Getting started with the program builder


The program builder features nodes - actions, delays, decisions and end points - linked with connectors, enabling you to create automated marketing workflows. Your contacts will be enrolled and then make their way through your program based on the rules you've specified.


Building a program

To start building a new program, you'll firstly need to select a program template. This can be done by going to Automation > My programs and clicking on New program.


You can choose from a blank template, or, if you're looking for more of a helping hand to get up and running, you can select one of our many pre-built templates which have been designed for a range of different purposes.


You're asked to name your program, and you'll then be taken through to the program builder canvas.

A new program always begins with a start node, which enrols your contacts. Additional nodes can be dragged in from the side panel onto the canvas.


A valid program needs to include:

It may also contain:

Node settings

Clicking a node on the canvas will bring in a side panel from the right that show its settings, which you can configure. Each type of node has its own settings - see the articles describing each node for more details (linked to above).


Connecting nodes

To link nodes together, drag the connector dangling from one node onto another.

Arrows will show the flow of a program from start through to end points.

A connector can be deleted by hovering over it and clicking the red delete icon that appears at the originating node. Alternatively a connection can be re-routed by clicking on where the arrow attaches to the destination node and dragging it to another node. 


Creating branches

By using decision nodes you can create branches in programs and merge those branches back together.

Read more about working with nodes, connectors and the program builder canvas »


As you build your program you may notice the box in the Validation control updating.

This is where you can keep track of actions that still need to be done before your program is complete. You can save an invalid program but you won't be able to activate it until all issues are resolved.

Clicking on Validation and then clicking on a validation error will highlight the corresponding node in your program that requires attention.


Read more about program validation »

Saving and activating

You can save your program and come back to it at any time.

Once you've completed the program and are ready for it to start enrolling contacts and sending emails, click Activate in the program builder's toolbar.


Your program will need to be free of any validation errors, and you'll be prompted to save your program if you've not already done so.

Once your program has been activated and starts enrolling contacts, editing options will become more limited.

Read more about activating and deactivating programs »

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    Location splits would be really helpful. This would allow me to run a single program across the world but just adjust the campaign landing times dependent on country code. Really useful when email content is the same but the landing times are very different e.g. UK and US (we write everything US). I can do this now by adding in lots of time delays at the top and repeating the decisions/campaigns below but is is very laborious and involves a LOT of duplicated program content. This feature would really streamline my programs.

    Edited by Claire Chivers
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    This would also reduce the number of decisions per program so I would not reach my decision limit of 10 quite so easily! (Easy to do when working on a mildly complicated program)

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    Hi Claire. Thanks for your suggestion. I don't know how exactly your program is constructed, of course, but I wonder - would a single decision node after the start node work for you? From what you say, it sounds like you'd be able to base this decision on a contact data field rule that makes use of the country code: UK customers go down one route and US customers go down the other.

    Admittedly, this is only effective as long as you're dealing with just two countries.

    Alternatively, I'd recommend a program per country. This keeps programs as streamlined as possible, plus it's easily extendable should you add more countries in future. All you'd need to do is copy your program and then adjust it accordingly each time.

    However, let me know if you need more help. As I say, I don't know all of the details or your specific requirements, so I might be slightly off the mark. Furthermore, you can always consult your account manager or contact our support team for more advice on streamlining your programs.

    Edited by Neal Goldsmith