You can send automatic emails to subscribers before, on, or after a unique date that is stored in a custom field for each person.
This is done using using date-based autoresponders. Here are a few ways you can use them:
- Send a sales email when a free trial period has run out.
- Set up a helpful email reminder to send when a membership is due to expire.
- Invite customers to provide feedback after making a purchase.
- Send audience members your presentation slides a few hours after speaking at an event.
Setting up a date-based autoresponder
Here, we'll show you how to use a date-based autoresponder for a sales follow-up.
Step 1. Create a custom date field to trigger the autoresponder
If you haven't done so already, you need to add a date field to your subscriber list. The dates recorded for each subscriber in this field will be used to trigger the autoresponder to send.
For example, the date field that will be referenced in our sales follow-up autoresponder is named "New website launched":
When a customer's website is launched you would update the "New website launched" field with that date: manually, via a file import, or through the API. We'll show you how it is used to trigger the autoresponder in step 2.
2. Set up a new autoresponder
From the Lists & Subscribers tab, open the list you want to create an autoresponder for. It must be the same list your custom date field belongs to.
On the list details page, in the right sidebar, click Autoresponders > Create autoresponder.
On the next page 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, click the Use this date drop-down menu to select the correct one.
Click Next to continue.
2. Define the email details
On the following page, use the Send this email drop-down menu to select on, before or after the date recorded in the custom date field.
When before or after is selected, another drop-down menu is displayed to define how many minutes, hours, days, weeks or months before or after [the date] the email will send.
For our example we're creating an autoresponder series containing two emails. The first is set to send 2 months after the customer's new website is launched:
In the next section, on the same page, enter a description for this email in the Name field.
The last two sections are the same information as required for regular email campaigns. Enter a subject line for the email in the Subject field. Then enter a "from name" and email address in the It's from section.
Click Next to continue.
3. Create the autoresponder email
This part is just like setting up a regular email campaign. All the same options for importing a campaign, or creating a campaign from an existing template, are available:
When the first email is set up, you'll be returned to the snapshot page for your autoresponder. Here's what it looks like with one email:
If you only want to send one email, the autoresponder is ready to go now. Click the Start autoresponder button in the right sidebar to activate it:
To create an autoresponder series, click Add a new email to this autoresponder. This will load a new define-the-details page as shown in step 2. You need to set the next send timeframe, name the email, and enter a subject line.
Tip: Giving unique, meaningful names to autoresponders, and each email in a series, becomes very useful when you have a list with multiple autoresponders.
For our example autoresponder, the send timeframe for the second email is 6 months after the customer's new website is launched. This means they will receive the second email four months after the first one:
Continue adding emails until you have completed your autoresponder series. When you're ready, click the Start autoresponder button.
For more information on autoresponders, see our FAQ section in Introduction to autoresponders.