Use automation to track contacts' last engaged dates and perform ongoing list cleanup

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In this article, we’ll show you how to create three automations that will track contacts' last engaged dates, unsubscribe unengaged contacts within 90 days (customizable to your needs) of being added to your account, and unsubscribe unengaged contacts within six months (customizable to your needs) of their last engaged date.

Note that these three separate automations work together to keep your lists clean so you can keep sending campaigns to your most engaged contacts. Sending emails to engaged contacts boosts your domain and sender reputation.

These automations are ideal for new customers who wish to start implementing best practices for list hygiene immediately. We recommend that current customers create and run these same automations after performing an expedited list cleanup.

Take note

All three automations in this article reference a custom contact field that captures the last engaged date for contacts. This is required. In this article, we’ll call this custom contact date field “Last Engaged Date.”

Last Engaged Date automation

Last engaged date automation.jpg

This automation updates the “Last engaged date” custom contact date field to reflect when a contact reads an email, clicks a link in an email, or replies to an email. If you’re an ecommerce customer, you can use the “Makes a purchase” trigger in addition to those already mentioned.

Each trigger is set to:

  • Any email in any list
  • Runs multiple times

How the Last Engaged Date automation works

Each time a contact on any list opens any campaign, clicks any link in any campaign, replies to any campaign, or makes a purchase in your connected ecommerce store (ecommerce customers only) they’ll be added to this automation.

Contacts will then move through the “Update contact field” action where the “Last engaged date” field is updated to the current date. Since each trigger is set to run multiple times, the same contacts can get readded every time they engage with their email. When they do, the “Last engaged date” field is updated to reflect the current date.

Build the Last Engaged Date automation

  1. Go to Automations and click “Create an automation.”
  2. Click “Start from Scratch” > “Continue” in the modal pop-up.
  3. Add the following automation triggers:
    • Opens/reads an email
      • Choose “Standard Campaign”
      • For “Select email” choose “Any email” in “Any list”
      • For “Runs” choose “Multiple times”
      • Click “Add Start”
    • Clicks a link in an email
      • Choose “Standard Campaign”
      • For “Select email” choose “Any email” in “Any list”
      • For “Select link” choose “Any link”
      • For “Runs” choose “Multiple times”
      • Click “Add Start”
    • Replies to an email
      • Choose “Standard Campaign”
      • For “Select email” choose “Any email” in “Any list”
      • For “Runs” choose “Multiple times”
      • Click “Add Start”
    • Option for Ecommerce customers - Add the “Makes a purchase” start trigger
      • Choose “Any integration”
      • For “Runs” choose “Multiple times”
      • Click “Add Start”
  4. Add the “Update a contact” action:
    • Select the “Last engaged date” custom field
    • For “New content” select “current time”
    • Click “Save”
  5. Add the “End this automation” action to end your automation.
  6. Click “Active” to turn on the automation.

Engagement in the First 90 Days automation

Engagement in the first 90 days automation.jpg

The first 90 days is the most critical period for newly added contacts to engage with your campaign(s). If a contact does not engage with any campaign you send them within their first 90 days, they likely do not want to receive your communications and should be unsubscribed from your list(s).

Note that contacts can always resubscribe themselves to your list(s) by submitting a subscription form.

While this automation looks for engagement within 90 days, you can use any period that best suits your business needs.

How the Engagement in the First 90 Days automation works

The Engagement in the first 90 days is a date-based automation. The trigger references the contact’s creation date.

Contacts are pulled into this automation based on the following conditions:

  • It’s been 90 days since they’ve been added to your account and
  • They have not engaged with any email

Contacts are sent a re-engagement email and have a few days to interact with it. Note that the time period that they have to engage with your email is customizable to suit your needs. If contacts do not engage with that email, they are tagged and unsubscribed from all lists.

If the “Last engaged date” field is no longer blank, they are given a re-engaged tag and end the automation.

  We recommend sending only one win-back email to unengaged contacts before unsubscribing them. The more win-back emails you send, the higher your risk of eroding your sender reputation and your messages not reaching the inbox.

