How to Setup an Automation (Drip) Campaign

There are many terms used by marketers to describe automated emails – marketing automation, auto-responders, drip emails, email sequences, and more. Whatever you call your automated emails, BigMailer supports them.

An Automation campaign in BigMailer can be a single email (e.g. a signup confirmation or welcome) or a sequence of emails, that are typically triggered based on something happening to the contact (e.g. subscriber) record or an action performed. In addition to action, an automated email can be triggered with a time delay in hours, days, or weeks, or have no delay.

Ready to get started? Here are the steps to setup your Automation campaign.

  1. Log into your BigMailer account and select a brand you want to create a campaign under. Don’t have a BigMailer account? Try out BigMailer with a free account – all accounts start on a Free plan, no credit card required.
  2. Click on Campaigns tab in the site header, then on “Create Campaign” button.
  3. Click on “Create” under the Automation section.

Campaign types in BigMailer. Coming soon: RSS to email.

Once on the Campaign page you need to give your Automation campaign a name, click on small “rename” tag next to name.

Automation Campaign name

Click on “Add Email” to create your first email step, then click on “Edit” links to define each element of an email – trigger, message type, and segment (optional).

BigMailer Automation Campaign Example

BigMailer Automation Campaign Example – Newsletter Welcome

The most typical trigger for a 1st or only step in an Automation campaign is subscriber record being added to a specific list. Tip: Create a List named Test and always test your automation campaigns against that list.

There are several ways to add contacts to a list:

  1. Manual import of a csv file.
  2. A web form that sends data to that list.
  3. An API call (e.g. to create a contact when someone makes a purchase).
  4. A Zapier integration (when someone performs an action on a 3rd party platform a record of contact is created at BigMailer)

How to Use Segments in Addition to Triggers

In BigMailer, in addition to triggers available, you can also narrow down your target audience for a given email via custom defined segment. You can use segments to:

  1. Only send an automated email to customers based on their aggregate engagement with prior campaigns.
  2. Send an automated email only if a certain field in customer record has a value, e.g. LastPurchase > 30 days.
  3. Split a certain step in a sequence into multiple versions to customize email content based on certain customer attributes, like interest, gender, or certain interaction with your product, for example offerRedeemed or similar.

Examples of how to use segmentation in addition to triggers:

  1. Don’t send this email/sequence to subscriber based on engagement with other email campaigns or on a certain field value, that can be updated as a result of an action taken with your website or product.
  2. Send this email IF the value of a certain field is X to send custom content to different segments (a given step can have several versions created for each segment.

Automation Campaign Analytics

Automation campaigns have the same analytics as bulk campaigns, once they are activated. You can see engagement metrics like open and click rates, as well as unsubscribes, bounces, and complaints.

The stats for Automation campaign do NOT reset when an email is modified or moved around in a sequence. So if you want to track performance of a single step in a sequence you may want to pause the step and create a new version to replace it so you can compare engagement stats side-by-side.

Examples of Automation Campaigns

1. A single welcome email sent when a new subscriber is added to the list, perhaps with links to best content or info on how often new content will be emailed.

2. A welcome sequence sent X days after signup with valuable content, matching subscriber’s interests.

Email Marketing Automation Example - Newsletter Signup

Email Marketing Automation Example in BigMailer – Newsletter Signup

3. A product/service on-boarding email sequence with tips on using a product or advice from experts. This type of sequence can start with an event outside BigMailer and contact record is pushed to BigMailer via an integration.

Email Marketing Automation Example - User On-boarding

Email Marketing Automation Example in BigMailer – User On-boarding

4. An email or a sequence triggered by a customer interaction with a website or product. For example, if a subscriber visits a specific article they are tagged as interested in a given topic and sent relevant content or promotional emails.

Ready to get started? Click on Campaigns tab in the site header, then on “Create Campaign” button and select “Automation” campaign from the list. Don’t have a BigMailer account? Try out BigMailer with a free account.

Need assistance with your Automation Campaign? Reach out via chat icon once you log in, help is available 7 days a week.

 

How to Create a Zapier Integration

Using a Zapier integration you can connect BigMailer to hundreds of other platforms and applications. You can sync up your customer records with a CRM or another ESP, or add records to BigMailer when you acquire subscribers or customers in other platforms.

Below is a list of actions and example scenarios that can be setup.

