38 Automated Emails That Work In 2020

Want higher email engagement, better conversion, and more revenue for your SaaS, mobile app, or product business? Use automated emails.

It’s no surprise that automated (or event-based/triggered) emails are so effective. These emails get sent at the right moment, precisely when the user is expecting them.

Triggered emails outperform one-off email blasts and time-based email sequences by order of magnitude.

  • Triggered emails have a 47% higher open rate than autoresponders and a 115% higher open rate than newsletters.
  • Triggered emails have a 75% higher clickthrough rate than autoresponders and a 265% higher clickthrough rate than newsletters.
  • Triggered Emails Drive 24x More Revenue Per Send. One-off email blasts generate only about $0.04 in revenue per send. Behaviorally triggered emails, on the other hand, generate $0.95 in revenue per send.

In my previous 4,000-word guide to Triggered emails for product companies, I explained what automated triggered emails are, how to create a marketing automation strategy with automated emails that drives revenue, and how to implement automated emails in real life. However, that post became so long, so I had to break it into two parts. This list is essentially the second part of my guide to automated triggered emails.

In this post, I’m going to share with you 38 triggered email types along with some specific examples. The post is broken down into examples of SaaS automated emails and eCommerce automated emails. It’s a meaty piece, but you can always scan through it to jot down the emails you’d want to include in your triggered email strategy.

SaaS Automated Email Examples

1. Welcome email

Event triggers:

  • When a user signs up for a free trial.
  • When a user subscribes to a newsletter.
  • When a user downloads a lead magnet or a resource on your page.

Description:

Only 57.7% of brands send Welcome emails to their newly subscribed users, according to a report by Invesp. That comes as a surprise, considering the overall high performance of welcome emails.

Welcome emails have excellent engagement rates across the board:

  • The average open rate for welcome emails is 50% — MarketingSherpa.
  • Subscribers who receive a Welcome email show 33% more engagement with the brand — Invesp
  • 74% of people are expecting to receive a welcome email immediately after they subscribe to your list

But what exactly is the welcome email?

The welcome email is the first email that you send once someone registers for your SaaS or your newsletter. It sets the whole tone for your marketing automation strategy. The goal of the welcome email is to highlight to the users what to expect from the following emails in your onboarding sequence, as well as to provide instructions on what they get within the trial window (e.g. “7 free days of full-feature access to the tool”).

Further reading: 45 Effective Welcome Emails Analyzed

Example email:

Subject line: Welcome to Wix

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A welcome email by Wix showcasing some of the most important features of the platform.

2. Hello from the founder

Event triggers:

  • When a user signs up for a free trial.
  • When a user subscribes to a newsletter.
  • When a user downloads a lead magnet or a resource on your page.

Description:

This type of triggered email aims to put a human face to your email communication. Instead of sending a long-winded, overly designed email template with numerous columns and images, this personal email relies on simplicity and personalization. It also tends to be one of the most effective ways to engage with your audience, as people are more inclined to reply to personal emails than promotional broadcasts.

The example below from Help Scout demonstrates how to write a compelling “personal hello email”:

  • Keep it simple.
  • No images, graphics or anything fancy in the design of the email.
  • Strip out the padding of the email template to simulate an email written in Gmail.
  • Avoid text formatting altogether.
  • Limit yourself to a single call to action like book a demo, or a brief question.
  • Be friendly and helpful, show that you’re always around for the customer if they need any help.

Example email:

Subject line: A warm welcome

Screenshot 2019 11 07 at 1.08.27 PM
A personalized welcome email by HelpScout

3. Account details

Event triggers:

  • New account signed up.
  • New property (website, organization, team, etc.) created

Description:

Some emails are more utilitarian than others. The account details email is one of these emails. This automated email is a must if you’re creating a separate property for your customers. For example, if you run a landing page builder, website builder, a help docs platform, a project management system, or any other product that creates a separate instance of your product. Since customers need to navigate to their own subdomain (i.e. projectname.yoursaas.com), they must remember and bookmark that address for future access.

This email is also a good opportunity to show the next value moments in your onboarding process like 3dcart does in the example below. They provide a simple three-step section with links to instruction videos.

Example emails:

Subject line: don’t lose this

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Account details from Monday with some critical setup information.

Subject line: Your 3dCart Test Drive Account is Active

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An automated email with account details from 3dcart

4. Download the app

Event triggers:

  • Various but usually at the beginning of the onboarding cycle.

Description:

Did you know that from 2012 to 2018, the total daily amount of time spent on a mobile device in the US by adults jumped from 88 to 203 minutes a day? Or that global mobile data traffic is forecast to increase from 7 exabytes per month in 2016 to 49 exabytes per month by 2021 (Souce). Yeah, I know that’s a lot of data!

If you’ve built mobile apps for your product, you better do a terrific job of getting people to download them as they sign up for your product.

With marketing automation tools like Encharge, you can segment your audience based on the type of mobile device and mobile OS they use (iOs, Android) and send the most relevant call to action.

It’s also critical that you have some filters in place to prevent sending these emails to people that have already downloaded the apps, as this would turn into an unwanted distraction in your onboarding flow.

