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HomeOntraport for marketingAutomations > Testing automations
Home > Automations  >  Testing automations
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Testing automations
Find out how to test your automations to catch any errors before publishing to your contacts.
You'll learn:
  • How to avoid common hiccups like wrong emails, bad flow, inconsistency or holes in your system 
  • The way to test your automation quickly, even if it involves long wait times 
  • How to use a test contact when testing an automation 
  • How to see if your contacts can achieve your desired goal successfully 
  • Questions to ask yourself as you double-check your automation
Instructor
Sam Flegal
Testing automations
Find out how to test your automations to catch any errors before publishing to your contacts.
You'll learn:
  • How to avoid common hiccups like wrong emails, bad flow, inconsistency or holes in your system 
  • The way to test your automation quickly, even if it involves long wait times 
  • How to use a test contact when testing an automation 
  • How to see if your contacts can achieve your desired goal successfully 
  • Questions to ask yourself as you double-check your automation
Course Instructor
Sam Flegal
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Transcript
You’ve learned about all the various elements and functionality of automations. Now I’ll cover how and why you should always test your automations before publishing them to your contacts.

The automation builder is a powerful tool and has a lot of moving pieces. Any time there are a lot of variables, there’s a chance you missed something in your design or build.

Testing allows you to catch errors before you embarrass yourself in front of leads and clients.  By testing, you’ll avoid things like wrong emails, bad flow, inconsistent outcomes, and black holes missing a system to deal with certain contacts or outcomes.

These are the steps you’ll take to test your automations:

  1. Copy you automation
  2. Edit or delete Wait elements
  3. Create a test contact
  4. Trigger the automation
  5. Review the steps
  6. Achieve the goal(s), and
  7. Review again

Ok, so first you need to set up the environment for testing our automation. Testing an automation might seem tricky at first since often automations depend on contacts’ actions and large windows of time. What I mean is this: let’s say you have a bi-monthly newsletter scheduled for the rest of the year. You don’t want to take a year testing it, obviously. But there are ways to test things without having to wait the full length of time that your campaign will run! 

The first thing to do is to copy your automation, because we’re going to make some changes to it in order to test it. And it’s too easy to forget to change things back just right and end up with errors despite your good test.

So, check the box next to your automation, and click copy. Easy.

Ok, so now let’s edit or delete your Wait elements. You can open up your waits and edit them down to just minutes, rather than hours or days. For example, you can take a one-day wait and change it to a 15 minute wait or, you can just go ahead and delete it! 

Moving on to Step 3: let’s Create a test contact.
First, you’ll want to make yourself a contact in your system. There are many ways to do this, and how you should do it depends on the automation that you’re testing. If you’re testing a new lead automation where a contact is filling out a form for the first time, simply fill out the form yourself.

If you’re testing an automation for existing contacts, creating yourself as a contact manually might make more sense. Just click +NEw Contact and fill out the basics.

Alright, we’re on Step 4: Trigger the automation.
Do this by accomplishing whatever your initial trigger is -- if it’s a form fill out, fill out the form. If it’s a page visit, visit the page. If it’s a purchase, log a purchase within your contact record. Or, better yet, just buy your product for real and then refund yourself! 

After you’ve triggered the automation, you can go into performance mode, set your time window to today, and you should see yourself in the automation data! 

Next, step 5: Review the steps. We don’t mean the steps we just went over for this video… we mean let’s review each step in your automation. Ask yourself: Did you get the emails you’re supposed to get? Did the task to your sales rep fire? Did your webhook run? Check all your actions.

Ok, now: Step 6: Achieve the goal(s). If you have more than one goal, you may need to test the automation many times. Or you can just trigger each goal one after the other if your goal settings allow. 

This might include: 
Purchasing the product -- you can log a purchase manually without actually whipping out a credit card.
Completing the task with a particular outcome.
Visiting a page -- remember that some actions, like page visits, take up to 15 minutes to log to the contact record, and only then will the goal trigger be activated.
Filling out a form.
Or changing a field value.

With whatever it is your automation is trying to accomplish, ask yourself: 
Did the subsequent actions happen? And did they happen in the right order?

Finally, we’re at step 7: Review again.
I know, I know… it’s a lot of double-checking. 

Let’s go back and check performance mode again — did your contact get moved to the right place? Does the contact exist elsewhere on the map simultaneously because of an “add here again” type situation? Is that intended?

Your next step would be to make tweaks in your original automation based on what you found, and then you should be ready to publish! 
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