Guides and Tutorials Email Marketing Automations

Email Marketing Automations

Maildroppa allows you to fully automate your email marketing in minutes without any programming knowledge.

Diagram of email marketing automation flow on a computer screen, showcasing steps like 'Condition', 'Delay' or 'Action'.

Opportunities and Benefits of Email Marketing Automations

  • Drip Campaigns & Welcome Series
    Schedule a series of emails to be sent out over a period of time. This includes welcoming new subscribers with a series of introductory emails or delivering educational content in chunks, nurturing leads and building strong relationships.

  • Segmentation Based on Fields and Tags
    Utilize the detailed fields and tags associated with each subscriber to segment your email list, ensuring tailored content delivery based on preferences and behaviors.

  • Conditional Checks for Personalization
    Use conditionals to check the fields and tags associated with a subscriber. Depending on their tags or fields, send them content that's most relevant to their interests or past behaviors.

  • Follow-Up Content Based on Subscriber Tags
    React to subscriber tags by triggering specific follow-up content or product recommendations tailored to their interests.

  • Feedback and Surveys Based on Email Interactions
    Encourage subscribers to provide feedback by sending out surveys or feedback forms periodically or after they've engaged with specific email content.

  • Event Reminders
    Ensure your subscribers don't miss out on important events, webinars, or sales by sending timely reminders.

  • Birthday & Subscription Anniversary Emails
    Celebrate personal milestones like birthdays and significant moments in the subscriber's journey with your brand, such as the anniversary of their subscription. Send personalized greetings, special promotions, or exclusive content to acknowledge and appreciate their loyalty.

Automation Overview

The Automation Overview page is your central dashboard for managing your email marketing automation flows.

Automation overview dashboard of various email marketing automation flows, detailing their status and metrics.

Here, you can view a summary of all your automation flows.

Below is a brief definition of all the columns in the Automation Overview list.

Status

The first column indicates the current status of each automation during its lifecycle. Possible statuses include Draft, Active, Paused, Disconnecting, and Archived.

Draft

An automation in the "Draft" status is still in development and not yet active. This means it doesn't execute any actions and contains no subscribers.

Active

An automation in the "Active" status is live. Subscribers are added to the automation when they meet the condition of a Starting Point Trigger. Every 4 minutes, all steps of the automation are executed until all subscribers have either completed the automation or reached a (new) stopping point.

Paused

You can pause an active automation at any time. While an automation is paused, it will not accept new subscribers and will not be executed.

Disconnecting

If you don't want to instantly delete an active automation but wish to let it "wind down", you can choose to disconnect it. This means the automation remains active as long as there are subscribers within it. However, the Starting Point Triggers are disabled, meaning the automation will not accept new subscribers in this state. Once there are no more subscribers in the automation, it will be archived, transitioning to the "Archived" status.

Archived

An archived automation is no longer active and can't be modified. However, you can create a new draft from an automation in the "Archived" status.

Automation Name

This is the name you've chosen for the given automation flow.

Total Number of Active Subscribers

This column displays the number of subscribers currently in the automation.

Total Number of Completed Subscribers

This column indicates the number of subscribers who have successfully completed the automation.

Automation-Config (3 dots)

On the right side of the list, there are three gray dots. Click on them to manage the respective automation.

The actions you can choose from here depend on the current status of the automation. For instance, an active automation offers the actions Pause, Disconnect, Edit, Use as Draft, and Delete.

Dashboard configuration for managing email automations with options like pause, disconnect, edit.

Create Automation - How to set up an email marketing flow/automation

Create Automation" button highlighted for starting new email marketing workflows.

In the top right corner, there's a "Create Automation" button. When you click on it, you'll be directed to the Visual Automation Builder to create a new automation. Then, using a trigger, you'll determine how a subscriber should begin the automation flow. You can choose from a variety of starting point triggers.

Starting Points (Triggers)

For each automation, you can set up to 30 different triggers. However, it's important to note that you cannot combine a generic trigger like "Any Form" trigger with another specific form trigger or a second "Any Form" trigger for the same automation to avoid confusion. For the same reason, you can not use two identical specific triggers in the same automation.

So for example, it is okay to have one “Joins Any Form” Trigger for an automation. It's also okay to have one “Joins Slider Form” and one “Joins Inline Form” Trigger for the same automation. But you cannot have both a “Joins Any Form” Trigger and a “Joins Slider Form” trigger for the same automation. Also, you can't configure a “Joins Inline Form” trigger more then once for an automation flow.

