Help Articles

Date Based Campaigns

ActiveCampaign’s email marketing software includes many types of specialized campaigns. One type of campaign that you can create is a Date Based campaign. A Date Based campaign is similar to an Autoresponder.

Autoresponder campaigns are based on the date that a contacts subscribed to your list (or when you added or imported them). You can specify the interval for when your Autoresponder will be sent. For example, you can create an Autoresponder that sends instantly (or 3 days, 1 week, etc.) after a contact subscribes to your list.

On the other hand, a Date Based campaign is based on any Date Field (which you define). This type of campaign will be automatically sent to a contact when a certain date is matched. Date Based campaigns are sent to each contact either before, after, or on the specified date.

Some examples of what Date Based campaigns can be used for are:

  • Sending “Happy Birthday” emails to each of your contacts on their respective birthdays.
  • A Birthday coupon before your contacts’ birthdays.
  • Sending a “One Year Anniversary” email to any contact who has been a member of your organization for one year.
  • Sending “Account Renewal” emails to warn a contact that their account/subscription with your company will soon expire.
In this article, we will explain how to create a Date Based campaign that will send each of your contacts an email 5 days before their birthday.

Creating A Custom Date Field

The Date Based campaign can be based on a contact’s Subscription Date if you’d like. However, it can also be based on a custom date field that you create.

In this example, because we want to send an email to each contact 10 days prior to their birthday, you must create a Custom Field in the software (with a Date Type) to hold the birth dates for each of your contacts. To create a custom field, click on the Lists tab, then click the Fields Button for the List you wish to add the Custom Field to.

Field Button

Click on the Add a New Custom Field button at the bottom then choose a Field Type. There are many types of Contact Fields you can create, but for this purpose, you will want to create a Date field. For this example, you can call the field “Birthday.” Click the “Save” button to finish adding the field.

Importing Your Contact Data

Now that you have a custom field to hold your contact’s birthdays, you’ll need to make sure you add each contact’s birthday to the system. The easiest way to do this is to import your contacts from a CSV or Excel file. We also offer several other methods for importing contacts, which you can read more about here.

Make sure that when you import your contacts, you match up the column that holds their birth date to the Birthday custom field that you created. (You’ll notice that you can also create new custom fields during the import process.)

Mapping Fields

Creating Your Campaign

Now that you have imported your contacts, each with their own Birthday values, you can create your Date Based Campaign. To do this, click the Campaigns tab, then click the Create New Campaign Campaign. Choose Date Based as the type of campaign, and then type a name for this campaign. Click Next.

Campaign Type Page

Proceed with the campaign creation process. (To learn about how to create a campaign, read our Quick Start Guide).

After you’ve created your message, you will be brought to the Summary page. This is the last step of the campaign creation process.

Along the bottom of the page, there will be a green bar — this green bar will ask you which contact date field the campaign should be based on, what the format of the date should be in, and when the campaign should be sent to each contact.

Summary Page

In this example, we want to send our message to each contact individually, 5 days before their birthday. The following should then be set.

  • Choose “Birthday” from the contact field menu.
  • Since we want this campaign to send to each contact 5 days before their birthday every year, choose “month & day” from the next drop-down menu. (If you wanted the campaign to only send one time — not on a yearly basis — you would choose the “year, month and day” option.)
  • Because the campaign should be sent 5 days BEFORE each contacts’ birthday, choose PLUS from the next menu, and type in the number “5,” then choose Days from the last menu.
Important Note: To send a message to each contact BEFORE a given date, choose “plus” from the offset drop-down menu. If you want to send a message to each contact AFTER the given date, choose “minus.” You can also choose “exactly” if you’d like to send someone a message ON their Birthday, for example (on the exact date, not before or after).
If you are ever in doubt regarding the configuration of your Date Based campaign on the Summary page, read the example sentence below the green bar. In this case, the example says:

Example: When this campaign runs tomorrow (08/15/2011) it will look for contacts with a Birthday matching (08/20/2012)

When you are done configuring your Date Based campaign settings on the Summary page, click the Finish button. This will not send out any messages instantly — messages will only be sent to contacts on an individual basis, depending on their Birthday values.
Once a day, our software will “run” the campaign — when this occurs, the software will look through all of your contacts, find the contacts whose Birthdays are 5 days away, and send the campaign to those contacts only.

Managing Your Campaign

If you ever need to make changes to the campaign, view its report, or stop it from sending, you can click the Campaigns tab, search for it (or filter the list to show you only Scheduled campaigns). Then, click either the Edit or Disable button next to the campaign.
If you want to view the reports for the campaign or delete the campaign entirely, just hover over the Campaign and the Reports and Delete buttons will appear.
Manage Your Campaign

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.