Help Articles

Autoresponder Campaigns

ActiveCampaign’s email marketing software allows you to create several different types of automated campaigns — the most basic of these is the standard Autoresponder campaign. An Autoresponder campaign is a campaign that will be automatically sent to each individual contact after they subscribe to your list. Autoresponders can be sent to a contact immediately, as soon as they subscribe to your list — or the Autoresponder can be sent to contacts a certain number of hours or days after they subscribe to your list.

All Autoresponder campaigns are based on the date and time a contact is added to your list. If you want to create an automated and/or recurring campaign based on a different contact date (such as their Birthday), you will need to setup a Contact Date-Based Campaign instead.

Below are just a few practical applications that Autoresponder campaigns can have:

  • Sending a timed series of electronic “lessons” for an online class
  • Sending a single “Thank You” message to all new contacts on your list
  • Drip marketing
  • Etc…

Creating An Autoresponder Campaign

To create an Autoresponder, click the Campaigns tab in the software interface, then click Create Campaign on the right. Give a name/title for your campaign, and select “Auto Responder” as the type of campaign.

Once you have chosen the Autoresponder campaign type and given the campaign a name, click Next. The next page allows you to choose which list(s) this campaign should be sent to. Remember — the campaign is not being sent to everyone on those lists right away — it will only be sent to new contacts who subscribe to those lists in the future.

After selecting your list(s), you will be asked to create a new message or choose an existing message. Here, you can create or choose the message that should automatically be sent to your contacts after they sign up to your list. When you have finished creating your message, click Next, and you will be taken to the Summary page.

The Summary page is where you decide when your Autoresponder should be sent to your new contacts.

If you’d like your Autoresponder to automatically send to each new individual contact immediately, as soon as they sign up to your list, select “immediately” from the drop-down menu in the green bar along the bottom of the Summary page, like so:

(click to enlarge)

If you want your Autoresponder to be sent a certain number of hours or days after a person subscribes to your list, choose the “after a specific timeframe” option, and type in the number of hours or days you would like to wait before sending each new contact this campaign:

(click to enlarge)

When you have chosen the settings you want, click Finish on the bottom of the page to save your campaign. Remember, the campaign will not send to your entire list at one time — it will only send individual messages to each new contact, a certain amount of time after they subscribe to your list (using a subscription form, for example).

Will My Autoresponder Be Sent to Existing Contacts?

If you are creating a new Autoresponder campaign on a list with pre-existing contacts, it is important to note that the existing contacts on that list will not necessarily receive your Autoresponder. For example, if you create an instant Autoresponder, which will be sent out to all new contacts as soon as they subscribe to the list, none of your existing contacts (who have already subscribed in the past) will receive it — only new contacts will receive it.

If you create an Autoresponder campaign today that will be sent to all contacts 10 days after they subscribe to your list, then anyone who has subscribed to your list less than 10 days ago will receive the autoresponder campaign, 10 days after their respective subscription dates. However, any contacts who were added to your list longer than 10 days ago will not receive the campaign. If you wish to send the campaign to all contacts added more than 10 days prior to creating this Autoresponder campaign, you can do so using a list Segment.

Instant Autoresponders Not Sent During Import?

All Autoresponders will be sent to any contact who signs up to your list using a subscription form that you have pasted on to your website. However, keep in mind that instant Autoresponders (Autresponders that are sent immediately when a person subscribes to your list) are not sent when you import large batches of contacts using the Import Contacts feature. This is to save server resources and prevent problems or errors that can occur when trying to import large numbers of contacts and also send each of them a campaign simultaneously.

If you’d like to import contacts, but send them all an instant Autoresponder, you can easily create an Autoresponder that is sent one hour after a person contacts, instead of sent immediately. After creating the “1 hour” Autoresponder, you can import your list, and all contacts that you imported will receive the Autoresponder campaign within one hour. Though this may not be “immediate” exactly, it is a valid option.

Another work-around would be to import your contacts, then immediately create a new regular one-time campaign using a Segment, so that the campaign is only sent to the newly-imported contacts.

Note: Instant Autoresponders are also not sent by default when a single contact is added manually through the administrative interface. However, if you are adding your contacts one-by-one, and you do want them to receive an immediate Autoresponder that you have created, you can click “Advanced Options,” then check the box that says “Send instant autoresponders” when adding your new contact.

Advanced: Instant Autoresponders Not Sent When Using API?

Our software offers many ways to add new contacts to the system, one of which is through our open API.

If you have written a custom script using our contact_add() or contact_edit() API functions, and you find that your new contacts are not receiving instant Autoresponders, a common problem is that the API function’s variables are not set correctly. Double-check your script, and make sure that the “instantresponders” variable is set to 1 (NOTE:  This would not work with Free plans). Also, make sure that the “noresponders” variable is not set, or is set to 0:

More questions?

For more information about any feature of ActiveCampaign’s email marketing software, please contact our support team. We’ll be happy to assist you.