Geographic targeting in email is one form of trigger-based personalization…a necessary measure for marketers who wish to grab the fleeting attention of the on-the-go consumer.

As email after email floods the inbox, today’s customer is becoming more and more desensitized to marketing. Open rates are declining, attention spans are shrinking, and marketers are using every technological trick and tool at their disposal in order to keep up.

How to Profit from Trigger-Based Targeting

Trigger-based geographic email targeting is a way to increase engagement and personalize the email content. Any number of pre-defined external events or conditions can be pre-defined as triggers.

Here are a few examples of geographic triggers and their uses:

  • Weather – Creative marketers with appropriate products and services can set triggers based on local weather conditions. A café can send out an email, for instance, when temperature hits a certain level: hot or cold temperatures can automatically trigger an email with coupons for iced or hot beverages. Naturally, the best way to exploit the situation to its fullest is to include appropriate headlines and content with the most relevant weather conditions. Rainy weather, for example, can prompt sales on raingear.
  • Holidays – One obvious example for exploiting geographic trigger-based email marketing is to tie the triggers to certain annual holidays and geographic regions. Creating email campaigns that focus on relevant holidays in relevant regions can boost response rates. As with weather triggers, the key to success is including the right headlines with the right content.
  • Events – Location-based events are also ideal, geographic-specific triggers. Some examples include charity events, sports events, festivals, and so on. You can even get more specific with the triggers, and base them on points in a sports game, donation matching, and so on.

What makes these trigger-based techniques especially powerful is their ability to personalize based on what the customer is experiencing. This shared experience helps to connect the customer as an individual, rather than as a large group of people.

Also, the level of immediacy and relevance provided by geographic trigger-based email marketing helps to cut through the noise and speak to what’s happening at that moment.

Segmenting to Make the Most of Your Trigger-Based Marketing

Clearly, the most effective way to employ geographic trigger-based marketing is to focus on relevant populations within your target audience. In other words, you need to segment your list first.

Though certain geographical triggers – such as weather-based triggers – can be sent out en masse, others should be sent only to specific segments. Segmenting audiences based on demographics such as age, gender, and occupation is common.

Data-driven, event-triggered campaigns perform much better than standard batches. Common non-geographic triggers include abandoned shopping carts, which can trigger an incentivized email.

The dynamic personalization of email campaigns based on behavioral data can vary greatly from company to company. A retailer specializing in outdoor wear will have access to much different behavioral data than a software company…but both can utilize geographic targeting.

The more data a company has, the better they will be able to segment their audience, and the more effective their targeting will be.

To draw from the above examples: the most useful and relevant personalized emails will be sent only to the right segments. People with no interest in sports, for instance, shouldn’t receive sports-related, trigger-based emails.

The best way for marketers to predict customers’ needs is to draw upon their existing customer data. Geographic triggers can then be correlated with the appropriate segments.

Here are a few types of behavioral data that can be used to segment an audience better:

  • Content Interactions – The type of content that a person views and interacts with reveals a lot about their interests. This behavioral data, when used to segment lists, can then be used to create triggers specifically for that segment.
  • Campaign Tracking – Track the responses to specific campaigns and segment according to that information. Users who respond to certain types of campaigns are also more likely to respond to certain types of external triggers.
  • Activity Level – Inactivity can also provide information about users…namely, it can say what’s not working. You can also create segments based on non-responders. Customers who don’t respond to certain types of campaigns or content are ripe for experimentation and check-ins.
  • Developing Personae and Scores – All of your behavioral and demographic data can be combined to develop propensity models. These models can help you predict the probability of response to certain types of offers, campaigns, and triggers.

These are just a few ways that you can segment an audience by behavior rather than demographics.

Both, of course, should be combined to develop the most accurate profile and personae possible. And when these data-based segments are combined with geographic email triggers, any email campaign stands a much better chance of reaching the desensitized customer. As we move forward into 2015, this type of personalized marketing technology will not only become more common, it will become more necessary.