Q4 2023

Gain a Competitive Edge with Trigger Based Marketing

Denise Goldstein, Marketing Manager with SMRT Marketing presented a half-hour webinar before Q&A on trigger based marketing for DLI members in August. “Simplifying Trigger Based Marketing” covered the basics of how a point-of-sale system can help bring in more revenue from existing customers. Much has been written and said about marketing to new customers but trigger based marketing is about getting existing customers to come back, she said.  

Few drycleaning businesses appear to be taking advantage of these marketing tactics at present. Opportunity is ripe for adopting these marketing tactics. Businesses utilizing trigger based marketing will see increases in revenue while their competitors who are not using these tools will stay flat. You may have an opportunity to gain a competitive edge in your area using trigger based marketing. “You have, hopefully through your POS, so much information about your customers and their spending habits,” Goldstein said. “It’s time to use that data to your advantage if you’re not already doing it.”

Goldstein defined trigger marketing as creating, “a positive impression on your customers by sending timely and personalized emails and text messages,” she said. “Prioritize customer satisfaction and loyalty through trigger marketing and you’ll influence satisfied customers to use your services more often and spend more each time.”

In a basic sense trigger marketing is messaging, Goldstein said. “It is not advertising per se, this is really keeping in touch with your current customers. A lot of times this messaging is going to have a promotion but at the very heart, we’re talking about emails and SMS messaging to your existing customers.”

Why Does Trigger Marketing Work?

“Personalization wins over mass marketing,” Goldstein said. “Consumers are just exhausted by getting so many impersonal emails from everyone that they’ve ever put an email into some website. They’re just getting heaps and heaps of messaging and it just doesn’t do anything for them. A personalized message captures 29% higher open rate for emails than a mass message. The click through rates are 41% higher, so whatever you’re asking them to do in the email, they’re going to do it more often because you’re customizing this email for that customer.”

Companies wishing to adopt personalized email to customers must have certain information on file,” Goldstein said. If you don’t have this information, start collecting it now. “You’re going to have to work with your CSRs to collet this information to get your marketing to work best,” she said. “If you’re missing information, this type of marketing won’t actually work for you.”

Customer Centric

Focusing on customers instead of your business reaps rewards, Goldstein said. “In the past everyone was doing mass messaging. You would decide you’re doing a promotion and just blast it out. It would go to everyone at the same time. It wasn’t bad, you hopefully got some return on those types of emails. But those messages were all about your business,” she said. “What we’re doing with trigger marketing is really putting your customer at the heart of what is going out. The emails are literally about them and what they’re doing right now. Let’s say they just haven’t been in a few weeks. You’re going to be running a campaign to capture those customers who haven’t come in. They’re going to be like, ‘Wow, they know I haven’t been in, that’s really nice of them to notice.’ These little touches give the sense to your customers that you’re interested in their needs.”

Slides from Denise Goldstein’s presentation. Watch the full presentation ini the members only section of DLIonline.org.


Slides from Denise Goldstein’s presentation. Watch the full presentation in the Members Only section of DLIonline.org.

Set It and Forget It

“Automation is going to be your best friend in this situation,” Goldstein said. “It’s going to allow you to stay in touch with your customer and you don’t have to manually create messages and they’re going to run automatically. It’s not like you put it to the side and never think about it again but on a daily basis you don’t have to think about it.” Quarterly or monthly check-ins are recommended but Goldstein said it’s not a daily task. “For a busy business owner this is critical.”

Growing Loyalty

By sending trigger based messages your company will retain existing customers and potentially upsell them. “You’re going to grow loyalty,” Goldstein said. “You’re going to foster these customers to connect with your business and you’re really helping them keep their to-do list active and current. It keeps you on the top of their to-do list. You’re helping them and you’re going to get business out of it.”

Some Stats

“Acquiring new customers costs five time more than retaining customers,” Goldstein said. “That means digital and print advertising, spending time and effort to acquire new customers. The cost to market to existing customers, because they’re already in your system, is so much less.”  

Retaining customers also helps your bottom line, Goldstein said. “Increasing customer retention by even five percent can increase your profits an enormous amount,” she said. “They’re already in your orbit and so by pushing messages that are relevant to them, they’re going to come back ad spend even more with you. 

The success rate of selling to a customer you already have is 60-70% while the success rate of selling to a new customer is 5-20%, Goldstein said. “This really does show the value doing whatever you can to keep current customers active, engaged, and excited about you,” she said.

Trigger Marketing Examples

Goldstein shared the following examples of trigger based marketing messages for drycleaning businesses: 

  • New Customer Welcome
  • New Customer Retention
  • No Orders in x Days
  • Top Customer Thank You
  • Happy Anniversary/Happy Birthday
  • Tiered Comforter Promotions
  • Update Your Information
  • Loyalty Programs
  • Referrals/Rewards
  • Check for Orders in Inventory
  • Upsell Different Departments Based on Customer Spending
  • Post-Service Feedback

Different companies may track different information about customers so not all of these could apply, she said. The last five examples are considered advanced triggers and may not be available depending on what information your system is tracking.

For example, the Upsell Different Departments Based on Customer Spending example could identify customers who do not use a service and send them a message such as “Try our shirt service,” Goldstein said. “This would not make sense to send to customers who are already using your shirt service and might even turn them off. If you can set it up where spending is tracked and you see who is not spending money on shirts, those are the people who get this message, and it really makes more of an impact,” she said. “It’s all about the customer psychology and them feeling like you know who they are and that you know they haven’t tried your shirt service. It’s all about getting to the heart of who people are and that they want to feel special.”

Getting Started  

Goldstein explored how a business could get started in trigger based marketing around the 20 minute mark of the recording. She also shared tips on how to maximize SMS text marketing, write more impactful email messages, and more. Watch the full presentation at youtu.be/1BT-RNeuBA0

Some companies providing this and other marketing services include: 


Cleaner Marketing

SMRT Marketing

Spot by Xplor

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