You know the magic of sending the right email to the right person, at the right time — whether you’re welcoming a customer, sending someone a reminder about an upcoming event, or just saying happy birthday. You want to be smart about email marketing, but you know the process can require a lot of time and energy when multiplied by thousands — or tens of thousands — of customers.

You may be familiar with our Autoresponders. Many of our customers have asked for us to build on the Autoresponders and we’ve been hard at work evolving that functionality.

Today, we’re excited to unveil new email automation as a core feature! With automation, you can easily create workflows to send beautiful, professional, personalized emails. There’s no complicated set-up, and you don’t need a computer science degree — anyone can start sending automated emails (or series of emails) with just a couple of clicks.

As always, we’ve obsessed over the user experience, so the automation feature is simple to use, but powerful in its capabilities. Just as you don’t need a developer to get started with creating campaigns, you don’t need technical expertise to automate your workflows. Additionally we’ve made updates to the navigation to consolidate the Create & Send and Reports tabs into a new Campaigns tab to enhance the user experience and complement the Automation tab.

Check out the ‘automation’ tab in your account to get started. You’ll see different types of workflows — including one-time emails and sequences based on specific criteria. Choose the workflow type, give it a name, select a list, and you’re ready to go.

“Every customer engagement is an opportunity to create a positive brand relationship. Email is one of the most effective ways for us to connect with our customers. Campaign Monitor’s automation helps us welcome new customers, the moment they join our community.”
Goran Stefkovski, CTO of Kogan.com, Australia’s biggest online retailer.

We’re working on making automation even more comprehensive and easier to use. Stay tuned for more updates in the coming months. In the meantime, we’re excited to see how you use automation to build better relationships with your customers. Take a look at our automation guide and support center for more tips. And, of course, tell us what you think.

  • Simon

    This is great news, we’ve been looking to try and make some use of the Autoresponders and have some automation in our lists, so seeing improvements to this feature on Campaign Monitor is a very positive sign.

    When setting up one of these emails, on the Sending To choice of ‘Segments’ option for these Automated emails, is it an AND or OR option when picking who to send to from the list of segments? (as in, do they have to satisfy all of the conditions of the chosen segments to be included, or are the users any user from any of the segments that are selected even if they don’t appear in all of them)

    There doesn’t seem to be a way to “exclude” a segment, unlike when we pick the segments to send a normal Campaign email to – on that normal email segment list you hover over and to the right it shows a light grey “exclude” option, but in the Automation emails I’m not seeing that appear.

    Is there (or will there) be any way to edit/append a custom variable as an automation, so for example after sending a specific Automated email in the workflow we could then also adjust a value of a custom variable(s) for that user… tagging them with some info, which we can use elsewhere in the segments, or to know to exclude those users from a normal Campaign email as they’ve already received the info in the Automated email, for example.

    Also any way to pick a pre-saved email instead of setting them up all over again? Sometimes when we send a campaign we go in to the Create & Send (now Campaigns) and clone an email, and then change the content of it, and I can see we’d want to do similar here depending on the exact list that someone was in. It looks from a quick browse through the setup that you have to completely set up the emails from new?

  • David Greiner

    Hey Simon, thanks for taking this for a spin so soon. Regarding segments, you have complete control over the rule structure (using AND or OR separators) when you create each segment yourself. Segments in automation is more like a way to filter who should get that email. So, you can select multiple segments, and any potential recipient that falls in any of those segments will receive the email. Anyone else won’t. Let me know if that doesn’t make sense or I’ve misread your question. Segments can get confusing fast.

    In regards to excluding segments, we don’t offer that right now but it’s certainly something we’re considering. As for appending variables, that’s absolutely something we’re working on now. You can actually do this right now via by using our API to update custom fields and then filter those with segments, but we plan on making this much simpler and more accessible to everyone soon.

    And finally, right now you’ll need to go through the complete import process for the emails for automation I’m afraid. But, this is most definitely a work in progress and we’ve got lots of improvements underway that will make some of these processes a whole lot simpler.

