How to Create an Automation

Recording of Office Hours hosted by Chris Davis on August 21, 2018. In this session, we learned the anatomy of an automation and how to create an automation in our builder. We also considered a few third-party tools that can be used with ActiveCampaign to personalize your website.


Chris Davis: 00:01 All right, so Lorena has a question, and her question is as such. “I’m very new to ActiveCampaign.” Welcome to ActiveCampaign, Lorena. “And I’m getting familiar with the system before implementing anything for our clients. During the webinar, can you please walk us through automations and triggers in particular? One of our clients.” Let me … that’s one question. “One of our clients has a sport clothing company, and I would like to create an automation. When a customer purchases a product, the system automatically generates an email to up-sale/cross-sale. Our client uses WooCommerce platform, and we are using ActiveWoo as a bridge.”

All right, let’s just jump right into it. I think this is a great … Maybe I could do that. All right, it worked. All right, so I’m going to walk you through exactly what you asked, Lorena, starting from the top. Those of you who are live with me, if at any point you have a question, let me know. I’ll fit them in while I answer this one. This is a pretty meaty question and it’s packed with a lot of … I mean, there’s going to be a lot of value in answering this, so I’m going to take my time with this one, so make sure that you ask your question in the chat. Like I said, I could pause and answer your question and come back.

All right, so let’s start with here. “Can walk us through automations and triggers in particular?” Automations are automations, right? Automations are the way to execute your business processes, if you want to think of it that way. If you have a business process that you want to be executed by a technology, you’re going to use an automation to do that. All right? The way that an automation starts is by the trigger, the start trigger. In fact, I think this is a good time, I want to show you all something that I think is perfect for exactly this. I’m pulling it up, just bear with me one minute, I promise you, it will be worth the wait. I promise you this. All right. Here we go. This is our latest course, Getting Started with ActiveCampaign. What I want to show you is the anatomy of an automation. Introductions to Automations, I believe are right here. This is what you should understand about automations. This is all in the course., it’s free for all of you to enroll in right now. There is no charge. All of the content that you see on my screen right now is available to you. But what I think is important for you Lorena is to understand the anatomy of an automation. If an automation executes your processes, how does that work? The anatomy is you start an automation, you have some action within the automation, and then stop. Those three things happen in every single automation. Start, action, stop. SAS. Okay?

What you’re asking is the triggers are the start portion. First off, I just wanted to make sure you were aware of this resource,, the Getting Started with ActiveCampaign course is there. In fact, Lorena, I think that is the best place for you to start. It will clear up a lot of questions that you have asked here, and probably other questions that you haven’t asked yet. Okay. With that in mind, let’s look at this. Let’s just go through this automation as you have said. Since we know the anatomy of an automation is start, action, stop, we want to start, what’s our start, everybody? When a customer purchases, okay? When a customer purchases, and then the action is you want to generate an email. Okay?

Essentially we can assume the stop being they purchased. Maybe they purchase or just that’s all you’re doing, it’s kind of like a one-off, you’re just sending that out. That’s fine. The stop is assumed after the action then. Let’s start with start action. This entire process starts when a purchase is made. Since you have WooCommerce, this is a good point, because we have our built-in WooCommerce integration, and then you have this platform called ActiveWoo. If you had our built-in WooCommerce integration, which I do recommend because it passes a lot more information, you would use this start trigger, makes a purchase, okay?

I would select this, hit continue, and I would set up my WooCommerce, and I would have it to run once maybe. Okay? Yeah, I’m going to have it run once because I’m going to specify which product that I want to follow up. This is why you want the WooCommerce deep data integration, because now I can go to E-Commerce and say, where is my … Product name is, what are you, you said a sports clothing company? Black shorts. Let’s just say you have a product named black shorts. Now, anytime someone makes a purchase of black shorts, that is going to be our start. Okay?

Now what is our action? You want to generate an email to upsell them. There it is, send an email, create email, and we’ll say, “Lorena cross-sale.” We’ll create it. Now that’s going to go into our template, and maybe you want to use one of these, right? Like 20% off you can give them. Since we know it’s black shorts, and that’s the reason why I wanted to be more targeted, is that if I know they’re buying black shorts, I know exactly what to up-sell them to. It would be kind of hard if it’s just like, they purchased any product, and I didn’t know, [inaudible 00:06:59] I know. Anyways, we can create an email there that gives us that cross-sale opportunity.

All right. Essentially, that’s how you would do it. If you were using our native integration, you would operate just like this. Now, with that being said, you’re using ActiveWoo. Let me see. Integration [inaudible 00:07:31]. Sure, sure. Lazar, those are perfectly appropriate questions here. I’ll answer those. Just let me finish this one up, since this is short enough. This is the preferred way. But I understand, Lorena, I know that your client is using ActiveWoo. We can pull off the same thing. For those of you that don’t know, before we had these data plug-ins and extensions like these were created to fill in that gap. What ActiveWoo does is when you purchase, it applies a tag based on the product purchased.

