This is a in-depth guide on how to create your first automated newsletter.
Also known as trigger emails. Email campaigns that are behavior driven by the receiver.
What you learn in this guide:
- How to create an automated newsletter instead of an “usual” one!
- How to track and use the behavior of your subscribers to change the content they’ll see
- Build your own segmentation strategy
- How to gain more time to create stellar content instead of bothering with the schedule!
- Learn the benefits of targeted marketing
You need the 14 days free trial or a subscription of ActiveCampaign to reproduce what you see in this guide.
Here you can learn more about ActiveCampaign, written with our own words.
Start with a list
To start your own first automated newsletter, the first thing you need is a list. A container where your captured email addresses from subscribers have to be pulled into. That’s very easy to do, AC gives you actually already some templates for this which are ready to use.
Automated newsletter / Make an automation
Now you have the container where your subscribers get access to your content.
We now take care of the marketing segmentation part.
Now let’s move them to a new automation. When you hit the button to create a new automation you will get a lot of different templates. For courses, incentive send-outs and much more! For this guide hit “start from scratch”.
Add the trigger
First thing to do in your new automated newsletter automation is, the immediately popping out trigger selection. Also here you will have lots of possibilities if you dig deeper into this topic, for now lets choose “subscribes to a list” to move all current and future subscribers of your first list to this automation.
Now your automation is ready to get some content.
Always think about: what would I like to see if I join this list?
Right after choosing the trigger you will get another prompt for adding an action.
Choose the “send an email” option.
The system will tell you that you don’t have any emails ready and will show you a link to create a new email.
Create trigger emails
After choosing the name for your first email, let’s call it test1, you will get the chance to build your email in a nice builder with drag and drop possibilities to add text, pictures, buttons and a lot more! But first, it will ask you to choose a template.
As there are various ones that are fine for the start let’s just take one of them to have the skeleton of your first email ready that we can adjust colors, style and content.
The builder itself has so many possibilities and is so easy to use that I don’t go into more detail here. Create your first email and go on with the guide.
In marketing jargon, trigger emails are emails that request an interaction from the receiver to trigger an action in your automation to make the content more targeted to your subscribers needs.
Add “if” conditions
These “if” questions are very powerful and you should use them to make your content very targeted to your audience’s behavior.
Add an “if” question by clicking the plus button in your automation.
In the conditions, take the ones from the picture if you have any links in your first email. For example if you have a link that is called “tell me more”, with the “if” question you can trigger different actions based on the amount of interest of your subscribers.
If they clicked the link they are most likely more interested in your content, so take this advantage and give them more of this interesting content.
With the “if” question your automation tree will split to the “yes” and “no” path. We will work on two paths from now on!
Ignore the error message about waiting time for now.
In the “yes” path we will add now a tag that will be added to your subscribers profile because he has clicked the button we defined to be the “goal”. We call the tag “interacted” as we want to se in his record that he interacted with our content.
Now you could trigger a new automation “when tag is added” to send this one more detailed follow ups on what he clicked.
Or we go on with the “yes” path and we add some waiting time in between.
Add waiting time conditions
Before everything else, you might have seen the remark in the system that tells you that an “if” question directly after sending the email gives them no time to actually get and read your email before the question runs over it.
My suggestion at this point is a more in-deep waiting time trigger. (That’s why I told you to leave the error message for now).
Create a new wait time action. Use the “wait until specific conditions are met” option.
Enter the conditions and make sure you add a reliable amount of days that you want to give them to read your email. Make sure it is at least 5 days.
With the conditions and the time limit you make sure that the subscriber goes the way of the “yes” path as soon as he opened your mail and clicked the link you desire them to click. Don’t think it is redundant to add both conditions as necessary. To do this now will make it easier for you later on when your list is growing and the automations become huge!
If the subscriber does not open the email within 5 days he will go the “no” path.
Add another waiting time of a few days on the end of the yes path and go on working on the no path.
Remind the “no” path
As we focus now on the “no” path, let’s remind these subscribers to your first email. You actually want them to open that email that they can decide something by clicking the link. Or you want them to click an affiliate link in the first mail and now you want to remind them that they did not opened the mail or actually just opened it but did not clicked the link. In the last case you might need to give them some more details why they actually should click that link!
First, add an “if” question in the “no” path.
Ask if they opened the email. If yes, it is clear that they saw the mail but did not clicked it. (if so they would have been already in the “yes” path before).
Splitting them for the automated newsletter
So to split them at this point you want to know if they actually already opened the mail so that they can go the new “yes” path or if not, that you can remind them and go with them the new “no” path.
In the yes path, create a new email in which the text is targeting the ones opened the mail but not clicked the link, so they most likely need more details in this email. provide it and give them the link again. Create a new email called Test2.
In the no path, remind them with a copy of your first email. that’s very simple, just add a new email and choose test1 again.
Now, to not recreate the whole thing for the new “no” path, just use “go to” condition to drag the dot to the point where you wait 5 days on their action. (See picture)
Be aware! This will create an infinite loop for people not opening your emails. To avoid this (if you don’t want this) just move the “go to” action directly to the end point in the very first “yes” path.
Bring them together
Now we have to focus on the ones opened your email but not yet clicked the link in it. You already sent them a reminder with more detailed information why they actually should click your link. So another reminder would be rude and a bad choice. They just don’t want to click that link.
No matter for us. Let’s go on!
Add another 5 days waiting time after your “test2” email. Make sure you add also the question if they opened the email and clicked the link this time.
In the new yes and no paths we conclude, merge them together to the very first yes but this time we add new tags to later on understand the behavior of this subscriber.
This is the last but most complex question now so I will break it to steps:
- Create “wait time” question after email “test2”
- add 5 days of waiting
- Create “if” question
- Add the conditions as seen on the picture. the second set of conditions can be added by clicking the white button called “Add a new segment group”.
- click “add”
End or move forward
Now you just have to add 2 “go to” actions to the yes and no path and guide them to two different sections of the initial yes path. Why?
If the subscriber finally clicked in your test1 or test2 emails to the link, he will get the tag “interacted” and move forward.
If the subscriber still not clicked your link in none of your emails you have to accept that if you don’t want to loose him. So you move him to a point just behind the “add tag” action, as you don’t want to add that tag to this subscriber but still need to go on.
Thats why we use the two “go to” actions with different targets.
See the picture for details how your automation should look like now.
CONGRATULATIONS! your first automation is ready to be active!
Now you can send your initial “yes” path to another automation or continue with content there. Have fun!
When you struggle with bringing more people to your opt-in form, it is maybe time to read my content about SEO tools and processes.
You want to start your automated newsletter now?
Now you know exactly how to create an automated newsletter to steer the behavior of your subscribers.
I think you really want to start right now with it right? Well, let’s do it!
Do you want to learn more about the benefits of automated newsletters?
If so, please go on to my post about the email automation and why an automated newsletter makes more sense as a conventional one.