25 Email Automation Triggers You Should Consider Adding to Your Workflows

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Craig Smith  |  Founder & CEO

Email automation has changed how we communicate with customers. Rather than blasting our customers with emails full of content they may or may not care about. Email automation gives customers the content they need at the frequency they want. So far, email audiences are responding favorably to these efforts. Statistics show triggered emails have a 70% higher open rate than traditional email or newsletters, and a 150% higher click-through rate.

Let’s talk about 25 typical triggers you can use. Depending on whether you’re managing a B2B or B2C brands there is an automated trigger that can serve your needs.

1. Welcome New Subscribers

When someone fills out an opt-in form to your email list, welcome them to your community and let them know what kinds of emails they are likely to receive. For example:

  • B2C non-profit: share what your organization stands for and what content subscribers can expect from receiving these emails. 
  • B2B podcast: share links to previous podcasts and describe the frequency of your publication.

2. Re-engage Inactive Contacts

Connect with customers who bought from you at one point but have not returned. You can also use this trigger to engage people who converted on your contact form but never bought from your business. 

  • B2C eCommerce brand: send an email after 90-120 days with a compelling coupon to engage customers. 
  • B2B SaaS brand: send an email to customers who signed up for a webinar or whitepaper but never moved deeper into your sales funnel.

3. Event Announcements

Reaching out to an active email list is a great way to drum up excitement for a recently announced event. 

  • B2C concert venue: alert customers about new shows and give them information on how to book tickets. 
  • B2B brick and mortar business: let nearby customers know when you open a new location or are hosting an open house/networking event.

4. Event RSVP Confirmation

Confirm that you have received the RSVP of an event attendee. Provide valuable information about the tickets, parking, dress code, food, and anything else your guests need to know.

  • B2C home-sharing service: let customers know how to get to the home they booked and what amenities are included. 
  • B2B webinar: share log-in information and provide bios for webinar guest speakers.

5. Event Reminders

If there is a significant amount of space between the event RSVP and the reminder, send an automated email. This will remind attendees that they have an event that week or that day, depending on the timeframe. 

  • B2C nonprofit: remind attendees about a fundraiser or gala that customers bought tickets for.
  • B2C marketing agency: alert customers about an upcoming conference and provide information to attendees ahead of time
email automation triggers event

6. Event Follow-Up

Thank customers for attending your event and provide follow-up information, resources, and photos so they can continue to engage with your brand.

  • B2C event business: share top photos from the latest event and alert attendees about the next one coming up.  
  • B2B Consulting Agency: thank guests for attending your webinar and share the deck provided by the speaker.

7. Location Personalization

Pull zip code information for customers and set up email automation triggers when new listings for events are published in their area. 

  • B2C eCommerce retailer: email customers when snow is in the forecast with your top boots, coats, and winter weather gear. 
  • B2B SaaS provider: alert customers about upcoming conferences in their area where someone in your company will be speaking or attending.

8. Automated Frequency Adjustments

Some email automation tools will adjust their frequency based on user behavior. For example, less engaged customers will receive fewer emails while more engaged consumers will get more. This prevents high unsubscription rates. 

  • B2C travel company: reduce emails from daily tour alerts to weekly highlights. 
  • B2B service provider: pull customers back from daily blog updates to weekly roundups.

9. Annual Email Preference Review

Ask customers if they want to continue receiving your emails based on their current frequency. This is a strong option if you lack the technology to auto-adjust your emails based on user behavior. 

  • B2C eCommerce brand: invite customers to share what they want to hear more of in the coming year to update their email preferences.   
  • B2B full-service agency: ask customers which categories they are interested in and the type of content they want to receive. This will also help with lead generation.

10. Demographic-Based Email Alerts

If you can’t tap into behavioral automation triggers, consider setting up workflows based on certain demographics. 

  • B2C concert venue: alert customers to performances by bands popular with different age groups. 
  • B2B recruiting firm: set email triggers based on expected income or job title. You could also use age to promote more entry-level jobs to younger subscribers.
email design trigger

11. Pageview and Product View Emails

Send automated emails when customers look at specific items but don’t make a purchase. You can also do this on a category level for a more sensitive trigger.

  • B2C eCommerce brand: promote the items that customers looked at and provide similar alternatives for them to consider. 
  • B2B manufacturing company: send an automated email trigger asking to set up a call to answer questions about major purchases.

12. Abandoned Cart Trigger

The next natural step beyond pageview automated email triggers is an abandoned cart trigger. This occurs when customers actively add items to their carts and then bounce before they convert. Most cart abandonment emails have open rates above 40%, proving that this is an effective trigger to bring customers back. 

  • B2C eCommerce retailer: alert customers that they still have items in the cart and consider offering a discount to increase conversions. 
  • B2B freemium software business: let customers know that their premium benefits will not kick in until they complete a purchase.

