?

A trigger in marketing is any event a prospect or customer makes that creates an automated response.

Trigger-Based Direct Marketing

Trigger-based marketing once was limited to online activity only like display ads and emails.

However, thanks to technological advancements, businesses now have the ability to trigger relevant, personalized, and tangible messages that are delivered directly into their audiences’ hands.

For example, when you’re shopping online, and you leave the website with an item in your “cart” you may have received an email letting you know you forgot that item in your cart. This email was sent because an online retailer has a trigger set up to automatically send an email based on abandoned cart activity.

With trigger-based direct mail implemented, direct mail is sent alongside an email or in place of an email which offers a response rate of 4.9%. That’s higher than emails, social media, and paid search response rates combined.

What are Life-Event Triggered Direct Mail Campaigns?

Life-event trigger based direct mail campaigns are trigger-based campaigns that are sent based on your audiences’ specific life-events.

This could include a target's birthday, anniversary, if they became a new parent, became a new homeowner, or got married.

This type of trigger-based marketing is effective at building stronger customer relationships and increasing customer engagement. And it works by pulling information from your existing customer database or can be mined from database appends—or new data that can be added to your existing database.

What are The Benefits of Trigger-Based Direct Mail Campaigns?

Trigger-based direct mail campaigns ensure you reach every relevant prospect and customer at the right time. By setting up triggers based on particular events and actions your audience makes, you maximize the impact of your direct mail campaign because your message is relevant to each particular target.

Benefits of trigger-based direct mail include:

Maximized Efficiency and Automation

When your direct mail is automated, there isn’t any constant planning, placing print orders, uploading artwork, building mailing lists, or running to the post office. Your direct mail pieces are already established and along with your database, are connected to your print and direct mail provider maximizing your efficiency.


You never miss an opportunity to connect with prospects and customers, and you save time by eliminating the entire print and direct mail planning and ordering process.

Relevancy and Timing

Trigger-based direct marketing allows you to send messages that are relevant to each individual recipient and are delivered at exactly the right time.

This strategy allows you to use triggers, or events, to send immediate, automated direct mail so that a lead or customer receives your direct mail piece at the right time for them making your message relevant and convenient.


Trigger-based direct mail campaigns make it easy to create customized and personalized messages that are tailor made to each of your recipients.

It’s easy because triggered campaigns are connected to your database, so they have the ability to automatically grab information like names, addresses, account information, etc. Plus, it’s worth noting that when you harness the power of personalization, your response rate can increase by 135%. 

Strengthened Customer Relationships

When you reach out to your customers you provide a greater customer experience that results in customer loyalty and satisfaction.

Because trigger-based direct mail campaigns allow you to reach out to customers based on certain events, you can connect with your customers on their birthday, anniversary, when they show interest in a new product or service, and more so they know you care and value their loyalty.

Plus, when you engage with your current customers at relevant and well-timed moments, you increase the chances they make repeat purchases.

Better Lead Nurturing

Nurturing your leads is one of the most critical parts of your marketing funnel.

And trigger-based direct mail marketing is especially beneficial because it helps you nurture leads by keeping them engaged with your company throughout their entire journey.

Higher Response Rate

high response rates

Direct mail marketing already has a 5 to 9 times higher response rate than any online marketing strategy. And when you combine your direct mail with automation technology to send trigger-based messages, your response rates are increased further.

Increased Return on Investment

The above benefits to trigger-based direct marketing, lead to one ultimate thing—more sales.

Because triggered campaigns are delivered at the right time, relevant, and customized to everyone's customer journey, you maximize conversion opportunities. Whether you are engaging with customers, reaching out to new leads, or nurturing leads, your message offers higher conversion rates because it’s tailored to each recipient’s journey which results in a higher ROI.

How do Trigger-Based Direct Mail Campaigns Work?

Trigger-based direct mail campaigns are achieved by connecting your database with your print and direct mail provider—this database is typically your CRM or marketing automation platform and is achieved using Direct Mail CRM Integration or can be connected to your website activity using Direct Mail Retargeting.

You then choose triggers or events that meet your company’s goals. These triggers are then relayed to your print and direct mail provider, they harness your data and then deliver your direct mail piece at exactly the right time.

For example, if Mark places his first order, your printer will send him your thank you letter, or if Joyce hasn’t placed an order in a year, they’ll send her your re-engagement postcard.

Direct Mail Automation Flow

How do I Get Started with a Trigger-Based Direct Mail Campaign?

Before you can start triggering targeted direct mail, you need to decide what prospect and customer actions you’d like to take advantage of.

birthday triggers

There are endless variations of triggers you can implement to meet your specific goals. Just a few examples of lead-generating triggers include:

Birthday Triggers: Send a postcard with a birthday coupon each month to customers who have a birthday that month.

Re-Engagement Triggers: When it’s been 6 months since a customer last placed an order, send them a postcard with a discount to encourage them to make another purchase.

Welcome Triggers: Send a welcome letter to new customers to let them know your value their business.

New Mover Triggers: Records of people's addresses are regularly updated allowing you to trigger and target direct mail messages to new movers in your area.

Thank you triggers

Thank You Triggers: Sending a thank you postcard to customers when they place an order, sign up for your newsletter, or purchase a service from you is a great way to encourage them to buy again or sign up for something else.

Transactional Based Triggers: Depending on what industry you’re in, people’s buying activity can be a great indicator of if they would likely become your customer. For example, if someone just bought a new car, a credit union could send a direct mail piece offering information on auto insurance, or if someone frequently dines out at Italian restaurants, a pizzeria could benefit from sending that person a postcard with a coupon.

There are so many different triggers for different industries. For example, a credit union could take advantage of a trigger-based direct marketing campaign when someone's loan is near completion, or their account is reaching maturity.

Or a home servicing business like a lawncare company could trigger direct mailers to remind clients that it’s time to care for their lawn again.

If you’re interested in the incredible benefits of trigger-based direct mail integrated with your CRM or marketing automation, then click the button below to schedule a meeting with one of our experts today. We’ll help you get started on the perfect trigger-based direct mail campaign that meets your company’s exact goals and budget.

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