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Using Goal and Wait actions to schedule automation emails

The Goal action and Conditional Wait action both use the segment builder to create conditions that a contact must meet in order to proceed to the next step in an automation. However, knowing when to use one over the other really depends on what you wish to accomplish with your automation and if you’re sending out time-sensitive emails or emails that do not need to go out by a certain date.

In this document, we’ll review both actions and provide an example of when you would use each when scheduling automation emails.

Goal action
While a contact can encounter a Goal action sequentially (meaning it’s the next step in their automation path), it is mainly used to jump a contact from their current position in an automation directly to that action once they meet specific conditions to do so. With this action, they will skip all steps between their current position and the Goal, then proceed to the next step in your automation. If contacts reach the Goal action sequentially, you can configure it so that contacts will wait in that step until they meet specific conditions to proceed to the next action.

Conditional wait
A Conditional wait is more sequential—a contact will encounter it as soon as it’s the next step in their automation path and they will not jump to it. With this action, contacts will wait at that action until they meet the conditions to move forward. Once the conditions are met, the contacts are then released to the next step.

When to use a Goal action to schedule an email
If you have emails that need to go out by a certain date, we recommend using Goal actions to schedule those emails. For example, let’s say you have an automation containing a series of email reminders for an upcoming event. You want send them 30 days before the event date, 2 weeks before the event date, 1 week before the event date, and 1 day before the event. However, depending on when contacts enter your automation, you may not want them to receive certain reminders as they would no longer be relevant to that contact. For example, if a contact entered your automation 3 days prior to the event date, you would not want them to receive your first three reminders. To get around this, you would use a Goal action above each Send Email action that uses a date condition and that is set to have contacts wait until conditions are met before they move to the next step in your automation.

To read our help document on Goals, click here.
For an in-depth look at Goals in an marketing automation, click here.

When to use a Conditional Wait to schedule an email
If you have a series of emails to send that are not time sensitive and if you want contacts to receive each one regardless of when they entered your automation, then you can consider using conditional waits as a way to schedule your email. Again, with this wait, contacts will arrive at this action sequentially and will queue in that step until they meet conditions you set to move forward. You can use conditional waits to schedule automation emails to send on specific days of the week or when a contact completes a specific action, such as visiting a pricing page. With conditional waits, you also have the option to set a maximum period of time that a contact will wait before they are released to the next step in your automation.

To read more about using wait actions in an automation, see this help document.
To read in-depth on how to send perfectly timed messages in an automation, see this guide.

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