Best Practices: Testing Automations
Implementing a solid testing process is an important step for designing effective marketing automation. Adequate testing ensures that automations are working properly and makes it easier for your team to effectively troubleshoot issues. Here are a few quick things you can do to make your testing process run as smoothly as possible.
Step 1: Create a test contact.
To test a workflow, you need to create a test contact that will enter the automation. You can use a contact you already created, but it is also it is often beneficial to create a new test contact in order to keep things.
NOTE: Each contact in SharpSpring requires a unique email address, but if you have a Gmail account, you can avoid having to create multiple email accounts by modifying the email address for your new contacts as follows:
When creating a new test contact you can use your testing email but add a “+” and some qualifier before the “@” in the address.
For example, you have a contact with the email address firstname.lastname@example.org; you can make a new test contact with the email address, email@example.com.
Now you have two contacts who each receive email in the same inbox: (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Step 2: Secure your testing environment.
When creating the trigger and filter conditions of the workflow, you can add a filter to limit access to the workflow. For instance you can use the filter “When a contact has the field emails with [the email address of your test contact] exactly”. This will allow only your test contact to enter the workflow during testing.
Another option would be to have a list of approved test contacts and use the filter “when a contact is a member of the list [name of the test list]”. This extra filter will ensure that an unwanted lead or contact does not enter the workflow until it has been tested and is ready for release.
Step 3: Reduce your time delays to minutes for testing.
For testing, you can decrease any time delays, if applicable, to 5 minutes or so. This will allow you to test a workflow that may have days or weeks of time delays between actions over the course of minutes or hours.
Step 4: Use the contact manager to confirm the results of your test.
Once your test contact is created, you can complete the trigger action/filter combination in order to be added to the workflow. Now you can check the test contact’s profile to confirm that it was successfully added to the workflow or see if email sends were correctly scheduled. You can also confirm if they were added to lists or campaigns according to the workflow you created by checking the memberships tab. If there are field value changes associated with the workflow, these are visible in the Overview tab.
Step 5: Double check your settings.
Once you have tested your automation and confirmed that it is functioning as you intend it to, you can then reset any time delays back to the desired values and then remove the filter used for testing. Your automation should then be ready to go live.
Hi Ransom Carroll, Looks like you contacted support but I wanted to make sure this answer was available on the forum as well.
"Changes to a workflow do not work retroactively, meaning that changes that occur to an automation after a contact/lead are entered into the automation will not affect those that are currently in it. Because of this, adding a filter to a workflow will not impact the actions already scheduled to contacts/leads, but will exclude those who do not meet the filter conditions in the future.
If you want to remove contacts from a workflow after they have been assigned to it, you would need to do so either manually in the contact record or assigning a different action group to the contact that has the action to remove the contact from the workflow/action group in question.
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