It's important to note that making changes within the Maildroppa App, like updating or adding a field or tag to a subscriber, won't activate triggers. This ensures automations are driven by subscribers' actions, creating a consistent self-service experience. For example, if you manually added an optional extra info for a subscriber in the app, the automation wouldn't mistakenly send an email thanking the subscriber for providing that info, which could be confusing.

Cycle Prevention: To ensure a seamless user experience, our system actively checks and prevents the creation of cyclical automations. Whenever you set up or modify your automations, our system evaluates the structure to detect any potential loops or cycles. This safeguard ensures that subscribers are not overwhelmed with repeated content or actions.

Reentry Setting: When a trigger is activated, the system checks if the subscriber is already in the automation flow. If not, they're added to the starting step. If they've gone through the automation before, they'll only be re-added if the 'Reentry' option is turned on.

For more detailed information about when a specific trigger becomes active, please refer to the detailed description for each individual trigger.

Automation builder with triggers "Joins a Form," "Field is Updated," "Date Anniversary."

Here are the 6 starting point triggers you can select from:

  • Joins a Form

  • Date Anniversary

  • Tag is Added

  • Tag is Removed

  • Field is Added

  • Field is Updated

  • Field is Removed

Popup for selecting automation triggers like "Joins a Form," "Date Anniversary," and "Tag is Added".

Joins a Form

Form Trigger Dropdown for choosing a specific form or "Any Form" as a starting point for the automation flow.

Any Form: Subscribers will be added to the automation flow once they complete any signup form and confirm their registration through the mandatory double opt-in email.

Specific Form: As an alternative, you can pick a particular signup form as a trigger. Only the subscribers who complete and confirm registration through that specific form will be added to the automation flow.

Date Anniversary

Dropdown for selecting a date field like "Birthdate" or "Wedding Date" as a trigger for the automation flow.

For this trigger, you can select from your custom fields of type "Date". A prime example of a potential Date Anniversary Trigger would be a date field labeled "Wedding Date". Whenever this date recurs on the calendar (i.e., their wedding anniversary), the trigger will activate, but not before the date itself.

Examples:

  1. If a subscriber sets their wedding date as 2nd September 1970, the trigger would activate on that date and then on the same date every subsequent year.

  2. If today's date is 2nd September 2023 and a subscriber schedules a wedding for 2nd September 2024, the trigger will not activate until that date and will then continue to activate annually from that point forward.

When the trigger activates:

  • If the subscriber is not already part of the automation, they will be added to the starting step of the automation flow.

  • If a subscriber has previously completed the automation (for instance, if they had received an automated anniversary email the year before), they will only be re-added to the automation if the "Reentry" option is enabled for that automation.

This ensures subscribers receive relevant emails based on the specified triggers and allows for repeated engagements in case of recurring events, like annual celebrations.

Tag is Added

Dropdown menu for selecting a specific tag or "Any Tag" as a trigger for the automation flow.

Much like the "Joins Form" trigger, with this trigger you can choose whether it should be activated by any tag (referred to as a General Trigger) or only by a specific tag (Specific Trigger).

When the 'Add Tag' Trigger Becomes Active:

  1. When a subscriber clicks on a link within a Newsletter Campaign email that you've tagged.

  2. When the subscriber is engaged in another automation and, in one of its steps, they get tagged with the relevant tag (or any tag if the trigger has been set as a General Trigger). This setup allows you to interconnect multiple smaller automations into one large, intricate automation.

Tag is Removed

Dropdown showing "Any Tag" selected for a "Remove Tag" trigger in an automation flow setup.

This trigger behaves quite similarly to the 'Tag is Added' trigger, but in the opposite direction. With this trigger, you can also choose whether it should be activated by any tag removal (General Trigger) or only by a specific tag removal (Specific Trigger).

When the 'Tag is Removed' Trigger Becomes Active:

When a subscriber is engaged in another automation and, in one of its steps, a tag gets removed from them.

Field is Added

Dropdown showing "Any Field" selected for the "Field is Added" trigger in an automation setup.

Similar to the previous triggers, you can configure this one to be either specific to a particular field or generic, relating to all fields.

When the 'Field is Added' Trigger Becomes Active

  1. The trigger activates when a subscriber adds the relevant field (or any field, if set as a General Trigger) on their Subscriber Profile Page.