IF [something happens elsewhere] > Add a contact to BigMailer brand

Examples:

IF a new response is collected via Google Forms add a contact into List [some-name] in BigMailer

IF a new row added to Google Spreadsheet add a contact into List [some-name] in BigMailer

IF a new contact is added in [some other ESP] also add a contact into List [some-name] in BigMailer

IF a new customer/sale/order is added in [some platform] add a contact into List [some-name] in BigMailer

IF a contact is added in BigMailer > DO [this action somewhere else].

Examples:

IF a new contact is added to List [Member] in BigMailer also add a record in [some platform].

IF a new contact is added to List [Paying Customer] in BigMailer send a message via [Gmail/Slack/other].

How to Create a New Zap with BigMailer

Log into Zapier with your account, then go to this page and click on “Accept Invitation & Build a Zap”.

When you choose an app in either step 1 or 2, search for “bigmailer” (no space) then select a BigMailer app listed.

Zapier: find BigMailer app

Zapier: find BigMailer app

Once you select the action, you will be asked for an API key to complete the step and a link to the page to copy API key will be provided.

Zapier: authorize BigMailer with API Key

Zapier: authorize BigMailer with API Key

Need an action not listed? Reach out to us via chat to request it.

 

How to Export and Delete Contacts

There are many reasons why you may need to export your lists or segments, let’s review most common use cases and best approach.

  1. GOOD. Identify and delete unengaged contacts. This is a good practice – removing unengaged emails (e.g. anyone who hasn’t opened your emails for 90-120 days) from your list to improve engagement and protect your sender reputation. Just make sure to exclude those contacts that were added to your list recently and haven’t had a chance to engaged yet. Low engagement leads to lower inbox placement overtime.
  2. GOOD. Update or sync your unsubscribe, bounces, complaints with internal database or another platform, e.g. a CRM. There are 2 options – manual one-time export or using our webhooks to send event data to your application for processing.
  3. BAD. Delete your unsubscribes and bounces to reduce overall list size and cost associated with storing those contacts. BigMailer uses this data to ensure no emails go out to these email addresses, so if you accidentally bring those records back onto the platform you are risking a) those who unsubscribed will hit complaint/spam button, which will negatively affect your sender reputation b) high bounce rate on any campaign or over a time period can affect your future deliverability and inbox placement. If you have very tight control over your list management and re-importing bounced email addresses isn’t a possibility then removing old bounces may be ok. Typically, unsubscribe rate is very low so removing those records is more risk than it’s worth to save a small % of the monthly fee.

NOTE: BigMailer doesn’t allow you to remove contacts that were sent an email in the last 21 days. That’s because when a contact is removed from BigMailer account, the Unsubscribe page no longer works for the removed email address, so the email recipient is more likely to hit Complaint/Spam button, which hurts sender reputation.

How to Export a Segment

First, go to the Lists tab in the site header to see all your Lists. Click on the arrow down link on the grey button next to the List you need to export.

list export

Give your export a name that will help you recognize it later on – recent exports will be stored for you in a list. If you need to export only a segment of your list, click on the checkbox above the Create button, to load the segmentation options.

You will most likely need to define a new segment for the export.

Export Unengaged Contacts

Make sure to add a condition to exclude those contacts that were added to your list recently, if you plan to remove Unengaged contacts. Recently added contacts are most likely to engage with your content, so it would be a costly mistake to make to remove them.

Once you define the segment, click Create. Depending on the List or segment size, a link will be generated within seconds or minutes for you to download your data as .csv file.

list export download as csv

How to Delete a List

Delete a ListFollow these steps to delete any List:

  1. Go to Lists tab to see all you Lists
  2. Click on the arrow down icon on the button next to the List

You will have 2 options:

  1. To delete a List only, this means only the label will be deleted from the list view, all the contacts in the list will remain unchanged.
  2. To delete the List and all contacts in that list, by checking the box next to “Also delete all contacts in this list”. Delete contacts
  3. If you choose this option, all contacts in this list will be removed across all your lists in a single brand. Contacts deletion will be scheduled for removal within 24 hours and appear as Pending until it’s complete.

How to Delete a List Segment

If you want to delete a segment, you need to create a segment, save it as a new List and then delete it:

  1. Create a new List, e.g. “Unengaged – 90 days” and import the csv file you downloaded into this new list.
  2. To stop sending to Unengaged contacts before the 30 days limitation expires you can simply “Exclude” the list from your Bulk campaigns.
  3. Follow the steps for deleting a List in the section above.

Send Events to Your Application With a Webhook

You can configure a webhook to send events to on your API page. See this article for best practices and code samples.

You can choose to send the following event data – bounces, complaints, and unsubscribe.

Got a use case we didn’t cover in this article? Let us know so we may expand it.