As you explore more of the triggered email examples we provide in this guide, you will notice that a lot of the companies tend to place app store links in the signature of their emails to increase the conversion rates even further.

Example emails:

Subject line: All of the apps

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A beautiful email from ClickUp that lists all of the apps and product versions with download links

Subject line: Take Buffer with you! Get it on Android and iOS

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A welcome email from the founder of Buffer with prominent download links.

5. Customer success

Event triggers:

  • When user signs up.
  • When user haven’t activated a specific feature or any of the features.
  • When user is at risk of churn (haven’t logged in for more than 7, 14 or 30 days)
  • When user is not engaging with the onboarding emails.

Description:

According to a 2018 Forester customer experience report, 54 percent of customers said they used email for customer service in the last year. Email strips out all of the benefits and clues that we get when we conversing with customers face to face, like facial expressions and body language. That’s why it’s so important to make these emails as personal as possible.

Provide your new signups with a personal point of contact, put a face to your email (literary, a small human face at the bottom of your email would do wonders), and give them an opportunity to get in touch through other mediums — phone, Hangouts, Skype, Slack. Notice how ClickUp provides the personal phone number of the Client Success Champion in their customer success emails.

Further reading: 12 Customer Success Templates from Front

Example email:

Subject line: ClickUp Success

Screenshot 2019 11 07 at 1.19.44 PM
A personalized customer success email from ClickUp

5. User Invitation

Event triggers:

  • When user gets invited by another member to join a project, organization or a team in the product.

Description:

Some things are better in groups! If your SaaS can work with multiple users in the same account, then this transactional email is a must. To increase the chances of the user accepting the invite, make sure to personalize the email template by including the name of the inviter (including their profile photo would give you bonus points here), as well as the name of the project, team, or organization.

Intercom is also using this otherwise utilitarian email to emphasize some of the benefits of their product: “Intercom shows you who your customers are and makes it easy to communicate with them…” This is a smart approach, as not all invitees would know what the tool they’re invited to exactly does.

Example emails:

Subject line: John has invited you to join their team!

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“Join the team” email from Intercom

Subject line: John has invited you to work together on Intercom

Screenshot 2019 11 07 at 1.21.31 PM
“Join the team” email from Intercom

Subject line: John invited you to ClickUp

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Accept invite email by ClickUp

6. Invite accepted email

Event triggers:

  • When an invitee accepts the invite.

Description:

Once the invitee accepts the invitation to join the company, team, project, etc. it’s important that you notify the inviter. Otherwise, they may never realize, especially if your team settings are hidden somewhere in an account dropdown menu.

This email is also a good time to nudge the inviter to invite more team members, especially if your business model is using a seat-based pricing structure.

The example below from Monday.com is pretty good, but we would improve it by adding a call to action: a link or a button “Invite more people”.

Example email:

Subject line: [monday.com] [email protected] has accepted your invitation

Screenshot 2019 11 07 at 1.22.44 PM
Invite accepted automated email notification by Monday.com

7. Feature reward email

Event triggers:

  • When a certain feature is activated/used successfully.

Description:

Feature reward emails are triggered emails that get sent to users once they accomplish something in your app.

Once I uploaded my first video on Wistia, I received an encouraging reward email with the subject line “You did it. Party time. 🎉”

You can use subject lines like:

  • Congratulations on [accomplishing something specific in your app].
  • You did it!
  • Good job on [activating a specific feature]
  • Wow, that was fast! (reward users for completing a specific action in your app fast).
  • Woohoo! You’ve got [videos / sessions / shares / likes / tasks, etc.]

Be careful about what features you encourage. As Wes Bush says in the “Product-Led Growth” book: “if an activity you’re encouraging doesn’t help them experience meaningful value in the product, you dampen user motivation.”

In our guide to triggered emails, we explained how to identify and track events that are related to value moments in your user experience journey.

Example email:

Subject line: You did it. Party time. 🎉

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“It’s a video party” — a success email that you receive when you upload your first video in Wistia.

8. Feature adoption

Event triggers:

  • When a certain feature is activated/used successfully.

Description:

The feature adoption email or usage tip email is a helpful nudge that directs users to take actions in your app that sets them up for success.

In-app onboarding features like checklists, pop-ups, and sliders are great in helping users understand your product. Still, they only work if the user is IN your app. Once the user leaves your website, you must employ email (SMS, push, or social media) to get users back to your app.

The feature adoption email can work in four ways:

  • Get the user back to the feature page. In the Wistia’s case, that means the Video settings pages.
  • Provide best practices or instructions about advanced ways of using the feature.
  • Introduce new features.
  • Highlight the next value moment. FullStory perfectly exemplifies this — once you have a few sessions recorded in your account, FullStory will send you over the next actionable steps to get the best value out of the recorded sessions.

Example emails:

Subject line: All the video pros are doing it…

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A Wistia email that encourages us to try some of the video editing features.

Subject line: Hurry! 45% Off Ends Tomorrow

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New feature announcement from Grammarly

Subject line: So what’s next?

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Feature email from Typeform

Subject line: New sessions are ready for you in FullStory

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An email from FullStory with best practices and tips on how to use session recordings.