  • steven p

    I’m interested in knowing wbether you are considering building a plugin to integrate with MS Outlook. The third party app currently available even though it’s now free is very basic and has been left behind compared to the plugins for other marketing programs, eg mail chimp. Thanks

  • BraceRosso

    I’m excited to see where this new feature leads to, and have been waiting for ESP’s to build more automated tools into their platforms. However, since we can’t move users from one list to another based on user activity, or base the automated workflows on qualification for a segment definition (like clicking on a link), the automation is largely a timer.
    If CM allowed a workflow to be initiated based on a segment rather than joining a list, it would instantly become a lot more powerful. We could then send different messages based on any or specific links that were clicked in a campaign.

  • Ros Hodgekiss

    Hi there @stevenp, we don’t have this on our roadmap, I’m sorry to say. That said, I recommend taking a look at services like Zapier – they integrate with us and allow folks like yourself to connect your subscriber lists to thousands of apps and services. Best of luck!

    BraceRosso, it’s always great to hear from you. This sort of behavioral-style email based on subscriber actions is something that we’re exploring – and we’ll absolutely keep you posted as we build out new workflows. Watch this space :)

  • Bart @ Bidable

    This is an awesome news! And yes sending email is more about sending newsletters. On the part of the publisher this could also mean a form of advertising. However the challenge to doing email marketing is the tediousness of the task of crafting a good email. It is awesome to know that you guys were able to lighten the load of email marketers through your email automation feature.

  • Zander Grinfeld

    Hi

    Seems a step in the right direction – but I do think we need steps to reducing the amount of lists being created. It would be great if these (and autoresponders) could be triggered by people joining particular particular segment within a list.

    This implementation means that if people are eligible for two different types of automated emails they need to be in two seperate lists (eg ‘. If it could be triggered by people joining a segment, then we could keep our list numbers down.

  • Noel Roy

    So in theory will the software still take 500 credits to send an email? If someone joins a mailing list in the morning and someone else joins the mailing list in the afternoon, would the software use 1,002 credits to send the two welcome emails?

  • Balthazar Simoes

    Hey Zander, great comment. To be clear, you can have emails sent to specific segments, so if they sign up and match an existing segment that can be a trigger. I do see your point though when it comes to existing subscribers matching other segment rules, that’s a good suggestion.

    Hello Noel, sorry for the confusion there. No, with automated emails they cost 1 email credit each (there’s no 500 credit send fee as there is with regular campaigns).

  • Brenna Collins

    Our automation will not send. It is activated and completely set up but wont go out at the specified time.
    Any advice?

  • Stephen Jesson

    Hi Brenna,

    Sorry to hear you’re experiencing issues starting your workflows here, however we’ve just dropped you an email to gather further details and to help resolve this issue for you, so please reply to this when you have a moment and we’ll get these started for you asap :)

    Thanks for your patience!

  • zander

    Hi Balthazar – thanks for the reply.

    Just to make sure I’m being clear – I mean autoresponders specifically being triggered by someone already is on a list but newly becomes part of a segment.

    For example – say we have gold, silver and bronze members who get different updates and we wanted an autoresponder to send out when a user goes from bronze to silver (‘thanks for becoming a silver member’ etc) currently we would need to have them all in different lists, as emails are only triggered by people joining lists.

    It seems to make more sense to me for the membership levels to be segments of our ‘members’ list and a new autoresponder to be triggered when they enter the ‘silver’ segment (ie to each new member of a segment).

    Anyway – thought I’d try to clarify just in case its something you pursue.

    Thanks

    Zander

  • Balthazar Simoes

    Hey Zander! Thanks for clarifying that! Yes, that’s definitely a bit tricky at the moment, but I’ve added a vote for you to a feature request we have to make that sort of scenario a lot easier to manage :) We have a lot of plans to make automations more robust so stay tuned! :)

  • Daniel Pearce

    Hia,

    It’s ok to have a simple situation that a workflow is switched on when a list goes live. But, is it possible to have users to sign up to a list (which has a workflow that won’t be started until a given date), which when started, those subscribers that have signed up, will immediately start receiving the workflow from that date?

    Thanks

    Daniel

  • Ros Hodgekiss

    Hi there Daniel, our recommendation would be to use a date-based custom field to trigger an email the workflow on a specific date (for example, “Course start”, or similar). Other emails in the workflow could be timed to be sent days, or weeks after the date specified. Could this work for you?

