How Trigger-Based Email Marketing Can Drive Incredible Results

If someone told you automated emails have 119% higher click rates than broadcast emails, they'd probably have your attention, right?

It almost sounds too good to be true. Increased engagement without additional work?

 Well, if you understand how to apply trigger-based email marketing to your strategy, impressive results are only a few automations away.

Adding Trigger-Based Email Marketing to Your Strategy

Trigger-based email marketing can be as simple or complex as you want to make it, but the principle is the same. If X happens, send this email.

There's no denying that trigger-based emails work. But, before you can dive headfirst into automating all your messages, you should understand how to implement them into your marketing strategy best.

The 2 Types of Email Triggers

There are two main types of triggers you need to know of. Event-based and behavior-based. Both of these have their own sets of benefits and are essential for saving time as you nurture customers through the buyer's journey.


These emails are sent when the customer hits certain times or milestones. For example, you could send a customer an email on their birthday, after a month of service, or even to welcome them to your list.


Events can also be specific times of the day. Event-based emails provide benefits through specific interactions since customers are given useful information that they're already subscribed to.

You can also offer promotions for birthday's, subscriber anniversaries, and so on, it gives the recipient a feeling of value. It shows that the company thinks of them as more than just a sale.


Behavior-based emails include every interaction the customer has with your brand, but it also includes everything they don't do. By tracking these, you can send emails that are more likely to entice the customer.

Some behaviors to track are:

  • Which emails did the customer open and click-through?
  • Which emails didn't they open and click-through?
  • When was their last interaction?
  • Did they mention you on social media?
  • Did they share one of your messages?
  • What web pages have or haven't they viewed?
  • Did they abandon their cart?

We'll provide examples below, but for behavior-based emails, this data is necessary info for your marketing strategy.

The benefits of behavior-based emails are that your customer is getting specific content based on the actions they take or don't take. With more personalized content, you're able to build trust and provide more value. These are the same benefits of customer-centric marketing, and more reason to take this approach with your strategy.

How These Emails Drive Results

In addition to those mentioned above, trigger-based emails have enough benefits to make you wish you'd started years ago.

First, they save you an immense amount of time. Rather than sorting through data, finding who meets specific criteria, and then shooting an email, you can have a system that does it for you. And, saving time is more than giving you back more space on your calendar. It means you're not wasting the precious time between a customer's action and your follow up, increasing the chances they engage.

Automated emails remove the guesswork. You're able to provide the customer precisely what they need based on parameters you've set, nurturing them through the buyer's journey.

The ability to send emails that meet specified criteria also allows you to provide better customer service. If a customer messages your company, automatic responses and follow-ups let them know you're taking care of them, even if their issue is taking more time to solve.

Because emails are triggered for various reasons, nothing stops you from having multiple versions to push out. Swapping out specific pieces of the email to meet customer preferences could dramatically increase engagement. For example, if one segment has higher open rates on emails that include their name in the preview text, you can swap that line while maintaining the same body of the email. It would take additional time to set up but could provide impressive improvements in your open rates.

Finally, you can increase brand awareness through these messages by reaching out when it's most convenient for them. If a customer always opens their emails at 7:00 am, fire one off at 6:59, so it's the first in their inbox. Data can be used to your advantage.

7 Emails You Should Automate

There's a variety of emails you can automate, and this list isn't exhaustive. But, we'll show you how some brands use these messages to their advantage, and share why they're fantastic examples as trigger emails.


This email kicks off your relationship with a customer. It's what sets the standard for future engagements and establishes what the next steps are with the company.

Trigger-Based-Email-ancestry-welcome-email does a fantastic job of branding their welcome email and using design to highlight their list of steps. The email also offers a clear CTA to encourage that first step.


Onboarding emails familiarize the customer with the brand and how to use its services. They can include articles, history, and anything that builds that relationship and gets the customer to understand the ins and outs of your brand, service, or products. There's also the possibility of a customer buying a more extensive plan or additional products because of these emails.


Groove gets to the point, setting up the reader's expectations and includes personal touches from the CEO. They make it clear how the recipient can unsubscribe, proving that their audience's attention is important, and building trust on that principle.


Reactivation is a way to reengage your customers with an email. This is triggered when customers haven't opened or responded to messages for a predetermined amount of time. If paired with a special offer or a bonus, customers are more likely to engage. On the other side of the coin, if the customer chooses to opt-out, it'll help your open rates.


Animoto presents this visually captivating email that simply asks, "Did you still want to hear from us?" They explain that they're looking out for the recipient's best interests and want to ensure their content is relevant to their audience. This show of faith could be enough to put the brand back into the customer's awareness.


When someone abandons their cart, a simple way to reengage is through a remarketing email. After a set amount of time, this email is fired off to encourage the recipient to complete their purchase. It should include the products, so they're reminded of what they wanted to buy.


Monabello attacks the abandoned cart issue with their own automated emails. It includes pictures of the products, as well as the price. This is especially useful for price drops like you can see above, and may entice someone to pick up where they left off. Their CTAs are clear, and they add urgency, hinting that products may be out of stock soon.


Transactional emails are some of the most important you can use. These are for confirmation or to provide information. When someone completes an order or requests information, these emails are sent automatically to provide what they need. The faster these can be sent, the better. Leaving a customer waiting after they've committed to your brand could leave a bad taste in their mouth.

Trigger-Based-Email-warby parker

Warby Parker notifies recipients with graphics and text that stands out. Before the reader scrolls to "Get excited!" they're already feeling the pleasantry that comes with seeing what's headed their way. It creates an experience. Additionally, its single-column format is excellent for viewing on mobile devices.

Account Changes

When a customer changes a password or something on their account, it's a good practice to send an email confirming the update. This builds trust, letting the customer know you track changes, and that if someone else tries altering their account, at least they'll get a notification.


Stripe nails its automated email by giving a clear subject line and specifying who the password reset is for. The company also provides a CTA and a reassuring statement, so the customer knows exactly what steps to take while gaining confidence in the brand.

Personal Event/Milestone

Like the birthday email from earlier, personal event triggers are sent when your customer celebrates a meaningful day in their life. It could be an anniversary, birthday, or any date you've requested from them. The milestone email is for when they hit a specific anniversary or have completed an action you've deemed valuable to your company.

Trigger-Based-Email-total wine

Total Wine & More offers this birthday message that also motivates customers to purchase with a discount. This is exceptionally useful since their client base is probably celebrating with a drink.

Email Marketing That Earns Better Engagement

If you want to take back some time while improving the personalized messages your customers receive, email triggers are the answer. Add them to your plans to find increased open and click-through rates, as well as happier customers.

For ideas on what content you can use for your emails, consider repurposing your previous work that customers enjoy. With our free Repurposing Toolkit, we'll explain the benefits of this strategy, such as increased reach, improved branding, and a lower cost for production.

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