Getting started with automated journeys

With automated journeys, you can create one-to-one, personalized email marketing based on what you know about your subscribers. You can use journeys to onboard new customers, send emails on a specific date, or start a journey when a subscriber's details match a certain condition.

In this guide, we'll give you some tips for planning automated journeys to achieve your marketing goals.

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Journey planning

A good marketing automation plan is carefully mapped to your customer journey and goals, and responds to your customer's needs. To send the right message at the right time, you will need information about your subscribers, then plan at which stages of the journey you will contact them, and with what content.

Work with your subscriber data

When somebody signs up to your list, they provide their email address. With this alone you can create series of welcome emails to onboard new customers or demonstrate to leads what you have to offer.

Just by asking for an extra piece of data on the signup form, for example, their date of birth, you could send a special offer on their birthday. Or ask which city they live in, then use this information to personalize content for each recipient.

The right message at the right time

Before you create your first journey, familiarize yourself with the capabilities of the journey designer, then figure out exactly what data you need from your subscribers to reach your goals. It can really help to plan your customer journey on paper first.

Before you get started with the visual designer, review the customer data you already have stored in custom fields, or decide how you'll get it into your account through signup forms or integrations. Below, we'll give you an overview of the tools and settings in the journey designer so you can start to map out how it can be used to personalize your customer messaging.

Journey designer

When you've worked out your marketing automation plan, open the Automation section in your account and click Create a new journey. This will open the journey designer. Enter a name for the journey, select your list, then choose a trigger.

A journey is built as a series of steps on a timeline. First, you define a trigger to automate the sending process for each subscriber. After that, you add steps to build and personalize the journey, based on the goal of your marketing campaign.

Here's what a journey looks like in the journey designer:

Journey triggers

There are five triggers to choose from as the starting point for your automated journey:

  • Subscriber joins a list
  • Subscriber enters a segment
  • Subscriber exits a segment
  • A date
  • An anniversary of a date

Note: You can't change the trigger after you've started adding steps to your journey. This is one of the reasons it's a good idea to plan your journey before starting to design it.

Learn more about journey triggers

Journey steps

Add your first step to the journey by clicking the + button below the trigger. There are three types of steps: Delay, Email and Condition.

After you add a step, another + button will show below it. You can add as many steps as you like.

Learn more about journey steps

Activate and edit journeys

In the journey designer, you’ll see the Turn on journey button at the top right. This is disabled until all steps in the journey have been completed. We also let you know which steps are incomplete:

After all steps in the journey are complete and you've activated it, the button will change to a switch that can be toggled on or off to pause a journey for editing certain steps, or to stop sending entirely.

Note: To activate a journey, you need to be on a monthly billing plan.

Learn more about editing active journeys


After a journey has been turned on, you can see reporting in the activity panel of the journey designer. Click outside any step in the journey to view the activity overview:

Additionally, you can click an email step in an active journey to view sent, open and click rates for that individual email. For deeper reporting, click View full report.