When someone, instead of going here, oops, instead of going here and using this, makes a purchase, you’ll need to use this, tag is added. This tag would need to be the product – black shorts. Right? We just switch it up, because when you have WooCommerce, which is a third-party integration, it’s going to apply the tag on the WordPress site right when this product is purchased, when that tag is added, then it is our start trigger, then it fires off this email. You would have an automation for every product or every category of product. It really depends on how you’re implementing for your client. I could easily see, if I’m thinking of segments, you should always think in segments. For your client, they’re a sport clothing company, and if they sell men and women’s clothing, the first segment is men, second segment is women.

Now, within those segments you may have men, teen, children. I mean, adults, teens, children on both sides of those segments. That alone gives you six segments. Now, maybe there is a particular category, or you sell a particular clothing line, and it’s just for adults men and women, you have two simple segments, but then perhaps, the products are grouped by category. So maybe you have outerwear and inner-wear. Okay? You could say, whenever somebody’s purchased outerwear, they get a particular tag, and then you wait until the end of the winter, something like that, and promote to them inner-wear or something like that, I don’t know. But what I want to show you is, your follow up in how you create this cross-sale opportunity is really going to be dependent on your grouping and how you’re segmenting the audience.

Because you can’t just, you know, they buy one product, you can’t say, “Hey, come back, 20% off your next purchase.” That’s fine, a lot of companies do that. And the ones that are least successful are the ones that have a whole lot in their store to buy. Right? If you got a whole lot, well, I can’t say that. Let me back up, because there are big brands that do that really well. Like Kohl’s does that really well. I know people who get $10 off coupon at Target, and they’re like, “Oh my God, I’m going to back to Target.” Let me qualify my statement by saying more smaller companies, you need to be more specific.

I would argue that even if you could give … if these big brands had a way of identifying what product was purchased and giving a discount on a related product, your chances of somebody buying again would be that much greater. I think we see that, especially in product lines, we may say, “Buy one, get one half off.” Because they know that you like jeans, so get another pair of jeans for half off to increase that first order, the first order. I’m forgetting all my marketing terms. Average, [inaudible 00:11:40] average, first order, the size of your first order, there’s the term for it, it just slips my mind.

Anyways, there’s all kind of strategies I should say, but I would highly recommend going as targeted as possible, because you’re not a big brand, your client is not a big brand like Target or Kohl’s that can really rely on a lot of foot traffic into their stores across the world. As small businesses, we have to be a lot more intentional in targeting. But yeah, this is a fairly straightforward automation for you. I don’t feel like you have to get any more complicated than this. This would do exactly what you asked. The tag will come from ActiveWoo, it will send off the email. Since we’re using product-based tags, we know what they purchased. The email will speak to black shorts. Okay, maybe you want some matching black socks.

Right? Black shorts, maybe you need a T-shirt to go along with that. You see what I’m saying. Then you’d have an automation for every type of product. But let me not say every type of product, you have an automation for every segment that’s important. If a segment of people who buy black shorts is important, then you have black shorts. But if you want to have a segment of shorts, then absolutely, you could do that as well. All right. You’re welcome, and thank you for ask, sending that question via email, Lorena. Yes, I am going to put this question up, Lazar. Everybody else, don’t be shy, you can ask questions too. It’s all right.

All right. “Since we’re on the topic of third-party integrations, and especially more involved ones, deep data, et cetera, what are your quick thoughts on ConvertFlow?” This is actually a platform that I’ve recommended in the past on Office Hours. The reason being it’s because I know the founders, personally, Ethan and, I shouldn’t have said one name, because now I forgot both of their names. I mean, I didn’t want to say one without remembering the other. But yeah, anyways. I know them personally, and they have not only come into ActiveCampaign offices to provide a demo, but they also sponsored our [inaudible 00:14:04]. What that’s allowed me to do was get some hands-on and experience with their platform, and I will say some of the updates that they showed me that are not yet public or live are really exciting.

Why would someone use ConvertFlow? ConvertFlow is great if you want to personalize your website. That’s what this means. The right people with the call-to-action at the right time. What ConvertFlow does is it reads ActiveCampaign’s tags and allows you to dynamically change how you’re targeting them. Maybe, as you scroll, you see this one has a pop-up, and as you’re collecting information, the next time that visitor comes back, instead of seeing a free report, maybe they see, “Register for our webinar.” If they’ve registered for a webinar, next time when they come back to your website, maybe it says, “Purchase the product.” You see? And you’re using it to just move them down the funnel continuously.

