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How to Create Your First Segment Triggered Campaign

Let’s learn how to create your first campaign in Customer.io! We’ll start with an onboarding drip series.

Lesson 1: Create a segment triggered campaign

We want our onboarding campaign to help new users complete their first key action — in this example, completing their account profile.

How it works

Customer.io runs two types of triggered campaigns:

  • Segment triggered campaigns only send the first time a person enters a segment (like a ‘Getting Started’ series after sign-up).
  • Event triggered campaigns send every time a person performs a specific event (like a receipt email after every purchase).

Step by step

We’ll start by creating a Segment Triggered Campaign.

  1. From the main menu, click into “Triggered” and then “Create Campaign”.
  2. Enter a name for your campaign (like, “New user onboarding”).
  3. Select “Segment Triggered Campaign”.
  4. Define your trigger: who will receive the messages? Here, you’ll choose the “Signed up” segment that’s already set up for you.

See it in action

Choose "signed up" segment for trigger


Lesson 2: Get your messages to the right people

Now, we don’t want messages in this campaign to get to anyone who already completed their profile. The solution: filters.

How it works

In Customer.io, people (your product’s users) have attributes and perform actions. You’ll use these attributes and behaviors as building blocks to create segments, which update dynamically based on the rules and conditions you define.

We use segments to determine who enters and exits a specific campaign workflow. You already used the pre-built “Signed Up” segment as the trigger for this campaign. 

Step by step

Create a new segment of people who have completed their profile. We’ll use this segment as our filter.

  • Navigate to Segments and select “Create Segment” in the upper right.
  • Give your segment a name (like, “Event: Profile completed”) and save it.*
  • Go back to your onboarding campaign and add this as a filter. Make sure to select the “not in” option.

*Note: For this tutorial example, assume we’re sending in an event named “Profile completed”. Remember to select your own onboarding event based on the data you’re sending to Customer.io!

See it in action

Setting up campaign filter

Now, anyone who signs up but doesn’t complete their profile will enter this campaign. If they do complete their profile during this campaign, they won’t receive any of the remaining messages. (This is the default setting for campaigns. Read about exit conditions to check out other campaign exit options.)


Lesson 3: Keep track of goals and KPIs

Let’s look at how to track campaign goals, like how your campaigns are performing and whether they’re driving conversions, going beyond opens and clicks!

Customer.io Dashboard

How it works

The goal for this onboarding campaign is to get new users to complete their profile. To track this goal, we have to define a conversion segment. Luckily, we can use the segment we created in our last lesson: “Event: Profile completed”.

Step by step

  • Go to your campaign “Goal & Exit” tab.
  • Define your goal by selecting the “Event: Profile completed” segment.
  • Save your changes.

See it in action

Define conversion goal

Note: We’re not changing the default exit condition settings (which ensure that people won’t receive messages in this campaign if they don’t match your triggers and filters). Learn how to specify different ways for people leave your campaign.


Lesson 4: Build your campaign workflow

So far, we’ve selected the campaign trigger, filter, and goal. It’s time to create our campaign workflow — the sequence of messages you want to send and their timing.

How it works

You can add any number of steps to your campaign workflow, including emails and other types of messages, delays, and even webhooks.

Step by step

In our example campaign, we’ll set up 2 emails, with delays before each.

  • First, we’ll create our emails. Go to your campaign and click “Add workflow item”.
  • Select email and give it a name. (This is different from your subject line but it’s up to you!)
  • Click on “Add workflow item” once more, select email, and give it a name (like, “Follow up”). Place it below email 1.
  • Now let’s add our delays. Click on “Add workflow item” and select delay. Place it above your first email and set it to wait 1 day.
  • Click on “Add workflow item” and select delay again. Place the delay between the emails and set the delay to 3 days.

See it in action

Adding a delay

That’s it! You’ve created your first campaign workflow. First, any new users who have yet to complete their profile will receive Email #1 one day after signing up. Three days later, if they still haven’t completed their profile, they’ll get Email #2.