9. New activity notifications

Event triggers:

  • When a new activity by an end-user or team peer is fired.

Description:

Apart from providing an activity feed in your app, you must allow your users to stay up to date with the latest activity by subscribing to email notifications.

New activity emails get sent when something new happens in your app. Examples include:

  • A team member leaves a comment.
  • Someone starts a new project.
  • Someone archives or deletes a project.
  • An end-user starts a new chat conversation.
  • A new task or project is assigned to the user.
  • A new campaign is scheduled or sent.
  • A new request is submitted.
  • The user receives a like or another reaction to their activity, and so on.

Be careful what and how many email notifications you enable by default. You don’t want to over-email new users. I remember the first time we started using Zendesk — we were getting three new email notifications every time a visitor on our website started a new chat conversation with us. The worst part was that it took us 15 minutes to figure out where to turn these notifications off. Don’t be a j*rk, and give your users an easy way for them to opt-out from these emails.

Example email:

Subject line: Re: [page name]

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New feedback email notification from Invision

Subject line: You received a like on Asana!

Screenshot 2019 11 07 at 1.14.10 PM
New like email notification from Asana

Subject line: James shared “My newest folder” with you

Screenshot 2019 11 07 at 1.15.30 PM
Folder shared email notification from Dropbox.

10. Note from the founders

Event triggers:

  • New user signs up.
  • User subscribes to newsletter emails.
  • User upgrades their account.
  • A new company update.
  • A webinar announcement, and others.

Description:

This email is another personal type of email that guarantees a high email engagement rate. “The personal note from the founder” email is very similar to the “personal hello” email, but it’s best used in those moments in which you need to announce or highlight something important. Like a new feature or a webinar with the CEO.

Use these emails sparingly. You don’t want to send daily notes from the CEO, as this will dampen the importance of these emails and potentially the credibility of the CEO.

Example email:

Subject line: A note from our CEO

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Personal note from the founders — an email from Monday.com

11. Activate your account

Event triggers:

  • New account registration.
  • New account invitation.

Description:

The account activation or “email confirmation” email is a transactional email that is usually sent as a first or second email (after the welcome email) when a new user signs up for a trial. It is primarily used by companies that have a large volume of unqualified trials as a prevention method and a way to filter out the tire kickers, spammers, and other nefarious users. The activation email could help you reduce your customer acquisition costs if you have any app usage expenses within the trial window, as well as keep your email list clean from disposable and invalid email addresses.

The downside of using an activation email at the beginning of your onboarding flow is that it could lead to a large number of churned trialists — the people that never confirm their email for one reason or another.

To offset this problem, you could postpone the activation process once the users are already in the app. Let’s say you run a social media scheduling tool. You could allow people to enter the app and connect their social media accounts, but require an email confirmation just before they schedule their first post.

Example emails:

Subject line: Confirm your account

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Account confirmation email from Spotify.

Subject line: Account Activation

Screenshot 2019 11 07 at 1.34.39 PM
Account activation email from DocuSign

12. Account confirmed

Event triggers:

  • When user clicks on “Activate account” or “Confirm email”

Description:

Once the user has confirmed their email or activated their account, you’d like to send them a heads up email that their account is active, and they could take full advantage of the features of your product. This is a good place to briefly list some of the benefits of your tool or mention the actions that the user is now allowed to perform in your app. In the example below, Teachlr lets us know that we can now ask questions, make payments, or withdraw money on the platform.

Example email:

Subject line: Account Confirmed

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Successful account confirmation by Teachlr

13. Login reactivation

Event triggers:

  • User has signed up but never logged in into the tool

Description:

Automated emails are extremely powerful at re-engaging inactive users and customers. Once you connect your customer data with a marketing automation tool like Encharge and have your event tracking plan up and running, you can create sophisticated triggered emails based on what people do or don’t do in your app. A great example of a reactivation email is the login reminder email.

In the case of 3dcart, they send a follow-up reminder if you haven’t logged into your account for a certain number of hours.

With Encharge, you can track if new signups have opened your “Account details” email and send a follow-up with a different subject line. For the ones that have opened the email but haven’t clicked on the login link, you could send an email with a different subject line. That way you can increase the engagement rate of such crucial emails

Example email:

Subject line: 3dcart Account

Screenshot 2019 11 07 at 1.33.53 PM
Login re-activation email by 3dcart

14. Break up email

Event triggers:

  • User has not logged in more than X months.
  • User has not responded to your emails
  • User has not activated any of the critical onboarding features

Description:

A silent user leaves trials in indefinite limbo. In those cases, you might want to turn to the “break up” email.

The “break up” email is designed to provoke a reaction from a trialist whom you haven’t heard from in a while. This type of email is usually used in sales but could yield effective results in SaaS onboarding, too.

The premise of this email is to warn the trial user that you’re going to delete or archive their account and any valuable data that goes with it unless they re-engage back with you. This email is usually triggered if the user has not responded to your “trial expiration” sequence (continue reading to learn more about trial expiration emails).

