How can I create action-based autoresponders as marketing automation workflows?

The action-based autoresponder feature has been migrated over to marketing automation. Your old autoresponders were converted into workflows.  In marketing automation, workflows rely on the same if-then logic as action-based autoresponders but–instead of working with triggers–they include condition, filter, and action elements. With marketing automation, you keep all the functionalities of action-based autoresponders and be able to take advantage of additional tools it offers.

If you wish to continue creating workflows that simply send messages once a certain condition is fulfilled, you’re going to need the following elements to build them:


Follow these steps to create workflows that send out a message (with or without a delay) after a person opens a message, clicks on a link, reaches a goal (visits an URL), updates a custom field, or for whom an important event is coming up:

Go to Automaton>>Create workflow and start adding elements to the workspace. You’ll need to use the elements in this order:

  1. Condition. Select the condition your contacts need to meet in order to enter the workflow.
  2. Filter (where applicable; see below for more information on using filters).
  3. The Wait action (optional). Drag-and-drop the Wait action into the workspace. It’s required if you don’t want the action to be performed as soon as the condition is met.
  4. The Send message action

After you’ve added the elements, you need to configure their Properties. Don’t forget to connect the elements before you save and publish your workflow.


For workflows that send out a message after a person has subscribed to your list or follow a message with another one, you’ll need to use:

  1. A condition (Subscribed via or Message sent)
  2. The Wait action (optional)
  3. Action 2 (Send message)

After you’ve added the elements, you need to configure their Properties. Don’t forget to connect the elements before you save and publish your workflow.


Should I pick “Never” or “After some time” for the start conditions?

For certain elements, such as Message opened and Link clicked, you need to set the time properties for when to assume the condition hasn’t been met to Never. You need to configure them this way to be able to track both sent and scheduled messages.

When you select Never:

  • any link clicks and message opens on previously sent messages (not just scheduled ones) will be added to the workflow. Note: Only new clicks and opens performed after the workflow starts count.
  • the “if no” (red) connector is disabled. Be sure not to connect any other elements to create a negative path. (Remember, there’s no negative path in autoresponders).


How do I use the Campaign and Dynamic segment filters to create action-based autoresponders as workflows?

When you were creating autoresponders, you also had to choose one or more campaigns. In marketing automation, you’ll need to apply the Campaign filter.

workflow with a campaign filter


If you were using segments in your action-based autoresponder, you’ll need to use the Dynamic segment filter. Add it to the workspace, set its Properties, and connect it to the remaining elements.

If you’d like to use several Dynamic segment elements, you’ll need to stack them. Connect the “if yes” (green) connectors to the message you want to send. Link up the filters using the “if no” (red) connector.

stack dynamic segments

All contacts from the first campaign are sent a message. Contacts not found in the first campaign move to the next Dynamic segment element. If they’re in that segment, they’ll move to the Send message element. The process is repeated for each of the filter elements.

How do I decide when to send a message?

In action-based autoresponders, you had the option to select whether you wanted to send a message immediately, with a certain delay, or at a specific time. You could also include and exclude certain days as well as set the autoresponder to recurrent.

In marketing automation, you add the Wait action to your workflow and set up the element Properties. Note: If you want the message to be sent immediately after the condition is met, simply don’t use the Wait element in your workflow. For more information about the Wait action works, please refer to How do I use the Wait action.

wait element in a workflow matches autoresponder settings

The marketing automation equivalent of recurrent is the Run multiple times switch in individual elements. Simply switch it on in the replacement workflow elements. For more details on this option, and which elements have it, please see Can I run specific actions and conditions multiple times.