Delaying a subscriber's progress through an automation is now more customizable.
Apart from delaying subscriber progress in a visual automation by a fixed number of minutes, hours, days or weeks, you can also introduce a delay until a particular date has been reached!
This is great for sending automated emails to subscribers on special days, such as their birthdays or wedding anniversary.
If this sounds like what you need, then here’s how to set this up.
☝️ NOTE: This feature is best used for delaying subscriber progress in an automation until a certain occasion that may occur on different dates for different subscribers, such as their birthday or wedding anniversary. If you’re looking to delay the progress for all subscribers in the automation until a certain fixed date, such as Christmas Day or your product’s launch date, then use the “Date occurs” Event instead.
How to set up a custom delay date for your visual automations
1. Add a custom field to your subscribers’ profiles
First, add a custom field to your subscribers’ profiles. This custom field will be used to store the date that subscribers should be delayed in the automation until.
⚠️ IMPORTANT ⚠️
Dates have to be saved in the custom field according to one of these two formats:
yyyy-mm-dd, e.g. 2021-06-01 for June 1, 2021
yyyy-mm-dd HH:MM, e.g. 2021-06-01 10:00 for June 1, 2021, 10:00am
NOTE: The timezone for the date and time stored in the custom field is based on the time zone set for your account on this settings page.
The date also cannot be in the past.
Otherwise, the delay will not work! (More info in our FAQs section on what will happen instead.)
2. Set up the delay in the visual automation based on the date in the custom field
Next, go to the visual automation that you want to introduce the delay to. (Create a new automation first if needed.)
At the point(s) in the automation where subscribers should be delayed, click on the + button, followed by Action > Delay > Delay until a custom date.
Select the custom field containing the date that subscribers should be delayed in the automation until.
From here, continue setting up the rest of your automation and turn it on. That’s it!
Changing the custom date for the delay retroactively
After you’ve set a custom date for the delay in the automation, you can easily change this date by:
Updating the date in the existing custom field. For example, changing the date in the custom field from June 1, 2021, to May 25, 2021; OR
Swapping out the custom field that holds the date with another custom field. For example, changing a “Start Date” custom field that’s being used for the delay to a “Birthday” custom field.
We’ll then update the delay date in your automation accordingly. 💪 Just make sure that the new custom dates have been correctly formatted and haven’t already passed!
How should I format my dates in the custom field? What happens if the date is formatted incorrectly?
At the moment, these date formats are recognized:
If the date is in any other format, then subscribers will be delayed for only 15 minutes before they progress to the next step in the automation.
This gives you some time to reformat the dates if they had been incorrectly typed in. But as far as possible, take care to ensure that your dates are saved in either of the two formats above!
What happens if the date in the custom field is in the past?
Subscribers will not be delayed and will progress to the next step in the automation immediately.
Can I use this feature to schedule automation actions before the date stated in the custom field?
No, unfortunately. 😕
However, you can add a fixed duration of delay after the date in the custom field by using the Delay for a number of days setting.
Use this feature to delay subscribers from progressing to the next step in a visual automation based on a date saved in a custom field in their profiles.
For the delay to work, the date in the custom field must be saved as in either the “yyyy-mm-dd” or “yyyy-mm-dd HH:MM” format.
If the date in the custom field occurred in the past, subscribers will move to the next step in the visual automation immediately.