How to automatically send emails based on a specific date

You can send automatic emails to subscribers before, on, or after a specific date that is recorded for each person in your account. For example, an email could be scheduled to send when a free trial period ends, or is about to end.

Setting up a date-based autoresponder

To show you how this is done we'll create a sales follow-up email. Don't worry if your autoresponder is for something completely different, you will still be able to follow these steps as a guide.

1. Create a custom date field to trigger the autoresponder

If you haven't done so already, add a date field to the subscriber list you're creating an autoresponder for. The custom field will be used to record a date for each subscriber, and that date will trigger the autoresponder to send.

The subscriber list for our example autoresponder is a "Customers" list with a custom date field named "New website launched."

Whenever a customer website is completed their "New website launched" field is updated with the day's date.

Note: Updating the date custom field for subscribers can be done manually or by importing a file: see instructions for both options here. You can also configure automatic updates through our API.

2. Set up a new autoresponder

Open the subscriber list you're creating the autoresponder for and, on the list details page, click Autoresponders in the right sidebar. On the next page, click Create autoresponder.

Enter a description for the autoresponder in the Name field. This is for use within your account only, it won't be seen by recipients and you can rename it later if you change your mind.

Select The exact match of a date as the trigger that will fire off the autoresponder. If your subscriber list has more than one date field, use the Use this date menu to select the correct one.

Click Next to continue.

3. Define the email details

On the following page, use the Send this email menu to select on, before or after the date recorded in the custom date field. This sets the time frame for when the email will be sent.

For our sales follow-up email we selected "after" so we could set it to send two weeks after a new website is launched:

Tip: The "Name the email" field, see above, is for use in your account only. If you're creating an autoresponder series it helps to write unique names for each email so you can see at a glance what each one is for.

Send to people in certain segments

If your list has segments you'll see an additional section on the page above, titled: "Who will receive this email?" Use this if you want to create a personalized autoresponder to target a segment.

If it's a generic autoresponder, suitable for all subscribers, just leave it set to "Everyone with a date in the <custom field name> field."

When you've completed all of the sections on the page click Next.

4. Create the autoresponder email

Set up the content for your email the same way you would create a regular campaign. For example you can select a Saved template and add content to it or, if the option is available to you, choose Import to use an email designed and coded externally.

When the first email is set up you'll see your new autoresponder page, which will look something like this:

To edit, preview or delete an autoresponder email, hover your cursor over the email name.

To build an autoresponder series, click Add a new email to this autoresponder and follow the on-screen instructions. Or, if one email is enough you can activate it when you're ready.

5. Activate the autoresponder

No emails will be triggered to send until you click the Start autoresponder button in the right sidebar. If you need to, you can also stop or edit active autoresponders.

For more information, check out our autoresponder FAQs.