We've designed this guide to introduce you to automation flows and do a deep dive into Flow Actions. We recommend looking through this guide to optimize Flow Builder for your brand.
Automation flows allow you to message subscribers at various stages in their customer journey, whether it's after they add a product to their cart, create their first order, or welcome them to your SMS program. Keep in mind that pairing automation flows with strategic segmentation allows you to engage and send personalized messages to different pockets of your subscriber base and can result in high click-through rates, conversion, and overall earnings.
Automation Flow Basics
In this section, we'll take a look at how to navigate the flow editor's main page, dive into automation properties, and explain how reconnecting splits work.
Understanding how to navigate the Automation Flows main page is the first step to unlocking and harnessing the power of Flow Builder so your brand can optimize conversions, build an interactive SMS program, and create opportunities for hyper-segmentation.
- Select these three lines to unhide the Postscript navigation bar and navigate out of Flow Builder.
- Select Back to Flows to navigate out of the editor and into your Flows Dashboard.
- Give your automation flow a name that helps you identify it from all automation drafts or activated automations.
- Optional: Add a description to your automation flow.
- When your automation flow has been activated, you can view your overall flow metrics.
- Customize your flow by dragging and dropping Flow Actions into your automation flow. Each action is broken down here.
- Preview your automation properties. For more information on Automation Properties, click the next tab in this module titled Automation Properties to the right.
- Drag and Drop your Flow Actions (from step 6) to the Drag action here placeholders throughout your build. The Drag action here placeholder will show when an action is selected.
- If your automation flow has been activated, this indicator will show the date and time the flow was last activated.
- Save changes, activate or deactivate your flow, or view a flow's version history with these three buttons. To view a flow's history, select the circled ellipses, then select View version history.
- This indicator shows the Status of your automation. Statuses are Draft, Scheduled, Activated, (meaning sending is in progress), and Deactivated (meaning the flow is no longer actively allowing subscribers to enter).
- This tool allows you to zoom out, zoom in, or re-frame the entire flow (re-framing your flow is handy if you get lost in a void and aren't able to find your flow).
- Define the automation trigger. A trigger is an action that will begin the automation flow. In the example above, the flow will send to a subscriber who starts the checkout process.
- Add trigger filters. Trigger filters can help you fine-tune when an automation is triggered. The example above will only send to a subscriber whose abandoned cart subtotal is more than $100.
- Add Subscriber filters. User filters can help you narrow down which subscribers can receive an automation. The flow above will only send if the subscriber has previously placed 2 orders.
- Add a subscriber frequency filter. The subscriber frequency filter allows you to choose how often a subscriber can enter a given automation flow for a certain period of time. The example above will only allow subscribers to enter this flow every 30 days.
- Add a cancellation trigger. The cancellation trigger tells Postscript when to remove a subscriber from an automation flow. In the example above, a subscriber will be removed from receiving this automation if they place an order.
- Save. Don't forget to save your automation properties by selecting Save in the bottom-right.
Reconnecting splits allow you to send targeted messages or test out different strategies with splits reconvening at the end of the flow. All branches in Flow Builder will always reconvene at the endpoint in the flow. While splits will reconnect, you can still add actions (Delay, Send Message, A/B splits, Wait for Event Splits, Trigger Splits within automation flows, etc.) to each split before the connecting endpoint.
Within nested branches, the parent split has reconnecting branches, then all child splits will also have reconnecting branches.
How Reconnecting Splits Work
Within automation flows, your splits reconnect at the end of the flow. Let's take a look at an example. In the flow below, the brand sends the initial message to the entire segment. Depending on subscriber replies (or lack thereof) to the initial message, they could be funneled down one of two branches - branch A or branch B.
Subscribers in this flow will be removed from the campaign once they create an order. In the first message, subscribers are asked if they want early access to an upcoming launch.
If a subscriber replies with Yes/Yeah/Yep/Etc., they are funneled into Branch A which includes a confirmation message that they'll be notified before everyone else and a password to access the product page.
If they reply with anything other than Yes/Yeah/Yep/Etc. or do not reply at all, they are funneled down Branch B which includes confirmation that they'll be notified when everyone else is.
Branch A notifies subscribers on March 1st that the new product is live on a password-protected webpage. A day later, on March 2nd, branch B notifies subscribers that the new product is live on their site.
At the end of this flow, the branches reconnect and send a final message to both parties nudging them to purchase.
Our toolkit of flow actions assists with perfecting the timing of your automation messages, allows you to experiment with various approaches through A/B splits, automates responses to subscribers based on their actions or inactions, and can tag subscribers based on their engagement with your brand for future hyper-segmentation. To add any of these actions, just drag them from the toolkit and drop them into your flow.
- Add an image or gif to your message. Learn how to create a custom gif here.
- Message editor. Edit your message here and preview it to the right.
- Add emojis to your message by clicking the smiley face icon.
- Add tags to your messages such as the first or last name of your subscriber, your shop name, or shop link.
- Add a Postscript coupon to your message.
- Add product or discount links to your message. Discount links are links embedded with a Shopify discount.
- Add the copy "Reply STOP to unsubscribe" to your message by clicking the checkbox.
- Save. Once you've crafted the message to your liking, don't forget to save!
- Hide the message preview by selecting the eye in the upper-right corner of the message preview.
- Preview your message by sending it to yourself before you activate your flow.
- Duplicate your message to make building out a flow of messages more efficient.