  2. Importantly, the trigger does not activate when the field is initially filled out by a subscriber in a Signup Form. For those instances, please utilize the "Joins a Form" trigger.

Field is Updated

Dropdown menu with "Any Field" selected, showing options like "Email" and "Birthdate" for the "Field is Updated" trigger.

Once again, you can choose whether this trigger is specific to a certain field or is generic, applying to all fields.

When the 'Field is Updated' Trigger Becomes Active

The trigger activates when a subscriber updates the specified field (or any field, if set as a General Trigger) on their Subscriber Profile Page.

Field is Removed

Similarly, for this trigger, you can decide whether it's specific to a particular field or if it pertains to all fields universally.

When the 'Field is Removed' Trigger Becomes Active

The trigger is set into motion when a subscriber removes the designated field (or any field, if configured as a General Trigger) on their Subscriber Profile Page.

Both triggers offer the flexibility to target either a specific field or broadly encompass all fields, providing users with versatility in automation setup.

Automation Step

After you have added your first trigger, you can add steps to the automation. To do this, click on the plus (+) symbol below your trigger(s).

Plus icon below "Field is Updated" trigger for adding new steps to the automation flow.

In the same way you can later insert further steps by clicking on any of the available plus (+) symbols.

Small automation flow with plus icons to add steps before or after each action.

Editing Steps

To edit a step, move your mouse over the respective step. Then two small icons will appear in the top right corner.

Edit and delete icons on an automation step for modifying or removing actions within the flow.

To edit, click on the left icon with the text and the pencil, to delete click on the right icon with the trash can.

Detail of edit and delete icons for modifying or removing a step in an automation flow.

Please note that you can only edit the parameters of a step. For example, if you edit the Delay step, you can adjust the time a subscriber should wait on this step.

Delay configuration popup showing options to set the delay amount in minutes, hours, days, weeks, or months.

If you want to use a completely different step type instead, please add a new step and delete the old one.

Before you can delete a step, you must confirm the deletion of the step in an extra popup by typing DELETE into a textbox.

Confirmation popup for deleting an automation step, requiring typing "DELETE" to proceed.

Editing Active Automations

Once you have published an automation, subscribers might be progressing through its steps at any given moment. Making changes to an automation that has active subscribers navigating its flow can introduce risks. For instance, imagine you've set up a lead generation email sequence with three emails. Two weeks in, perhaps 10 subscribers have received the first email and are awaiting the second. Four subscribers are queued up for the third email, while six have already gone through the entire sequence. If you were to remove the second email and merge its content with the third, it could lead to confusion among your subscribers.

Or imagine you have three subscribers currently positioned at a Delay step. If you decide to delete that Delay step, those subscribers will be removed from the automation entirely.

You can edit active automations just as you would with non-active ones. When you click the "Update" button to apply your changes, we immediately check if there are subscribers currently progressing through the automation. If there are, a special dialog will appear.

You're editing an automation with active subscribers. Changes might disrupt their journey or even remove subscribers from the automation.

You can either directly apply your changes to the automation (Update Automation), or preserve the current setup for existing subscribers and active your changes for new ones (Save as new Version).

Confirmation dialog for editing active automations, offering options to update immediately or save as a new revision.

If you choose 'Update Automation', the automation will be adjusted directly, with all potentially possible negative effects on the subscribers who are in the automation.

If you choose 'Save as New Version, we will maintain the existing automation in its pre-edit state and transition it to the 'DISCONNECTING' status. This means the automation will no longer accept new subscribers. However, it will continue to operate for those subscribers who are currently progressing through its steps, ensuring they experience no disruptions. The automation remains active and serves the existing subscribers until they've all completed their journey. Once all subscribers have finished the automation, it will then be automatically archived, changing the status of the automation to 'ARCHIVED'.

Additionally, a fresh automation reflecting your recent changes will be established. This updated automation seamlessly replaces the previous version, ensuring that any new subscribers are immediately integrated into the new flow.

Step Types

You can choose between 4 different step types:

  • Action

  • Delay

  • Send Email

  • Condition

Popup dialog showing available step types for an automation flow: Action, Delay, Send Email, and Condition.

Action

You can choose from 5 different action types.

Dialog showing action step types: Update Field, Add Tag, Remove Tag, Start Other Automation, and Stop Other Automation.

  • Update Field

  • Add Tag

  • Remove Tag

  • Start Other Automation

  • Stop Other Automation

Update Field

'Update Field' action showing a dropdown to select a field type: First Name, Email, Birthdate, and Magic Number.

