How do I use the date-based trigger and actions in an automation?

Our date-based automation trigger and actions allow you to start automations based on a custom date field, schedule emails to go out based on a specific date or date field, and more. Listed below is an explanation of each date-based option and how to use them. 

Date-based automation trigger
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A date-based automation trigger will allow you to start an automation based on a contact’s date field. You can choose to start the automation before, on, or after the date displayed in their field. You may want to use this to create marketing automations based on event dates, such as a wedding or birthday, or a recurring transaction, such as a subscription date. For more information on how to use the date-based automation trigger, click here.

Using “Date & Time” conditions in Wait Until steps and Goals
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Contacts who reach a wait until step containing a date condition will queue in that step until they meet the requirements to move forward. If this is used in a Goal step, a contact will jump to that goal as soon as they meet the conditions (ie, achieve your goal), skipping all other steps in between.

You may want to use this if you want contacts to wait or jump to a goal on a specific day of the week, or specific month of the year.

The following date and time options are available. You can choose either the contact’s time zone or the time zone set in your account when creating this condition. These options can be found under Option Categories > Date & Time in the segment builder:

Date/Time option Operator Values
Current day of week Is, Is not Weekday, Weekend, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
Current day of month Is, Is not, Greater than, Greater than or equal to, Less than, Less than or equal to 1 - 31
Current month Is, Is not, Greater than, Greater than or equal to, Less than, Less than or equal to January - December
Current year Is, Is not, Greater than, Greater than or equal to, Less than, Less than or equal to 2017 (current year) - 2024
Current time Is, Is not, Greater than, Greater than or equal to, Less than, Less than or equal to 12 AM - 11 PM


Custom date field and specific dates
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This condition means that contacts will queue in your wait step or achieve your goal step once the date in their date field matches the date you set in this condition. You may want to use this if you want contacts to wait or jump to a goal once their date field matches the date in your condition.

For example, if I created a wait until step with the following conditions:

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Then contacts who reach that step will wait until the date in their own webinar field matches the date in this condition.

Custom Date field and current date
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This means that contacts will queue in your wait step or achieve your goal once the date in their field matches the current date. It may be easier to think of “current date” as “today’s date” because the system is checking to see if the date in the contact’s date field matches today’s date.

Using this example:

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Let’s say the contact reaches that wait step on September 30th but the date in their field says “October 1st.” The contact will wait in that step for 1 day, because then the date in their date field will match that current date.

Custom date field and current date with plus/minus conditions
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With this condition, you can determine if a contact should move to the next step in an automation, or achieve a goal a certain number of dates before or after a date stored in a contact’s custom date-based field.

It is important to note that when creating a date-based wait condition, “plus” translates to “X amount of days BEFORE or PRIOR to the date stored in your custom date field” while “minus” means “X amount of days AFTER the date stored in your custom date field.”

For example, let’s say my contact has a webinar date of October 3rd and I wish for them to receive a 3-day reminder prior to that date.

The wait condition I would set up would look like this:

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When a contact reaches that wait step, they will queue there until October 1st, because October 1st (current date) plus 3 equals October 3rd.

To read more about using this specific date condition, click here.

Using time limits in conditional waits
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When you create a “Wait Until” step, you have the option to set a maximum period of time that a contact will wait without matching the conditions by applying a time limit. Essentially, in order a contact to proceed through that step, they either need to match the conditions you set in your conditional wait OR wait for the duration of the time limit you set.

Using the example above, if a contact reaches that wait step on September 20th, they will wait 1 day and then proceed to the next step.

If they reach that wait step on November 2nd, they will wait 1 day and then proceed to the next step.

If you were to remove that time limit (example below), then any contacts who reach that step after September 29th, will wait in that step until it is September 29th again.

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