- Delete your message by selecting this option or clicking Delete Step in the upper-right corner of the message editor.
- Delay your message for an amount of time. This option allows you to send your message after a specific interval of time (e.g. Delay sending this message until after a 5-minute delay or after a 5-week delay).
- Delay your message until a specific date allows you to choose the exact date and time that you'd like to send each individual message (e.g. Delay sending this message until December 20th, 2022 at 4:00 PM).
- Delay your message until a certain time of the week allows you to choose a day of the week and a time of day that you'd like to send each of your flow messages (e.g. Delay sending these messages until Sundays at 2:00 PM).
- Save. Once you've added your message delays, don't forget to save!
- Duplicate your Delay action to make building out a flow of messages more efficient.
- Delete your Delay action by selecting this option or clicking Delete Step in the upper-right corner of the Delay editor.
- Auto Balance automatically sets your branches to an even distribution.
- Designate Branch A's distribution by adding the percentage of subscribers you'd like to have your Branch A experience (this includes messages, delays, etc.).
- Designate Branch B's distribution by adding the percentage of subscribers you'd like to have your Branch A experience (this includes messages, delays, etc.).
- Save. Once you've customized your A/B Split distributions, don't forget to save!
- Preview or add to your Branch A's experience by dragging and dropping flow actions to the Drag action here placeholder.
- Preview or add to your Branch B's experience by dragging and dropping flow actions to the Drag action here placeholder.
- Delete your A/B Split action by selecting this option or clicking Delete Step in the upper-right corner of the Split editor.
- Add an event to your flow. This indicates that you intend to branch subsequent messages based on this event. For example, create branches based on if a subscriber creates an order after receiving the previous Day of the Week automation message.
- Add the Max Wait Time that you will allow for subscribers to complete the event. For example, wait 24 hours for subscribers to create an order after receiving the first message in your flow.
- Create your branches and select specific properties of each branch. In the example above, we will branch the flow based on if the subscriber creates an order using the Shopify discount code SHOPIFYDISCOUNT or not.
- Wait for Event branching will always include a none of the above or event never occurred branch to capture any events that do not match the specifications and subscribers who do not respond within the Max Wait Time.
- Add a new branch by selecting this option.
- Save. Once you've customized your Event Splits, don't forget to save!
- Preview your branches.
- Delete your Wait for event split action by selecting this option or clicking Delete Step in the upper-right corner of the Split editor.
- Add or remove a subscriber tag based on which path the subscriber takes. In the example above, subscribers will be tagged as conditioner or shampoo based on their response to the Wait for Susbcriber Response Split.
- Save. Once you've added your subscriber tag, don't forget to save!
- Preview the Update Subscriber action.
- After tagging a subscriber, you may consider sending them a follow-up message. In the example above, we send a shampoo recommendation to those who responded to our first message with the word shampoo.
- Duplicate your Update Subscriber action to make building out a flow of messages more efficient.
- Delete your Update Subscriber action by selecting this option or clicking Delete Step in the upper-right corner of the editor.
The Add to flow action in Flow Builder allows you to add subscribers to another automation flow that is triggered by an Added via Another Flow trigger event. You can move subscribers from a campaign flow or an automation flow into a new automation flow.
To use the Add to flow action, you'll need to create a "child flow", or a flow that uses the Add via Another Flow trigger. Once you have a flow that uses the Add via Another Flow trigger, you can link a flow within a flow.
Check out this Guide to Add to Flow Action in Flow Builder for a deep dive of this action.
Link a Flow Within a Flow
- Select Messaging on the left-side navigation panel of your Postscript Dashboard.
- Select Automations then select Create Automation in the upper right corner.
- Select the Create Automation Flow option, then choose Create a new automation. Select Create flow in the bottom right of the module.
- Set your automation properties by selecting when a subscriber should be added to this flow and other filters (note: you cannot link a flow within a flow if you have transactional triggers or cart recovery triggers).
- Under Flow Actions, select and drag Add to flow into your flow. You can choose to have a subscriber continue down the parent flow by adding more actions (Delay, Send Message, Wait for Event Split, etc.) after the Add to flow action. Alternatively, you can end the parent flow with the Add to flow action if you'd like the subscriber to subsequently receive the child flow only.
- You can select Save Changes if you'd like to continue editing to your flow at a different time or select Schedule or Activate in the upper-right area of Flow Builder if you are ready to activate the flow immediately or schedule the flow to activate at a certain time.
- Postscript takes a product-led approach to compliance meaning compliance is built into everything we do. For this reason, Add to flow action is not available for transactional triggers nor Cart Recovery triggers such as Product Added to Cart, Browse Abandonment, and Checkout Started. Learn more about Abandoned Cart compliance here.
- Flows that use the Added via Another Flow trigger are not compatible with Postscript-generated Coupons. You can, however, use Shopify-generated coupons in these messages.
- If you attempt to deactivate a child flow linked in one or more flows, you'll receive an error message instructing you to reconfigure the parent flow without linking the child flow. This error message will also list all of the parent flows that the child flow is linked with.
- Automation Flow Metrics Quick Guide. Better understand the performance of your automation flow by analyzing each flow.
- Fantastic Texts. Need some inspiration? Check out some real-life customers and how they interact with their subscribers using automations.
- Customize and Brand Your Messages. Learn how to further customize your messages by checking out this section in the Help Center!
Have questions? Please feel free to reach out to our wonderful Support team at firstname.lastname@example.org or via live chat. You can also submit a support request here!
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