Sending campaigns out of Custobar is an easy task. Select your audience, choose your channel, and fire. However, there are times when you might need something a little smarter. Whether it is a welcome email as part of a customer journey, a customer data sync pushed to an ERP, or a personalized SMS, the automated campaign type might be just the right tool for you.
In this guide, we will cover the different automation types as well as some of their configuration specifics.
The first type of automation is the automated email. This is an email built in the same editor as the manual email, additionally 1) with the capability of resending the email to all customers who match the filters and rules once the campaign is activated, and 2) for the duration of the campaign, or until disabled.
Audience based email automations
The automated email can be audience based. This means that we use a set of rules and filters to define the segment we will contact. Once activated, and based on the first sending rules detailed below, the campaign will be sent out to that audience and anyone entering the audience afterwards while the campaign is active. Separate repeat rules, also defined below, will allow you to choose what happens to customers already contacted who reenter the audience.
This type of automation has several benefits: It is easy to set up, it gives you a lot of transparency over the rules defining the messages dispatch, and it can easily be used in conjunction with other campaigns (ie. “exclude customers who already took part in campaign X”, or “Only include customers who have tag=VIP).
When activating the campaign, you can choose whether the campaign will remain active until manually disabled, or run for a set duration and automatically stop once the time is up. This is usually dependent on the nature of the campaign and can be used to best suit your strategy!
Time window for the automation
You can choose the days of the week and times of the day during which the automation can fire. When set, the automation will only fire during the set time window. If a message is to be fired outside of the allowed times, it will be scheduled for the next possible time slot within the window, unless the conditions are not met before the time is up.
First sending rule
Regarding the first sending rule upon activation of the campaign, two options are available:
- Send email to everyone in this customer segment at its activation, and anyone who enters this segment afterwards. This rule is the most basic one and will probably be used in the majority of cases. It sends the message to the audience members and later to anyone entering the audience while the campaign is active.
- Send email only to those who enter this customer segment after activation and skip everyone currently in the segment. This rule will skip the current audience member, and only fire for those entering the audience after activation. This means a decent chunk of recipients will be skipped, but in cases where only a trickle of email must be sent, this might be the desired behavior.
The repeat rule will define the conditions for someone who received the campaign message to receive it again. The first option is simply “send only once per customer”. This means one message per lifetime per customer is sent, and no repeat will happen no matter what.
The second option allows you to define a time period which represents the minimum time that must elapse between the previous sending and the new one. This, however, is used in complement with the initial rules and filtering, so the customer must re-enter the audience AND the right time must have passed since the last sending the message for it to be sent again.
If the customer exits the audience before the time has elapsed, no message will be sent once the time is up. This rule functions as an extra buffer to prevent repeat sending a little too close in time, but you can set it as low as 1 minute, should you want no buffer at all.
Event based trigger
Instead of an audience, the automated email can also be triggered by an Event defined as a precondition. Here, the email will fire as soon as we receive an Event of the right type, and fire for each Event. The audience will not filter the recipients, so be sure to send in Events to the customer profiles you do want to reach and to set up any filtering upstream from the Events being pushed to Custobar.
Marketing permission is a notable exception however, and a valid email address that is not blocked is required, of course.
This is the most straightforward system as no other configuration will be required, so no need to set up first sending or repeat rule. Simply: one Event received = one message sent.
As the Event based trigger is free-form, it is very flexible and the perfect way to tie a message to a Flow journey. When Flow is expected to trigger a message, simply have it generate an Event, and use that Event as the message trigger. Flow will then dispatch the right message at the right time in the journey you built!
But what about the content?
In order to reflect the time passing during which your campaign is active, we included the possibility to automatically update the content of your product modules to reflect changes in your product data while the campaign is active. In practice, this means that if your product price has changed, you do not need to disable every single automated campaign featuring it. This also concerns others fields.
Or maybe you prefer keeping the data as it was at the time of activation? This is also possible. Simply choose the right option where you see fit when drafting the campaign, activate and forget. Easy!**
Note! "Prices" content update does not update the Omnibus price fields (highest_price, lowest_price and price_before_campaign) at the moment, but they will get updated if you choose to update "All fields".
The next type of automated campaigns is SMS. This add-on type allows you to automatically dispatch SMS once a day at a given time or based on a trigger Event.
Time based trigger
The automated SMS can be configured to be sent every day at a given time. This daily time based trigger will dispatch the SMS to the members of the audience at the defined time, with the optional addition of an audience based filtering. This creates a pretty flexible audience as any attributes and behaviours can be used to create the audience. And since the message fires every day, you can include in the audience rules an exclusion of those customers already contacted, or add some repeat rule logic directly in the filtering (exclude customers contacted within X days, for instance).
Event based trigger
Just like with Email automation, the SMS can be triggered by an Event. One SMS will be sent per Event of the corresponding type received.
SMS Event triggers can be any standard Event as well as custom Events. This means the SMS can be triggered by a Flow node through a Flow generated Event. Please note that this requires adding those custom Events to the SMS allowed Event types list. This is done in the backend of Custobar, so please reach out to our staff for assistance!
When the customer is a member of a specific audience
The two trigger types can also be cross-filtered by having the customer belong to one of your saved audiences. This is a good way to add extra rules and filtering. Just create a set of conditions and save it as an audience, then use that audience as the extra precondition to your SMS automation trigger.
Finally, we have automated Push. This type of automation is best suited for sending a recurring payload of data to update an existing database, whether it is an ERP, an audience in a third party tool, or even another Custobar environment. This campaign type works pretty closely to the SMS, with a trigger on Event or a daily trigger time slot.
Here as well, any custom Event trigger will need to be added to the allowed Push event types list, so remember to reach out to our staff for assistance!
The main difference between Push and other campaign channels will be the selection of an endpoint, which we cover in detail in the Push campaign guide.
Automated campaign statistics are virtually identical to manual campaign statistics. The main difference will be the separation of "Scheduled" and "Sent" counts. The rationale being the automation might have customers in the audience at the present, but the mail can only be dispatched in the future.
Let's take the example of a passive reactivation. We want to email customers who have been passive 6 months or more, and email them on Friday mornings. This would give for example a scheduled count of 10, and sent count of 0. Once the time of sending the mail is reached on Friday, some of the customers might have left the audience due to becoming active again between the moment they entered the audience and the firing time. This could give us a scheduled count of 8 and sent count of 8. If to that we add that some customers might have a bouncing email address, maybe the scheduled count will be 8, but the sent count will only be 7.
When reviewing the campaign statistics for an automation, please note that the graph and numbers will only address the selected time window.
You can use the interface to select a different time window to review, or select the activation date to get a comprehensive report of the entire automation's performance.
Please note: There used to be a 3-months maximum to the time window you can select, this limit has been lifted, but keep in mind that long running automations will require more time to query the statistics for their entire duration.
Thank you for reading this guide, if you have any questions please reach out to our Customer support.