As far as integrations, they have a native integration with ActiveCampaign, and it works really well, I mean, really well. I haven’t had real-life marketing experience with it, Lazar, I haven’t unleashed it on a live campaign. A live marketing campaign. I’ve done enough in it to understand like it functions and the value. One thing I will say is a few Facebook groups, I think, I can’t remember … I think Automation Nation was one of them, there was one Facebook group where people were talking about the complexity of it, and some people were saying it’s a bit too complicated for them to set up. That’s the only thing that I would say, try it out, see if it’s not too complex and see if it does what you need it to do. I’m pretty sure they’ve got a trial. They’ve got a free account. I am 100% onboard for platforms like this, that do the onsite retargeting, because that’s the future of digital marketing. The only reason why is still features, because people are now starting to see the value today of personalizing the journey tomorrow. The more personalized that becomes, the stronger your marketing is, that’s essentially why we market, to create a bond between our product and our buyer that is inseparable, right? In so many words. Some people are driven by money, some people are driven by their cause, but at the end of the day, the success of your marketing is going to be by you creating that inseparable bond of your solution and their pain. Knowing that as long as they have your solution, they are no longer in pain, or will not be in pain.

Yeah. Not to get too deep in the psychology behind marketing, but I say that to say this tool provides you an opportunity to really take your personalization to the next level. Now, this is not going to automatically personalize your marketing for you, everybody listening that may be thinking you can just sign up for the tool and your job is done, no. You still have some upfront work to do. The upfront work that everybody needs to go through, again, I reference it in this course, when we go to contact management. How data is stored is extremely important because we talk … look at this, right message, right person, at the right time. We talk about grouping contacts right here.

When we go into that, and of course you can group contacts with tags in custom fields. But when we go there, you’ll see that, when you watch this video, you’ll see that grouping your contacts is one of the important pieces of getting started. If you haven’t grouped your contacts, you haven’t segmented your audience, you haven’t got started. Sounds weird. You haven’t started off correctly, you just haven’t. This is why we put it all in this course, again, Because you’ll want to definitely make sure that you have those segments in place, because those segments are going to instruct a tool like this, Lazar. But yeah, they have a native integration, a native deep integration with those like the tag level. They pass data to ActiveCampaign, they don’t house it themselves and like hold it hostage.

If you’re … at that point, with your business or your client, where you are ready to personalize that journey, this is definitely a good tool, a good tool for you. Another one that I will be having on the podcast soon is RightMessage, I believe. This allows you to personalize your website too. See that? Based on the source, you can change the banners, change your landing page, call-to-actions based on your PPC ads, and of course it integrates, I don’t see, I don’t see ActiveCampaign. Oops, right there at the top, integrates with ActiveCampaign. Here’s another one.

They’re both website personalization tools. This one, let’s look at the price, may be a bit higher priced. Yeah, this one is a little higher priced but I think that it may do a little more. This progressive profiling is very interesting. Account-based marketing. You’ll just have to look into them. ConvertFlow, if price is of concern, ConvertFlow is definitely the cheaper one. But it’s really all about the return, right? It doesn’t matter how much you pay, as long as you’re making back more. That’s the goal with assessing the tools to help you get what you need.

Yeah, with that being said, let me see. Anybody else, do you all have questions? Let me know, and I will get them answered. I know this is, depending on where you are, back to school season. A lot of people are getting back into the new flow, I know I am personally. There have been a lot of people in passing that would email me or catch me in other ways. But you’re here, if you’re here, you have a question, feel free to ask, otherwise don’t worry about it. I’m not going to hold you hostage. I’m not going to mandate that you ask a question. We offer Office Hours as a service to you, to ensure that you have what you need with getting started with ActiveCampaign, understanding the marketing automation space, so that if you are not getting the results, it’s not because a lack of resources available to help you. All right?

We’re at about 9:30. It gives us 30 minutes, but again, if there’s no questions, those are 30 minutes I’d love to give back to you, and let you just work on your business. It’s Tuesday morning here, whatever time it is where you’re at, feel free to use that time. For those of you watching the replay, I want to thank you for watching the replay, and also invite you to ask your questions right now at the end of this replay, or at the end of this video that we’re approaching, if you just fire up your email, inbox and email me, with whatever question you have. I will most definitely answer, just like I did Lorena’s today. That is value and an opportunity for you, from us to you.

With that being said, I’m going to go ahead and close it down. Thank you all for attending Office Hours. Again, for those of you watching the replay, thank you for watching the replay. I hope this has cleared some things up. I hope you hit the ground running early this week to much of your continued success throughout the week. Remember, we do it all over again on Friday at 1:00 p.m., the times are Tuesday at 9:00 a.m., Friday at 1:00 p.m. I hope you to see on one, if not both of them. Thank you for attending Office Hours. Automate responsibly, and I will see you on Friday.


We've got even more coming

Sign up for our newsletter to stay on top of the marketing automation industry, our product, and the ActiveCampaign culture.