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Sending automated campaigns

Automated campaigns are targeted emails you can send to people after they perform a specific action on your site. They're sometimes called "triggered sends."

There are two types of automations:

  • Subscriber activity automations - Sent after someone subscribes to a mailing list through a form on your site.
  • Customer activity automations - Sent after someone purchases a product on your site.

For example, you could send subscriber activity automations thanking people for subscribing to your list, or customer activity automations suggesting they share the item on social media.

Automated campaigns are available on some Email Campaigns plans.

Before you begin

Types of automations

Subscriber activity automations

Subscriber activity automations are connected to mailing lists, which are connected to forms on your site. They are triggered by subscribers signing up for the mailing list.

  • Welcome New Subscribers
  • Send a Coupon to Subscribers
  • Check In with Subscribers

Customer activity automations

Customer activity automations are connected to products on your site. They are triggered by customers making purchases.

  • Say Thanks to Customers
  • Recommend Additional Products
  • Send a Coupon to Customers

Sending a customer activity automation doesn't sign the recipient up for your mailing list. You can encourage them to subscribe by adding a newsletter subscribe option to checkout.

Create a draft

To create a draft:

  1. In your Email Campaigns dashboard, click Create.
  2. Click Automation and select a template. You can use any template when creating an automation.

You can also reuse templates from existing drafts or previously sent campaigns:

  1. In the Email Campaigns dashboard, click Drafts, Scheduled, Sent, or Automations.
  2. Click the campaign with the template you want to reuse.
  3. Click ..., then click Reuse Template. This generates a new automation with the same template.

After you've created a new draft:

  1. Build the campaign.
  2. Connect it to a product or mailing list and choose when it sends.
  3. Activate the automation.

Your draft saves automatically as you build the campaign. While you edit, the automation is paused.

Connect and schedule automations

To choose when an automation sends and connect it to a mailing list or product:

  1. Click the Email tab of your automated campaign's draft, then click Automation.
  2. Depending on the type, click Mailing List or Products to connect the automation to its trigger.
  3. Click Timing to schedule the automation. Click Custom to choose a custom delay of up to 60 days.

Subscriber and customer activity automations have different options:

  • Each subscriber activity automation can connect to one mailing list.
  • You can connect customer activity automations to one or more products, or switch the Any Product toggle on to send the automation after any purchase.

Here's how that looks for a customer activity automation:


Activate automations

In the email tab of your automated campaign's draft:

  1. Add a subject and preview text. See our tips for help.
  2. Connect a sender profile to choose the email address and name that your campaigns are sent from.
  3. Click Legal Address to add a valid physical postal address to the footer. If this is your first campaign, the address from your site's business information settings displays by default, or you can add an address manually. If you aren't sure which address to use, visit our tips.
  4. Click Send Test to send a test email to your personal address. This is optional, but we recommend it. See these tips for a checklist of things to look out for.
  5. Click Activate Automation to activate the campaign.

Changes to timing of active automations

If you activate an automation and later change its timing, the new timing will only affect subscribers or customers who trigger the automation after the change.

For example, if you schedule an automation to send three days after a subscriber signs up, then later change it to send four days after, any subscriber who signs up before you make the change will still receive it three days after they subscribe, while subscribers who sign up after the change will receive it after four days.

This is particularly important to keep in mind when setting up drip campaigns.

Pause automations

There are two ways to pause an automation:

  • Click ..., then Pause.
  • Automated campaigns automatically pause if you edit them. This ensures your subscribers don't see an unfinished draft.

To un-pause an automation, click Activate Automation.

If a subscriber signs up or a customer makes a purchase when an automation is paused, the automation won't send to them, even after it's made active again.

For existing subscribers and customers, if an automation is paused when it's time to send them an email, our system waits four hours, then tries to send it again. If it's still paused during this second attempt, the automation won't send to them.

Drip campaigns

A drip campaign is a series of emails. For example, if someone signs up for the mailing list on your fitness website, you could send a short set of emails with tips to help them get started exercising.

To create an automated drip campaign:

  1. Create multiple subscriber activity or customer activity automations.
  2. Connect them to the same mailing list or product.
  3. Schedule a different sending time for each one. For example, for a customer activity drip campaign, you could set one to send immediately after purchase, one to send 14 days later, and one to send 30 days later.

