When you create an email journey, you start by choosing a "trigger" that determines how and when the emails will send. The trigger could be based on subscriber activity, like an online purchase, or it could be associated with someone's birthday. When the specified activity or date takes place, the journey will be triggered to send.
To get started, click Automation in the top navigation, click Create an automation, then select Custom journey.
You'll be prompted to name the journey, choose a list to send to, and select a trigger type, as explained below.
Subscriber joins a list
Choose this trigger to automatically send emails to new subscribers or customers. The journey will trigger to send when someone subscribes to your list through a signup form. It will not trigger for subscribers already on your list, or subscribers who are added manually or via a list import.
Beyond a standard "welcome email", this trigger could be used for purposes such as a monthly training course, guiding potential customers through a product trial, or to sending out chapters of an e-book.
There are two types of segment-triggered journeys: when someone enters a segment, and when someone exits a segment. If your subscriber list is not already segmented, you'll need to create a segment before you can use this trigger type.
Subscriber enters a segment
This journey will trigger when a subscriber's details match the rules set in a segment. It can be used to send timely, personalized emails based on subscriber behavior or custom field data. For example, a welcome package or a series of upsell emails when a lead converts into a customer.
Subscriber exits a segment
This journey will trigger when subscriber details no longer match the rules set in a segment. This journey type can only be triggered once per email address. For example, you can use this trigger to re-engage with customers who haven't used your product in a while.
Things to know about segment-based triggers
- A segment-triggered journey will only trigger the first time someone enters or exits the selected segment. A journey will not restart if someone enters or exits the segment multiple times.
- If someone is already in the selected segment of a "subscriber enters segment" journey when it is turned on, they will not start the journey.
- Subscribers will continue receiving emails in a segment-triggered journey until it is complete, even if their segment membership changes part way through. You can work around this for "Subscriber enters a segment" journeys by setting emails in the journey designer to send to the same segment as the trigger.
- Segment-triggered journeys can be triggered if you change an existing segment rule, which in turn changes that segment's membership.
- Segment-triggered journeys can be triggered by importing subscribers, so long as subscriber membership of the segment changes.
- Segment subscriber membership changes are checked every 10 minutes. Therefore, there may be a delay of up to 10 minutes before the email is sent to a subscriber.
- For new journey emails with a segment-based trigger, there is a short delay before we start monitoring subscribers entering or exiting the segment. This means that a subscriber that enters or exits a segment in the first 10 minutes might not receive the email. Please wait 10 minutes before testing your journey.
To use a date-based trigger for a journey ,you first need to set up a date custom field for the list you're sending to. There are two types of date triggers: a "date" and "an anniversary of a date". In both cases you can set up the journey to begin on, or before, the trigger date.
Note: Date-based journey emails are sent at midnight in your account's time zone. This means the start of the day, not the end.
To send a date-triggered email after the trigger date, add a "delay" step in the journey designer. For example, you can add a delay of 9 hours so emails arrive in the inbox at a few minutes past 9 a.m. instead of a few minutes past midnight.
Choose this trigger for customer journeys based on a specific date, such as a purchase date, an appointment due date, or the end date of a free trial period.
An anniversary of a date
The "anniversary of a date" trigger will occur every year on the specified day and month recorded in a subscriber's "Date" custom field. This trigger can be used for birthdays, or for sending a reminder email to customers to book their first annual service.
Frequently asked questions
How many times can a journey be triggered?
With the exception of date-based journeys, a subscriber can only trigger a journey once, even if they unsubscribe then resubscribe, or enter/exit a segment multiple times.
Can I change a trigger?
Up until the first time you turn on a journey, you can change its trigger type by clicking on the trigger step. After your journey has started, the trigger type cannot be changed.
The best way to change a trigger for a journey that has started is to copy the journey. Be sure to plan ahead when turning off the original journey, as any subscriber currently in that journey who has not completed it will stop receiving emails when you do.
How do I stop a journey when someone exits a segment?
If you want to prevent emails being sent to someone who triggers a "subscriber enters a segment" journey when they exit that segment:
- Click an email in the journey designer.
- Click Send to specific segments in the left-hand sidebar.
- Select the same segment that triggers the journey.
- Repeat for all emails in the journey.
When you select "Send to specific segments" for an email, the selected segments are checked immediately before the email is sent. Since the subscriber who exited the segment won't be there, they won't be sent the email.
What happens if I change a subscriber's date custom field when they're halfway through a date-based journey?
Changing the date in a subscriber's custom field can affect their position in a date-based journey. It's possible that they may receive the same emails again, or skip emails as a result. You can also set a date in the past on a new subscriber to start them part way through a date-based journey.
Subscriber custom field dates for journeys are reassessed at midnight in your account's time zone, or when a journey is turned off and then on again.