Email Marketing: How to Use the Automation Workflow Builder

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Use workflows in your Firespring email marketing system to create and send email messages to a specific audience, based on certain trigger events.

Choose your audience

  • Select "Any contact in my audience" if you want any contact in your audience to be able to trigger your workflow
  • Choose Groups and/or Segments if you want to filter your workflow so that only contacts in selected groups or segments will be able to trigger it. If a contact is in any Group or Segment that you've selected, they will be able to trigger your workflow.
  • Workflows check your contacts' Group and/or Segment membership every time an email is sent. If a user leaves the Groups and/or Segments to whom the workflow is targeted, they will not receive any additional emails in that workflow.
  • For "signup" workflows, new subscribers will be filtered based on the Groups or Segments that they are entered into the moment they join your audience.

Choose your trigger event

Available trigger types:

  • Signup: Triggers a Welcome message workflow when someone signs up from a form or integration
  • Date-based: Triggers based on a date stored in a contact's record: birthday, anniversary, etc. so you can Celebrate with them
  • Field change: Triggers when the data within a field in a contact's record is updated, like if their Purchase Total field changes from $50 to $100 and you want to target them differently with a Thank You message

Choose your email

Emails displayed are sorted by most recently edited. Click the "list" or "thumbnail" options to toggle between views.

Choose your email, then click "next" to choose your email settings

  • Subject line: If you have given your email a subject line in the "Campaigns" section, it will display here. You can keep your original subject line, or edit it for the purposes of this workflow. Editing the subject line you use for this email in this workflow will not update its subject line in the "Campaigns" section. You can have an email in use in 5 different workflows with 5 different subject lines. Future edits to subject lines used in different workflows will be made in the workflow where that email is in use.
  • From name and email: If you've set a custom "from" name or email address in your email in the "Campaigns" section, it will display here. Otherwise, your account's default "from" name and email address will be shown. You can keep your defaults, or you can update your "from" name and email address for the purposes of this email's use in this workflow. The same rules for updating subject lines in workflows (see above) apply to "from" name and emails - edits to either are unique to the workflow where they are made, and future updates to either will need to be made in the workflow, not the original email in the "Campaigns" section.

Time offsets

  • For all automated emails, the send time for the first email is calculated relative to the trigger event - an email set to arrive "immediately" after signup will typically arrive within a few minutes of signup. All additional emails in the series are scheduled in relation to the sendoff of the previous email in the series.
  • Only date-based workflows can have a scheduled send time that is before the trigger event. If a user is configuring an email to go out "before" a date, all additional emails in the series will still be sequenced relative to the previous email in the series.
  • When scheduling date-based workflows (specifically, the first email in a date-based workflow), the time of "UTC - 8" is used. This corresponds roughly to Pacific Time and is used to ensure that all U.S., European and South African users receive their date-based messages early on the correct day (midnight or 1am Pacific time, depending on daylight savings, 1am or 2am Mountain time, depending on daylight savings, etc.)
  • If a user does not receive the first email in a series (if, for example, they have a date-based trigger whose first email is "2 weeks before birthday" and a new subscriber joins with 1 week until their birthday), they will not receive additional the additional emails in a series. It is not currently possible to enter a workflow midway through.

Activate and deactivate your workflow

Activating your workflow will make it possible for contacts to trigger it immediately.

  • It will not make it possible for contacts to enter midway through (see the above "2 weeks before birthday" example - the only contacts who will enter the series are those whose birthdays are more than 2 weeks away)
  • If you've activated a date-based workflow, the first contacts who will trigger that workflow will be those whose date corresponds with the day after the workflow is activated. We hope to expand the feature to include contacts whose date matches the date of workflow activation in the future.

Activating your workflow will prevent you from making some changes to it - even after it has been deactivated. These updates are applied when a user clicks "Save" on their workflow.

  • You can edit your workflow's audience at any time if you want to refine or expand your audience
  • You can't edit your workflows' trigger type once active - you can't change a signup workflow to a date-based workflow for example. But you can edit your trigger's settings (which signup forms or date field you want to use, which field changes you're watching for, etc.)
  • You can add emails to the end of a series.
  • You can edit the content of emails in your series in the "Campaigns" section You can edit the subject line and "from" name and address of an email in a series from the Workflow Builder
  • You can edit the time offsets between steps in a series. These time offsets will be applied to any recipient who has not yet received the relevant emails.
  • You can't swap out the emails that you've activated in your series. This is to preserve the integrity of your email response data. We plan to introduce the ability to create multiple "versions" of a workflow in the future, which will enable users to make changes that will affect new entrants into a workflow without disrupting the sequence for users who are already partway through.

Deactivating your workflow will immediately remove all contacts from your workflow. No additional emails will be sent.

  • These recipients will not pick up where they left off if you reactivate the workflow.
  • Deactivating your workflow does not permit you to change the emails in your series or your trigger type.
Reactivating your workflow will enable contacts to trigger it while maintaining the continuity of your response data.