Create an auto responder campaign

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An auto responder campaign is one of six campaign types and is used to send a one-time email to contacts after they subscribe to your list. You can use this campaign type to send a "Welcome" message to contacts as soon as they subscribe to your list or send a "Check in" message a certain number of days/hours after contacts subscribe to your list.  

Create an auto responder campaign

  1. Click Campaigns > "Create a Campaign." 
  2. On the next screen:
    • Give your campaign a name
    • Click the "Auto Responder" campaign type
    • Click "Next"
  3. Complete the fields located on the Campaign Summary page. Note that you can skip this step for now and start designing your email. However, these details must be completed before you send your campaign.
  4. Select the campaign builder you want to use. By default, “Create with email designer” is selected for you. To use the Classic Designer, Custom HTML, or Text only designers, click the down caret then select the designer of your choice.
  5. Select a template or click the “Start from Scratch” option.
  6. Add content and modify the look and feel of your campaign. When finished, click "Next." 

Configure Auto Responder settings

Before sending your campaign, you’ll need to configure the Auto Responder settings on the Campaign Summary page.

Send to existing contacts

This is set to “Off” by default. If you wish to send the auto responder to existing contacts on your list, click the toggle to set it to the “On” position. 

Send to new contacts

This is set to “Immediately” by default. You can choose to send the auto responder to send after a specific time frame. To do so, click the dropdown next to “Send to new contacts.” Then enter the number of days and/or hours the email should be sent when someone subscribes to your list.

Send the auto responder campaign

When you’re ready for subscribers to receive your auto responder campaign, click the “Finish” button on the Campaign Summary page.

The campaign will be sent to new list subscribers per your configuration settings.

How auto responder campaigns work

An auto responder campaign is sent to individual contacts as they subscribe to your list; it will not send to your entire list at once. Auto responder campaigns do not have any additional automation capabilities.

This campaign type can be configured to send to contacts in one of two ways from the Campaign Summary page:

Immediately

This means that the new subscriber will be sent your auto responder campaign as soon as they subscribe to your list.  

Immediate auto responder campaigns are only triggered to send to contacts if they are subscribed to your list in one of the following ways:

  • When a contact submits a form you created in ActiveCampaign
  • When a contact encounters a "Subscribe" action in an automation
  • When a contact clicks a link in an email that has a "Subscribe to List" link action
  • When a contact is added to your account through an API call (Version 1 of the API only). Instaresponders[123] parameter must be set to 1
  • When an account user creates a new contact from the Contacts overview page. (Account user must select "Send instant autoresponder" if it's an auto responder configured to send immediately upon subscription. This is enabled under "Advanced List Options" when creating a new contact)
  • When contacts are added to a list using the bulk editor
  • When subscribing a contact to a list from their contact profile page

Immediate auto responder campaigns are NOT sent to contacts if imported to your ActiveCampaign account via CSV file or the "Copy and Paste" import option. 

After a specific timeframe

This means that the auto responder will be sent to a new list subscriber a certain number of days or hours after subscribing to your list. It does not matter how they were subscribed to your list.

How to update the subject line and sender details for an auto responder campaign

You can update the subject line and sender details for an auto responder at any time.

To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Open your campaign from the Campaign Overview page.
  2. On the Campaign Summary page, add your new subject line, preheader text, sender details into the fields provided.
  3. Click the “Finish” button or “Save and exit.”

How to turn off an auto responder campaign

You can stop an auto responder from sending to new contacts anytime.

  1. From the Campaigns Overview page, click the down caret next to the campaign's "Edit" button.
  2. Click the “Disable” option.
  3. A modal window will appear. Click the “OK” button to confirm the action.

To turn on the auto responder anytime, follow the same steps above. For step number 2, click “Enable” instead.

Will my auto responder be sent to existing list subscribers?

If you create an auto responder campaign that uses a list with pre-existing subscribers, they will only receive your auto responder if you toggle the "Send to Existing Contacts" option to "On."

If you leave the "Send to Existing Contacts" option "Off," your existing contacts will not receive your auto responder campaign.

This setting is located on the Campaign Summary page for your auto responder campaign.

If you create an auto responder campaign today that will be sent to contacts ten days after they subscribe to your list, then anyone who subscribed to your list less than ten days ago will receive the auto responder campaign ten days after their respective subscription dates.

However, any contacts added to your list longer than ten days ago will not receive the campaign. If you wish to send the campaign to all contacts added more than ten days before creating this auto responder campaign, you can create a list segment.

Advanced: Why wasn't my instant auto responder sent when using the API?

Our software offers many ways to add new contacts to the system, one of which is through our open API.

If you have written a custom script using our contact_add() or contact_edit() API functions, and you find that your new contacts are not receiving instant auto responders, a common problem is that the API function's variables are not set correctly. Double-check your script, and make sure that the "instantresponders" variable is set to 1 (NOTE: This would not work with Free plans). Also, make sure that the "noresponders" variable is not set, or is set to 0.

Note that this only works with Version 1 of the API

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