Simplifying Automations

Simplifying Automations

Table of Contents

    ActiveCampaign is an incredibly flexible platform, empowering users to create an impressive range of automations and customizations. But with great power comes great responsibility; getting overwhelmed is understandable. Here are some of our suggestions to keep your automations simple.

    Start With Strategy

    Before you can build automations and measure their success, we suggest you take a few steps back and look at the big picture. On the Building Better Automations episode of the ActiveCampaign Podcast, we recommend that you get back to basics and map out your marketing persona journey(s).

    Some great foundational questions to ask are:

    1. What does a new contact need to know?
    2. What encourages new contacts convert to customers?
    3. What do your customers want after they’ve converted?
    4. How do you best keep in touch with customers?

    Using those guiding questions, and creating smaller automations that can be linked together, will help you track the types of communications sent and goals achieved. Also, such an approach allows you to easily diagnose any potential issues.

    A great overview of automation actions and terminology is available here. Our walkthrough on how to create automations will also help you get started.

    What Makes An Automation Successful?

    To create a great automation:

    1. First, set your strategy. Is the goal brand awareness? Education? General nurturing? Make sure you’re creating touchpoints that work with your larger plan.
    2. Be clear on your goals. What are you measuring? Are you growing your contact list? Do you want email opens? Link clicks? Coupon conversions? Make sure you’re automations are able to capture the data you seek.
    3. Communicate clearly and concisely. Messages with too many calls to action may confuse your contacts.

    Remember, you don’t have to do everything with one automation. There is no “right” or “best” way to create an automation; you just have to keep your goals in mind (And, if you don’t know where to start and are overwhelmed by a blank canvass, don’t forget to check out available templates.)

    Trends In Great Automations

    While there may be no “best” way to create an automation, we do see important trends at ActiveCampaign. Clear and concise automations use goals and if/else statements in really powerful ways.


    Goals simplify your ability to determine success for your contacts. Goals can end an automation or begin a new one.

    Let’s say you want to welcome new subscribers with a free download of a helpful guide. Using goals, you can send emails until contacts complete the goal of clicking the download link.

    Once a contact achieves the goal (Downloaded Report), they will jump to the goal step and skip the rest of the automation. This allows you to build out campaigns, but stop contacting those who have already taken the desired action.

    Now, if you want contacts who have already downloaded the guide to begin a different automation, you can direct them at the end of your original automation.

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    Don’t worry about knowing where you want to direct everyone at once. You can always begin an automation with a previously set goal achievement.

    Goals are a powerful tool in ActiveCampaign, allowing you to drive your contacts forward in your automations. Consider using goals for your contacts to simplify your process.


    If/Else statements help you split contacts in your automations based on the actions they take. They play a pivotal role in determining your contact’s journey. If/Else statements allow you to create a fork in the road, sending contacts down different paths.

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    In the example above, a contacts completes a form and enters an automation. If they open your welcome email, they are sent a discount email 3 days later. If not, they are sent another email to confirm they are still interested in receiving your communications, so you can reach out again, perhaps with additional product information. Use if/else to create automations that are responsive to your contact’s actions, sending them down personalized paths.

    If/Else can also help you filter people in conjunction with a goal. You can send your contacts down specialized paths, but pull them from all paths if they complete a goal. For example, if you want to keep reaching out until a new contact converts, you can build nurturing campaigns with if/else paths.

    Then, include a goal that ends the automation for anyone who earns a Customer Tag. The following automation might look complex, but the steps are fairly simple. Let’s take a look at how it works.

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    A contact enters the automation by completing a form, and are sent a welcome email. If they open that email, they begin down a path where they are offered a discount. If they don’t convert, they lose some points from their contact account. If they open all the emails, they can earn a tag as a hot prospect.

    Along the other path, they didn’t open the initial email, so they receive another. If they open this time, they will go to another action, and follow the path that everyone who opened the initial email will take. If they don’t open that email, either, we end the automation.

    At any point, if a contact becomes a customer, we won’t want to keep sending them communications from this automation. A Goal for New Customer Conversion will end the automation for any contact that earns the tag of Customer. This automation utilizes If/Else conditions to create forks in your contact’s journey, based on their actions, and a goal that will stop them from the journey when it is no longer relevant.

    Automation Flexibility

    ActiveCampaign provides plenty of flexibility, allowing you to create automations based on your business stage, your desired metrics, and your business goals. Building automations you can easily understand and remember helps you on your way.

    Do you have questions on how to simplify your automations, or tips to share about how you keep your automations simple? Comment below!

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