Triggered Messaging

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Triggered Messaging permits messages to be sent to your subscribers in response to various actions and events.


A triggering event is any type of event that causes Enterprise to send a triggered mailing to all subscribers who match certain criteria.


A triggered mailing is similar to a non-triggered mailing except that it is:

  • Explicitly marked as "Triggered" on the Edit Mailing screen, as described in the Create a Mailing section.
  • Sent to subscribers whenever a triggering event occurs, rather than being sent to all recipients in a single start-to-finish deployment.
  • Always editable (unlike already-sent non-triggered mailings, which cannot be modified).


Enterprise supports eight different kinds of triggering events:

  1. Profile Data Triggers: This type of event is commonly used to send birthday/anniversary greetings and reminder notices. The "event" is that a Member's profile contains a specific date-based value, either including or ignoring the "year" component of that date. Example of profile fields that might for this purpose are "BirthDate", "Expiration", and "Created", although the specific fields from which you can choose depends on how you configured your Site's profile fields.
  2. Joined Data Source Data Triggers: This type of event is used to send send emails to members based on dates stored in a Joined Data Source and associated with a member. The "event" is that a Joined Data Source value, which is associated with a Member, contains a specific date-based value, either including or ignoring the "year" component of that date. Example of using a Joined Data Source date based trigger would be to send an email to a member one day after each purchase, where each purchase is stored in the Joined Data Source. In this example, the year component of the date field would not be ignored.
  3. Response Data Triggers: The "event", in this case, is a Member either receiving a mailing, opening a mailing, or clicking on a hyperlink in a mailing. Response Data Triggers can be used to send highly targeted follow-up messages: for instance, if a Member expressed interest in a particular product or offer (as indicated by clicking on specific product- or offer-related hyperlinks in a non-triggered mailing), you could send that Member a product- or offer-specific triggered mailing a few days later.
  4. Subscription Event Triggers: The "event", in this case, is a Member subscribing to, or unsubscribing from, a specific List. Subscription Event Triggers can be used to send opt-in welcome messages (e.g., "Thanks for subscribing to our Special Offers list. Here are some introductory offers you might be interested in..."). Triggers based on unsubscribes (as opposed to subscribes) have limited applicability and are of no use if your Site has only a single List.
  5. Send to a Single Recipient: Enterprise Mailing Administrators and Site Administrators can send a single copy of a triggered mailing to a single recipient, as shown in the interface below (the screen is accessible by clicking the "Test/Send" button on the Manage Triggered Mailings screen).
  6. Opt-In (New Member) Notification specifying a triggered mailing: If you have chosen to use a triggered mailing for your Opt-In Notification, Enterprise will send a copy of that triggered mailing to new Members when they create a profile for themselves on your Member Subscribe Page.
  7. Profile Update (Existing Member) Notification specifying a triggered mailing: If you have chosen to use a triggered mailing for your Profile Update Notification, Enterprise will send a copy of that triggered mailing to existing Members when they update their profiles on your Member Subscribe Page.
  8. API calls: If your Site is API-enabled (contact Fishbowl Client Support for more information), then the API can be used to send triggered mailings to your subscribers in real time.


The first four of those triggering events are based on business rules that you define. The definition of those business rules is called a trigger and is created using the interface described below. Once per day (the time is not user-definable), Enterprise enumerates through each of your triggers, checking to see which of your Members match the business rules you have defined. If a Member matches the business rules, and is subscribed to the appropriate List, and meets all applicable segmentation criteria, and has not permanently bounced, then that Member will receive a single copy of the specified mailing. No Member will ever receive more than one copy of the same triggered mailing on the same day, but the same Member might receive multiple copies of the same triggered mailing on separate days (e.g., once a year on their birthday, if the trigger is designed to send birthday greetings).


The remaining four types of triggering events are based on real-time actions rather than business rules. Those actions cause triggered messages to be sent to the appropriate recipients immediately, rather than once per day. Enterprise ignores subscription status and segmentation criteria for these types of events (with the exception of API calls, which do take subscription status into account), but of course Enterprise will not send mail to permanently bounced Members.