Only visitors who sign up for a newsletter or make a purchase after you create the automated drip campaign will receive these emails, even if some of the drip campaigns are scheduled further in the future. For example, if someone purchases a product, and the next day you schedule a drip campaign to send a week after a purchase, that customer won't receive the email, but new customers will.

Note: It's not possible to set up drip campaigns directly for your member areas. To learn more, see Member Areas and automations.

Change automation types

To change an automation type from subscriber to customer activity, and vice versa:

  1. In the Email Campaigns dashboard, click Automations.
  2. Click the automation.
  3. Click ..., then click Edit Campaign.
  4. In the Email tab in the right panel, click Automation.
  5. Click After a Purchase or After a Person Subscribes to switch to the other type.
Tip: Any demo content in the draft will stay the same.

If you want to change an automation to a blast campaign, visit Building email campaigns.

Rename an automation

To rename an automation:

  1. In the Email Campaigns dashboard, click Automations.
  2. Click the automation.
  3. Click ..., then click Rename.
Tip: If you change automation types, update the automation's name so you can find it easily in the automations list.

Delete automations

To delete an automation:

  1. In the Email Campaigns dashboard, click Automations.
  2. Click the automation.
  3. Click ..., then click Delete.

Automations and unsubscribes

For subscriber activity automations:

  • If someone subscribes and then unsubscribes before a subscriber activity automation is sent, they won't receive the subscriber activity automation.

For customer activity automations:

  • If someone unsubscribes from a customer activity automation, they're unsubscribed from all customer activity automations for your site.
  • Unsubscribing from a customer activity automation doesn't unsubscribe them from any mailing lists they're on.

For drip campaigns:

  • If someone unsubscribes from one automation, they won't receive any others.

To learn more about unsubscribes, visit Email campaign unsubscribes.

Track your progress

Click any automation and scroll down to the graph to see how many people received, opened, and clicked a link in the automation, and to track unsubscribes.

To learn more, visit Tracking email campaign analytics.

Tip: On Business and Commerce plans, traffic sources analytics shows more information such as revenue generated by each campaign.

Member Areas and automations

It's not possible to send automations to members after they sign up for one of your member areas. Members aren't automatically added to a mailing list, so they won't receive subscriber activity automations, and they don't receive customer activity automations, even if they join a member area with a membership fee.

If you want your members to receive automations, they'll need to subscribe to a mailing list after becoming a member. To do this, build a mailing list and set up a subscriber activity automation using that list. Then, add a newsletter block in your member area and ask members to subscribe.

Keep in mind, if you add members to the list manually, they won't receive the automations. They'll have to sign up on their own.

Why aren't my automations sending?

Automations won't send to certain recipients under certain conditions. This is to limit inbox spam, protect subscriber privacy, and ensure automations are only sending in the intended scenarios.

See the table below to learn more.

Intended recipient Solution

People you added to your mailing list manually or imported, or people who've unsubscribed.

None. To protect subscribers, automations won't send to these recipients.

People already on the mailing list before the automation is created, including people added while on a Starter plan. Create the automation with a new mailing list and encourage existing subscribers to sign up for it.
People who subscribe or make a purchase when an automation is paused. Unpause the automation. Keep in mind, this won't send the automation to subscribers who signed up or customers who purchased during the pause, but it ensures new subscribers and customers receive it.

Subscription product customers when subscriptions renew. Automations only send on the initial purchase.

None. To limit inbox spam, automations only send on the initial purchase.

Drip campaign subscribers when additional drip campaign emails are created after they've subscribed.

Create the new drip campaign with a new mailing list and encourage existing subscribers to sign up for it. Subscribers only receive drip campaign emails created and active at the time of signup.
Any subscriber if you're over your monthly amount of sends. Wait until the next usage period begins, or upgrade your plan.

To further limit inbox spam, automations are only sent to subscribers once in any 30 day period. For example:

  • If someone unsubscribes from a mailing list and resubscribes within 30 days, they won’t receive the automated message again.
  • If someone triggers the same automation twice within 30 days, they won't receive the automated message again. For example, if they purchase a product connected to an automation twice, they'll only receive the automation after the first purchase.
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