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Christopher Knight

Event Triggered Emails - How & Why You Should Have These
By Christopher Knight

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Event triggered emails are nothing new, but here is a strategy that I've been leaning on more heavily over the past year that you might want to adopt for your email publishing strategy. Event triggered emails can help increase sales & conversions, decrease sales cycle time, increase customer or list member loyalty, and much more.

Event Triggered Emails Defined:

An "Event Triggered Email" is any email that is sent to a member who either asked for it whenever a specified event occurs or you have an implied transactional relationship already established (such as a current customer or registered member of your website). This type of email broadcast is normally highly personalized, even though they are almost always automated.

They may seem like an email autoresponder, but they are not. Autoresponders can be event-driven, but they are seldom highly customized or personalized.

An event triggered email is one that dips into other databases under your control and assembles a custom designed email for each recipient during pre-determined 'events.'

Typical Uses for Event Triggered Emails:

Whenever a:

  • New post to your blog is added

  • New article is added to your site

  • New page added to your website

  • Search term is met. Example: Anytime a word or phrase is mentioned in a new article to your website that matches a term that someone wants to track, you could send them an event triggered notification.

You can also use event triggered emails when interacting with clients or prospects who buy from you:

  • Upsell/cross-sell triggered emails: Whenever a certain item is purchased, an email is sent to ask them to buy more (cross or upsell) of the same product via a special offer.

  • Shopping cart triggered emails: Whenever a client begins an order but then bails, you could setup an important follow up email to find out why they didn't complete the transaction.

  • Behavioral triggered emails: Whenever a client purchases a certain level that elevates them to platinum status or a warranty contract that is near expiration or even when a gift certificate should be redeemed by a certain date. If you wanted to be more aggressive, you could tie browser interest into event triggered emails so that whenever a registered member of your website stays on a certain page for a preset amount of time, an email is auto generated to do a quick survey, offer assistance or more information about what they were looking at in order to help them make the PURCHASE decision.

  • Enhancing member/client education: The more your members know how you do business, the easier it is for them to do business with you. Consider setting up event triggered emails to further educate clients how each product they buy from you can be leveraged or used. Follow up emails after specific events (such as a purchase, return, new member or customer) are a great way to build loyalty.

Automation (for your event driven emails) is not only a sales driver & loyalty builder, but it's an important tool to decrease your labor expense!

How Do I Setup Event Triggered Emails?

Most email service providers have tools built into their systems for handling event triggered emails that are highly personalized. In some cases, you may have to use simple tools to assemble the personalized emails and then use your ESP/ASP (Email Service Provider/Application Service Provider) to manage the deliveries of the emails.

Consult with your IT folks or ESP for a solution.

In my case, our team is heavily invested in LAMP based systems (LAMP stands for Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP) for our CMS (Content Management System). All of our event triggered emails are processed in PHP via a MYSQL database and then shipped off to our dedicated email list server that manages the deliveries, unsubs, bounces, etc.


Event triggered emails are an excellent way to increase sales, decrease sales cycles, build customer loyalty, and increase traffic to your website. Consider the possibilities and then contact your ESP or IT folks today to get started. If you can dream it or imagine the possibilities, it can be done with email.

I have RSS feeds to thank for my increased interest in event triggered emails because I wanted a way to do via email what I was getting done via RSS (meaning the real-time nature of instant notifications to those who wanted to be notified).

This Ezine-Tip was submitted By Christopher Knight -- Email List Marketing Expert, author and entrepreneur. Get your weekly dose of Email newsletter publishing, marketing, promotion, management, email-etiquette, email usability and deliverability tips by joining the free Ezine-Tips newsletter:

Ezine-Tips for January 26, 2005

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