For the breakup email you want to use a subject line like:

  • Permission to close your account
  • We’re deleting your data
  • Your [product name] account will be deactivated in XX days
  • [Your product name] breaks up with you
  • We’re sad to see you go…

Example emails:

Subject line: Permission to close your account

Screenshot 2019 11 08 at 9.39.55 PM
Break-up email – last notice email from PieSync

Subject line: Your free HubSpot account will be deactivated in 30 days

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Automated account deactivation email by HubSpot

15. Account expired

Event triggers:

  • User has not logged in more than X months.
  • User has not responded to your emails
  • User has not activated any of the critical onboarding features
  • User requests account deletion

Description:

All good things come to an end. No matter how brilliant your targeting, copy, and overall re-engagement emails are, some people (most people?) will never respond to your attempts to get them back in your app.

It always comes a point in our lives when we need to be tough…but fair. Deleting someone’s account from your system is one of those moments.

The “expired account” email notifies the user that their account has been closed and gives them a quick way to get in touch with you in case they want to jump back on the train.

Subject line:

Screenshot 2019 11 07 at 1.33.07 PM
Your account has expired – an automated notice from YNAB

16. Referral email

Event triggers:

  • When user becomes active or engaged

Description:

According to a study titled “Referral Programs and Customer Value”, a referred customer is approximately 16% more valuable to a comparable non-referred customer over a horizon of six years. The study further explains that If we take into account the difference in acquisition costs, the difference in customer lifetime value is approximately 25%. In other words, referred customers have 16-25% higher customer lifetime value than non-referred customers.

That’s expected if you consider the overarching premise of how referrals work. If John referred Michael and Michael continues to refer more people, assuming you have a referral rewards program in place, a viral engine that increases your revenue over time will be formed. That’s how companies like Dropbox, Airbnb, and Transferwise have grown into the software juggernauts that they are today.

TransferWise sends this beautiful email to all referees. Apart from explaining the bonuses that the referee gets when they join TransferWise, this email highlights the benefits of the platform and the reason why the referrer uses TransferWise.

In the last section of the email, TransferWise uses social proof by quoting articles from two trustworthy outlets.

Do not expect that people will jump on the wagon if they don’t understand what your tool does and how it’s going to make them more successful. TransferWise cleverly handles these objections with the supporting sections in the referral email.

Example email:

Subject line: ✉ Forward a free transfer

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A beautiful and functional referral email by TransferWise

17. Feedback email

Event triggers:

  • When user activates a specific feature.
  • When is user is engaged (e.g., logged in more than X times for the last 7 days).
  • When user has been a paying customer for more than X days.
  • When user signs up.

Description:

Whether you’re a pre-launch startup without product/market fit or a scale-up with established marketing and customer success processes, you need to collect and analyze customer feedback on an ongoing basis.

Triggered feedback emails allow you to automate that process and collect quantitative and qualitative data at scale.

Automated feedback emails can also help you measure and find product/market fit.

The product/market fit survey, also known as the “Sean Ellis test”, helps you understand if your early customers consider your product a must-have.

“Navigating this important decision around product/market fit is the reason why I created the product/market fit survey 10 years ago. Without the survey, I would either have to rely on gut feeling or wait for retention cohorts to mature to see if we had sufficient customer retention to support sustainable growth. This could delay aggressive growth acceleration execution for several months.” — Sean Ellis

The most crucial question in the Product/market fit survey is:

How would you feel if you could no longer use [ProductName]?

  1. Very disappointed
  2. Somewhat disappointed
  3. Not disappointed
  4. N/A I no longer use [ProductName]

Notice in the example below how TransferWise uses the product/market fit survey to measure the viability of a specific feature, once users have activated and experienced that part of the platform. The event trigger for that automated email could be “Verification Completed” or “Verification Submitted”.

Example emails:

Subject line: We’ve confirmed your identity – We’d love your feedback

Screenshot 2019 11 07 at 1.36.34 PM
Feedback email from TransferWise

Next, we have a Net Promoter Score (NPS) email by InVision.

“Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a customer loyalty score, ranging from -100 to 100, calculated by asking customers one question: “On a scale from 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend this product/company to a friend or colleague?”

Subject line: Could you answer these 2 questions?

Screenshot 2019 11 07 at 3.22.17 PM
Automated NPS score email from InVision

The third example is another NPS survey email, this time by Typeform.

Subject line: Can we ask you a question?

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NPS Score email from Typeform

Last but not least, we have a more personal example to ask for feedback. Below is an email from David Okuniev, the co-founder of Typeform, who asks us, “what specifically made us choose Typeform over everything else?”

To make this email even more personal, David has included a Gif that leads to a video recorded by him. The video is created with Videoask, a new product by Typeform, which is essentially a video-driven way of asking questions. Collecting feedback and enabling people to experience your new product — solving two problems in one fell swoop!

Subject line: Quick question from David, our co-founder

Screenshot 2019 11 07 at 3.23.09 PM
Personalized video feedback email from the founder of Typeform

18. Discount email

Event triggers:

  • When user is engaged but not converted to a paying customer yet.
  • When user is not responding to trial expiration emails.
  • When customer is at risk of churning.
  • When user or customer lead score drop after a certain point.

