Create an Automation Workflow

This feature requires Author user level or higher and is part of paid features.

Use MailChimp’s Automation feature to streamline your recurring communications. After you set up your Automation workflow, your subscribers will receive the right emails at the right time.

This is a paid account feature, and is included with all Pay As You Go, Monthly, and High Volume Plans.

In this article, you’ll learn how to create and edit an Automation workflow.

Before You Start

Here are some things to know before you begin this process.

  • Before you create a workflow, familiarize yourself with Automation terminology and important differences between workflow types.
  • After an Automation workflow starts, you can’t select a different list or change the workflow type or email order, because this would break the process for subscribers who are already in the workflow.
  • On Pay As You Go Plans, an email credit is used for each email that goes to a subscriber via the Automation workflow, including test emails.

Create a Workflow

Automation workflows are built in a series of steps, just like regular campaigns. If you haven’t started building an Automation workflow before, start at the beginning. If you’ve started and saved your progress, skip to the step in the process you want to work on.

To create a new workflow in the Automation Builder, follow these steps.

  1. Navigate to the Automation page.
  2. Click Create Automation Workflow.
    Button with Create Automation Workflow text.

List and Workflow Step

On the first step of the Automation Builder, you'll choose your list and workflow.

  1. Click the Select a List drop-down menu and choose the list you want to send your Automation workflow to.
    Drop-down menu showing available lists.
  2. Select a workflow type. To use one of the grayed-out workflows, your list needs to meet the indicated requirements.
    Welcome message workflow tile with cursor clicking Select.

Setup Step

You'll configure settings for the workflow as a whole on the Setup step. Each email's individual settings will be configured on the Emails step.

  1. Input the Workflow name, From name, and From email address.
    Fill out fields on Setup step of Automation Builder
  2. Check the boxes next to any additional settings or tracking options that you want to include.


Trigger Step

On the Trigger step, you’ll confirm or customize your trigger. Some triggers appear by default based on the workflow type you chose, but others require additional information from you.

After your Automation workflow is started, you can add subscribers who don't meet the trigger condition.

Emails Step

You'll add, design, and organize your emails in your Automation workflow on the Emails step. This is also where you'll provide scheduling and segmenting options for each email in your workflow.

Create an Email

  1. Click Add Email.

    Some workflow types provide a recommended number of emails to add with one click.
  2. Click Design Email to open the Email Designer.
    Automation email slat showing cursor on Design Email button.
  3. On the Setup step, type in the Email subject, From name, and From email address. These fields only refer to the specific email you are editing and not the entire workflow.
    Fill in fields for email configuration in workflow
    You can use Automation merge tags in your subject line to automatically display the numbered position of the email within the workflow. Click Next.
  4. Select the layout you want to use on the Template step of the Email Designer.
  5. On the Design step of the Email Designer, design your campaign. Click Next.
  6. Set your scheduling and segmentation options on the Scheduling/Segmentation step. You'll see different options based on the workflow you chose.
    • On what days should emails be sent
      Choose the days your automated emails can be sent out.
    • At what time should emails be sent
      Allows you to choose the time of day on your chosen days that your automated emails will go out. Click the drop-down menu to choose As soon as possible, Send at, or Only send between.
    • Add segmentation conditions
      Send to an existing or new segment of your list.
  7. Click Save and Continue to return to your workflow timeline.

Repeat this process to add up to 100 automated emails to your Automation workflow. If you need more than 100 emails in your workflow, you'll need to create multiple workflows.

Set Workflow Timeline

You'll create your workflow timeline with a series of delay settings. Delays work differently for activity- or date-based workflows.

To set the delay from the Emails step of the Automation Builder, follow these steps.

  1. Click Change delay next to the email you want to work with.
    Click blue text to Change Delay.
  2. Type a whole number in the first field, and choose immediately, hour(s), day(s), or week(s) from the drop-down menu. To ensure the delay works properly, choose a number between 1 and 999, and don't use decimals.
    Delay configuration fields and drop-down menus.
  3. Click Save.

Automated emails after the first have an additional drop-down menu that allows you to set a delay based on an action in the previous email. Choose from sent, opened, clicked, api request, not opened, or not clicked.

Reorder Emails

Activity-Based Workflows
You can drag and drop emails in an activity-based workflow to reorder them. After a workflow is started, emails can’t be reordered.

Delay times in a workflow are independent from the emails. When you move emails in the workflow from the Emails step, the delay times remain in their same positions in the workflow, so it's important to review your delay times after you organize your emails.

  1. Click and hold the three dots next to the email you want to move.
    Cursor is shown dragging an email into the preferred position.
  2. Drag the email into the correct place on the workflow.

Date-Based Workflows
Date-based workflows can’t be reordered this way, but you can change the delay to reorder them in the sequence.

Confirm Step

The Confirm step is where you’ll review your workflow.

  1. Review the Pre-delivery Checklist, and test each of your emails if you haven’t already. Click Resolve or Edit to make changes to any section of the workflow.
  2. When you’re finished reviewing, click Start Workflow.
    Cursor hovers over the Start Workflow button.

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