Now that you’ve had an overview of how automations work, I’ll give you the tour of the different element types and the basic flow of an automation. Once you know how automations are supposed to flow and know the tools you’ve got in your toolbelt, you’ll be able to build automations that fit your business’s needs. Let’s take a look around.
Let’s start in this section, where you can create a new automation. When you click the ‘new automation’ button, you’ll find yourself in what we call the automation marketplace. These are predesigned maps, created by us at Ontraport or by other users of the platform, which can give you a great starting point for your automations. You can look through these to find one that looks like what you’re trying to achieve. Or click ‘start from scratch’ to begin with a blank slate.
When you first create an automation, you’ll see the default trigger in the center. This is where contacts start on the map if they’re added from forms, other automations or manually by a user. Having the default trigger ensures that there are no holes in your system and that any contact that’s added to your automation will be accounted for.
Here is where you can add a new trigger to pull new contacts into your automation when something happens. For example, many automations begin with a contact filling out some kind of form, like a new lead form or an order form. In those cases, you could use a form-fill-out trigger -- like this.
Click on this grey plus sign to add a trigger. From there you can add the criteria you want to use for contacts to be added to this automation going forward. Triggers have a number of important settings, but we’ll cover all that in detail in the next video.
Next, let’s explore elements.. Once someone does whatever you’ve set up in your trigger, then they’ll be added there and start moving down your map immediately. So, to set up what happens next… you’ll click and answer the simple question below: “What happens next?”
You’ll then work your way through this process: “this happens, then this happens, sometimes that happens…” So for example, people fill out your form. Then they receive an email asking to confirm their newsletter sign-up. Some of them confirm it immediately, and others forget -- so you’ll send those people a reminder email. You get the picture.
You have a lot of element types to choose from here, including actions like sending emails or SMS messages, creating tasks for your team, charging credit cards, giving or removing access to members’ areas, and lots more. This is where the real meat of your automation is, and it is where Ontraport starts doing work for you on autopilot.
Now we’ll take a look at goals, here. Goals are what you want people to accomplish once the automation has begun. And goals move your contacts on the map when a specific event happens.
For example, over a 30 day period you sent a series of follow up emails reminding your prospect that now would be a good time to buy. Once they actually do buy, you don’t want to keep sending those reminders… so adding a goal to the end of your follow-up series will take care of that.
When the prospect buys (that’s the goal!) Ontraport notices and can jump your contact from wherever they were in the follow-up process down to the goal. So, it skips all the now-unnecessary emails and moves on to a welcome or fulfillment series. We’ll learn lots more about all this in the video on goals.
Next, I’ll show you how to move things around in this automation map. You can see here that it’s easy to drag and drop an element on your map by clicking the arrows icon and dragging it into a new position. This allows you to move things around without having to start all over. You can insert new steps between existing steps by clicking on the grey +. You can also create copies of single elements, or even entire flows, by dragging and dropping an element into a blank space or onto the + between elements. This allows you to easily copy frequently used flows.
If you click on an element, you'll see a new menu appear on the left. This is the element’s settings, which will change depending upon what type of element you’ve selected.
Over here, you’ll find several other features. Here’s a history of revisions to your automation. This is a checklist of items you’ll need to complete before you publish. Here’s a tool to add notes to your map (which is a handy way to remind yourself or your team what’s happening in a complex automation). And this is a tool for sharing your automation with other Ontraport users.
In this section of the app, you can save a draft of your automation at any time. This saves your progress without publishing your automation until you’re ready. Once it’s complete, you can click publish to push it out into the world. Once published, triggers and goal settings will start to add contacts to your automation automatically.
And that wraps up the tour! Now that you understand how these elements can be added and moved around in your automation and how they fit together, we can dig into the details of each element type and how to customize them for your own automations.