Web Marketing Today

4 Triggered Emails for Business Websites

Triggered emails are sent automatically, following from actions taken by website visitors. Triggered emails typically have the highest open rates and response rates. They are a crucial element in a website’s overall marketing strategy. Commercial websites can use a variety of triggered emails to accomplish different website goals, such as increasing traffic and generating sales leads. Below are four examples of triggered email strategies and how they can be applied to business websites.

Welcome Emails

A welcome email is your site’s opportunity to communicate with new prospects. This email “fires” when visitors subscribe to your email list. Impress them with the benefits they’ll receive as subscribers, giving them information on  frequency, contact information, and, possibly, a new subscriber bonus. A welcome email also confirms to subscribers that they’ve been added to your list.

Make sure you feature subscribe boxes prominently on your home page. Make it easy for visitors to subscribe. Every subscriber is valuable, and can be worth a great deal of money over the course of your relationship. Start by sending an appropriate welcome message at the point of opt-in.

Webinar Invitations; Whitepaper Downloads

Webinars, whitepapers or product demonstrations are effective promotions. When prospects supply their email addresses to register or download the information, make sure your subsequent email communications are timely and relevant. Webinar platforms, such as GoToWebinar, have this functionality built in, whereby webinar registrants automatically receive triggered emails with the relevant information to access the webinar.

In addition, create an email “drip” program, targeting prospects that have signed up for the download or webinar. Afterwards, send follow-up emails. If the prospect indicated an interest in a certain subject, make sure to send invitations on that topic in the future.

Form-Fill Abandonment

If your site has a form to gather information or to initiate a sale, this is a terrific opportunity to set a triggered email. It functions similarly to an abandoned shopping cart email. Once someone partially completes the form and then abandons it, you can send an automatic email to help them finish. Even if your site does not physically sell a product, you can still utilize this strategy. This will allow you to increase your completions of form fills and grow your prospects.  Below is a sample form-fill triggered email I received when I abandoned a sign-up for a survey panel. This email came an hour after I had abandoned the process to attend a meeting.

A reminder email for an incomplete form.

Conversion-Process Abandonment

Other business sites that have a conversion funnel should mimic an abandoned-cart type of message by notifying prospects that have abandoned the process. This process could include a completing a form for a service estimate, scheduling an appointment, or requesting additional information.

Prospects may have thought they completed the form, but in fact they missed the last confirmation screen. They could have been interrupted. There are dozens of reasons why prospects may abandon the process. But make sure you give them the opportunity to return by providing an email with links to exactly where they were in the process. In the example below, USADATA — a provider of consumer data, and my employer — sends a reminder email to prospects that abandon the process of purchasing a targeted list. This allows the prospect to resume the process without having to start from scratch. It greatly increases the chances of a conversion.

A reminder email for an abandoned form.


Consumers live busy lives. They are frequently interrupted by meetings and phone calls. Triggered emails help your prospects when they were in the process of interacting with your site. Triggered emails are helpful and valued. They typically have higher open and conversions rates than any other form of email. Take advantage of all the triggered-email opportunities on your site to catch  prospects that left prematurely.

Carolyn Nye
Carolyn Nye
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Comments ( 2 )

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  1. Gerard June 3, 2012 Reply

    Thanks for that great article Carolyn. I was referred to this site through a link of my school for my studies of internet marketing. I like the way you develop the subject, particularly the subtitle Welcome Emails. I will be back for more tips and advices.

    Keep up the good work.



  2. Todd Follansbee June 5, 2012 Reply

    Thanks Carolyn, can you point us to some “how to” information on coding/implementing triggered emails?

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