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What Are Trigger Emails And How To Leverage Them In Email Marketing

Learn how to use triggered emails for your marketing campaigns. See how automated welcome or abandoned cart emails can boost business.

A trigger email is an automated email used in marketing to move potential clients through the sales funnel. These messages are sent to subscribers automatically when certain actions occur, or they engage with your brand in a specific way.

For example, those who add products to their cart on an ecommerce site but fail to proceed to check out can receive an abandoned cart email, which is a kind of triggered message.

Additionally, triggered emails can help increase satisfaction, engagement, and loyalty among existing and future customers, allowing you to boost retention and sales. You can also deliver a more personalized experience. For this reason, automated messages are essential for businesses to leverage in today’s digital marketing landscape.

If you want to learn more about what is a triggered email in marketing and ways to use it at your business, keep reading. We’ll review the definition of triggered emails, their benefits, types, and best practices.

5 types of triggered emails: Welcome, Cart abandonment, Purchase confirmation, Back in stock & Customer feedback

What is a trigger email?

Triggered emails, which are also known as behavioral or transactional emails, are automated messages sent to subscribers when specific conditions are met. For example, someone subscribing to your mailing list or an upcoming event may trigger these messages.

A triggered email aims to take your marketing efforts to the next level by ensuring you reach your contacts at the best possible time. Rather than sending marketing messages in bulk, you can personalize your interactions with subscribers on a one-to-one basis, which can help you build trust, loyalty, and satisfaction.

When used strategically, a triggered email campaign can help you achieve your marketing goals and take advantage of other benefits, such as increasing retention rates, enhancing the customer experience, and more.

Here are a few examples of marketing automation that illustrate how transactional emails are commonly used:

  • Welcome new subscribers to your mailing list
  • Remind customers of events they signed up for
  • Inform contacts about their upcoming payment
  • Obtain feedback from clients
  • Congratulate contacts on their birthday or account anniversary
  • Re-engage lapsed contacts
  • Confirm a purchase and provide shipping information
  • Recover consumers who abandoned their shopping carts

Trigger emails vs. drip campaigns

Trigger emails are often confused with drip campaigns, but the two terms shouldn’t be used interchangeably. While trigger and drip emails leverage automation to engage with leads and retain clients and subscribers, there are several key differences that set them apart.

Trigger emails are only sent after a specific action or event, like a customer requesting their account password or a subscriber making a purchase. In many cases, these types of emails are a one-time occurrence.

Drip emails are part of a larger campaign that aims to nurture and convert leads during a set timeframe with a series of pre-written, automated messages. So when a contact engages with your brand in a specific manner, they’ll receive multiple emails–where each subsequent message builds upon the last–over a few days, weeks, or months.

Despite their differences, trigger emails and drip campaigns can take your marketing efforts to the next level by automating certain responses. Both emails can be automated and used simultaneously to boost your team’s efficiency, improve customer engagement, raise satisfaction, and so forth.

Why you should use trigger emails?

Using trigger emails has many benefits that can positively impact your marketing and sales departments and improve your bottom line.

Here are a few of the most compelling reasons to use trigger emails in your overall marketing strategy.

Increase engagement

Trigger emails can encourage users to take action and engage with your content. From urging consumers to return and complete their purchases to obtaining feedback on their experience with your brand, there are several ways to raise engagement using these kinds of messages.

Save time

Rather than spending time responding to consumers manually and monitoring their interactions with your business, you can automate the process from beginning to end.

For example, you may not be around to send a thank you email to individuals who make a purchase. However, automation ensures they’ll receive a message confirming their order right away–all without you having to hop on your computer.

Improve customer retention

Not only are trigger emails useful for attracting new customers, but they’re also valuable for retaining existing clients. You can do this by reminding clients about their subscriptions ending soon or offering limited-time deals for their repeat purchases. You can also send them an email with product recommendations based on their last purchase or interaction with your brand.

Satisfy customer expectations

Many customers anticipate a fast response time. In fact, 82% of consumers expect a response within 10 minutes. By using trigger emails to your advantage, you can satisfy and even exceed these expectations.

Reach contacts at the right time with relevant messages. Since these types of emails are sent when specific actions or events happen, contacts will always receive content that’s relevant to their needs.

The more relevant and engaging the content is, the less likely users are to unsubscribe. This also encourages contacts to accomplish a desired action. Plus, content can be personalized and tailored with their names and other relevant details.

According to Zippia, over 10% of shoppers who receive abandoned cart email reminders will return to make a purchase.

Types of trigger emails

There are many types of email triggers you can use at your business.

Here are 5 common trigger emails you can incorporate into your marketing strategy:

  • Welcome
  • Cart abandonment
  • Purchase confirmation
  • Back in stock
  • Customer feedback

Let’s take a look at these in more detail below.


Welcome emails are sent after individuals sign up for your mailing list, join your loyalty program, or subscribe to your newsletter. These types of emails are an opportunity for you to introduce your business and provide information about what to expect for future correspondence. Don’t forget to include a call to action (CTA) to promote further engagement.

Cart abandonment

Abandoned cart reminders are triggered when users add items to their online shopping carts and leave the site without completing the purchase.

Cart abandonment emails will remind the customer about what they left behind, and they may include incentives, such as discount codes, to encourage users to buy.

You can also create a sense of urgency by mentioning how much inventory you have in stock.

Purchase confirmation

This is a type of transactional email that’s automatically sent after people make a purchase. Order confirmations will often include delivery details, tracking information, total cost, billing details, and the date the order was made.

You may also want to add a short message thanking the customer for buying from your business.

Back in stock

Back-in-stock emails are sent to customers who showed interest in a product that’s out of stock. Whether they added it to their wishlist or requested inventory alerts, these emails can let clients know that the item they wanted is available for purchase again.

Customer feedback

Customer feedback emails are triggered when people interact with your business. For example, clients may receive this kind of email after they make a purchase, allowing you to obtain feedback about their experience and gain insight into the improvements that can be made.

You can also follow up with clients if they recently talked to a customer service agent to ensure all their issues were resolved.

There’s an array of trigger emails you can send current and future customers. Experiment with each one and use them to develop effective email marketing campaigns.

3 trigger email best practices: Personalize the email, Keep it short & Use a clear CTA

Trigger email best practices

If you’re planning on using email automation triggers, take a look at the following best practices to make the most of these types of automated emails.

  • Personalize the email. Personalizing your messaging and tailoring it to each individual customer is vital. Doing so ensures your content isn’t generic and helps strengthen the relationship you have with your clients.
  • Keep it short. The key to designing successful automated emails is to keep them short and simple. Not only can a large block of text discourage contacts from reading the entire email, but it can also make it difficult to read on mobile devices. Moreover, trigger emails are sent during specific moments, so they may not require a lengthy message.
  • Use a clear CTA. The objective of triggered email campaigns is to provide individuals with the information they requested or need and encourage them to take action. By having a clear CTA, you can make it easy for clients to move through the marketing funnel.

Add automation to your email marketing

Trigger email marketing is valuable for all businesses regardless of size or industry because of the potential benefits. Increase engagement, save time and money, boost retention rates, enhance the customer experience, and ensure your content is relevant to your target audience by using email triggers to your advantage.

If you want to automate your emails, use Mailchimp to get started. With Mailchimp, you’ll have access to our suite of marketing tools, so you can automate various types of emails, including welcome, abandoned cart, and customer feedback messages. Use email automations in your strategy today and see the difference they can make in your marketing.

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