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.

Below, 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.
  • Automation workflows are limited to 100 emails. If you need more than 100 emails in your workflow, you'll need to create multiple workflows.

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, you can skip to the next step in the process.

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

  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.
    After you select your list, we'll display several preset workflow types based on different events you can use to trigger an Automation workflow. To use one of the grayed-out workflows, your list needs to meet the indicated requirements.
  2. Select the workflow you want to use.
    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 set up your trigger and segmentation options.

  1. Confirm or customize your trigger. Some triggers appear by default based on the workflow type you selected, but others require additional information from you.
  2. Set additional workflow, segmentation, and sending options.
    Screen of Configure Trigger options.

Workflow Options

Workflow options vary based on the workflow you use. Below are some of the options and what they mean.

  • Trigger workflow when subscribers are imported
    Signup-based workflows, like Welcome message or Educate subscribers, display this option. Check the box to add subscribers to the queue who are imported via a list import.
  • Add segmentation conditions
    Send to an existing or new segment of your list.
  • Send first email immediately to existing subscribers who meet conditions
    We’ll search for existing subscribers who meet the conditions, and add them to the workflow queue. Existing subscribers will receive the first email as soon as the workflow is started, regardless of any preferences set under On what days should emails be sent and At what time should emails be sent.
  • 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 selected 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.

Emails Step

You'll add, design, and organize your emails in your Automation workflow on the Emails step.

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. Input the Email Information. These fields only refer to the specific email you are editing, 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.
  6. Click Save and Continue to return to your workflow timeline.

Repeat this process to add up to 100 emails to your Automation workflow.

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 the steps below.

  1. Click Change delay next to the email you want to edit.
    Click blue text to Change Delay.
  2. Input a whole number in the first field, and use the drop-down menu to choose days, hours, weeks, or immediately. To ensure the delay works properly, choose a number between 1 and 999, and do not use decimals.
    Delay configuration fields and drop-down menus.
  3. Click Save.

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. Be sure 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 for the last time.

  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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