This action allows you to set a specific field of the respective subscriber to a designated value.

Add Tag

Popup dialog for 'Add Tag' action showing a dropdown to select a tag: Any Tag, Beginner, Advanced, and Expert.

With this action, you can add a tag to the respective subscriber. If there's a 'Tag is Added' trigger for another automation associated with this tag, it can subsequently activate that other automation.

Remove Tag

Remove Tag' action showing a dropdown to select a tag: Any Tag, Beginner, Advanced, and Expert.

With this action, you can remove a tag from the respective subscriber, provided it exists. If there's a 'Tag is Removed' trigger for another automation associated with this tag, it can subsequently activate that other automation.

Start Other Automation

Start Other Automation' action showing a dropdown to select an automation: Automatic Segmentation and Lead Warmup.

With this action, you can specifically initiate another automation flow.

Stop Other Automation

Stop Other Automation' action showing a dropdown to select an automation: Automatic Segmentation and Lead Warmup.

With this action, you can specifically halt another automation flow.

Delay

Delays are typically used to spread an automation flow over several days. For instance, spacing out multiple emails can give the recipient the impression that it's not just an automated series of emails, but a personal communication between you and them.

You can choose between two different delay types.

Popup dialog for selecting a delay type: Fixed Delay or Custom Field Delay.

Fixed Delay

With the Fixed Delay, you can specify both the duration of the wait and the time unit - be it in minutes, hours, days, weeks, or even months. The shortest duration you can opt for is 5 minutes.

Popup dialog for 'Fixed Delay' showing delay amount set to 5 and dropdown to select time unit: Minutes, Hours, Days, Weeks, and Months.

Custom Field Delay

Aside from a fixed waiting time, you can also set the delay based on a specific date field, such as "Birthday." In this case, the subscriber will wait at that step until the selected date is reached. However, there might be instances where a subscriber doesn't have a value set for that particular date field. For such a scenario, you need to define in advance how the automation should proceed.

  • Proceed Immediately:
    This means the waiting period is disregarded, or it's treated as if it has already elapsed.

  • Wait Indefinitely:
    The subscriber remains at that step until a value for the date field is available, which could potentially be forever.

  • Remove Subscriber: If the subscriber doesn't have a value set for the custom delay, they will be removed from the automation.

Custom Field Delay' showing dropdown to select field, Birthdate selected, and options: Proceed Immediately, Wait Indefinitely, or Remove Subscriber.

Email

 'Email' action showing a dropdown to select a transactional email: Welcome Email, Welcome Email 2, Welcome Email 3, Welcome Email 4, and Welcome Email 5.

Here you can choose a transactional email that was created earlier in the Transactional Email section. The Email will be sent as soon as the subscriber reaches this action.

Condition

Conditions in Maildroppa's email marketing automation allow you to customize the journey of your subscribers based on specific criteria. They serve as decision points or branches within your automation flows. By setting up conditions, you can define complex, compound logical expressions based on the fields, tags, and segments you've set up.

Condition step, showing 'Currently: 89' and 'Completed: 32,' with branching paths and plus symbols for adding steps.

Example

IF

    Subscriber is from the USA
    AND was born before January 1, 1995

    OR The subscriber's email address ENDS WITH gmail.com

THEN choose the left branch in the automation flow

ELSE opt for the right branch in the automation flow

This allows you to customize your automation flows to be more specific and relevant to your subscribers, significantly increasing your conversion rate. The logical expression you configure will be checked for every subscriber who reaches the Condition step. If the condition is TRUE for the subscriber, the TRUE branch is executed (if available). Otherwise, the FALSE branch is executed (if available).

Conditions in automations are based on a filter, specifically a list of filter groups, each of which can contain a list of individual filter elements. It sounds more complicated than it actually is. Below, we'll show you how to create your own condition for your automation.

How to set up a Conditional Step

After selecting the Condition Action from the menu, the following popup appears.

Popup for True/False Condition setup with dropdowns to select filter elements and 'Create Condition' button.

  1. Choose Your Filter Element
    Begin by selecting the type of filter element from the dropdown - this could be a Subscriber Field, Tag, or Segment.

  2. Specify Your Criteria
    Based on your initial selection, the adjacent dropdowns will populate with relevant options. Choose the specific field, tag, or segment you're interested in, then select the logical operator that suits your criteria. Depending on your choice, you'll either input a value, select from predefined options, or, in the case of tags and segments, the value will be fixed.

