How-To Series: Crafting an Incomplete Application Email

by Asaf Darash,

One of the best features when you have an automated online registration software is that you will see more completed applications. Furthermore, you will get payments faster and on time than you will with paper applications, phone applicants or any other type of application process for that matter. Although, while you will see quicker and more completed applications, it doesn’t always mean that each applicant will complete their application in one shot. So while the process is easier, it doesn’t remove the step of reminding applicants to finish up their application or make a payment. That’s where a good incomplete application email comes in.

Thankfully, with a great online registration software you can easily program your system to communicate with applicants without you lifting a finger. When a user hasn’t completed a section of their application or when a payment is outstanding, having a triggered incomplete application email can be a great asset to gently encourage the applicant to complete what they are missing.

The key to this message is including certain information that is easy to find and understand, so the applicant knows exactly what is expected of them.

Below is a great example of an incomplete application email. Please feel free to use part or all of it in your own emails to your clients. And, as we’ve done in our previous “How To Email” series, after the deadline email template, we’ll highlight the parts of the email that are important and should be included in your own text.

good email


So why is this incomplete application email good?

  • Personalizing the email. Having an automated online registration software makes this simple. People like to read an email written specifically to them. They are more likely to read it if it’s addressed to them, with personalized information. People tend to skim and sometimes completely skip emails that look like a bulk message. By filling in the blanks of the email with specific information, like their name, specific balance or forms they are missing they will be more likely to complete the application.
  • Having a list of what they have and haven’t completed right in the body of the email is super helpful. It helps the reader get an idea of how much they need to complete and the investment of time they might have to make once they click on the link. Making each item a link is also super convenient for the applicant. They can click directly on the form they need to complete and go from there, so they don’t have to search once they login what exact forms you were talking about.
  • Including having a list of what they have and haven’t completed, making sure the system presents the completed items in green and the incomplete in red is even more helpful. As we’ve mentioned, people tend to skim emails so color coding the most important part of the message, what they have and still need to complete, will help them focus on each action item. Everyone associates green with “ok” and red with “stop” or “problem” which is exactly the meaning you want to convey when something is missing or incomplete in their application.
  • Giving several options within the body of the email to go to their application is also helpful. Many people, even if it’s addressed to them, will still skim the email so giving the link and repeating the action you’d like (go to their dashboard and finish!) is helpful. Also including the email they logged in with will help them to login faster. This is an easy line of information to include if these messages are automated.

What does a ‘bad’ email look like?

bad email

Even though you already know what a good email looks like, take those skills and see how the email below is considered “bad”.


So why is this bad…

  • The email isn’t addressed to a specific person
  • There are no links or other helpful information. Besides the email address it came from, there is no mention of any program titles, dates or the name of the applicant.
  • There are no dates to let the reader know when the due date for the application.
  • The email just screams BULK! There is just nothing personal about the message, which can lead to many people looking it over briefly (if at all!) and deleting it straight away. You want and need your applicants to read this message, understand what is expected of them and then complete their application and pay, on time!

Any other tips we’ve left out that you’ve had success with in your own email messages to clients? We look forward to hearing about them on our Facebook or Twitter pages!


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About The Author

Asaf Darash

Asaf has extensive experience as entrepreneur and investor. Asaf has built 3 successful companies to date, all with an exit plan or that have stayed in profitability and are still functional. Asaf specializes in product development for the web, team building and in bringing a company from concept to an actualized unit that is profitable.