Our automation programs will enrol once a day by default - but suppose you want to kick off an automation program immediately upon a contact signing up or completing some form of action. What are your options?
Well, if you use a pre-built connector with our system, then you may find there's already a solution built for you. Otherwise, you have three options:
- Enrol via the API
- Enrol via the survey and forms tool
- Enrol via an address book join action
- The initial email sent is not part of a program
Each has some limitations (see below) and, in due course, we'll look to address each of these.
Enrol via the API
The first solution is to enrol via our API. This can be done using:
You can enrol one or more contacts, or one or more address books, into a program using this process. The contact or address books should already exist in the system before this enrolment takes place.
When a contact or batch of contacts is enrolled into a program, they'll receive the first campaign in a program (subject to any delays and decisions) within five minutes, rather than wait until the program's next scheduled execution.
As each addition results in a program execution, this is limited to 20 enrolments per hour (per account, not per program). If you wish to enrol more than 20 contacts per hour via the API, then this should be done in batches rather than by adding contacts individually.
When an enrolment takes place, the program will execute nearly immediately and any contacts will progress until they get to a delay; so decisions can be made, and a campaign can be sent straight away.
As enrolment is limited to 20 per hour, we suggest the following to allow you to enrol more than 20 contacts an hour:
- Rather than add contacts to a program, add them to an address book
- Enrol contacts in that address book into the program every five minutes (or another suitable interval)
- The first node in the program (after the campaign node) should be a subscription node with 'Removed from the selected address book' applied - so that the address book is kept empty
Enrol via an address book join action
You can enrol individual contacts directly on a program when they join an address book, for example contacts who join an address book via a signup form or preference centre
This option does not work in bulk, for example bulk uploads, or the bulk create contacts in address book API call.
Enrol via the survey and forms tool
In the surveys and forms tool's 'Respondent options' section on the scheduling settings page, you can set a survey to enrol respondents directly into a selected program.
Just as with enrolling via the API, this can be near real time but may be subject to a small delay, as we batch contacts as we enrol them into the program. Normally we'd expect the first email send in a program to be sent within five minutes of submitting a survey, but it can take between one and 15 minutes.
The first email is not sent via a program
For a faster execution of the email, don't send it via a program – send it directly from the signup either by an API call or by using the address book campaign join action and the standard signup form.
Then, each day, trigger the program based on 'contacts who have been sent Campaign1 (and haven't previously been in this program)', ready to send the next email in the sequence.
This means that:
- Contacts will get the first email right away
- There will be no significant delay in the email being sent
It does, however, also mean that the program - when you look at it - will not contain the first email in the sequence, so don't get confused by that (you might want to add a program annotation to explain it).
More to come
Don't worry, we know that none of these solutions is optimal - but as we regularly release changes to the application (every two weeks) we will, in time, get round to improvements (we're definitely not short of ideas!).
Best wishes for your automating, and let us know how you get on.