An automation is a series of actions that are triggered by a contact's behavior.

Automation funnels are pre-built workflows that can be used to move contacts from one list to another, send out a series of emails as contacts join your list, or even entice a website visitor to make a purchase after they've abandoned a shopping cart.

Here we'll cover all the pieces of an automation funnel including the different triggers, actions and communications you can use.

Plus, we'll also go over all of the specific step-by-step instructions on how to:

Automations Overview

There are four elements to building an automation funnel:

  1. Triggers: User-based actions that start your funnel
  2. Actions: The active ingredients, aka everything that happens in the funnel such as sending an email, subscribing users to another list or beginning another automation
  3. Communications: Your content and messaging, such as an email or SMS message


Subscribes to list  The automation will begin when a contact subscribes to a specific list of your choosing
Submits a form  When a user subscribes to a list via a popup/form the automation will begin
Tags Added / Removed  When a tag is added to or removed from a subscriber’s profile the automation will begin
Event Triggered If you are using our event tracking/beacon feature, a visit to the page with the event tracking code will begin the automation
Custom field added When a custom field is added via an integration form
Email Campaign Opened When a user opens a specific campaign
Email Campaign Clicked When a user clicks a link within a specific campaign
Another Automation This option will allow you to trigger this automation from an action in a different automation


Send notification Allows you to create and send an email or SMS message to your audience (as well as internal notifications)
Update Contact Property Includes subscribing or unsubscribing your contact from a list, as well as adding/removing tags from a contact.

Please Note
If unsubscribing the user from the list the workflow triggered off of, make sure to add this as the last action in the workflow
Update Automation Add contacts in your audience to a new automation once they reach this point in your funnel, end the current automation, or end another automation. 
Webhook Allows you to send data to another service via API
Wait This action holds the contact at a certain point in the automation based on the wait time chosen.
Conditional Split
Allows you to add segment your audience dependent on certain conditions
Allows you to set a goal for contacts. If the conditions of your goal are reached, the automation stops for that contact.


Create an email to send to your user
Send an SMS to your user, provided that you have their phone number
Notification Notify someone on your team that a user has reached this far in the funnel

Create an Automation Funnel

Please Note

Our Automations builder is equipped with AutoSave which saves your progress automatically after each action you take

  1. From inside of your Sendlane account, start by navigating to Automations → New AutomationScreen_Shot_2019-04-11_at_2.15.11_PM.png
  2. From here, you can choose from one of our pre-designed automation funnel templates, or build your own funnel from scratch. For this example, we'll build our own, so go ahead and choose that option
  3. Next, click the pen icon to give your automation a name
  4. Then, you'll want to choose the trigger for your funnel. Select Click here to add a trigger and you'll see all of the options available:
  5. After choosing what will trigger the automation to start, choose the settings that follow that trigger, and select Done.
Please Note

If you choose the automation to trigger off of a tag, you will need to specify the sender profile ("From" name and email address) that emails will be sent from within the automation. 

Add Your Communications

  1. Once you've set up your trigger, click the plus sign and select Send Message
  2. Choose the type of notification you would like to send to your audience:
  3. On the right side of your screen, you'll have the option to Create New Email or Select Previous Email
  4. Please Note

    The Select previous email allows you to choose from emails created within this automation. Campaigns or emails created in other automations are not available here.

  5. Once you have completed and saved your first email, an email marketing best practice is to add a one day Wait period to the automation. You can do this by clicking the plus sign below your last action, and selecting “Wait” from the Timing category.
  6. You will then continue adding Send Email and Wait actions until you have added all the emails you wish to send.
  7. Once you have completed your automation and you are ready for the world to see, be sure that you click on Save in the top corner and flip the switch to activate. 

Edit an Automation

Once you've created an automation, you can always go back and modify any setting that was added!

Please Note

If you make edits to an active automation that contacts are currently traveling through, these contacts will not receive the edits. Edits will only be visible to new contacts once they join the automation.

Editing Emails

  1. To edit emails with in your automation, click on the specific email that you would like to edit. 
  2. A new toolbar will appear on the right, click on Edit

Adding Actions

  1. To add to your automation, click on the plus sign (+) under or above where you would like the new action to go.
  2. Then follow the prompts to select new actions and modify them as needed

Removing Actions

  1. Click on the action that you would like to delete. 
  2. An "X" will appear in the top right corner of the action that you have selected. Click this to remove the action. 

  3. You will then be asked to confirm the removal of the action. 

Deactivate an Automation

You are able to deactivate your automation to save the content for later, rather than deleting all that hard work!  

  1. Start by navigating to the Automations tab
  2. Next, select the drop-down next to the View button and click Deactivate


Create an Automation: Automation → New Automation → Give it a name → Select a trigger → Add actions

Set Up Messages: Click plus sign  → Select notification → Create email → Add wait period → Repeat process until complete

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