Working With Automations
(Note: This article refers to contact list actions / automations. This is not to be confused with our Automated Series feature.)
Automations are a powerful feature, which can be used to automatically perform certain functions on your contacts, based on your contacts’ actions. For example, do you want to…
- Create a separate list containing every contact who shared your campaign on Facebook?
- Make sure that every contact who signs up to one list is automatically unsubscribed from another list?
- Automatically send a “thank you” message to every contact who clicks a certain link?
- Update a contact’s custom field if they forward your campaign to a friend?
These are just some of the many practical uses for the automations feature.
Creating An Automation
To create an automation, go to the Lists tab in your dashboard, and click the Automations button next to the list you want the automation rule to belong to.
On the next page, click Add to create a new automation. You will see a screen that looks like this:
First, you’ll need to type in a name for your automation. This is just a name that will be used for your own internal purposes, so that you can easily distinguish this automation from any others that you may create in the future.
Next, you’ll need to choose an action type. This is the specific action that your contacts are going to be doing, which will then in turn cause something else to happen. Think of the action type as the “trigger” which causes something else to occur. The lower section of the page is where you choose what should happen when the “trigger” occurs.
For example, let us say that if a contact shares your campaign on Facebook, you would like to add them to a new list in your software, so that you can follow up with them later. To do that, you would choose “When contact socially shares a campaign” as the action type. Then, you would choose the campaign your contacts would be sharing, and the social sharing site (Facebook, in this case) that your contacts would be using. Below that, underneath the text that says “What should happen when this action takes place,” you would choose “Subscribe to list” and then choose the list you would like them to be added to on the right. Below is a screen shot of what this example action might look like:
In this example, anyone who receives your campaign titled “October Newsletter,” and then shares that campaign on Facebook (using our personalized social sharing links), will automatically be subscribed to a list called “People who shared my campaign.”
If you’d like, you can also click “Add additional action,” so that multiple different events can be triggered by the same contact action. For example, let’s say that when someone shares your campaign on Facebook, you want to add them to a new list, but you also want to update a custom contact field to keep track of which campaign they shared, for your own records. To update a contact field automatically, you would choose “update contact info” from the drop down menu on the left, then choose the contact field you want to change from the middle drop down menu, then type in the value you want to set it to on the right. In this example, there is a custom contact field called “shared on Facebook” — it is a plain text field, and we are updating it to say “October Newsletter.”
Once you are done creating your automation, click “Add” on the bottom to save it. With this example automation, anyone who shares the “October Newsletter” campaign on Facebook will automatically be subscribed to a list called “People who shared my campaign,” and they will also have the value of a custom field set to the text “October Newsletter.”
You’ll see on the Automations page that you can create automations based on whether or not a contact clicks a specific link in a campaign. Alternatively, you can also create this type of action while you’re creating that campaign. This can be seen on the Summary page when you’re creating a campaign (which is the last page before the campaign is actually sent). To see this option, click “Options” on the right hand side of the Summary page.
Once you click Options, you’ll see a list of all of the links in your campaign. Click “Action(s)” next to one of your links, and you’ll see that you have the option to creation an automation that occurs when a contact clicks that link. Below is a screen shot showing the pop-up window that you will see when creating the link action:
Automations are a very versatile feature, which open up the ActiveCampaign email marketing platform to a lot of advanced possibilities, and can be used to help target and automate your email marketing efforts further. When the automations feature is used in combination with our other features (such as autoresponder campaigns, custom fields, and segments), almost any type of email or function can be automated.
Should you have any questions regarding automations which are not covered in this article, please contact our support team. We’ll be happy to assist you.