Auto follow-ups is an integrated function of CampaignsPlus that would help you create sequence of follow-up emails, setup autoresponders and drip marketing campaigns with ease and effectiveness. Whether you are looking for a persistent strategy of continuously dripping the content to your prospects, or a decisive series of autoresponders to achieve the goal of higher conversion rate, the follow-up tool will work best anyway.
Before you Start
Before you actually start setting up a customer journey through follow-up sequence or drip marketing, there are certain things that need to be considered. Follow-up within CampaignsPlus helps you outline the criteria, sequence and the interval for the follow-up emails. But it isn’t an autonomous function. Follow-up needs collaboration with event based triggers to execute on predefined criteria. Let’s find out more.
The function is intended for the follow-up series, second prewritten email followed by the first one in the sequence is the pattern of this function. Therefore, when you are creating the follow-ups, consider the sequence carefully. After creating the follow-ups, View Follow-Ups page can also help you manage the sequence of follow.
Click View Follow-Ups to Learn More about Sequence.
Follow-ups aren’t autonomously executed functions within CampaignsPlus, the flow of automation is always controlled through the Triggers. “Triggers” is the essential tool for the marketing automation within CampaignsPlus that holds extensive list of possibilities under its parasol. Triggers are independently discussed in a separate article and in much detail; this brief extract just notes the relationship of follow-ups with the triggers. The groups and the related follow-ups hang about for the execution, unless the event is defined to determine the qualifiers (contacts), and then the trigger to automatically execute the action of starting a follow-up group to the contacts qualified for the event. These events and actions are controlled through the Trigger function. Things will get clearer as we advanced in this article.
Follow-up group is a compulsory part of setting up a follow-up sequence. These groups will let you select the primary sending scheme that would include SMTPs, Sending Domain, Sender Info and such. Having follow-up group is prerequisite of adding a follow-up. Let's first discuss the follow-ups groups, and then adding follow-ups later in this article.
Navigate to Follow-Up Groups
Main Navigation -> Auto Follow-Ups -> Follow-Up Groups
The opening page of Follow-up groups consists of a table that would populate already existing groups, and when you don’t have any follow-up group setup, you will see this table empty. Add a new group to populate records in this table.
Add Follow-Up Group
The button towards the top left side of the View Follow-up Groups table would lead you to the page where you will be able to setup primary sending components. Let’s note what these elements are?
First take a look at the fields/selections marked as mandatory to complete the process of adding a follow-up group.
Group name is important to assign an identity to the follow-up group. Later, when you select a group to make follow-up emails part of it or setup Trigger to Start a Follow-Up Group, the name will help you identify the group of your choice quite easily.
List of available SMTPs appear to make a selection. You can select one or multiple SMTP belonging to different SMTP groups, or even can select whole SMTP groups for sending. Sending function would take the SMTPs you select to send follow-up emails from.
Sender information is the set of information that will go along with the follow-up email or drip campaign that you would setup. Sender information batch in CampaignsPlus consists of the following, and you can setup this information on different stages.
- From Name
- From Email
- Bounce Email
- Reply to Email
To select the sender information for a Follow-Up group, you have the following options.
From SMTP/Sending Node- Select a sender information batch stored with the SMTP you have selected for this follow-up group. If you have selected to send campaign from multiple SMTPs, system will apply rotation in this case.
- From Name- This additional toggle appears for From SMTP. It asks that do you want to use from name that was stored with the selected SMTP(s) or you want to provide a separate from name for this follow-up group. If you want to use a separate from name, then switch it off and a field to provide From Name appears underneath. If you use this additional from name field, system will ignore the from name field value saved within the sender information batch of selected SMTP. Rest of the information such as “Reply Email” or Bounce Email will remain the same as saved in SMTP.
Select Sending Domain
Select sending domains for the follow-up group. Sending domain is the domain that the system will use to send the follow-up emails/drip campaigns from. You have the following two options to select one appropriate.
- As Specified in SMTP- When you configure SMTPs or connect to the mail services that we collectively recognize as Sending Node, you would always provide Sender Information as well as a Sending Domain name for the sending node to operate like a separate sending stream. If you select this option, follow-ups belonging to this group will be sent using the domains as specified in the SMTP(s).
- Choose from Available Domain Names- This option would let you select from the available domains, domains that were being added to the system as Sending Domains.
Learn more about Sending Domains
Selections that are optional are discussed in the following area.
A toggle option selected as “No” by default, need to be switched “On” to make the status of a follow-up group as active.
Send to Existing
No is the default value selected for the toggle option, and it means that by default the follow-up emails belonging to this group will only be delivered to the New Signups/ Newly Added to List, and not to the contacts already existing in the list (List that you later will select). With this option selected, you can create a complete customer journey from the welcome email to the conversion. But if you are planning to send the follow-up emails to the contacts already existing in the list also, you can switch it on.
Both these options are provided in case you want to stop the default tracking of follow-up emails. By default system keeps it selected as Yes. For the majority, tracking the opens and clicks is important part to draw an analysis of the success rate.
A Yes/No toggle button to make a selection. Switching it off will turn the selection to No, by default it is selected as “Yes” to add an unsubscribe link to the follow-up email, keeping the importance of unsubscribe link in consideration.
Save or Cancel Details/Preferences
You have the following options to complete the process, cancel or save your preferences.
Save & Add Another
Get the current details/preferences saved to complete this process, and automatically reopen the same process with empty field values/options to make a new entry.