Description:

Most SaaS companies use discounts to try to win back customers. However, as data research done by ProfitWell suggests using unnecessary discounts can have a real negative impact on your business. As Patrick Campbell, co-founder of ProfitWell, says “discounts are a virus within our subscription economy. Not because they are necessarily bad, but because we treat them like a sledgehammer instead of a scalpel.”

Discounted customers have just over double the churn rate as those who weren’t given a discount. Customers given a discount tend to churn at a much higher rate than those customers who were given lower discounts or no discounts at all.

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Source

Not only that, but discounts desensitize your customer base as they train it to devalue your product, which in turn leads to a lower willingness to pay, especially after the 30% discount mark, says ProfitWell.

Should you not discount at all?

No, not really. But you need to use discounts efficiently to lower the activation barrier and get customers to convert with expanded willingness to pay.

Within the marketing automation field, that means filtering out the unqualified leads and sending messages with discounts only to the people that are likely to convert to paying customers. Use your marketing automation software to track user activity in your product and trigger automated discount emails to the engaged users.

An example of this is a trialist who has activated most of your features but is not responding to your trial expiration emails or engaging with your sales messages to upgrade.

Another good example is active paying customers who are currently on a monthly subscription plan. You might want to nudge these people to switch to an annual plan over the premise of saving a ton of money.

Occasionally, you would want to use discounts to raise interest in a limited promotion campaign like Black Friday or your company’s birthday, like the Grammarly example below.

Example email:

Subject line: 🚨FINAL HOURS:🚨 Get 64% Off & Elevate Your Written Communication

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Birthday cake discount from Grammarly

19. Activity update email – when inactive

Event triggers:

  • Daily, weekly or monthly update with the latest activity

Description:

How often should your customers return to your product? Once a day, once a week, a couple times a month or less often? There’s no right or wrong answer. The usage frequency of your tool would depend on what your tool does and what problem it solves for the customers. People would pretty much live in a project management system like Basecamp or a spell-checking tool like Grammarly. On the contrary, an outbound sales tool like Reply.io or Mailshake would require you to use the tool only when you run a campaign.

Regardless of your customer usage frequency, you want people to return to your app regularly.

One way to increase customer retention and adoption of features is to update them.

Now you don’t want to treat all users equally. It’s critical to personalize the email based on the activity (or inactivity) of the user. This is exactly what Grammarly does with its automated activity update email. If you fail to register any writing activity in the platform, they will send you an email that tries to nudge you to log in back to the app and start writing:

“Whoops! It looks like you might not be logged in, as we saw no writing activity for you last week. Please log back in to keep your writing in tip-top shape and stay in the loop about your epic stats and achievements!”

The worst you could in the cases of user inactivity is to send the same activity update email with lots of zeros and empty placeholders — this would only signal to the user that your emails are irrelevant.

Example email:

Subject line: Looks like you didn’t have any writing activity last week.

38 Automated Emails That Work In 2020
Writing performance report by Grammarly

20. Activity email – when active

Event triggers:

  • Daily, weekly or monthly update with the latest activity

Description:

For the users that have generated activity in your app, you want to update them on:

  • On their personal activities, overdue tasks, and overall performance.
  • On their team members’ activities
  • Alerts that they are subscribed to

Basecamp provides a daily activity update with the latest tasks, and messages.

The SEO marketing platform Ahrefs gives you a weekly update with search engine ranking metrics and performance.

Example email:

Subject line: Basecamp (Organization Name): Here’s the latest activity

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Latest activity email by HubSpot

Subject line: 3 new keywords – encharge.io

Screenshot 2019 11 09 at 4.29.54 PM
New feature update from Grammarly

21. New feature update

Event triggers:

  • When you roll out a new feature.

Description:

At Encharge, we constantly get asked about new product updates.

Image 2019 11 09 at 4.34.12 PM

It’s crucial that you keep your existing customers in the loop and give more reasons for trialists to take the leap. Feature updates are an easy way to keep your product top of mind and educate subscribers on new improvements.

The team at Canny (a customer feedback management tool) suggest that there are three things you need to think about long before you announce anything new:

  1. Who’s your target audience?
  2. What are your goals with the announcement?
  3. Which channels should you use?

Instead of “winging it” when it comes to announcing your new product features, invest a little bit of time in planning and preparing a thoughtful email for your audience.

Canny recommends using the following framework when announcing new updates:

  1. What is the new feature
  2. Why it’s good for the customer
  3. How to use it (use gifs, video links, and screenshots in your email to catch the user’s attention and visualize how the feature works)
  4. Extra information or sources for further reading if needed

Further reading: How to announce product updates and features

Example email:

Subject line: NEW: Tone detection has arrived! 🤔 🤩 👍

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New feature update from Grammarly

22.  Weekly or monthly feature round-up

Event triggers:

  • When you roll out a set of new features.

Description:

Sometimes you are more productive and manage to roll out a number of new feature updates in one fell swoop! When that happens, you want to share with your audience a round-up that includes every new feature.

Below we have two companies that do this brilliantly. Mailchimp sends a minimal email that lists every new feature, as well as a small teaser on what to expect soon.

