Clarification re: choosing your audience for Automation workflows

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Not sure if this is a question or a feature request or bug report, but my team ran into (and solved) an interesting issue with automation that I thought might be helpful for others to know about.

For background, here's the scenario: we're creating a signup form that will primarily be used by users who are already subscribers (we're asking them for more information, and put them into a specific group when they fill out the new signup form; let's call this "Group A"). We're using Automation to send them an email after they've filled out the form. 

When we set up the workflow, we selected only "Group A" as the audience for the workflow, since that's the group we're putting people in when they fill out the form, those are the people we want to get this email. 

When we tested, nobody got the email. 

So we switched the workflow so that the audience is "Any Contact", and now everything works great.

Our best guess is that the process that triggers the Automation workflow happens faster than or before the process that updates the member's record with the new group membership. Emma folks, is that a proper understanding of what's going on here? 
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Meaghan, Champion

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Posted 4 years ago

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Ted Hogan, Champion

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Boy, I sure hope our friends Emma can sort this one out. I am hoping to do the same thing to ask my subscribers for more info (for future segmentation purposes).  Nice catch!
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Paul Zimmerman-Clayton, Official Rep

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Hey Meaghan, I would expect that workflow to work if you're adding people in Group A, and sending the workflow out to people in Group A. Do you mind letting me know the name of your subaccount? I'll jump in and take a closer look. 
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Meaghan, Champion

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Hi Paul, thanks for replying. We discovered this in an account we're working with that's actually not one of our subaccounts. Can I email you directly with the all the details?
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Paul Zimmerman-Clayton, Official Rep

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Sure! Just send that account info to support@myemma.com, add To Pau in the subject, and put a note that you originally asked a question in this thread. I'll take a look first thing tomorrow morning! I'll post back here with what I find to keep everyone in the loop. 
(Edited)
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Paul Zimmerman-Clayton, Official Rep

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Just wanted to follow up here! After digging in to the account, I didn't find what was causing the group selection to prevent mailings from going out, though I suspect it may have been a combination of settings between the audience and trigger settings. It's also entirely possible that there was a problem with the Automation system, but without looking at the exact workflow as it was set up, I'm unable to verify. 

To recap the specifics of how those triggers work, you can pick to send to people who signup using specific signup forms. If you select All, it will send to anyone who signs up through any of the sources listed: 'This includes all current and future signup forms, contacts added via the “Add” button in the Audience section, and contacts added using the API's “add” and “signup” calls.'

What's not mentioned in the app is that if you set up a workflow using a signup trigger and specific signup forms, your recipients can sign up for that workflow multiple times, but only if you're using specific signup forms. If you select the All option, members who are already in the audience will not be able to sign up and receive that workflow. 

I don't know that this specifically relates to the original issue, but since that original workflow was changed, I can't dig in an see if it's a matter of set-up, or if there's something wrong systematically on our end. 

Going forward, I would check your signup trigger against the above information, and if it's not working, let us know! We'll be happy to dig in!