An Automation is a series of actions and communications triggered by a Contact's behavior and preferences.

With Automations, you can create the perfect email and SMS marketing funnel to welcome new Contacts, nurture leads and customers, or even update Contact Profiles—automatically!

In This Guide

This guide will cover each part of an Automation, build an example welcome series Automation, learn how to edit or duplicate an Automation, and review some troubleshooting solutions.

Automation Components

Automations are made of four components or types of nodes:


Triggers are user-based actions that start your Automation. Every Automation needs at least one trigger to begin the next steps of Automation.

Check out our Automation Triggers guide for details!


Actions happen due to a trigger's conditions being met, such as sending an SMS or email message, updating a Contact's profile, updating an Automation, or passing information with a Webhook.

Check out our Automation Actions guide for details!

Logic and Timing

Wait times, Goals, and Conditional Splits allow you to use advanced targeting to send your Contacts highly relevant content at the right time.

Check out our Automation Logic and Timing guide for details!

Build a Welcome Series Automation

Create a new Automation by clicking Automations > New Automation > Start From Scratch > Enter an Automation Name > OK!

Add a Trigger

Add a trigger to start your welcome series Automation by clicking + Add Trigger > Select the Subscribes to a list trigger > Move individual Lists or the Any option into the Selected section > Done

💡 Pro Tip

All Automations require at least one trigger, but you can add as many as three! Check out our Automation Triggers guide for details on all trigger options.

Add an Email Node

Now we'll add an email communication to welcome new subscribers to your List(s). Check out our Automation Actions guide for details on other available actions like SMS messages, updating Contact Profiles, updating an Automation, or using a Webhook to pass information into Sendlane!

Add an email communication node by clicking the + button > Send Message > Email > Create New Email

You can duplicate this email for all future email nodes in this Automation. Campaigns or emails created in other Automations will not appear in the sidebar, but saved templates and previously sent Campaigns can be accessed on the Content page of the email builder.

The Automation email builder is the same as the Campaign email builder. Check out our guide to building email Campaigns for detailed instructions on creating your email message!

When you're satisfied with your email content, click Activate to activate your email! Automations will skip any email nodes that are not activated.

Add a Wait Node

Wait times should be added after every communication node in an Automation to give Contacts time to engage with your content before receiving further communication. Marketing content best practices suggest at least 24 hours before each communication!

To add a wait node, click the   + button > Wait > Set your desired wait period and timing options > Done

Activate the Automation

If you'd like to start your Automation at this point in the funnel, click Active in the top right corner of the Automation builder and Activate to confirm your activation!

💡 Pro Tip

Make sure to test your Automation from start to finish before activating it! 

This Automation will now send a welcome email to all Contacts who subscribe to the List(s) you specified in your trigger! Read on if you'd like to add more modes to your welcome series Automation, or check out our Additional Resources and Troubleshooting topics below.

Check out our Automation Actions guide and Automation Logic and Timing guide for details on adding more targeted content, goals, logic, and timing to your Automation!

Edit an Automation

You can edit any node, setting, or content in your Automation at any time!

🚨  Important Note

Edits made to email content in active Automations that Contacts are currently traveling through will be made in real-time and seen by all Contacts. All other edits to the Automation will apply only to Contacts who start the Automation after the edits are made.

Editing Nodes

Click any node > Make desired edits > Done

Add a Node

Click the + button to add another node to your Automation > Select the new Action

Delete a Node

Click any  node > Trash can > OK

Deactivate and Reactivate Automations

If Automations are deleted, they are gone forever, including content and logic. To avoid losing the hard work you put into your Automations, Deactivate them instead!

  • Deactivating an active Automation freezes Contacts exactly where they are in the Automation
  • Reactivating an Automation causes Contacts to pick up exactly where they were when the Automation was deactivated

Deactivate an Automation by clicking the Stop icon next to the Automation's name > Deactivate

Reactivate an Automation by clicking the Play icon next to the Automation's name > Activate

Duplicate an Automation

Duplicating an Automation is a great way to save time by using your existing Automations to target different groups of your Contacts for hyper-targeted content flows.

To duplicate an Automation, click the Duplicate Automation icon > Enter a Name for your new Automation > Duplicate

⏭  Next Steps

  1. Check out our pre-built Automation templates by selecting an Automation category in the Create New Automation window!
  2. Review the Automations section of your dashboard for an overview of your Automations' performance, or download Automation performance data to closely look at any Automation's performance!


My Automation isn't starting!

Make sure your Automation is set to Active if it seems like your Automation isn't starting when it should:

My Automation email isn't sending!

Make sure your Automation email is set to Active if Contacts are not receiving emails from nodes they meet the conditions for:

My Conditional Split isn't flowing!

Some Conditional Split actions have built-in required wait times between actions. Review our Conditional Split guide for detailed information!

I'm getting an infinite loop error message!

Our Automation builder will prevent your Contacts from getting stuck in "infinite loops," where one or more Automation sends a Contact back and forth through a flow. Avoid this issue by creating new Automations with fresh content for your audience to flow through to boost engagement and avoid spam complaints!

Additional Resources

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