Streamline your recurring communications using MailChimp's Automation tool. Once you set up your automation workflow, your subscribers will receive the right emails at the right time.

In this article:

Before you start

Keep these things in mind when you're creating your automation workflow.

  • Since activity-based workflows are triggered by a subscriber's action, if they don't trigger the first email, they won't receive any others in the series either.
  • Once an automation workflow starts, you can't make changes to the list, workflow type, or email order, because these make up the foundation of your workflow. Changing them would alter the process for subscribers already in the queue. You can add emails to the end of your workflow, or delete emails and workflows.
  • 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.
  • There is no limit to the number of emails you can create in an automation workflow.

Create a workflow

  1. Navigate to the Automation page.
  2. Click the Create Automation Workflow button.
    Button with Create Automation Workflow text.
  3. Click the Which list do you want to use? drop-down menu to choose the list that will receive your automated workflow.
    Drop-down menu showing available lists.
    You'll have the option to segment recipients later.
  4. Find the workflow type you want to work with, and click Select. Available workflows display based on the list you've selected. To use one of the grayed-out workflows, your list needs to meet the indicated requirements.
    Welcome message workflow tile with cursor clicking Select.
  5. On the Setup step, fill out the Workflow configuration fields and choose your tracking options. These settings will be applied to all the emails in your workflow. You'll configure each email's settings later.
    Fill out fields on Setup step of Automation Builder
    Click the Send activity digest email check box to receive a daily email with reporting data for your workflow. Select edit to choose which account users you want the digest email to send to.
    Select to send the daily digest email to users in your account
  6. Click Next.
  7. On the Trigger step, confirm or customize your trigger and segmentation options. Some triggers require more information from you, others are defaults based on the workflow type you chose on the List and Workflow step.
  8. On the Emails step, add and design emails, organize them in your workflow, and tell us when each email should send.
  9. On the Confirm step, look over the Pre-delivery Checklist and test your emails if you haven't already. Click Resolve or Edit to make changes.
  10. When you're finished reviewing, click Start Workflow.
    Blue button with Start Workflow text.

Add and edit emails

Automation workflows can have one email or a lot of emails. You'll add, design, and organize your emails in the Emails step.

Create an email

  1. Navigate to the Emails step.
  2. Click Add Email.
    Button Add Email.
    Some workflow types, like Annually Recurring Event, initially offer an option to bulk add a recommended number of emails.
  3. Click Design Email to open the email designer.
    Automation email slat showing cursor on Design Email button.
  4. Fill out 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. If you reorder your emails, the merge tag will update with the new position. The merge tags can also be used in your email content on the Design step.
  5. Click Next.
  6. On the Template step, choose your layout from Basic templates, Themes, Saved Templates, or Code Your Own. Click Select next to the template you want to use.
  7. Click Next.
  8. Design your campaign in the email designer and click Finish.

When you're done creating your email, we'll take you back to the main Emails step, which displays your workflow timeline.

Set workflow timeline

The first email in your workflow will send when a subscriber meets the trigger criteria. Generally, delay times for subsequent emails are relative, meaning they're based on the previous email in the workflow. If you're using an absolute date-based workflow, your delay times will appear on the timeline before and after the trigger date.

  1. Navigate to the Emails step.
  2. Click Change delay.
    Click blue text to Change Delay.
  3. Choose when you want the email to go out. Input a number in the first field, and choose hour(s), day(s), month(s), or immediately.
    Delay configuration fields and drop-down menus.
  4. If you want to apply the same delay to all the emails in your workflow, check the box next to Apply to all. The immediately option is only available on the first email in a workflow.
  5. Click Save.

At any time, you can Send a Test Email or Save and Exit from the navigation bar.

Note

If an email’s delay is based on if the email previous to it was opened or clicked, a subscriber will not show in any email’s queue until the subscriber opens or clicks the previous email. When a subscriber opens or clicks the previous email, they will then meet the delay criteria for the following email of having opened or clicked the previous email, and are then moved into that following email’s queue.

Workflow options

List and Workflow step

While you're editing your workflow, you can change the workflow type or list you're using. Click List and Workflow on the navigation bar, make new selections, and continue editing.

Trigger step

On the Trigger step, you can segment your list and make other choices about the workflow queue.

  • Segment: Under the Build workflow heading, click the Add segmentation conditions box to view and set segmenting options. Select any or all from the Subscribers match any/all of the following: drop-down menu. Any will add subscribers to the segment who match at least one of your segmenting conditions. All will add subscribers to the segment who match all of your segmenting conditions.
  • Subscribers who meet the criteria: Check Send first email immediately to existing subscribers who meet these conditions if you want to add existing subscribers to the workflow queue. Selecting this option will send to existing subscribers as soon as the workflow is started, regardless of any preferences you select in the additional delivery settings.
  • Trigger on import: For workflows with signup-based triggers, check Trigger workflow when subscribers are imported to include subscribers in the queue who you imported via a list import. This includes importing from a CSV file or from Excel, and any option on your account's Import subscribers page, with the exception of Import Mac Contacts. Integrations from our Integrations Directory use the API and would trigger an automation with or without the Trigger workflow when subscribers are imported option being checked.

Was this article helpful?
What can we do to improve your experience with articles like this?
Thanks for submitting your feedback!
At this time, we are unable to reply to any responses, but we'll use this information to keep the site up-to-date.
Sorry, we were unable to submit your feedback. Please try again later. Thank you for your patience.

Related Articles