To create a trigger based on business rules, you must specify the following settings:

  • Name: A brief, unique description of the trigger.
  • Description (optional): A longer, more informative description of the trigger.
  • Enabled: Checking this box will enable the trigger, making it live. Unchecking this box will temporarily disable the trigger. Disabled triggers can be re-enabled manually (by checking the Enabled box) or by setting a Start date and letting Enterprise set the Enabled box to checked on the start date you have entered. If you wish to permanently disable a trigger, you should delete it rather than unchecking this box.
  • Start date (optional): The date on which the trigger will be enabled by Enterprise. You might choose to set a start date if you wish to enable the trigger in the future rather than enabling it now.
  • Expiration date (optional): The date on which the trigger expires. On the day your trigger expires, Enterprise will automatically mark it as disabled and no messages will be sent for the trigger on the expiration date. You might choose to set an expiration if the content of your trigger is time-sensitive, such as a limited-time promotion.
  • Triggered Mailing: You may choose from any existing triggered mailing. Note that until you have created at least one triggered mailing, you won't be able to create your first trigger.
  • Time Frame: This determines how long before or after the triggering event (see below) Enterprise will send the corresponding triggered mailing. If, for example, the triggering event is based on a profile date field called SubscriptionExpiration, and the purpose of the trigger is to notify Members that their subscription is about to expire, then you might want to send the triggered message to each recipient "1 months and 0 days before" their subscription expiration date, so that they have time to renew their subscription. On the other hand, if your triggering event is based on a profile date field called "Birthdate", and the purpose of the trigger is send a birthday greeting, then you might want the time frame to read "0 months and 0 days after", so that Enterprise sends the triggered mailing on the recipient's birthday. If you choose a triggering event based on response data or subscription event data, then your time frame must be "after" the event, not "before" (because Enterprise cannot predict the future).
  • Triggering Event: The following types of triggering events are available for selection:
  • Opened a Specific Mailing: The date on which a Member opened a specific mailing (bear in mind that Enterprise can track a "mail open" event only when a Member chooses to display the images in a mailing; therefore, text-only mailings should never be selected in this context).
  • Clicked on any Hyperlink in a Specific Mailing
  • Clicked on a Specific Hyperlink in a Specific Mailing
  • Clicked on a Named Hyperlink in a Specific Mailing: This event should be selected instead of the previous one ("Clicked on a Specific Hyperlink in a Specific Mailing") only when multiple hyperlinks in the same mailing have the same Friendly Name (e.g., "Main Street Grill Events Page"), and when clicking on any of those hyperlinks should cause the trigger to fire.
  • Received a Specific Mailing: The date on which Enterprise sent a particular mailing to the Member (since Enterprise can never determine whether the Member actually received the mailing--because of untrackable obstacles such as overeager junk mail filters--this event would be more aptly title "Was Sent a Specific Mailing" rather than "Received a Specific Mailing").
  • Subscribed to a List: The date on which a Member subscribed to a specified List, or to any of your Lists.
  • Unsubscribed from a List: The date on which a Member unsubscribed from a specified List, or from any of your Lists.
  • Current Year, Month, and Day Match Profile Field Date: The value of a specified date-based profile field in a Member's profile. The profile field must be one of the following types: US Date, International Date, or COPPA Compliancy. The built-in date fields "Created" (the date on which a Member was first added to your Site) and "LastUpdated" (the date on which a Member's profile was last modified, either by the Member or by a Enterprise administrator) can also be selected.
  • Current Month and Day Match Profile Field Date: Same as the previous event ("Current Year, Month, and Day Match Profile Field Date"), except that Enterprise will ignore the Year component of the date. For example, if the specified date field is "DOB", and DOB represents the Member's birthday, then configuring the trigger to read "0 months and 1 days before Current month and day match profile field date 'DOB'" (as show below) will send the triggered mailing to each Member the day before their birthday, regardless of the year in which they were born.
  • Current Year, Month, and Day Match Joined Field Date: If your Enterprise site is set up to use a Joined Data Source, you will see this option. The value of a specified date-based Joined Data Source field associated with a member. You can select Any, First or All matching records in a specific Joined Data Source, since a single member can have multiple matching Joined Data Source records.
  • Current Month and Day Match Joined Field Date: Same as the previous event ("Current Year, Month, and Day Match Joined Field Date"), except that Enterprise will ignore the Year component of the date.