Build the Engagement in the First 90 Days automation

  1. Go to Automations and click “Create an automation.”
  2. Click “Start from Scratch” > “Continue” in the modal pop-up.
  3. Add the “Date based” trigger to your automation. Configure the trigger with the following:
    • Starts - 90 days after creation date
    • Check - Daily around 8 am contact’s time zone. You can use any time here, but we recommend early morning or late evening
    • Runs - When year, month, and day match conditions
    • Advanced - Check this option, then create the following segment:
      • Last engaged date - Blank AND
      • Has been sent a campaign - Ever
    • Click “Save start”
      Engagement in the first 90 days automation trigger.jpg
  4. Add a “Send email” action.
    • This email is a re-engagement email. Use this opportunity to reach out to contacts who haven’t engaged yet and see if they still want to be subscribed to your list
  5. Add a timed “Wait” action. In our example, we set the timer for 2 days, but you can adjust this if needed.
  6. Add an “If/Else” action to your automation:
    • Last Engaged Date - Blank. To select “Blank,” click the operator field, then click the “Blank” option
    • Click “Save”
  7. Under the “No” path:
    • Add the “Add a tag” action and tag the contact is re-engaged. In our example, the tag we’re using is [Re-Engaged] First 90
    • Add the “End this automation” action
  8. Under the “Yes” path:
    • Add the “Add a tag” action to tag contacts as manually unsubscribed after 90 days. In our example, the tag we’re using is [Re-Engagement] Manual 90 Day - Unsubscribe
    • Add the “Unsubscribe” action and select “Unsubscribe from all lists”
    • Add the “End this automation” action
  9. Click “Active” to turn on the automation.

6-Month Engagement automation

6 month engagement automation.jpg

This date-based automation references the “Last engaged date” contact custom date field.

How the 6-Month Engagement automation works

Contacts are pulled into this automation six months after their last engaged date and sent a re-engagement email. They have a few days to interact with the email and then proceed through an “If/Else” action. If they interacted with the email, they remain on your list(s) and are given a re-engaged tag. If they do not engage, they are given an Unsubscribe tag and are unsubscribed from all lists.

As long as your contact(s) continue to engage with your campaigns within the defined time period, they will not enter this automation.

Build the 6-Month Engagement automation

  1. Go to Automations and click “Create an automation.”
  2. Click “Start from Scratch” > “Continue” in the modal pop-up.
  3. Add the “Date based” trigger to your automation. Configure the trigger with the following:
    • Starts - 6 months after last engaged date
    • Check - Daily around 8 am contact’s time zone. You can use any time here, but we recommend early morning or late evening
    • Runs - When month and day match conditions
    • Click “Save start”
      6 month engagement automation trigger.jpg
  4. Add a “Send an email” action to your automation:
  5. Drag the “Wait” action to your automation:
    • Select the “Wait for a specific period of time” option
    • Enter the number of days that contacts should wait in this step. In our example, we will enter 2 days, but you can adjust this to fit your business needs
  6. Click the “Save” button.
  7. Add an If/Else action to your automation with the following conditions:
    • Has opened - Campaign - Re-engagement email (this is the email you created in step 5 above) - Ever
    • Use an Or statement
    • Has clicked on a link - Campaign - Re-Engagement email (this is the email you created in step 5 above) - Ever
    • Use an Or statement
    • Has replied - Campaign - Re-Engagement email (this is the email you created in step 5 above) - Ever
    • Click “Save”
      6 month engagement automation if else action.jpg
  8. Under the “Yes” path:
    • Add the “Add a Tag” action to your automation. Create a new tag called [Re-Engaged] 6 months (note that you can use any tag here).
    • Note that if the same contact runs through this automation multiple times, the tag and tag application date will be overwritten each
      time
    • Add the “End this automation” action to your workflow
  9. Under the “No” path:
    • Add the “Add a Tag” action to your automation. Create a new tag called [Re-Engagement] Manual 6 Month Unsubscribe (note that you can
      use any tag here)
    • Add the “Unsubscribe” action to your automation and select “All Lists”
    • Add the “End this automation” action to your workflow
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