13. Purchase Confirmation

Once your customers convert, provide information on the shipping, rewards points earned, and anything else they need to know about their purchase. 

  • B2C nonprofit: thank customers for their donation and offer information for saving the receipt for tax purchases. 
  • B2B SaaS company: provide instructions for logging into the account and share links with tutorials to learn about the different tools available. 

14. Membership Expiration Notice

If you offer a subscription service, member notices are essential for renewals. However, they can also be used to better engage customers that have stopped communicating with you. 

  • B2C monthly box subscription: make sure that customers still find the boxes valuable and encourage them to update their preferences for a better experience. 
  • B2B publication: ask customers to renew their membership and consider upgrading for more access and insights.

15. Membership Renewal Notice

Once customers actually renew their membership, thank them for their loyalty and let them know about the upcoming benefits to members in the next year. 

  • B2C nonprofit: let donors know about upcoming events or milestones that you will hit with their donation. 
  • B2B software services: share a “year in review” for the previous subscription and show how your customers can reach their goals in the next year. 

16. Replenishment Notice

If you offer specific items that need to be replaced regularly, set up replenishment email automation triggers so customers can buy more items before they run out. 

  • B2C pet food company: send monthly alerts when pet owners are likely running out of food, litter, etc. 
  • B2B manufacturer: let customers know when their latest supply of materials should be running low and suggest auto-shipment options.
replenishment email trigger

17. Cross-Sell Email Trigger

You already convinced your customers to buy from your brand once, now you can add to the items they need with cross-sell updates. Cross-sell updates compliment past purchases and are based on customer behavior. 

  • B2C clothing company: advertise accessories, shoes, and outerwear for customers who buy dresses or pants. 
  • B2B marketing agency: recommend alternative products to improve customer outreach efforts.

18. Upsell Email Trigger

Give customers the opportunity to upgrade their products or services. 

  • B2C hotel or cruise line: invite customers to upgrade to a better room for a small fee. 
  • B2B service provider: highlight additional levels and upgrades that can benefit customers.
upsell automated email triggers

19. Customer Service Feedback Email

If your customers interact with one of your service staff, set up email automation triggers asking for their feedback. 

  • B2C eCommerce company: ask if customers found what they needed and if the customer service team was helpful. 
  • B2B startup: set up an auto-trigger from the CEO asking for feedback to understand why the customer needed help. 

20. Product Review Trigger 

The product review trigger usually falls a few days after a customer receives their products. This gives them time to use the items and determine if they like or don’t like them. 

  • B2C eCommerce clothing brand: ask customers to review the fit and size compared to the website product pages.  
  • B2B SaaS company: ask about usability, features, and improvements that your brand can make.

21. New Blog Post Alerts

Drive traffic to your blog with email alerts. Highly engaged audiences can learn more about the latest trends and company news by reading the posts on your blog. 

  • B2C nonprofit: share stories about how donations are helping the community. 
  • B2B agency: offer industry news and best practices to position yourself as an expert in the field.

22. Price Changes

Price changes are a highly effective trigger to convince customers to take action immediately. When an item has a price drop (or a slight price increase even) you can encourage customers to get the items while they are more affordable before they become more expensive. 

  • B2C airline: alert customers when airfares increase or decrease to make customers think they’re getting a deal. 
  • B2B eCommerce brand: let customers know when you have excess inventory and create a sense of urgency to buy now.
automated email triggers

23. Expiring Points and Offers

Expiring points and offers are additional ways to create a sense of urgency through your emails. You can push customers to make a purchase a few days earlier than they would by letting them know their loyalty points or coupons are about to expire.

  • B2C airline: let customers know that their miles or travel credits will expire at the end of the year. 
  • B2B agency: create offers for free consultations that expire a set number of days after you meet leads at a conference.

24. Update Customers on the Best Sellers

Set up monthly triggers that share the top products with customers. You already know that these are bestsellers which have the greatest chance of getting customers to convert. 

  • B2C bookseller: let customers know which new titles were the most popular by specific genres. 
  • B2B materials retailer: highlight new items that benefit your customers that have been popular since they hit your website. 

25. Milestone Emails

Celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, major events, and other milestones to congratulate customers and engage them with your brand. You can also use these email automation triggers to offer gifts or discounts to customers. 

  • B2C food service business: offer a free side/dessert/menu item during the customer’s birthday week to encourage them to stop in. 
  • B2B data management company: celebrate when a client hits a certain milestone, like working with the company for a year or growing their website traffic to a new level.

As diverse and flexible as automated triggers can be, be mindful not to over-do it. You might want to put in place a few triggers first. To learn more about your options; sign up for a Complimentary Email Marketing & Automation Assessment of Free 30-Minute Strategy Session. From there, we can help you identify ways to grow your automation and get the email marketing results you want.

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