Marketing Automation Advanced Workflow Elements
Real Magnet Marketing Automation is built on top of a set of basic elements, such as blocks, triggers, actions, and transitions. All campaigns, including Standard and Advanced Workflow campaigns, are built using the same set of underlying elements and principles.
Advanced Workflow campaigns usually consist of a number of branches, where each branch represents a path that recipients can take within your campaign. By default, all campaigns start with only branch called “Main Branch”:
Tip: You can click on the name of the branch to rename it.
You can add any number of branches to your campaign by simply clicking “+ Add Branch” button in the rightmost column on your screen:
Once you add a branch you can delete it by moving your mouse over the branch name and clicking on the little trash button on the right:
Blocks & Transitions
Branches contain various blocks and transitions between these blocks. In each branch, recipients always transition from the topmost block towards the block on the bottom. When a recipient is transitioned to a different branch he or she will start at the top of the branch.
Example: Abandonment Branch
A webinar campaign sends 2 promotional messages. If a recipient clicks the link leading to the webinar event registration page and does not register within a certain number of hours, we want to send an abandonment message with a 10% discount.
The campaign has 2 branches. The Main Branch sends the two promotional messages 3 days apart. It also contains a transition to the abandonment branch based on recipient clicking a link.
When the recipient is transitioned to the Abandonment branch they will immediately be sent an abandonment message, because that is the first block in the Abandonment branch. The campaign gives recipients 5 hours (this time interval can be set to any amount of time) to interact with the abandonment message, at which point we consider this campaign ended for the recipient.
One start and multiple end
All campaigns have one starting point: the very first (topmost) block of the first branch. All enrolled participants start there and work their way through the campaign.
As you see in the example above there can be multiple campaign endings. There is one in the Main Branch and one in the Abandonment Branch. Each branch will have an ending block where recipients in that branch will eventually end up. For reporting purposes this can help you see which path recipients ultimately took and where they ended up in the campaign.
Blocks (sometimes also called Stages) indicate where a participant is in the campaign. There a few important rules regarding blocks:
First Rule: A campaign participant can only be in ONE block in any given moment in the campaign
While a participant is in a block there can be any number of rules (or Items) that apply. For instance, on the example below the block has a send message item as well an abandonment item.
It is important to understand that all these rules (or Items) apply only to participants who are in that block.
Second Rule: ALL items in the current block apply to all participants in the block
When a participant is in a block, all rules within that block are applied to that participant.
Third Rule: Rules related to the Goal, apply to ALL participants in ALL blocks
No matter which block a participant is in and regardless of where that recipient is within the block, any time the participant meets the criteria for the Goal, they are immediately transitioned to the Reached the Goal state
Types of Blocks
There are several types of blocks:
- Enrollment block. The very first block of the first branch defines enrollment. It defines which participates will be included in the campaign.
- End Campaign block. This block does not have any rules and signifies that a participant has reached the end of this branch. For instance, if your campaign sends a series of messages it means that all messages in the series have been sent to these participants.
- User block. This block can define any number of Items, and within these items configure the rules that apply to participants.
Transitions are the primary mechanism that moves recipients from block to block. Each block, except for the End Campaign blocks, have an associated transition that defines how participants get moved to the next step.
For instance, in our sample campaign we had a transition that waits for 3 days before sending participants to the next block:
Types of transitions
There are several different transitions that are available to control the flow of the campaign:
- Immediate. This transition immediately puts recipients into the next stage, in effect skipping the stage above it all together.
This transition is commonly used from the enrollment block to the first user block of the campaign.
Note: No rules from the stage above will apply to participants that are passing through.
- Delayed. Delayed transition allows you to move a participant forward then wait a period of time in the block. For instance, in the image above we use a Delayed transition with 3 days interval.
This transition applies individually to each participant – meaning each participant will be delayed by the same time interval, regardless of when they joined the campaign.
The clock starts ticking for delayed transitions when participants enters the stage above the transition.
- On Event. This transition applies to participants when they “do something” (click a link, open a message, etc.) or the campaign itself “does something” (sends a message, etc.)
In the example below, the transition will move a participant to the next block 10 minutes after they click any link in any message.
We will cover more of this in the Triggers section.
- Exact Date and Time. Allows you to specify a date and time for when ALL participants in the block will be transitioned to the next block.
For instance, move all participants to the next block at 1am on 10/16/2014.
This transition if often used to set up fixed date send message actions where you delay people in the block until a certain date and then you transition them to the next block that automatically sends a message to all recipients.
- Scheduled. This transition applies to ALL participants in the block and moves them to the next block on a schedule.
Note, that this transition allows you to specify extra conditions. This is very helpful when you want to do something on a recurring basis, for instance every hour move people that opened your messages to the next stage.