ClickUp uses a more visual way to announce new features. They send regular feature releases under the clever label “ClickUpdates”. Each new update is accompanied by a moving gif that makes you want to click on it, and at the bottom of the message, we get a vivid-colored call to action with a few extra ways to interact with the brand.

Example email:

Subject line: See what’s new in Mailchimp

Screenshot 2019 11 07 at 3.33.31 PM
Feature round-up by Mailchimp

Subject line: ClickUpdates 2.12: Convert tasks to lists, reply to comments, import custom fields and more!

Screenshot 2019 11 09 at 4.53.38 PM
Screenshot 2019 11 09 at 5.02.07 PM
ClickUpdates product release roundup

23. Account canceled

Event triggers:

  • User cancels a premium subscription.
  • User downgrades to a free plan.

Description:

The bane of all evil in the SaaS world — churn! Well, we know it happens. So what can you do to win back subscribers if they do cancel or downgrade?

There are dozens of tactics you can implement to reduce churn:

  • Monitor paying subscribers, so you know when they are at risk of churning.
  • Use lead scoring to measure the probability of someone churning. For example, not logged in more than 7 days – subtract 10 points / Leaves an NPS score of less than 6 – subtract 50 points. With Encharge you can easily set up no-nonsense lead scoring based on the activity or inactivity of the user.
  • Receive internal team notifications when someone’s lead scoring drops after a certain point. (Another feature that we have in Encharge.) That way, you can proactively reach out to them and offer to help.
  • Implement a dunning win-back email sequence.
  • Implement an “account hold” or pause feature. And so on.

Regardless of what churn-prevention tactics you use, there will be some customers that are going to churn. Fortunately, not all hope is lost.

You must understand that a canceled account ≠ a churned customer! Unless they cancel their account on the last day of their subscription, you still have the opportunity to save that subscriber.

The “Account canceled” email is another opportunity to win back unsubscribed customers. You can use it to:

  • Highlight features the user hasn’t tried, then ask them to restore their premium plan. This is what Litmus does by showing an insightful video on how brands like Amazon and Jetblue use their platform.

    Tip: Make sure to make the email content relevant by using dynamic merge tags and Liquid tags. Liquid is an advanced email language that allows you to fetch dynamic email content — not just words or phrases but whole sections — based on attributes of the users. You don’t want to highlight features that the user is already familiar with.

  • Offer subscribers a discount by using an intro price.
  • It allows users the opportunity to take the tool for a spin by offering a new trial.
  • Highlight that they still have full access to the tool and provide a clear back to app button. See the second email example on how Grammarly does that by noting the date of the billing cycle and complementing it with a “head to your editor” button.

Example email:

Subject line: Your Litmus subscription has been canceled

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Account cancelation email with feature highlights

Subject line: Your Subscription Renewal Has Been Cancelled

Screenshot 2019 11 09 at 11.46.00 AM
Account canceled email by Grammarly

24. Trial expiration email

Event triggers:

  • X days before a trial ends
  • When trial ends

Description:

Trial expiration or trial expiry-warning automated emails remind a user to upgrade before the trial window ends.

You are going to send different trial expiration emails based on how your trial flow is set up:

  • You don’t require a credit card upfront — a simple no-card free trial.
  • You require a credit card upfront — the end of the trial signals the beginning of charging their credit card.

If you allow users to try your product without entering a credit card, you’re not required to send trial expiration emails. However, you’d like to help them plan ahead to avoid interruptions by explaining what the next steps are, how much time they have left on the trial, how to upgrade, where to get help, and whether you provide trial extensions.

On the other hand, if you ask users to enter their billing details at the beginning of their trial, you MUST notify users before the first charge occurs. It’s best to send a trial expiration email at least 3 days before the trial ends for a 14-day trial and at least 5-7 days for a 30-day trial. This gives users enough time to decide to move forward with your premium plans or not.

There’s one other type of trial expiration email you’d want to send when the trial has ended. Squarespace gives the user the opportunity to extend their trial or join a webinar for more help when their trial ends.

Further reading:

To get started with Trial expiration emails, register for Encharge, and create a new flow from one of these templates:

  • Convert Trial Users With Targeted Onboarding Campaigns
  • Re-engage expired trials

Example email:

Subject line: Try Our Best Plan For Free

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“You have 1 week left” — trial warning expiration email

Subject line: We haven’t given up on your dreams

your trial has expired
Trial expiration email with a catchy headline by Squarespace

25. Demo call email

Event triggers:

  • When a user signs up or as a part of the onboarding email flow.

Description:

The demo call email is a typical sales email — it could be automated, but it needs to be relevant and personal. The goal of this email is to demonstrate to the user how you can help them be more successful with your product. It’s critical that you don’t come across as “salesy”.

