Birthday greetings, after-sales campaigns, welcome emails or back-in-stock alerts: all of these and many more are triggered emails that are sent via marketing automation, perfectly fitting to a specific event. The most diverse occasions can trigger those highly personalised mails. We present the ten most important triggers for marketing automation mails.

Customers receive automated triggered emails for a specific event or occasion. These emails are part of trigger-based marketing and go hand in hand with marketing automation. Marketing automation describes the process that automatically checks whether an event takes place. And if the event takes place, marketing automation software (e.g. ELAINE from artegic) automatically sends the appropriate trigger email. Various triggers release marketing automation campaigns.

Trigger-based marketing has clear advantages: Simplified processes through automation, better conversion rates, higher sales, positive customer journeys and appreciative customer relationships. We have compiled the top 10 most important triggers for marketing automation mails for you here. Which of the triggers do you already use? Which trigger-based marketing automation campaigns have you already had good experience with? And is there perhaps even a trigger mailing that you didn’t even know about?

Trigger #1: Registration

Registration for the newsletter, the online shop, the online portal or the first purchase, the purchase of a subscription – these are classic triggers for a welcome email or welcome series. You can incentivise these trigger emails (e.g. with a voucher, discount code, etc.) or draw attention to further offers in them – in any case, you enter directly into dialogue with your new customers by sending them welcome emails and in this way you provide them with the first positive experience right away.

Trigger #2: Birthday, name day, anniversary

If you know the birthday, the name day or an anniversary (e.g. the customer’s first purchase in your shop), then congratulate! Congratulatory mailings are the marketing automation classics par excellence. Read our article “Special birthday emails via marketing automation” to find out how you can attract special attention with birthday greetings.

Trigger #3: Appointment

An event, a trade fair, a webinar and much more give rise to automated mailings. Link to a landing page with a registration form in the invitation email. Those who respond and register will receive appointment reminders and follow-up emails. Non-responders receive a reminder email of your invitation. Of course, this is all automated.

Trigger #4: Recurring event

Key dates, deadlines, appointments and also recurring events, such as the regular dental check-up, the expiry of monthly lenses or the annual car inspection appointment: All these recurring dates and events trigger reminder mailings, which are a special service on your part for your customers. You can find out how to cleverly remind customers at the right time and in the right place in our article “Retain customers through repurchase & service reminders“.

Trigger #5: Transaction

The short confirmation that everything has worked reassures your customers and gives them the feeling that they are being taken seriously. Confirmation emails are triggered by (trans-)actions that your customers take themselves, and these can be many: Adjusting their own profile, their password, booking an appointment, reserving a table in a restaurant, placing an order in the online shop, shipping ordered goods, etc.

Trigger #6: Status change

What is the current status of your customer’s order? Has the return been received? Has the direct debit taken place? Such information about the status of a transaction is important for your customers. In this case, the trigger for marketing automation is the customer’s action.

Trigger #7: Shopping cart abandonment

Customers abandon the filled shopping cart shortly before check-out. The virtual shopping cart left behind triggers shopping cart abandonment emails. You can win back customers with a shopping basket abandonment campaign. Read more about this in our article “Emotion and service: winning back shopping cart abandoners with the right incentives“.

Trigger #8: Inactivity

Many trigger mails are triggered by certain actions of the recipients. However, if no action has taken place over a certain period of time, this can trigger the trigger emails of a reactivation campaign. Reactivating users via reactivation has become one of the most common marketing automation campaigns. You can read how such reactivation works in our article “How to reactivate inactive newsletter subscribers“.

Trigger #9: After-sales

Once an order has been successfully processed, continue the communication with your customers. The order triggers the after-sales dialogue. In the following communication, you ask your customers for a product review or ask about their satisfaction with your service or performance. Read about the power of social proof and how you can use it in our article “Social Proof: A Psychological Phenomena For Your Use“.

Trigger #10: Back-in-stock

A certain product is available again? Customers who have registered for a back-in-stock alert will automatically receive a notification as soon as the product is available again. The same happens when the price of a product drops. You can read how to persuade customers to buy at a later date in our article “Avoid customer churn with back-in stock alerts“.


Of course, there are many more triggers for marketing automation. The ten triggers listed here are perhaps the most important triggers for automated mailing, as they are proven, easy to implement and can achieve the best results.