  • Daniel Pearce

    Thanks Ros,

    That does work… but… I’ve already created a workflow based on a requirement that when a user signs up they immediately start the workflow.

    From what I can tell I can’t edit the workflow to change the initial state “What should trigger this workflow?”?? Also, it doesn’t look like I can duplicate a workflow and edit accordingly?

    Kind regards,

    Daniel

  • Ros Hodgekiss

    Hi Daniel, you’re right – you can’t change what triggers a current workflow at present, I’m sorry to say. The only option here is to create a new workflow based on date, then pause your original one. If you have any questions about going about this, please contact our team and we’ll do our best to make the transition a smooth one.

    That said, duplicating campaigns and changing triggers are certainly things we can consider for a future update; I’ll add your votes for these and will keep you posted!

  • Charles Tiné

    Hi to all !
    Automation is great (we run a blog and through RSS send all new articles each week), but it seems it is impossible to get a list of people who opened and/or read the email. Is there something I missed, or is this function (quite major for email marketing) due in a next release?
    Thanks and regards
    Charles

  • Ros Hodgekiss

    Hi Charles, it’s good to hear from you. You’re right, unfortunately our reports for RSS workflows do include a lot less detail than those our regular campaign reports or other workflows, sorry to say.

    That being said, I can definitely see how more detailed RSS reports would be a great addition, especially since the activity on those campaigns is valuable information. I’ve added your vote and if this is something we’re able to work on in the future, we’ll be sure to let you know.

  • Danielle Bamford

    Hi,

    I’m enjoying playing around with the automated workflows –

    Am I correct in saying an automated workflow will NOT trigger if I important a contact and only when they sign up via a form themselves?

    I have setup up a workflow and it is working when a contact completes a form, but not when I add a new subscriber?

  • Ros Hodgekiss

    Hi Danielle, you’re correct – an automated workflow will only trigger if your subscribers/contacts sign up via a form themselves. You won’t be able to import a file and have those subscribers join your workflow. Here’s more information on this – let us know if you have any questions!

  • Troy

    This looks very cool guys. If I add an email to a workflow in three months time, will subscribers in that workflow automatically receive it?

  • Ros Hodgekiss

    Hi Troy, it’s great to hear from you! Yes, you’re correct – once someone is in a workflow, any emails added and scheduled for a point in time to come will be sent to them. If you have any other automation questions, let us know :)

  • Troy Dean

    That’s great news Ros. Great to see you’re still going with strong with CM too :)

  • Matt

    Hi, regarding: “Will importing subscribers trigger a new subscriber workflow?” (http://help.campaignmonitor.co

    This is incredibly limiting! It effectively means I have to go back to mailchimp just for this feature as manually adding a list of emails one by one into a signup form to trigger a workflow is very hugely inefficient.

    Example: Clients of ours sign up to a course we offer. When the course starts we have a series of course content emails that are to be sent to attendees over the duration of the course at timed intervals. At the course start date, we would currently have to manually add each course attendee’s email address to trigger the email automation. We need to be able to grab the list of confirmed attendees, import them into the ‘start course’ workflow and they all receive the course content emails all at once, in order and at the point of import.

    Can you explain why you don’t allow this and if you plan to add the ability to trigger the automation when addresses are imported in future?

    Otherwise, nice work on the automation upgrades, I look forward to seeing them develop – I’m trying to return to CM from mailchimp to use your amazing canvas email editor and trying to understand any limitations (out of interest, do you publish a change-log or feature road map?)

  • Breetel Graves

    Hi Matt,

    Thanks for chiming in here – I can definitely see how it would be useful to have the ability to trigger an on-subscription based workflow from an import. That’s certainly something we’re considering as an added feature, but we don’t have a timeline set for it yet.

    In your example use case, I wonder if a date-based workflow could work for you instead? If you added the course start date as a custom field, then set the workflow to trigger x days after the start date, that seems like it could do the trick!

    There’s more details on how to set that up here: http://help.campaignmonitor.com/topic.aspx?t=1066 and we reach out personally to anyone who’s requested a feature that we’ve been able to develop.

    Feel free to reach out here or to support@campaignmonitor.com with any further suggestions or questions – we’re always happy to help!

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