When designing your demo call email, try these two things:

  • Frame the demo call as a free “consultation”, “strategy call”, or a “success meeting”. In the prospect’s mind, a demo means that you’re going to try to sell your product to them. People don’t care about your product. However, they care about their problems. Instead of doing “demos”, try to do free consultations and see how that changes your conversion rate.
  • Address any common objections in your email. This little message taken from the pricing page of ConvertKit takes the fear out of getting on a call with an aggressive salesperson. You want to employ use similar blurbs in your email to address the most common objections like pricing, credibility, efforts needed to jump on a call, etc.
Image 2019 11 09 at 6.24.05 PM

Example email:

Subject line: Bynder and [Company name]

Screenshot 2019 11 07 at 3.41.22 PM
Demo call email by Bynder

26. Feature checklist

Event triggers:

  • When user completes one or more actions as a part of the onboarding flow.

Description:

Who said that onboarding checklists only work in-app? Onboarding checklists and progress bars can be used equally well in an onboarding email. They help us set the expectation for how many steps are ahead for the trialing users, and reassures them that they are almost done. By breaking up the onboarding process into eight small steps, Dropbox motivates trialists to complete critical setup tasks like backing up files and installing Dropbox on their computer.

Dropbox is motivating users with a head start by having their checklist partially completed from the get-go, as you could see, step one is “Sign up for Dropbox”. This is also known as the “endowed progress effect” — “the idea that if you provide some type of artificial advancement toward a goal, a person will be more motivated to complete the goal.”

The checklist email works so well because it’s incredibly personalized to the user. It shows precisely what steps one needs to complete before they’re fully set up.

Checklist emails usually require the help of a developer in order to design them and make them dynamic. Fortunately, advanced marketing automation platforms like Encharge support dynamic content through the Liquid syntax language, so no development input is needed. If you’d like to have a checklist email in your email onboarding flow, book a call with us so we can show you how to do that in Encharge.

Example email:

Subject line: Almost there! Only 5 steps left to Dropbox mastery!

Screenshot 2019 11 06 at 12.20.09 PM
Personalized checklist email by Dropbox

27. Forgotten password

Event triggers:

  • When user requests a password reset.

Description:

The forgotten password email is one of those pragmatic transactional emails that really don’t get that much attention from the marketing or product teams. Probably for a reason. Still, the password reset is one of those moments that you can use as an opportunity to emphasize your brand creatively.

This is what FunnelBear does with its branded design, featuring their mascot bear crying as it tries to remember the password.

Example email:

Subject line: Rawr! Forgot your password?

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Quirky forgotten password email by FunnelBear

28. Email reminders

Event triggers:

  • Various: Task is overdue.
  • XX minutes before a meeting
  • XX minutes before a project deadline, etc.

Description:

Email reminders are a great way to keep your users productive and up to speed with their latest assignments. Whether you run a CRM software, a project management system or a meeting schedule platform, you can send timely reminders to your users.

A note on email reminders: To be able to send email reminders, your marketing automation software must support transactional emails and the ability to send the same email to the same user more than once. Some customer messaging platforms like Intercom doesn’t support sending the same email twice. Therefore you must be careful when selecting a platform.

Example email:

Subject line: Task reminder for: [Task name]

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Task reminder email by HubSpot

29. Re-engagement emails

Event triggers:

  • When user initiates an action but doesn’t complete it

Description:

To be able to send re-engagement emails, you must first define what engagement means for your product. List the engagement activities (also known as events) a user can take in your app. Let’s say you run an eCommerce software. Your list could look like this:

  • Logged in
  • WooCommerce connected
  • Shopify connected
  • Amazon account connected
  • Billing information added
  • Invited team member
  • First product created
  • Shared product on Facebook

Not all events are equal, though. Adding your billing information is more important than sharing a product on Facebook. Prioritize the activities that are crucial for the success of your users. These are the events that are worthy of creating re-engagement emails for.

For example, if a user starts creating a new product, enters the product price and description, but doesn’t upload product photos — you might want to send them a re-engagement message that nudges them to complete the product submission.

Below we have a great example from Lumen5. I finished creating a custom video through the platform but never really got to sharing or downloading that video. Lumen5 motivates me to finish the whole process by stating that video content gets 10x more engagement on social media.

The second email is from a client of ours. In Veremark, an employment reference platform, we track how far a user has progressed with their first reference check. If a user has visited the “The new request” submission page but haven’t completed the request, we send an automated re-engagement email with three benefits on why they should send their request.

Example emails:

Subject line: Don’t forget to share your video!

Screenshot 2019 11 06 at 12.35.37 PM
Re-engagement automated email by Lumen5

Subject line: 3 reasons to try Veremark

Screenshot 2019 11 06 at 12.30.44 PM
Re-engagement email by Veremark

30. Risk of churning

Event triggers:

  • User has not logged in for more than XX days.
  • User has submitted a negative review.
  • User has deleted a number of projects/subscribers/tasks/team members (a signal for interest in downgrading)

Description:

If a user is at risk of churning, you want to take some proactive action. By tracking their recent activity, you can identify high-risk customers and reach out proactively with an automated email that offers personalized help in the form of a free consulting session or one-on-one review.

The example below is from one of the Encharge templates, “Prevent Inactive Customers From Churning”, that you can select when creating a new flow.

Example email:

Subject line: Do you need help with [product name]?

Screenshot 2019 11 09 at 10.05.41 PM
Proactive email to all users at risk of churning

eCommerce Automated Email Examples

31. eCommerce welcome email

Event triggers:

  • Newsletter subscription.
  • Product purchased.

