Getting Started with Automation

Automation is available as part of the Advanced Marketing Campaigns package. To access this feature, please upgrade to Advanced Marketing Campaigns from Your Products.

Automation allows you to send a recurring email or drip series to contacts automatically at a cadence you define. Once you create an Automation, you can trigger them to send automatically by adding new recipients to a chosen list or segment, saving you time.

With Automation, you could build email campaigns to:

  • Welcome new contacts when they join your list with a warm message and introductory tips.
  • Engage contacts who’ve downloaded an asset from you with follow-up content.
  • Promote an upcoming event to a list of invitees with a series of reasons to attend.

Getting Started with Automation

If you haven’t done so already, you’ll need to complete the following before building your first automation:

Create an Automation

Once you've completed the prerequisites, you’re ready to start building your first automation. You can start with a pre-built Welcome Series and make it your own, or start from scratch by selecting Custom Automation.

​ Click tracking was released on 7/16/20. To enable click tracking for automations set live prior to 7/16, pause the automation and set it to live once again. Click tracking will populate data from 7/16/2020 onward regardless of when it is set live.

Create a Custom Automation

To create a Custom Automation:

  1. Navigate to Automations and then click Create an Automation.
  2. Under Custom, click Select.
  3. Give the series a name. This is for your reference and will not be visible to your contacts.
  4. Select the entry criteria. You can choose from "The first time a contact is added to a list or "The first time a contact is added to a segment".

Contacts will only receive your automation if they are on the list or segment you select for entry criteria after you set the automation live.

  1. Select the exit criteria for this series. You can choose from "Contacts have received all emails in the automation" or "Contacts no longer meet the entry criteria".

If you select “no longer meet entry criteria”, before each email in your series sends, Marketing Campaigns will check to make sure each recipient is still on the entry criteria list or segment. If they aren’t, they won’t get the email. For more information on deleting contacts or removing them from lists, see Create and Manage Contacts.

  1. Select an Unsubscribe Group. This Unsubscribe Group will apply to all emails in your Automation.
  2. Add a category to the automation (optional). Categories are useful for comparing performance across different types of email you send.

Categories will be stored as a “Not PII” field and may be used for counting or other operations as SendGrid runs its systems. These fields generally cannot be redacted or removed. You should take care not to place PII in this field. SendGrid does not treat this data as PII, and its value may be visible to SendGrid employees, stored long-term, and may continue to be stored after you’ve left SendGrid’s platform.

If you have dedicated IPs, you can set up IP Pools that allow you separate your traffic and potentially enhance your deliverability by protecting your sender reputation. To utilize IP pools for Automations, select the IP Pool you wish to use for the entire automation series from the IP Pool drop-down.

  1. Select the send time for the first email. You can choose to send the first email instantly, or you can set a delay of days or hours from the time meet the entry criteria.
  2. Build your email(s) by clicking Add Email Content.
  3. Choose a template, then use your preferred editor to craft your content.
  4. If you did not do so within the editor, you can add a subject line and select a sender from the Edit Automation page.
  5. To add more emails to this automated series, click Add an Email.
  6. Choose how long to wait before sending the next email. This time will be relative to the preceding email.
  7. Once you have created all of your emails for the automation, click Set Live.

Use the Pre-Built Welcome Series

The pre-built Welcome Series automation provides a jumping off point to inspire you to create your own tailored welcome series.

To create a Welcome Series:

  1. Navigate to Automations and then click Create an Automation.
  2. Under Welcome, click Select.
  3. Update the automation name (this is for your reference and will not be visible to your contacts).
  4. Review the entry criteria to decide if you’d like to update it. The default entry criteria is “The first time a contact is added to All Contacts”.
  5. Review the exit criteria to decide if you’d like to update it.
  6. Select an Unsubscribe Group. This Unsubscribe Group will apply to all emails in your Automation.
  7. Add a category to the automation (optional). Categories are useful for comparing performance across different types of email you send.

Categories will be stored as a “Not PII” field and may be used for counting or other operations as SendGrid runs its systems. These fields generally cannot be redacted or removed. You should take care not to place PII in this field. SendGrid does not treat this data as PII, and its value may be visible to SendGrid employees, stored long-term, and may continue to be stored after you’ve left SendGrid’s platform.

  1. The pre-built Welcome Series has three placeholder emails by default. You’ll need to edit the subject line and content of each email. You may decide to remove or add emails to the pre-built.
  2. If you did not do so within the editor, you can add a subject line and select a sender from the Edit Automation page.
  3. To add more emails to this automated series, click Add an Email.
  4. Choose how long to wait between each email in the series. This time will be relative to the preceding email.
  5. Once you have created all of your emails for the automation, click Set Live.

If you keep the entry criteria as "All Contacts" it's important to remember that any recipient you add to your Automation contacts after you set the welcome series live will be entered into the automation. Use "All Contacts" with caution to avoid sending a welcome series to contacts that aren't actually new to you.

Manage Automations

Duplicate an Automation

To duplicate an automation:

  1. Navigate to Automations.
  2. Find the automation you want to duplicate.
  3. Select the Action Menu to the right of the automation.
  4. Click Duplicate.
  5. Once you create the duplicate, the automation will open to the edit page. From here, you can change any or all of the settings within the automation.

Edit an Automation

You can edit the content, subject line, and sender for any emails in your automation.

To edit an automation:

  1. Navigate to Automations and select the series you want to edit.
  2. Click Edit on each email you’d like to modify.

You can also create a template from an existing email within your Automation series by selecting the action menu next to the email you'd like to reuse and selecting Create Template.

  1. Make your changes in the editor, then click Save.
  2. Click the arrow in the upper left-hand corner.
  3. Below the email you’ve edited, you’ll see an alert that changes have not yet been applied to the live automation. When you’re ready to apply them, click Save and Apply.

Disable an Automation

To disable an automation:

When you disable an automation, all emails in your automation will stop sending unless you set it live again. No new contacts will be entered into your automation while it's disabled. If you set the automation live again, contacts who entered the automation before it was disabled will continue receiving emails again according to where they left off.

  1. Navigate to Automations and select the series you want to stop.
  2. Select the Action Menu to the right of the Automation.
  3. Click Disable Automation in the upper right corner.

To set a disabled automation live again:

  1. Navigate to Automations and select the series you want to re-enable.
  2. Select the Action Menu to the right of the Automation.
  3. Click Set Live in the upper right corner.

When you re-enable the automation, contacts who previously entered the series will continue receiving emails where they left off in the series. Contacts who met your entry criteria during the disabled period will not be added to the automation. For this reason, do not add users to lists that are used as the entry criteria for automations in a disabled state.

Automation Use Cases and Examples

Segment-triggered nurture series

A valuable use case for Automation is to nurture your free customers to become paid using a drip series. The series will send automatically to free users until they reach the end of the email sequence or they upgrade to paid, whichever comes first. Here's how:

  1. Create a segment of all contacts whose custom field “Plan Type” value is “Free”
  2. Set entry criteria to the first time a contact "is added to a segment" and select the “Free customers" segment you just created.
  3. Set the exit criteria as “Contacts no longer meet entry criteria”
  4. Craft a series of emails to nurture contacts to become paid.

From there, any time you add a new contact whose plan type is "Free", they are automatically added to the relevant segment and entered into the automation. If they upgrade their plan during the drip series, Automation automatically removes them from the series.

See a mistake? Edit this page