Advanced: Using Triggers to Send Automated Follow-up Email Messages

This page teaches you how to use Triggers to send automated, follow-up email messages to your recipients who take a particular action on a past email message. You can set up such an automated follow-up email when a recipient clicks a link, opens an email message, or visits a page on your website. For example, you can use Triggers to send a follow-up email 24 hours after a recipient opens your first mass email announcing your new product. Or you can use Triggers to send a “thank you” email immediately to a recipient that lands on the “purchase” page of your website. 

Please note: since personalization pulls from list data and a trigger does not send to a list but to a single address, triggers are not able to be personalized.


Setting up Triggers

To create a Trigger, go to Settings → Sending and Receiving and click Triggers. Then click the Add New Item button. Below is an explanation of the fields on this page:

Trigger Name: Choose a friendly name by which to refer to this Trigger later.

Related Message: Select the email from your list of messages that you wish to be sent to recipients that open, click, or visit a web page. If you need to create this email message, you must first do so in the Messages section. Send it to yourself or simply click Save.

Event Type: Specify which action the Trigger should apply to, whether Message openedLink clicked or Web page viewed.

If you choose Message Opened, there are no additional parameters to specify. The email message to which the Trigger applies must be an HTML email with Open Tracking turned on.

If you choose Link Clicked, you can also specify the particular URL that has to be clicked for the Trigger to fire. If you leave the URL blank, the Trigger will apply to all clicks on all URLs. The email message to which the Trigger applies must have Click Tracking turned on. Click tracking must be enabled

If you choose Web Page Viewed, you can specify the particular URL of your web page that the recipient has to land on for the Trigger to fire. Alternatively, instead of specifying a URL, you can specify an action tag parameter (like Action=Purchase for example), if you have tagged your web pages with specific action parameters. If you leave this field blank, the Trigger will apply to all pages on your website where you have the JangoMail activity tracking code. The email message to which the Trigger applies must have Click Tracking turned on, your account must have Activity Tracking turned on, and Activity Tracking code must be present on your website.

SQL SELECT Query: If you have defined website database settings under ListsDatabases and set a Master Web DB profile under SettingsIntegrating JangoMail with Other Systems, then the SQL Query field will allow you to specify a SQL query to pull the recipient data from your database upon the Trigger fire. Your SQL Query should include %%EmailAddress%%, as JangoMail will substitute the recipient's email address in the SQL query before connecting to your database to pull the single record.

Example: SELECT * FROM MyContacts WHERE TheEmail = '%%EmailAddress%%'

Trigger applies to: Decide whether the Trigger should apply to all emails in your account or just specific emails that you will designate later. Triggers that apply to all emails in your account are called Universal Triggers. Campaign-specific Triggers will display in the message specific Settings tab (not the Settings section of your account) when you are editing a message. This enables you to apply specific triggers to individual emailings. Universal Triggers will not display here since they apply to all emailings anyway. It is not recommended that you use Universal Triggers unless you have a very specific need that requires this.

When this Trigger sends (Behavior Tab): Decide whether the Trigger should fire a certain number of minutes after the recipient action, or a certain number of days after the recipient action at a certain time. To set the Trigger to fire immediately upon recipient action, set it to "0 Minutes".

How often this Trigger will send (Behavior Tab): Decide whether the Trigger should fire every time the recipient performs the action or just once per campaign. For example, if you have an Open Trigger, and you choose Only once, then the Trigger will fire only when the recipient opens the email the very first time; however, if you set it to Every time, the Trigger will fire every time the recipient opens the email. Therefore, in general, it is not recommended that you choose Every time unless you have a very specific need that requires this.


Selecting a Trigger for a Campaign

 Select the Trigger you want to use as a follow-up when you are creating your initial campaign and before you click Send. Go to the blue Settings tab next to Filtering and Previews. The top of that section will allow you to select the Trigger. Triggers are identified here by the friendly name you specified when creating the Trigger. 

Note: You must create the Trigger before trying to select it here. If you do not have any Triggers created, you will get a message that says "There are no triggers assigned in your account."

Remember to enable open tracking or click tracking on the blue Tracking tab if you are choosing a Trigger based on one of those actions!


Triggers vs. Autoresponders

You might want to send an automated follow-up email based not on an open, click, or web page view, but based on the action of someone subscribing to a list. While JangoMail fully supports this functionality, Triggers are not the way to accomplish this. Instead, you must assign an Autoresponder to your list that sends an automated follow-up email to the list member at a designated time after the member has joined the list. For more information, refer to the page on Autoresponders.


Triggers vs. Behavioral Targeting

While Triggers allow you to send an automated follow-up email based on an action at a designated time after the individual action, Behavioral Targeting allows you to send a batch email at once to all those that have taken a particular action at anytime in the past. Behavioral Targeting allows you to segment your email lists based on past recipient behavior, and then send a mass email to just the segmented portion of your list. For more information, refer to the page on Behavioral Targeting/Advanced Filtering.


Reporting on Triggers

To access reporting data on triggered email messages, go to Reports → Broadcast Message Reports → Open Report Dashboard. Click the Filter Icon and go to Job Type. Choose Triggers. On this page, you will see all follow-up email messages that have been sent for that Trigger, and whether the recipient clicked, opened, or viewed a web page based on the triggered email message.


Using Triggers with the API/Web Service

To assign Triggers to mass emails sent through the web service, use the Options input parameter of the SendMassEmail or SendMassEmailRaw methods. The format for Triggers within the Options parameter is:


So, for example, the Options parameter might contain:

Triggers=Open Followup,Purchase Followup

assuming that you have two triggers in your account, one named “Open Followup”, and the other named “Purchase Followup”.

For more information on the API/Web Service, see our API documentation.


Triggers are one way to keep on top of your marketing. Use these other methods to really stay a step ahead.
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