Automation actions explained

Actions are a series of processes that a contact proceeds through once they enter your automation. As a contact encounters each action in their automation path, the action is executed. Actions can be external. For example, you can use actions to communicate with your contacts via email, SMS, or site message. They can also be internal. For example, you can use actions to update a deal or contact score, add the contact to another automation, or create goals.

Note that actions available to you in the automation builder depend on your plan level.

In this article, we'll explain each automation action and share examples of how you can use them.

Sending options

You can use actions in this category to send messages. 

“Send email”

This action will send an email to the contact who goes through this step of the automation. You are able to design the email. You are able to time the email by placing a wait condition before it.

“Send a site message”

Available on Professional and Enterprise plans.

This action lets you display messages to an opted-in contact when they visit a specific page on your site or any page of your site. You may want to use this to display information about a new offering or a coupon code for a product to get your contact to complete a purchase. Read more about this action and how it works.

In order to use this feature, you must have site tracking installed and enabled on your site.

“Send SMS”

Available on Plus, Professional, and Enterprise plans.

When a contact reaches this action in your automation, a text message will be sent to them. 

“Notify someone”

This action sends a notification email. It could notify someone within your company.

Conditions and Workflow

You can use actions in this category to add logic to your automations and/or manage other automations.

“Wait”

The wait action pauses the automation for the contact at this step. You are able to specify how long they wait before proceeding to the next action in their automation path. 

There are two types of wait actions that you can create:

  • Timed wait
    Contacts will wait in this action for a period of time you specify, then proceed to the next action in the automation. 

  • Conditional wait
    Contacts will wait in this action until certain conditions are met, for example, until they perform a certain behavior or until you collect certain information about them. Wait conditions are created with the segment builder. In addition, you have the option to set a time limit for how long a contact will wait in this action if they don't meet the conditions to proceed.

“If/Else”

An “If/Else” action creates a fork in your automation. There are two paths in this fork: A "Yes" path and a "No" path. The “Yes” path is for contacts who match the conditions you define and then “No” path is for contacts who do not match the conditions. "If/Else" conditions are created with the segment builder. This action is useful for treating contacts differently depending on a variety of factors. You are able to create conditions based on any condition that you can create a segment with: actions, tags, custom fields, Site & Event Tracking data, and other contact data.

“Split”

The “Split” action allows you to create split test automations.

There are two types of split actions:

  • Even split
    A traditional A/B split test that determines a winning path.
  • Conditional split
    This split will send all contacts down one path until specific conditions are met and then a different path after. This is not a traditional split test and no winning path is determined. Conditions for this split are created with the segment builder. 

“Go to”

The “Go to” action allows you to move contacts to another step of the automation. You can use it to bring contacts back to a branch or create loops.

“Goal”

The "Goal" action allows contacts to jump from their current location in your automation directly to that goal step if they meet the conditions to do so. Conditions for this action are created with the segment builder. You can use this to begin other automations, send targeted messages to contacts, adjust contact and deal scores, and even add a contact to a specific step in your automation upon entry. 

“Start an automation”

The “Start an automation” action will start an automation you specify when the contact reaches that step.

“End this automation”

The “End this automation” action is an indication that the automation ends at this point. Even without the “End this automation” action, your automation would still end when your contact reaches the last step of the automation. This action is more a “note” that there are no more steps and the branch is finished.

“End other automation”

The “End other automation” action will stop the contact running through another automation.

“Webhook”

The “Webhook” action can send a webhook to another app allowing you to automate actions with apps outside of ActiveCampaign. For instance, you could send a webhook to have a support account created with your helpdesk software when a new order comes in.

Contacts

This category of actions gives you a variety of actions related to managing contacts.

“Subscribe”

The “Subscribe” action adds a contact to a list.

“Unsubscribe”

The “Unsubscribe” action removes the contact from a list. For instance, when a new customer makes an order, you could remove them from your “prospect” list and, using the “Subscribe” action, add them to your “customer” list.

"Convert"

This is available on Professional and Enterprise plans.

The "Convert" automation action enables a contact to trigger a conversion while in an automation. In this action, you can select an existing conversion to trigger or create a new conversion. 