  3. Add More Filters
    If you want to refine your criteria further, click "+ Add Filter" to introduce more conditions within the same filter group. Remember, all conditions within a filter group must be met for the conditional to be true.

  4. Introduce OR Logic with a New Filter Group
    If you want to create a separate set of conditions where only one group's criteria need to be met, click "+ Add Filter Group" below the OR separator. This introduces a new filter group, allowing for more flexibility in your segmentation.

  5. Finalize Your Conditional
    Once you've set up your desired conditions, click the "Create Conditional" button to apply them to your automation flow.

We've "borrowed" the concept of conditions or filters from segments. Our Segments Guide offers an even more detailed description of these filters if you're interested in the specifics.

True/False Condition setup with multiple filters: Tags, Email, Birthdate, and logical operators, plus 'Create Conditional' button.

Combining Multiple Conditions

A True/False Condition has exactly two branches:

  • YES - the subscriber meets the condition

  • NO - the subscriber does not meet the condition

However, you might want to create more complex branches, such as:

IF the subscriber is from the USA THEN follow the first branch

IF the subscriber is from Germany THEN follow the second branch

IF the subscriber is from the Netherlands THEN follow the third branch

ELSE follow the last branch

True/False Condition setup: Subscriber Field, Country equals USA, dropdown with options, and 'Create Conditional' button

This can also be referred to as a "First Match Condition", "Switch Case" or “Split Path”.

We've consciously decided not to offer this as a separate action. Instead, you can strategically link multiple conditions together, achieving not only the same result but even creating more complex branches based on the compound conditions.

Multiple conditions linked together like a switch case: USA, Germany, Netherlands, and Poland branches.

Automation flow titled 'Country Specific Welcome Mail' with multiple conditions linked together like a switch case.

When you are done setting up your automation, you can either save it as a draft, or directly publish it.

Automation flow titled 'Country Specific Welcome Mail' with Save and Publish buttons highlighted in red rectangle.

Finally, you need to define a name for your new automation, and choose whether or not subscribers may enter your automation more then once. Please keep in mind that there is an absolute maximum of 10 times that a subscriber can re-enter an automation on each day.

Dialog 'Set Automation Name,' with a text field for the automation name, a 'Allow reentry' checkbox, and a Save button. Cycle Detection and Prevention in Maildroppa Automations

In the realm of email marketing automations, the flexibility and power of Maildroppa's platform allow for a myriad of combinations and sequences. However, with great power comes the potential for intricate loops or "cycles" that could unintentionally send subscribers on an endless journey. Recognizing the importance of a seamless user experience, Maildroppa has implemented robust cycle detection and prevention mechanisms.

What is a Cycle?

A cycle occurs when a series of automations inadvertently loop back to a starting point, causing a subscriber to repeatedly go through the same sequence of actions. This can happen due to various triggers and steps interacting in unintended ways.

For instance:

  • TAG-Based Cycles
    Automation A triggers Automation B through a TAG addition, and Automation B triggers Automation A through another TAG action.

  • Start Automation Cycles
    Automation A starts Automation B, which in turn starts Automation A again.

  • Field-Based Cycles
    An automation triggers when a specific field is added or updated. If another automation modifies this field, it could re-trigger the first automation.

  • Mixed Cycles
    A combination of various triggers and steps. For example, Automation A adds a TAG, triggering Automation B, which then starts Automation C, and so on, until one of them re-triggers Automation A.

How Maildroppa Prevents Cycles

  1. Single Active Instance
    A subscriber active in an automation cannot be active in the same automation simultaneously. This simple rule ensures an automation cannot activate itself.

  2. Limited Reentry
    While reentry into an automation is possible, it's capped at a maximum of 10 times per day for any subscriber. This limitation ensures that even if a cycle forms, it won't endlessly loop.

  3. System Validation Maildroppa's platform meticulously checks for potential cycles whenever you set up or modify your automations. If a logical cycle is detected, an exception is raised, preventing the automation from being saved.

Why This Matters

While many users might never encounter the potential for cycles, it's essential to know that Maildroppa's system is designed to prevent such scenarios automatically. This safeguard ensures that subscribers receive a consistent and non-repetitive experience, upholding the integrity of your email marketing efforts.

For users transitioning from other platforms or those with complex automation needs, this feature offers peace of mind. You can confidently design intricate automation flows, knowing that Maildroppa has your back, ensuring that subscribers won't get caught in unintentional loops.

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