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How to use the automation workflow builder

This article provides details on how to use the Automation feature and workflow builder in your Emma account. 

Emma’s Automation feature lets you automatically send targeted emails to your audience based on actions that they’re taking (like signing up or clicking links in your emails) and important milestones in their customer journey (such as birthdays, anniversaries, or account updates). You can create workflows to send emails to your subscribers based on those actions and events. Taking it a step further, with branching (more on this below) you can create a sophisticated, multi-email series that sends your subscribers different messages based on how they interact with previous emails in a series. 

How to create an Automation using the workflow builder

1. After logging into your Emma account, go to the Automation tab and click on the Create a new workflow button. 
2. Here, you will need to name your workflow, choose the audience (selecting from your groups or segments), and choose the trigger event. 


A trigger event is essentially an action that is taken by a contact, like a link click in one of your emails. Updates to a contact 's record can also be used as trigger events, as can important dates that you’ve stored for them on their contact record.

      Trigger events for workflows include: 

  • Signup: Triggers a workflow when someone signs up from a form or integration.

  • Date-based: Triggers based on a date stored in a contact's record, like birthday, anniversary, appointment, etc.

  • Field change: Triggers when the data within a field in a contact's record is updated, like if their Purchase Total field changes from $50 to $100 and you want to target them differently.

  • Link click on a specific mailing: Triggers when someone clicks a link in a specific mailing that you've sent or scheduled.

  • Link click on any mailing: Triggers when someone clicks a specific link in any mailings you've sent or scheduled.

3. Next, you can choose to add more events to your workflow, which is called branching, or select to activate it by clicking the toggle next to 'Inactive' at the bottom of the page to turn it on, and then finalize your automation by clicking on the Save button. 

Adding branching to your workflow

Once a contact in your audience enters a workflow by way of a trigger event, they’ll follow the steps of that workflow in the order that you lay them out. If you want to send users down different paths based on how they’re interacting with earlier messages in the workflow, branching will let you automatically check for specific interactions before deciding which message they should receive next.

To do add branching to your workflow, in Step 3 above before saving, you would click on Add action under Workflow to add your first branch. There is a maximum of 20 branches allowed and branching is only available by using either a “wait” or "Send mailing" step; here's what those mean: 

  • Send mailing: Selecting this will send one of your previous mailings to your contact. On it, you can customize the subject line, from name, and from address of the mailing.
  • Wait: This option will wait a specified amount of time (hours, days, weeks) before moving to the next step. Use this to add delays between email sends and other actions.

More about the audience of your workflow

As mentioned above in Step 2, you can filter the audience for an automation workflow if you only want certain contacts to be eligible to receive it. You do this by filtering your audience to only contacts in specific groups or segments. If you select multiple groups or segments for a workflow, contacts will enter the workflow if they belong to any group or segment that you’ve chosen. By the same token, if contacts move out of the groups or segments that you’ve specified for your workflow, they will no longer receive the emails in that workflow. This is a great way to make sure that people don’t receive messages in your workflow if they take an action that makes that workflow no longer relevant to them (such as if they make the purchase that you’re prompting them to complete, or if they activate the account that you’re trying to persuade them to activate).

Activating / Deactivating your workflow

After you create an Automation and have activated a workflow, you will not be able to edit the trigger type, wait times, or selected emails. However, you can still make changes to the workflow’s audience, edit the subject line, from name, reply-to address, and the content of the emails directly from the workflow builder.

Deactivating your workflow will immediately remove all contacts from it. No additional emails will be sent, and those recipients will not pick up where they left off if you reactivate the workflow.

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