Here we have listed a number of suggestions as to how you can get the most out of the Automation Center, as well as explaining some of the more complex functionality.

Contents

See also:

Workflow tips

Here is a collection of useful things which will help you whilst working on your blueprints.

  • Adding new nodes to active programs
    If a program is active you can only add a new node to it by adding a new path; you cannot add one into an existing path.
  • Deselecting emails, forms or fields
    If you have selected an item for a node, such as a form or an email, you can deselect it by opening the properties dialog, clicking Select and then OK without selecting anything. This will clear any previous selection. Note that the deselected item will only be available for selection elsewhere once you have saved the program.

Program reporting

Full program reporting, including goal definition and success criteria, is only available via the Smart Insight module. However, there are some easy ways to set up some simple reporting for yourself.

  • Using filters
    If you add a Wait node and a Filter to the end of a path, you can measure the success of the path by whatever metrics you like. You can filter for straightforward responses, or measure specific database fields (such as total monthly revenue). For this reason many Blueprints already have filters at the end of their paths.
  • Using the Trends page
    If you assign all the emails in a program to a category unique to that program, you can select that category in the Trends analysis and view the overall responses for the entire program. Since the emails are listed in chronological order according to their first launch, this will give a broad impression of contact participation through the workflow of the program.

Opt-in for transactional emails

As a rule, all emails sent via the Automation Center will respect the opt-in stauts of the recipient. However, an exception has been made for the following entry points:

  • Form
  • Abandoned shopping cart
  • External event

If you create a program that starts with one of these entry points, and follow the entry point immediately with an email node, the first email will be sent to all participating contacts regardless of their opt-in status (i.e. opt-in can be empty or FALSE).

This is to enable you to set up critical transactional programs such as support requests, order and shipping confirmation, etc.

Please note:

  • These emails may not contain any marketing content that is not directly related to the transaction that triggered them.
  • Only the first email in the path will ignore the opt-in. All others will behave as normal emails.
  • This will only work is there is no node, not even a Splitter or Wait node, between the entry point and the Email node.

Timezone management

The Automation Center program scheduling uses the account default timezone; please be aware that changing the timezone settings in the Administrators page will not affect this.

Use cases for the Save Contact List node

This node was introduced by customer request and we thought we’d share some of the use cases with you.

Blocking contacts from entering two programs at once

Let’s suppose that you have two different incentive programs, but you don’t want to allow anyone to take part in both. In other words, you want to make sure that if someone has entered either of the two programs, they cannot enter the other, ever. Proceed as follows:

  1. Create both programs and add an Exclude Segment node after both entry nodes.
  2. Add a Save Contact List node after each of the two Exclude Segment nodes, set the same contact list name for both, and make sure the Add new contacts to existing list check box is enabled.
  3. Create a segment and choose Based on contact list. For the Source list select the contact list named above.
  4. Select this segment in the Exclude Segment nodes.

Now, each contact who entires either program will automatically be added to the contact list, which will update the segment and exclude them from entering the other program.

Improving the performance of large-volume transactional programs

If a large-volume transactional program contains a Wait node which is set to a specific time (such as “in four days at 8:00”), it can lead to performance issues since all contacts will be processed individually. To improve the performance of these programs, you can add a Save Contact List node before the Wait node and move the rest of the program into a new program with a Recurring filter entry point which runs to the same schedule (e.g. every four days at 08:00). Please note that this only works for programs with a participation setting that allows contacts to enter it only once ever. Proceed as follows:

  1. Create the transactional program which ends in a Save Contact List node to collect the contacts who would otherwise enter the Wait node.
  2. Set a contact list name for the Save Contact List node and make sure the Add new contacts to existing list check box is enabled.
  3. Create a segment and choose Based on contact list. For the Source list select the contact list named above.
  4. Create a program with a Recurring filter entry point and select the segment created above. Schedule it to run every day at 23:59,
  5. Add a Wait node after the segment with the same settings as the original Wait node and continue with the rest of the program.
  6. Set the participation in both programs to allows contacts to enter them only once ever.

Now, at the end of each day the second program will pick up all the contacts who would have reached the original Wait node and queue them, but they will be processed as a batch and proceed must faster through the program.

Reaching participants of a program via offline channels

Suppose you have a program which tries to reactivate defecting customers. You could have a branch for highly valued customers who usually spend a lot. If they do not react to emails, SMS or push messages, you may want to call them via phone and see if your sales representatives can reactivate them. Proceed as follows:

  1. Create a daily recurring program designed to reactivate contacts.
  2. Place a Save Contact List node at the point where you would like to make a call to the contact and disable Add new contacts to existing list.
  3. Schedule a daily contact list export to run about an hour after the contacts are expected to reach the Save Contact List node. This will export the list of contacts who entered the node on that particular day. You can set the export to send an email with the list of customers to be called to a sales representative.