Description:

Welcome emails are also standard among eCommerce businesses. They are an excellent opportunity to introduce newcomers to your brand and showcase the latest product additions to your store.

Rip Curl (below) uses beautiful in-context images to incite the emotions of riding waves as they showcase their product categories.

Target, on the other hand, takes a more practical approach by listing some of the benefits of having an account with them, like faster checkout and organizing your favorite products into lists.

Example emails:

Subject line: Welcome to the Rip Curl Crew

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New account created with Target

Subject line: Check out the benefits of your new Target.com account

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New account created with Target

32. Cart abandonment

Event triggers:

  • User adds one or more products in the cart but doesn’t complete the purchase.

Description:

A study by Barilliance shows that  the average cart abandonment rate for 2016 was

77.24%. This number rose slightly in 2017 to 78.65%.

In other words, over 3/4 of shoppers choose to leave the site without completing the checkout process.

That doesn’t mean that store owners can’t do anything to tackle this problem.

A separate report by Moosend shows that:

  • 45% of cart abandonment retention emails are opened:
  • 50% of these are clicked on.
  • 50% of the users who clicked purchased.

Half of the recipients who engaged with the automated email completed their purchase. In other words, 11.5% of the total cart abandoners are recovered by cart abandonment emails.

The automated cart abandonment email is one of the easiest ways to increase the revenue of your online store. Below we have two creative examples by Wine.com and Onpurple.com

Example emails:

Subject line: Did you forget the wine?

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Cart abandonment email by Wine.com

Subject line: User, Let Us Teleport You Back to Your Cart. Free of Charge!

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Discounted products email by Overstock

33. Coupons and discounts

Event triggers:

  • When user subscribes to a newsletter.
  • When user abandons cart.

Description:

Coupons and discounts are widely used in the eCommerce field as a way to:

  • Incentivize people to subscribe to an email list.
  • Nudge shoppers to complete their purchase.
  • Limited time-based marketing campaigns like Black Friday, Christmas, etc.

Example emails:

Subject line: Welcome – 15% off Coupon on Your First Order

38 Automated Emails That Work In 2020
Discounted products email by Overstock

Subject line: Hurry, hurry! Your chance to score big ends tonight!

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Creative discount email by Moo

34. Declined card

Event triggers:

  • User makes a purchase but debit or credit card gets declined

Description:

Similarly to dunning solutions for SaaS companies, eCommerce brands could massively benefit from transactional automated emails that deal with declined cards.

The email below is a great example from ScentBird. They are sending a cute email with what it seems to be a personal message from the founder of the store.

Example email:

Subject line: Your Card Was Declined – Can I Help?

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ScentBird cart retention email that is sent when a buyer’s card gets declined

35. Daily or weekly deals

Event triggers:

  • Time-based: every day or week

Description:

Daily, weekly, and monthly deals are a great way to create some anticipation in your audience and train your customers to open your emails regularly.

Amazon uses that email effectively with their round-up of daily book deals.

Example email:

Subject line: Kindle Daily Deal: Books from 99p

Screenshot 2019 11 06 at 12.49.29 PM
Daily deals by Amazon

36. Product recommendations

Event triggers:

  • X days after a product purchase.
  • After a user visits a specific page.

Description:

A 2018 study by Monetate set found that online retail shoppers who engaged with a recommended product had a 70% higher conversion rate during that site session. Return website sessions also benefited from the initial product recommendation but only by 55%. Even customers who clicked on a product recommendation but didn’t buy anything had higher engagement rates — these people were 20% more likely to return to the website later.

Personalized recommendations sent as regular automated emails are one of the most effective ways to increase your order conversion rates and overall engagement with your brand.

If you’ve ever purchased from Amazon or Audible, you’ve most likely been exposed to their product recommendation. The best time to send a product recommendation email is a few days after the buyer has completed his previous order.

Example email:

Subject line: Ready for your next listen?

Screenshot 2019 11 06 at 12.50.37 PM
Personalized product recommendations by Audible

37. Order confirmation

Event triggers:

  • After a successful order.

Description:

You must send confirmation emails once a user completes a purchase on your website. The order confirmation email is an opportunity for you to:

  • Explain any details around the purchase.
  • Set expectations and share information about the delivery times (if it’s a physical product)
  • Reassure users that they made the right decision.

Example email:

Subject line: Reservation Confirmed – Matthew Scott

38 Automated Emails That Work In 2020
Super detailed order confirmation by Airbnb

38. Pre-order

Event triggers:

  • XX days before a product launch

Description:

The pre-order email is a great opportunity to:

  • Start a conversation with your pre-launch audience.
  • Get traffic to your pre-launch landing page.
  • Validate your product idea
  • And generate some run-rate even before your product is live.

I’ve compiled the most comprehensive post on pre-launch marketing, so make sure to check it out if you’re currently working on your pre-launch campaign.

Example email:

Subject line: Pre-order Oculus Quest and Oculus Rift S now.

38 Automated Emails That Work In 2020
Beautifully designed pre-order email from Oculus

Further Reading

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