There are three methods of automation: autoresponders, automated messages, and programs. In some situations, any of these three methods might fit a scenario.
One example is an opt-in action. Opt-in actions happen when a contact completes and submits a web form, or your system captures data and you send the data over by using an AddRecipient API call.
After a contact moves into the database, you can have a Welcome email trigger in 1 of 3 ways.
Autoresponder and opt-in
When in an email template, click Automate and choose a trigger event.
It is important to note that the moment a contact is added to the database by an opt-in action, the email instantly triggers. If you want to send only an autoresponder to a contact under specific circumstances (such as a specific behavior or they have a specific field value), then an autoresponder is not suitable.
Automated message groups and opt-in
With automated message groups, more options are available. You can also set a query as the contact source, and apply a filter on who the email is sent to, such as Country = United Kingdom. However, it is important to understand the nuances for using triggers.
You can create an automated message group and set the event trigger to Opt-in date. All subsequent actions occur from the opt-in date.
When you automate an email template by setting the Automated Message Group Opt-In Date Event Trigger option:
- The Schedule email to state on: option must be set at least 1 day after the triggered event. This opt-in action event ONLY triggers your email to send the following day at the earliest, and at the time you specify.
- Using the recurring event trigger in automated message groups means you can set the frequency.
- You can use a query as your contact source to control which contacts your email is sent to.
- Frequency is set by the template. For an recurring event trigger, select the Recurring mailings.
- When you automate an email, in most cases, you have the following options: hourly, daily at, weekly, monthly by date, or monthly by day of week. To trigger the email, select the time of day for the email to be sent. For example, 12 noon each day calculates the query to work out what contacts the email is sent to.
Imagine the following process: You import data into your database every day at 8 AM. The recurring automated message groups start the query calculation at 12 noon to see who meets the criteria and are then sent the message. However, this option might not work as well with contacts who are added via a web form or an AddRecipient API if they are added after 12 noon.
Programs are powerful tools and you can create simplified or complex programs. It might be best to use a program for following scenario:
You have one database but multiple web forms (potentially for different business lines). You would like to send a Welcome email almost immediately in thanks for them signing up, but the communications need to be different because of the business lines. You can use the Event Based Program entry criteria to pull in a contact the moment a specific web form is completed. Then, by using Move to track criteria, immediately direct the contact to the correct track and send a welcome email or series of emails.
You can select multiple web forms for your entry criteria.
Within the classic program flow, you can place multiple Move to track actions directly onto the Start track. For example, there are three: one for cars, one for trucks, and one for planes.
- Rules are straightforward. Contact is in Contact List: Cars, move to the Cars Track. Contact is in Contact List: Motorcycles, move to the Motorcycles track. The criteria might equally be set to Has filled in web form XYZ, move to Track XYZ, etc.
- By using the Add contacts when the following events occur program event entry criteria, a contact is pulled into the program immediately. You can then set the email to wait 0 days, which would result in a much more targeted and relevant Welcome email or series of emails.