Guide to automation

Article author
Miguel Panayotty
  • Updated

Automated campaigns allow you to immediately communicate with your customers in response to any Tessitura transaction. Use the power of Tessitura List Manager lists to define who should (and shouldn’t) receive your campaigns. Then set up WordFly to automatically send personalized welcome emails, performance reminders, membership confirmations, post-purchase emails, news alerts, and more.


Examples of automations

We’ve put together a few examples of automated campaigns. Visit these articles to learn more.


Set up a triggered campaign automation

In WordFly you will create a new triggered campaign. You’ll add your campaign settings, assign an email design, and select your list settings. On the last step of the process, you’ll tell WordFly how often and how many times to send to a subscriber.


1. Go to Email > Create a campaign


2. Under Settings, from the type dropdown, select Triggered


3. On the Email step, select the email design you would like to use or create a new one


4. On the Recipients step, assign the list you will be using to the campaign


When assigning your List Manager list:

  • You won’t be importing any subscribers yet.
    Automated campaigns are designed to import subscribers at the time of sending. In this step you’ll only be assigning the list that WordFly will use each time the campaign is scheduled to send.
  • The imported number will initially be 0 subscribers.
    This is expected since the campaign hasn’t imported any addresses yet.
  • Only List Manager lists marked with the TMS checkbox in Tessitura can be used.
    Select the “Dynamic” checkbox for the List Manager list for the list to update/generate with the latest subscribers at the time WordFly imports the list from Tessitura.
  • Under Select promotion attributes, select an appeal, media, and source group.
    They are required for email response data to update in Tessitura.
  • Map your fields as needed for personalization.
  • If you need to re-assign your list, select Change list settings.



5. Test your automated campaign


Under the Testing tab, use Subscriber Preview to test a subset of your subscribers and to make sure you have all the correct personalized data pulling into the email.


6. On the Activate step, schedule your automated campaign for sending


How often should it run?
Mailing frequency
One time only; Once per month; Weekly; Daily; Hourly
Start date and time When should the campaign start sending?
End date and time When should the campaign stop sending?
Select a date up to one year in the future
Send to a subscriber How often should the subscriber receive the email?
One time only; Every time they meet the criteria; No more than once per week; No more than once per month.
Email format Automatically selected based on which versions are available: HTML, Text or Multipart-MIME


Learn more about automated scheduling options.


7. Select Activate to schedule your automated campaign


Once you click the Activate button, your automated campaign will be scheduled to send. The campaign will only send to subscribers that meet the list criteria at the time of sending. Once the campaign sends, it will be rescheduled to send again at the same time at the frequency you selected.



Testing automated lists

You can test your automated campaign lists to see if your list criteria in Tessitura is pulling the right subscribers. These pointers should help you iron out any issues before activating the automated campaign.

  • In WordFly, go to the automated campaign’s Testing tab and select Subscriber Preview. You’ll be able to see any personalization for subscribers that meet the criteria.
  • If you’re primarily concerned with the list that gets generated, then you can test your dynamic List Manager list in Test Tessitura to confirm that the correct subscribers are imported into the list. Run the list and output set in Tessitura using the List Manager > Results option or under Reports > Run List and Output set report. Check that the correct subscribers and data are returning.


Testing personalization

Before you start testing, make sure you have an email and subscriber list assigned to the campaign.


1. Open your automated campaign and click on the Testing tab


2. Click on Subscriber Preview


3. Click Import Subscribers...


4. Select Import for Preview


  • Your list and output set will be run in Tessitura but promotion records won’t be created.
  • The list is not imported. The data returned is only used for on-screen previewing. No subscribers will be imported.
  • The preview displays up to 250 subscribers from the list. Even after the list starts sending, the same first subscribers will appear here. Use the search bar to find other subscribers that meet the list criteria. Tip: Search for @ to pull back all subscribers that meet the list criteria.
  • The data is static once imported for preview. To pull updated data—for example, if your output set is updated or you re-map your list data fields—you must re-import for preview to pull the new data.




If your campaign didn’t send to any subscribers, there are a few things you can check. 

  • Check the Recipients tab to view the Subscriber Import Issues > Data Errors
    • Are there any data errors that point to integration, list, or data issues?

  • Check the List Manager list assigned to the campaign
    • Was the list generated in Tessitura? Does it contain any subscribers? If no subscribers met the criteria or the list experienced a problem in Tessitura, the automated campaign remains scheduled to send.
    • Check the list properties in Tessitura. Are both TMS and Dynamic checked? Is the correct control group selected?

  • Check the output set assigned to the campaign
    • The output set must return valid data (email and any other data needed for personalization) in order for the list to return subscriber data. If the output set doesn’t have any fields defined, the automated campaign will still run every day. But when it runs the list in Tessitura, the import will fail.
    • Was the output set duplicated in Tessitura? Duplicated output sets may need criteria added again or re-defined.
    • Check the output set properties in Tessitura. Is TMS checked? Is the correct control group selected?



Stop/Pause an automated campaign


1. Go to your automated campaign and click on the Activation tab


2. Scroll down to the end of the page and click Pause/Edit


When the automated campaign is paused:

  • The campaign will not send.
  • You can click the Recipients tab and re-assign your list by selecting Change list settings.
  • You can click the Email tab and assign a new email design by clicking Select a different email.
  • You can click the Settings tab and update the subject line and other options for the automated campaign.
  • To reactivate the automated campaign go back to the Activate tab. Update your Start Date and Time settings, click I’m Done. then click Activate to resume sending.





Why are there 0 subscribers after assigning my dynamic List Manager list?

It is expected to have 0 subscribers when you initially assign your list to your automated campaign. This step is a little different from a standard campaign in that you won’t be importing any subscribers yet. Automated campaigns are designed to import subscribers at the time of sending.


Can I update the list assigned to my campaign?

Yes. You can go to the Recipients tab of the campaign to update the list assigned anytime, even when the campaign is running (not paused). Go to the Recipients tab and select Change list settings, then reassign your list. You must select Save/Continue after making the list assignment updates.


Can I update my email design when the automated campaign is running?

Yes. Every time the automated campaign sends, it will send the latest version of the email design. This allows you to make adjustments to your email while the campaign is activated. To edit the email for an active campaign, go to Email > Emails.


How can I check the list import and sending history when the automated campaign is running?

  • Activation tab > Sending history: View sending history
  • Activation tab > Sent: See the next scheduled deployment
  • Recipients > List history: Review any import history


Are sources generated with each list import?

Yes. Every time WordFly fetches the list, every subscriber who meets the list criteria will receive a promotion and source for the list import. If you selected “Only once” in WordFly and a subscriber met the list criteria every time the campaign ran, WordFly would only send the campaign to them once, but they would have a source code for every time the campaign runs. You may consider suppressing subscribers with previous promotions if those subscribers won't be imported again. This is typical for a welcome email series.


How long should an automated campaign run before ending it?

For long-running automated campaigns such as performance reminders and welcome emails, we recommend starting a new campaign each year. Most organizations us either fiscal year or production season as start/end dates. This ensures your campaign runs efficiently. It also gives you the opportunity to review data year-over-year as automated campaign reporting is cumulative as one campaign.