Email Marketing

What are Triggered Emails? 6 Examples to Learn From

January 28, 2021

Have you ever received an email from a company on your birthday? How about a thank you note after you've made a purchase? Perhaps, you've once received an email after abandoning a purchase. All those are examples of triggered emails at work. 

These automated emails help you send the right emails at the right time, helping to increase customer engagement. Instead of a generic promotional email, customers receive emails based on their unique activity. This makes them feel as though a business is paying particular attention to them. That’s one of the secrets to e-commerce personalization and increasing conversion rates.

From newsletters, offers, surveys to promotional content, there are many emails businesses need to send out to nurture leads and move subscribers down the sales funnel. Knowing which ones to send and when to send them can be a tough ask.  

In this article, I'll show you six triggered emails you can use to better connect with your subscribers. You can gather several lessons from these examples to help your email marketing efforts. But before that, let's examine and better understand the concept of triggered emails and how it can benefit your business. 

What is a Triggered Email?

Over the years, email marketing has seen significant changes. The days of mass emails or email blasts with no logical follow-up are long behind us. These days, most businesses verify the details of their new subscribers before launching email drip campaigns.

In drip campaigns, emails are sent to subscribers in a logical sequence on a predefined schedule. For instance, a shoe company might send an email in July about shoes for the new school season. A couple of weeks later, they could double down on their efforts by sending an email about the best recently released shoes and their benefits. Then in August, they might send an email to subscribers talking about the best deals on the market and offering discounts per purchase. 

Trigger-based emails, however, are a step up from drip campaigns. The biggest challenge with a drip email sequence is that it is based mostly on an educated guess about consumer behavior. In some cases, the emails may end up coming across as a nuisance to customers. Triggered emails solve that problem quickly. Customers only receive emails unique to them and based on their activity on your website. 

Triggered emails are automated emails based on the behavior of a user. Also known as behavioral emails or transactional emails, triggered emails are sent out based on a predefined set of conditions. These conditions could be anything from a customer signing up for a product, making a purchase, abandoning a purchase, or reaching a milestone.

Let’s walk through six of the best examples of triggered emails.

Six examples of triggered emails

1. Welcome mails

Welcome emails are one of the most important emails any business can ever send. That’s because subscribers typically love a good welcome email. According to GetResponse, the open rate for a welcome email is a whopping 82%.

However, not all businesses know to write a good welcome email. Here are some tips for writing an effective welcome email:

  • Keep your message short and sweet.
  • Briefly introduce your company.
  • Offer something of value.
  • Add links to your social media pages.
  • Have a clear Call to Action (CTA).
  • Include an unsubscribe link.

Take note that putting all these pointers into your email can make your email seem overwhelming. If that’s the case, you can break your welcome email into a series of emails sent over a period of time. Let’s look at an example of an excellent welcome email that works the magic.

You can understand why Glossier, the beauty, and skincare company, is so popular when you look at their welcome email to new subscribers.  


The theme of this welcome email is fun and excitement. The first thing that gets your attention is the picture of a beautiful lady who's smiling. In essence, the company is saying we are happy to have you, and we can help you look beautiful in a fun way. 

The message in the email is very short: four sentences long. 

Glossier gets straight to the point. They appreciate the customer for signing up and then let the customer know that they should expect a few more emails. That way, the customer is not taken aback when other Glossier emails pop up in their inbox. They also hyperlink one of their products to give the subscriber something to go on immediately. 

Finally, the welcome email asks the reader to follow them on Instagram. Notice that Glossier is very clear about which social media platform users should follow them on. 

If you want to learn more about creating the perfect welcome email, check out this article from Hubspot

2. Abandoned cart emails

Abandoned cart emails, also known as abandonment emails, are emails that companies send to people who start but do not complete a transaction. These emails are important because they can engage and nudge customers to complete their purchase. Here’s an example of an excellent abandoned cart mail.


Clothing company Jack Wills does an excellent job with their cart abandonment email. Instead of making a potential customer feel bad for not completing a purchase, Jack Wills offers a helping hand. The phrase “Don’t Worry, We’ve Got You” can make the customer immediately feel valued. 

Knowing that a company understands you and is willing to help you work through your options is crucial to making an eventual purchase. It’s a key element of eCommerce personalization.

Jack Wills also does a smart thing by offering other options for their product. That way, if the customer paused their purchase because they wanted something different, they won’t have an excuse anymore. 

3. Reactivation emails

Reactivation emails are emails sent to subscribers who are no more interacting or interacting less and less with your email campaigns. These subscribers are often referred to as “sleeping customers.” A reactivation campaign can help bring back dormant and inactive customers and increase your email reply rate

BRIT+CO does a great job of using humor to re-activate and re-engage customers. The other smart thing they did in this reactivation email was to add an enticing offer: 10% off the next purchase. Who wouldn’t want to go back after such a heartwarming and funny message?  


4. Birthday mails

For most people, birthdays are a special day of celebration. Family, friends, and important people to the celebrants send in their best wishes and appreciate them. If a business learns to harness the opportunity, it can win the hearts of subscribers. 

You can send a message wishing your subscribers happy birthday and give them a special offer. When you do that, subscribers will feel valuable to you, and you have them on your mind. This strategy increases brand loyalty. Take a look at a triggered email from Hulu to a birthday celebrant:


If you look carefully, you will notice several things about this email. First, Hulu uses an interesting GIF to make the subscriber feel special. As always, a combination of videos and text has a significant effect on any reader.

Notice that the message is not a birthday message but a few days before. That even makes the customer feel special. Many companies send an automated birthday message to their clients and subscribers, but very few send pre-birthday messages. That makes Hulu’s message even more special. There’s nothing like someone anticipating your birthday.

5. Feedback and review mails

Getting qualitative feedback from customers is critical to the growth of your business. You can only increase conversions when you know what customers think of your product or service. You can send out surveys to determine customer’s preferences and what you should fine-tune to improve your conversion rate. This is a simple yet effective example from Lyft. 


Lyft sent out this email to a user after a ride. It is short and straightforward. It starts by letting the reader know that Lyft values their opinion. That makes the customer feel important and relevant. 

6. Order confirmation mails

Order confirmation emails are a safety net for customers. In a world where hackers and scammers are on a spree to dupe people, receiving an order confirmation email reassures the customer. It also gives subscribers an idea of the next steps and when to expect delivery. 

Here's a great example from FleetFarm. 


FleetFarm's order confirmation email is brief and to-the-point. They provide a customer service number that you can call. The email also offers other products that the customer can purchase. 

In Closing 

Dollar for dollar, emails are still one of the most effective digital marketing strategies available. To get the most out of email marketing, you must take up automation. You would no longer have to send emails manually without knowing what the customer wants to read. Triggered emails are sent based on the unique behavior of each customer. Such emails help you provide timely and relevant feedback for subscribers, moving them down the sales funnel. 

Examine the behavior of your subscribers and make sure that you have triggers for their behavior. In this article, we've shared six of the best examples of triggered emails. There's even more to explore. 

Owen baker

Owen Baker is a content marketer for Voila Norbert, an online email verification tool. He’s spent over a decade in online marketing.

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