Actions get things done.
Actions are polite, waiting until the previous step in the automation has completed before taking place (just like conditions, but unlike events). Within your visual automations, they're denoted in green.
Actions are the backbone of automations. Many of the most commonly-used automation functions (like adding subscribers to a sequence) are accomplished with actions!
Understanding how they work is important for automating effectively, so let's dig in.
Adding an action
Adding an action is a breeze. In your automation, just click the plus (+) sign under the node after which you want the action to occur. (For example, if you want your action to occur immediately after the subscriber enters the automation, then add it right under the top entry node.)
Action will be selected by default, so after that you just need to select what type of action you want to use.
In the next section, we'll go over each type of action in turn!
The 6 types of actions
Each type of action serves a different purpose. It's not uncommon to have multiple actions within one automation, of the same or varying types.
Here's what they're all used for, and how to set them up:
1. Email sequence
This type of action will add the subscriber to an email sequence of your choosing.
Under 'Currently' is the number of subscribers actively making their way through that sequence via this automation. Under 'Completed' is the number of subscribers in this automation who have finished going through the sequence already.
☝️NOTE: The subscriber will stay at this step in the automation for the duration of the sequence, and only move on to the next automation step once they receive the last email from it.
This type of action will hold the subscriber at this step for a duration of your choosing.
Once the duration is up, they'll move on to the next step in the automation. You have the option to delay for weeks, days, hours, or even minutes!
✨TIP: Delays are great for adding a bit of a 'pause' in between steps in your automation (in between sequences, for example).
3. Move subscriber
This type of action allows you to adjust which automations this subscriber is in. There are 3 sub-options:
Start another automation
This will add the subscriber to another automation of your choosing, while still keeping them in the current automation.
☝️NOTE: Using this type of action will automatically create a new entry point in the other automation you're adding them to.
In the above example, the subscriber will be added to the 'Photography Course Pitch' automation, while continuing through the remainder of the current automation as well.
Multi-tasking like a pro. 😎
Exit this automation
This will remove the subscriber from this automation.
This option will be greyed out unless you're adding it at the end of an event or condition branch. That's because an automation needs to have multiple branches in order for this to work. Otherwise, the subscriber will naturally exit the automation once they reach the end of its main/only branch (no action is required for that).
Remove from another automation
This will remove the subscriber from a different automation of your choosing, while still keeping them in the current automation.
(If the subscriber isn't actually in the other automation, this step will just be ignored.)
✨TIP: This can be handy for making sure subscribers are not in two overlapping automations at once when moving them around!
4. Add or remove tag
This action type will add/remove a tag of your choosing to/from the subscriber. After selecting this action type, use the toggle to indicate whether you want to add or remove a tag:
Once added to your automation, this type of action will look like this:
After receiving the tag (or having it removed), the subscriber will move on to the next step in the automation.
5. Set custom field
This allows you manipulate the value of a subscriber's custom field from directly within an automation! Just select which custom field you're acting upon, and then add the value you want to change it to.
For example, the configuration below will set the value of the 'Photography Experience' custom field to 'Beginner':
☝️NOTE: The custom field needs to exist in your account in order to show up in the dropdown. We have a tutorial on how to create custom fields here!
Then once added to your automation, it'll look like this:
✨TIP: If you're comfortable with coding, you can do some cool things with Liquid here! Check out the section on automations contained in our advanced Liquid guide for ideas.
This type of action allows you to unsubscribe subscribers from directly within an automation! Any subscriber who reaches this step will be unsubscribed from your email list.
Here's what it'll look like in your automations:
✨TIP: This has helpful applications when it comes to cold subscriber pruning, since you can now fully automate the removal of cold subscribers from your list!
How to edit actions
To edit an action, simply hover over it and then click 'Edit step' when it appears:
(The same goes for editing any other steps in your automation!)
☝️Please be aware that modifying an action will not reset its stats within your automation. Stats are cumulative, they will include subscribers of the previous action in addition to the new version.
Potential use cases
Actions are commonly used for connecting forms to sequences and automatically tagging subscribers when they opt in. Those are great basic automations to get started with using actions (but the sky's the limit!).
Actions can add subscribers to sequences, create delays, move the subscriber between automations, add or remove tags, set custom field values, and unsubscribe people from your list.
If an action adds a subscriber to a sequence, the subscriber will stay on that step in the automation until they receive the last email in that sequence.
Editing an action will not reset its stats within your automation.