- Never. Never is a special case where there is NO transition. It is only needed in rare cases when Items are used to transition recipients to a different branch.
Consider a recurring campaign, such as subscription renewal. Most participants will sit in a stage called “Good Standing” and never transition out of it. There will be an item that evaluates that it’s time to start a renewal process and transition them to the renewal branch. The goal of the renewal will be to transition people back to “In Good Standing” block.
Each block can contain any number of items. Branches, blocks, and transitions define the campaign structure, while items define individual campaign rules. Items are responsible for actions such as sending, tagging, evaluating, etc.
Each item includes a trigger, possibly some conditions, and an action. (see below for more detailed explanation of these terms).
Items and their corresponding actions apply only to participants that are currently in the block that contains the item.
Structure of an Item
Each item (except Multi Action item) consist of a trigger, a delay, conditions, and an action. Delay and conditions are optional.
Each item has the following logic:
When [trigger] happens and after a [delay] [conditions] are true then do [action]
Since delay and conditions are optional in some cases it will simply read as:
When [trigger] happens do [action]
Let’s look at some examples:
Example 1: Segmentation Rule
When [recipient clicks link label “Advertising“] do [add them to a group “Advertising“]
Example 2: Abandonment Rule
When [recipient clicks a link “Register“] and after [5 hours] [is not registered] then do [Go To Branch “Abandonment“
Example 3: Birthday Rule
When [it‘s 2pm every day] and [custom field Birthday is today] then do [send message “Happy Birthday“ to these recipients]
Triggers define when to start the evaluation. The evaluation can happen immediately, or can be delayed (see Example 2). The campaign then checks to see if the recipient actually matches the conditions. And if there is a match the associated action is taken.
Creating an Item with a Time Trigger
There are two types of triggers: event triggers and time triggers. By default, all actions are created with an event trigger. To change to a time trigger, check the option “This action happens multiple times on a timeline” (see below)
Triggers, as the name indicates, initiate Marketing Automation processing. Nothing happens in Marketing Automation without a trigger.
There are two types of triggers in the system: event triggers and time triggers.
Event Triggers happen when a campaign participant “Does Something” – Opens an email, clicks a link, registers for a webinar, submits a landing page, etc.
The point of the trigger is to answer the question “When?” When do we send a recipient a message? When they enter this block? When their points reached a threshold? When this recipient is added to a group? Etc.
It’s important to understand that event triggers fire for one participant at a time. For instance, if you build an item that reads
When [recipient clicks a link] then [send recipient a message]
You then add a 100 recipients to that block. Now, if one recipient clicks a link then only THAT recipient will be sent the message. The other 99 recipients did not click a link and therefore will not receive the message.
Time triggers allow you to evaluate conditions and run actions on a schedule. A good example is a birthday campaign that you want to send daily at 2:00pm. There is no “event” tied to the fact that a recipient’s birthday is today. Rather the trigger is based on the fact that it’s 2pm and it’s time to send our daily birthday message.
Unlike event triggers, time triggers apply to ALL participants in the block. Imagine you have 100 participants in the block and 10 happen to have the same birthday. If you build an item that looks like Example 3 from above:
When [it‘s 2pm every day] and [custom field Birthday is today] then do [send message “Happy Birthday“ to these recipients]
At 2pm, it will fire (because it is a time based trigger), find 10 recipients that match the condition, and send out 10 emails.
There are a variety of options for scheduling time triggers from specific dates and times, to most of the scheduling options available in Outlook and Google Calendars:
Conditions allow you to specify extra requirements that can be applied to the trigger. For example, a common trigger is “recipient opens a message”. You can add an additional condition to say “recipient opens a message” AND “is the first message opened in the last 180 days”
There are dozens of conditions that can be applied:
Note, that if you add multiple conditions we treat them as an “and” logic, meaning ALL conditions need to be true for the action to take place.
Triggers and conditions evaluate when and what to do with a recipient. Actions are the actual “thing” that takes place (send a message, add to a group, suppress etc.).
Most triggers, with a notable exception of the Multi Action trigger, allow only one action per trigger.
The following action types are available:
- Send Message – send messages to participants.
- Send Notification – send an internal email notification to one or more people within your organization
- Add to Group – adds participants to a group.
- Remove from Group – removes participants from a group.
- Assign Tag – assign a tag to a set of participants.
- Remove Tag – removes a tag to a set of participants.
- Assign Points – works similarly to the Assign Tag but also assigns points to a tag.
- Set Field Value – sets a custom field value to a certain value.
- Go To Branch – moves participants to a different branch.
- Suppress – suppress recipients.
- Multi Action is a special type of action that allows you to configure multiple triggers and actions within one item.