Save & Exit
Complete the process, get your preferences/ details saved and exit from the process.
Get out of the process without saving the details and return to Follow-Up Groups page.
View Follow-Up Groups
After you have setup few follow-up groups, you can see them all in the table that appears on the first page of Follow-Up Groups. You can search specific group from the table by using the search box, and select preferred number of records to appear on the first page of the table, and can perform few quick actions to manage the groups.
Rows of the first column have checkboxes that would help selecting records of multiple rows. You can select multiple records and then choose to delete them, using “Delete” under tools.
Each row of the column represents a follow-up group, and each group can be identified from the name that was being assigned during the process of creating the group.
Followed by the group name, the row reveals the date and the time when specific group was created and stored in the system.
Edit and update the values belonging to specific group such as SMTPs, Sending Domains, Sender Information, Sending to Existing or Not and so on.
When you click on it, a message will prompt to confirm your selection, and if you confirm, selected group will be deleted.
Make a selection of multiple records that you want delete and reach delete under tools from the top of the table.
Once you are done with a group, you one by one add the follow-ups to the related groups. Follow-up groups carry components of sending scheme, such as the Sending Domains, SMTPs, Sender Info and others, while the follow-up in itself would hold the content and the moment of delivery.
Navigate to Add a Follow-Up
Main Navigation -> Auto Follow-Ups -> Add a Follow-Up
After you have setup a follow-up group consisting of primary sending elements, let’s learn adding a sequence of follow-ups with different intervals or moments of send. The whole process consists of three steps, and each step has more mandatory and less optional fields/selections. Let’s learn step by step.
First Step of the Process
Name assigns an identity to the follow-up or drip marketing campaign that you are about to create. Follow-ups belonging to certain group will be distinguished from their name.
All existing groups appear in the dropdown to make the selection easy. As discussed under the article for Follow-Up Groups, these groups consists of the primary sending elements and basic criteria for the contacts to receive a follow-up campaign. From primary sending elements we are referring to the SMTPs, Sending Domains, Sender Info that the system will use to send the follow-up email from. From the criteria it refers that if the follow-up emails belonging to certain group will be sent the newly joined/signups only, or to the existing contacts as well. So select the right group from the dropdown. Continue to proceed to the next step of the process.
Second Step of the Process
When to Send
Here comes the critical part of a drip campaign or a follow-up sequence, this is where you define the moment of execution for each follow-up, therefore, define mindfully. There are two options, let’s unfold each one of two to further understand this.
Selection of this option means that the moment of delivery for this follow-up is set for the Trigger time. Trigger time can be defined as one of the following.
- Instantly- As soon as the contact qualified for the event, trigger will perform the associated action (Start Follow-Up Group). And a follow-up from the group set for the option “Upon Triggering” will be delivered.
- After the Event- After the time defined in the trigger to perform the associated action (Start Follow-Up Group) for the contacts qualified for the event. What it means, trigger function will first wait for the time defined to perform the action after the event, and will then start the follow-up group. For example the trigger time is set for two hours after the event; system will first wait for two hours, and then will deliver the follow-up set as “Upon Triggering”.
In case of after triggering option, system will consider how long after triggering the specific follow-up is to be delivered. E.g. if you have defined the time as “2 - Days - After Triggering” and the trigger time is set for two hours after the event to perform the associated action (Start Follow-Up Group). System will accurately take the initial action and will start the associated group after two hours of the event, but will wait no less than two further days to deliver the follow-up setup as “2- Days- After Triggering”.
Keeping both the options in consideration will help us understand it better. If both the follow-ups with the options upon triggering and after 2 days of triggering belong to same group and the trigger time to execute the group is setup as “Instantly” after the event. Then the first follow-up will be delivered to the qualified contacts as soon as the trigger executes the action (Start Follow-Up Group). While to deliver the second follow-up, system would wait for another two days after the trigger actually execute the action (Start Follow-Up Group). It is how the sequence and interval between the follow-ups is controlled.
Third Step of the Process
Third step of the process belongs to the content of follow-up. You may be familiar with the steps if you already have created an email campaign content within CampaignsPlus.
Email subject aka subject line is the decisive part of your campaign content. It is the subject that the recipient first reads and decides whether to open or discard the email. So the more it attracts to your recipients the better open rates you can expect. This email subject field can be a simple text field like “Marketing Automation Tool” or can also explore other options like custom variables to make it look more attractive. Custom variables and spin tags are discussed later in this article.
The editor helps you create the content for the follow-up email and it can be text as well as the HTML content. The “Tool Bar” at the top of the content editor will help to perform various actions like uploading new document, inserting pictures or tables into the content, adding or removing anchor tags, choosing a font family for the content and other related tasks.
Additional and Custom Field Variables
You can personalize the content using the data fields to create variables within your content, the commonplace example of the variable can be %%first_name%% for name personalization. Variables are discussed more detail under the article “Add a Campaign”, click to learn more about them.
Preview the Follow-Up
Like the email campaign, you can test the follow-up emails as well before making it part of the automation flow. Sending preview email isn’t the mandatory part of the process; you can save the preferences even without providing the preview details. It is just an additional tool to help you view how the follow-up email will eventually appear in the inbox.
Select SMTP to Preview
Select SMTP from the list to send the follow-up email from.
After selecting the SMTP, provide the email address to send the preview of your follow-up. It can be an email of a local domain or also your personal inbox of some major email client like Gmail, Yahoo or AOL etc. This way you can preview how the newly created follow-up appears in different inboxes.