Automations

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Automations allow you to set up recurring messages to be sent to your members in response to various actions and events. An Automation consists of a Triggering Event and at least one Triggered Mailing and may additionally include one or more delays and additional Triggered Mailings.

Automation Examples

Basic Welcome Automation

1 Day after JoinDate, send Welcome Mailing (Trigger + Triggered Mailing)
In this example, the day after a member joins they will be sent the Welcome Mailing.

Welcome + Profile Update Automation

1 Day after JoinDate, send Welcome Mailing, Delay 14 days, send Profile Update Mailing (Trigger + Triggered Mailing + Delay + Triggered Mailing)
In this example, the day after a member joins, they will be sent the Welcome Mailing, then 14 days after the Welcome Mailing is sent the Profile Update Mailing will be sent to a member requesting more information about them.

Advanced Welcome + Profile Update Automation

1 Day after JoinDate, send Welcome Mailing for Web joins OR Welcome Mailing for Sign-up Slip joins, Delay 14 days, send Profile Update Mailing (Trigger + Triggered Mailing / Triggered Mailing + Delay + Triggered Mailing)
In this example, the day after a member joins, they will be sent the Welcome Mailing for Web joins if they joined online OR the Welcome Mailing for Sign-up slips if they joined via a sign-up slip in store. Then 14 days after either Welcome Mailing is sent, the Profile Update Mailing will be sent to a member requesting more information about them. Segmentation on the two mailings will need to specify that one mailing should be sent to those who signed up via web and the other should be sent if the member joined via a sign-up slip. If you "stack" multiple Mailings in a single step please refer to the note in Step 4 below for Advanced Use Cases.

Parts of an Automation

An Automation consists of a Trigger and at least one Triggered Mailing and may additionally include one or more Delays and additional Triggered Mailings.

Trigger Event

Enterprise supports eight different kinds of triggers:

  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 be used 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 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 within an Automation. Once per day (the time is not user-definable), Enterprise enumerates through each of your Automations, 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 each specified mailing. No Member will ever receive more than one copy of the same triggered mailing on the same day (even if the same Triggered Mailing is used in multiple Automations), 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) OR the same member could receive multiple mailings from a single automation in one day in cases where the mailings are "stacked". If you "stack" multiple Mailings in a single step please refer to the note in Step 4 below for Advanced Use Cases.

The remaining four types of triggering events are based on real-time actions rather than business rules and are not utilized in Automations. 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.

Triggered Mailings

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

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).

Delays

A delay is an optional element of an Automation.  A delay can be used after the first triggered mailing (or multiple mailings) to specify to send the next mailing (or multiple mailings) after a set number of delays.  A delay will always be from when the previous triggered mailing was sent. For example, if your Automation is a Welcome Automation where you have Trigger + Mailing + Delay + Mailing, in this example, you might have the Trigger event as one day after JoinDate which sends the Welcome Mailing, then a 14 day Delay, then a Profile Update mailing is sent. In this example, the Delay is 14 days after the Welcome Mailing is sent.

How to create an Automation

Step 1: From the Mailings menu select "Automations", then click Add New Automation on the Automations page.

Step 2: Give your Automation a Name & Description.  Optionally you can also set a Start Date and/or an End Date.  Your new Automation will not be enabled until you decide to enable it or until the Start Date that you set.

  • Automation Name: A brief, unique description of the automation.
  • Description (optional): A longer, more informative description of the automation.
  • Start date (optional): The date on which the Automation will be enabled by Enterprise. You might choose to set a start date if you wish to enable the Automation in the future rather than enabling it now.
  • Expiration date (optional): The date on which the Automation expires. On the day your Automation expires, Enterprise will automatically mark it as disabled and no messages will be sent on the expiration date. You might choose to set an expiration if the content of your Automation is time-sensitive, such as a limited-time promotion.
  • Enabled: This will enable the Automation, making it live. Disabling will temporarily disable the Automation. Disabled Automation can be re-enabled manually using the Enable control or by setting a Start date and letting Enterprise set to Enabled on the start date you have entered. 

Step 3: Choose your Trigger Time Frame and Triggering Event.

  • 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:​
    • 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 an 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'" 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.

Step 4: Choose your 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.  NOTE: Advanced Use Case: If you wish to add one or more additional Mailings that uses the same Trigger, you may do so.  You will need to specify which members will get each of the designated Mailings using the Segmentation rules on each Triggered Mailing you are using. Multiple Mailings can be "stacked" in this way in any step in an Automation.  Be sure to verify that the segmentation you use on each Triggered Mailing used in this scenario to ensure that no members will receive more than one mailing per step in your automation; Enterprise will prevent a single member from getting more than one copy of a single triggered mailing (using MailingID) in a single day, but if you are sending multiple Triggered Mailings in the same day then a member could receive more than one mailing even if they are from the same Automation. 

Step 5: Set a Delay (optional).

Delays can be added to any Automation but they are optional. A Delay will allow you to set a Delay for X-months and Y-days.  This is the timeframe that Enterprise will use to determine when to send the next Triggered Mailing in your Automation.  If we use the Trigger + Triggered Mailing + Delay + Triggered Mailing example if the Delay is set to 14 days Enterprise will send the second Triggered Mailing to a member 14 days after the first Triggered Mailing is sent to that member.

Step 6+: More Triggered Mailings & Delays (optional).

If you wish to build a more advanced Automation you can continue to add Triggered Mailings and Delays to fit your business need. You are only limited in that a Delay must be followed by at least one Triggered Mailing. If you "stack" multiple Mailings in a single step please refer to the note in Step 4 for Advanced Use Cases.