“Update contact”

The “Update contact” action allows you to add data to the contact record. You could use this action to add data to a custom field. For instance, you could update a “Status” field with “Promoter” if they share a campaign on social media.

“Add tag”

The “Add tag” action will apply a tag to a contact when they reach this step.

“Remove tag”

The “Remove tag” action will remove a tag from a contact when they reach this step.

“Add note”

The “Add note” action will attach a note to the contact record. This is useful for adding information through the marketing process so that when a lead is passed onto sales, they read notes to know what the contact has done, what they’ve viewed, and what they are interested in so they can go into a call aware of what the contact already knows and with insight that will help them close the sale.

"Add to Facebook Custom Audience"

Available on Plus, Professional, and Enterprise plans.

This action is available with the Facebook Custom Audience integration.

This action will add contacts to a Facebook Custom Audience you specify. In addition, this action will let you create a new custom audience. If you're creating a new Facebook Custom Audience, it will be of the "Customer List" subtype. 

"Remove from Facebook Custom Audience"

Available on Plus, Professional, and Enterprise plans.

This action is available with the Facebook Custom Audience integration.

This action will remove contacts from the Facebook Custom Audience you specify.

“Adjust score”

This is available on Plus, Professional, and Enterprise plans. 

The “Adjust score” action allows you to move a contact score up or down when they reach that step of an automation. If the proceeding actions indicated sales-ready behavior, you could add points to their score. You could give out negative points if the contact unsubscribes or fails to engage (open or click) your campaigns.

CRM

CRM automation actions are available on Plus, Professional, and Enterprise plans.

This category of action gives you a variety of actions related to managing deals. 

“Add deal”
Available on Plus, Professional, and Enterprise plans.

The “Add deal” action will create a deal record for an opportunity. This action allows you to automatically create deals for contacts as they reach sales-readiness. You may want to use this action with a “Score changes” trigger so that when a contact score reaches a threshold score, a deal record is automatically created and placed in your pipeline.

“Update title”

Available on Plus, Professional, and Enterprise plans.

The “Update title” action will edit a deal’s title.

“Update status”

Available on Plus, Professional, and Enterprise plans.

The “Update status” action can be used to change a deal’s status to “Open,” “Won,” or “Lost.” You could use this action to mark a deal as “Won” when the associated contact makes a purchase.

“Update owner”

Available on Plus, Professional, and Enterprise plans.

The “Update owner” action will change who a deal is assigned to. You could use this action to change ownership as the deal reaches a point where there is a hand-off. For instance, as deals are qualified and near closing, the deal could be handed off to a more experienced sales rep.

“Update value”

Available on Plus, Professional, and Enterprise plans.

The “Update value” action changes a deals estimated value.

“Update stage”

Available on Plus, Professional, and Enterprise plans.

The “Update stage” action moves a deal to another stage of your pipeline. This action is a crucial part of automating your sales process so you may use it often. When a contact performs a certain behavior, such as replies to an email or visits a link you sent them to, you could move them further down the pipeline.

"Update custom field"

Available on Plus, Professional, and Enterprise plans.

This action updates the value of a custom deal field. You can use this action to automatically enter a new value, copy data from an existing contact field, or clear the value for the custom deal field.

“Add task”

Available on Plus, Professional, and Enterprise plans.

The “Add task” action creates new to do items. This action is very useful for staying organized and making sure no lead falls through the cracks. You can automatically add tasks as the pipeline stage changes so that all associated work has task reminders created.

“Add note”

Available on Plus, Professional, and Enterprise plans.

The “Add note” action adds a note to the deal record. (The “Add note” action under the “Contacts” category adds notes to the contact record.)

“Complete task”

Available on Plus, Professional, and Enterprise plans.

The “Complete task” action closes a task by marking it as completed. You can use this action to automate your workday and stay organized by having tasks closed as you or the contact perform certain behaviors.

“Adjust score”

Available on Plus, Professional, and Enterprise plans.

The “Adjust score” action moves a deal score up or down.

More resources for to help you create Automations

Now that you are familiar with automation actions, you may want to learn about how the automation workflow builder works or go through a walkthrough of creating an automation so that you can see how combining triggers and actions allows you to create fully automated sequences of events.

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