Time-based workflows allow you to automate many different processes. With a time-based workflow, you can set an action to occur when a user, visitor, or other party engages with your content in a specific way.
Setting up an automated time-based workflow to take the place of having to manually respond to every engagement or interaction will save an untold amount of time and, ultimately, help your bottom line.
This article will provide an overview on time-based workflow content, as well as how to tie time-based action groups—or action groups based on a specific date and time field—into Lead Gen & CRM's other automation processes.
Creating DateTime Custom Fields
Time-based automations require DateTime fields.
To create a custom DateTime field, do the following:
- Click User Menu > Settings in the top toolbar.
- Click Custom Fields, located under Features in the left panel.
- Click Add Field > Lead Field.
- Enter a name for the field in the Field Label text box.
- Click the Visible in Contact Manager checkbox.
- Uncheck the Editable in Contact Manager checkbox.
- Click the DateTime picker radial.
- Select the desired time format in the Merge Variable Format drop-down menu.
- Click the Create Field button.
Creating Visual Time-Based Action Groups
You can create time-based action groups based around DateTime Custom Fields.
Important: The Visual Workflow Builder is not supported in Internet Explorer 11. Use one of the other browsers supported by Lead Gen & CRM to create visual workflows.
- Click Automation > Action Groups in the left toolbar.
- Click New Action Group.
- Click the Time-based checkbox.
Note: Standard action groups are available on the Trial and the Essential plan. Standard, Time Based, and Recurring action groups are available on the Advanced and Ultimate plans.
- Click Get Started.
- Enter the name of your action group in the window that appears.
- Click Save.
- Select Lead as the Field Type.
- Select a custom DateTime field.
- Click Save.
- Click + Add in either the Before date of interest or After date of interest section in the window that appears, and select either Time Before or Time After.
- Enter the desired unit of time and click OK.
- Add actions, such as sending an email, before or after the time delays and repeating as necessary.
- Note: Action groups need to be a part of a visual workflow with triggers in order for the action group to fire.
Creating Automated Email Reminder Workflows
You can use time-based automations to create email reminders.
To create an email reminder workflow, do the following:
- In the left toolbar, click Automation > Visual Workflows.
- Create or edit a workflow.
- Click + Add > Trigger under Start or an applicable workflow branch.
- Select has the field in the Lead section.
- Type the name of the desired custom DateTime field in the Field Name text box.
- Select the desired DateTime option.
- Select the desired dates and times.
- Select the desired operator in the Comparison drop-down menu.
- Click OK.
- Click + Add > Action Group under the added trigger.
- Type the name of the desired active time-based action group.
- Click OK.
- Continue to edit the workflow as needed, and when it's complete set the Workflow Toggle to Active.
Available Date/Time Options
When creating Date/Time automation, the following options are available:
All standard times that can be selected through Lead Gen & CRM's calendar date and time clock features.
Allows for specific, custom dates and times to be entered. The date and time should be entered in the following format:
This format requires a four-digit year value, a two-digit month value, a two-digit day value, a two-digit hour value, a two-digit minute value, and a two-digit second value
|Removes the Date/Time date and time information entirely.|
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are the differences between action groups and branches?
A: Reusable action groups are a collection of standalone events that can be referenced within a visual workflow or be manually scheduled to a list. Branches are not action groups. Branches refer to a collection of actions created for use only within a visual workflow. As the name implies, this collection of actions branch out from the action group and are dependent upon additional criteria in order to function. Branches will not be added as reusable, standalone action groups.
Q: When is the cut-off period is for contacts entering the action group and receiving reminder emails?
A: Contacts will receive an email if they join the action group within 48 hours of the date and time of the event.
Q: I used a date field in my time-based action group, but something is not right. What am I doing wrong?
A: Often, a date field is used in place of a DateTime field. DateTime is required.
Q: Can I create a birthday email?
A: Yes. However, Lead Gen & CRM does not have a birthday custom field. You would have to manually change the DateTime field to reflect the birthday period. The year would have to be the current year or the next year the individual has a birthday. Consider the following example:
DateTime field has XX/XX/2018 00:00:00
The Action Group is
`one week after DateTime field send email "Birthday week"`
Q: How do I change the format of the DateTime field?
A: You can change this field in the Custom Field Manager.