Create an Automation Workflow

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

Automation allows you to create a targeted series of emails that send when triggered by a specific date, event, or subscriber’s activity. Use MailChimp’s Automation feature to streamline your recurring communications, and make sure your subscribers receive the right emails at the right time.

In this article, you’ll learn how to create 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 terms and the differences between workflow types.
  • The From email address you specify for your workflow is used on each email in the series. If you want to change an individual email's From email address, you’ll need to manually update the email 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.
  • When you choose a workflow type, be sure the built-in settings match the send options you want before your start your workflow.
  • Activity triggers cannot trigger the start of a workflow, because subscribers need to interact with your automated emails first.

Add a Workflow

Automation workflows are built in a series of steps, just like regular campaigns.  

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

  1. Navigate to the Automation page.
  2. Click Add Automation.
    Image of add automation button with cursor

List and Workflow Step

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

  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.
    You can choose a segment of subscribers for each email on the Emails step.
  2. Choose a workflow type. Use the checkboxes in the menu to filter which workflows display in the Select a workflow pane.  
    New student orientation workflow type
    If a workflow is grayed-out, it means you don’t have the indicated requirements for the workflow actions.

Setup Step

You'll configure settings for the overall workflow on the Setup step. Each individual email's 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.

    After you start a workflow, you can manually add subscribers to the workflow who don't meet your conditions. For List Activity workflows, edit the trigger on any email to choose whether to trigger the Automation when subscribers are imported.


Emails Step

For each workflow type, we’ll automatically add a preset number of emails to the workflow for you. From the Emails step in the Automation Builder, you’ll design each email's content and add, remove, and reorder the emails in your workflow.


Design an Email

  1. Click Design Email.
    Design email button
  2. On the Setup step, input the Email subject, From name, and From email address for the the specific email you’re working with. Fill in fields for email configuration in workflow
    To display the numbered position of the email within the workflow, use Automation merge tags in your subject line.
  3. 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.
    To change the trigger, delay, schedule, segment, or activity settings, or to reorder emails in your workflow, edit the workflow on the Emails step of the Automation Builder.


Confirm Step

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

  1. Review the checklist provided, 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 satisfied, click Start Workflow.
    Cursor hovers over the Start Workflow button.

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