How to Set Up an Automation

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What is the Automation feature?

MailPoet Automations help email marketers engage with their subscribers and/or customers at the right time and in the relevant context. Personalized, time- and context-relevant marketing enables site owners to achieve higher engagement and conversion rates.

You can use Automations to build drip campaigns, tag users, add them to lists, and so much more. Using combinations of various triggers, actions, and branching If/else conditions, you can set up a series of steps in a single workflow, or across multiple workflows.

You can also use Automations to send Transactional emails based on WooCommerce Order status changes, and these emails will be sent whether the subscriber is in "Subscribed" status or not.

Note: the majority of Automations features are only available to users with a paid plan who have the MailPoet Premium plugin installed and activated. For users with the free Starter plan (or no plan), it will not be possible to Create custom automations — only a limited set up basic templates will be available, options to add/remove steps will be disabled.

How to set up Automation?

You can set up an automation from scratch or you can use one of the built-in base templates.

Creating Automation from scratch

If you decide to start from scratch, these are the steps to follow:

1. Choose a trigger

The first step is to select a Trigger to begin the automation — when that trigger event occurs, then the Automation will run:

Right now, we have different options for the triggers you can choose from:

– When a WordPress user registers to your website; 
– When someone subscribes to your MailPoet list;
When a WooCommerce Order status changes
– When a subscriber abandons their cart, etc.

Each step added to the Automation can be selected and configured in the sidebar settings (under the "Step" tab):

2. Choose what happens next

Next it's time to choose what action(s) will take place after the trigger. This can be just a single action, or a series of actions. There can be delays in between the trigger and/or different actions — if there is no Delay then each action in the automation will run immediately after the previous one completes.

The actions available are:

  • Add a delay of minutes, hours, days or weeks for the action to happen;
  • "if/else" automation step to allow branching automations based on subscribers' behaviours and purchase history;
  • Send an email to the subscriber/customer;
  • Hook-based custom action;
  • Automatically add or remove tags to these subscribers;
  • Automatically add/remove these subscribers to/from a MailPoet list;
  • Automatically update a subscriber's custom field to a particular value;
  • Automatically set a subscriber's status to "Unsubscribed";
  • Send a notification email to a set list of addresses (up to 5 recipients; i.e. for admin notifications when the automation reaches that point)

You can choose one or more actions for each automation, which means you can create a drip campaign for sending a series of emails, for example.

3. Design your email(s)

If you have added any "Send email" actions to your Automation, you will need to create an email to be sent (or select a previously created one) by clicking on the "+ Design email" button.

It will redirect you to the Templates page, where you need to select one of them to move to the Email editor. Once you're done editing your email, click the "Save and continue button" on the top right menu on this page.

You'll also want to make sure you've set an appropriate "Subject" for the email in the Sidebar of the Automation editor after selecting the Send Email step.

You can return to edit the content of the email later by going back to the Automations page, selecting the Send email step, and using the Design Email button again.

4. Activate it

To name your automation, you can click the "New automation" text in the header of the Automation editor and enter a descriptive name. 

Finally, if you have added all the steps to your automation and everything is properly set up, you're ready to activate it by clicking on the "Activate" button.

You can also leave it as a draft to finish editing it later.

Order Status Change: Transactional email vs Marketing email

With the "Order status changed" trigger, you can start an automation based on the change of a WooCommerce order status. This change can be from one specific status to another, or for "Any" status to "Any" other status, or a combination (i.e. from "Any" status to "Completed") based on how you configure it.

If you are adding an action to send an email immediately following the order status change trigger, then this email will be considered "Transactional", meaning that it will be sent to all subscribers regardless of whether they are in "Subscribed" status or not.  On the other hand, for any subsequent "Send email" actions, or if there's any delay between the order status change and the send email action, then those emails will be considered "Marketing" emails.  Marketing emails require opt-in to send to subscribers, so will only be sent to subscribers that are in "Subscribed" status.

These two email types have different icons in the automation editor and descriptions in the sidebar:

Creating Automation from a template

You can choose one of the templates for your automation on the main Automations page:

You need to customize each step of the automation and then activate it.

How to check statistics for each email within Automation?

Click the three dots next to the email in the automation to see its statistics:

You can also see how many subscribers have been processed by a specific automation on the main Automations page:

  • Entered - how many subscribers started the automation;
  • Processing - how many subscribers are in process and haven't finished the automation yet;
  • Exited - how many subscribers completed the automation.
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