Lesson 5: Personalize your content with Liquid

As you may already know, personalizing your emails increases engagement, conversion rates, and deliverability. In this lesson, we’ll show you how to personalize your emails using a person’s attributes.

How it works

We use a templating language called Liquid, which allows you to personalize your emails using dynamic customer data. You can also build complex if / else logic based on user attributes right inside your emails. Check out these examples.

Step by step

For now, we’ll start with the basics. Let’s simply add a person’s name to the email greeting.

  • Open the email and type the following: “Hi {{ customer.name }}” (Remember, your Liquid markup might look different depending on your data. Find the correct attribute for a user’s first name in the Sample Data panel on the left.)
  • Click on the “Layout & Preview” tab.
  • Boom! The tag is replaced with the sample customer’s name.

See it in action

inserting Liquid tag

Note: This is a very simple approach to using variables. Check out our personalization fallback explainer and 9 powerful Liquid tips and tricks.


Lesson 6: Test before you send

Today, you’ll learn about one of Customer.io’s most powerful features: queue draft.

At this point, if you were using another platform, you might have to just cross your fingers, turn your campaign on, and hope for the best … and then make any necessary fixes once the emails are live.

Customer.io provides a different approach: we allow you to start a campaign without actually sending any messages. Setting your emails to “Queue Draft” will generate drafts in a live setting, allowing you to review and edit your campaign before going live.

Learn about the Queue Draft feature with these tips for Campaign QA and this overview on how Queue Draft works.

Step by step

  • Make sure your emails are set to queue drafts. They should be orange:

draft mode status

  • Go to the “Review” tab, scroll to the bottom, and select “Future matches only.” This will ensure that you only send emails to people who match the trigger conditions after your campaign begins. In our case, it would be weird to send an onboarding message to someone who signed up a year ago.
  • Then click Start Campaign!

starting the campaign

Emails will start drafting as users match the trigger and filter conditions and enter your campaign workflow. We’ll review these drafts in Lesson 8.


Lesson 7: Add more conditions with advanced workflows

While your email drafts are queuing, let’s dive into some advanced workflow features: time windows and action conditions.

How to add a time window

Going back to our onboarding example, let’s say that our second email in the campaign is a personal follow-up from Janet on the customer success team — and we want this email to send only during the workday.

Do this by using a time window:

  • Click “Add a workflow item”.
  • Select “Time Window” and place it right before email 2.
  • Select weekdays and your work hours.

adding a time window

How to add an action condition

Imagine we want to add another message to our onboarding workflow, specifically to get users who signed up with a Gmail address to use their work email instead.

Here’s how you can do this:

  • Create a new segment for users using a Gmail email address.
  • Add a new email (like “Switch to your work email”).
  • Add an action condition to this email, so that it is only sent to users with a Gmail email address. (To do so, you’ll have to create a segment of people with email addresses containing “gmail.com”.)

adding an action condition


Lesson 8: Debug like a pro

Your campaign should have some drafts queued up by now. Your task is to review a few of the drafts and, if everything looks good, turn your messages live. You do this by changing each messages from “Queue Draft” to “Send automatically” in the workflow.

set to Send Automatically

Below we’ve included three super useful tips to help you debug your campaigns.

1. Always queue up some drafts

Don’t skip this step! Make sure you first set emails to queue drafts, spot check a few emails, and then, only then, set your messages to send automatically.

2. Check for errors

We don’t send broken emails! If there’s a Liquid personalization error in one of your emails, for any reason, we won’t send it!

After you’ve set messages to “Send Automatically”, you can get more information about why an email failed to send by clicking on a row in a campaign’s “Sent” tab or the delivery log:

clicking into delivery log

You can also click into a specific email. In this case, the customer attribute called “name” is missing:

error message on draft

3. Correct failed emails before sending them out

Here’s the amazing part: when you edit the email within the composer, both email drafts and failed messages will update too. You can then release drafts or previously failed emails.

That’s it for now! We’d love to hear about the first campaign you set live and answer any questions.