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Ops vs Comms Automations – a simple approach that can save you huge headaches

Ops vs Comms Automations – a simple approach that can save you huge headaches

When it comes to setting up Automations in ActiveCampaign I like to classify them into 2 categories… I call these categories ‘Operations’ and ‘Communications’ or ‘Ops’ and ‘Comms’ for short.
Simply put an Ops Automation does not send any type of communication to a contact, while a Comms Automation does send a communication to a contact. An Ops automation will usually have some kind of contact management flow, either tagging, updating or segmenting a contact, without any messages being sent to that contact. A comms automation will generally send an Email, an SMS or some other type of message/communication via one of the many channels that Active Campaign offers.

So, why do this? Why classify automations into these two groups?

  1. I can label them and easily find them later using the filter by label search feature.
  2. It’s best practice to build modular automations.
  3. I can review the Comms automations and set a specific wait condition after the trigger, to ensure all my Ops automations run first.

You may be scratching your head at that last point.. ‘huh, wait, what… what does that even mean…why?’

The more you work with ActiveCampaign (or any Automation tool for that matter) the more this will make sense… you see, if you have multiple automations all active and running it is likely that you will have a few that are triggering at the same time, e.g ‘subscribes to list’, and ‘makes a purchase’ are 2 triggers that could fire at the same time – when a new contact orders for the first time they will be subscribed to a list and they will have an order in their contact record.

If you were to tag a customer based on product they purchased in one automation (an ops automation), AND use an if/else condition in a welcome email, based on that tag existing, in another automation (a comms automation), you need to make sure that the ops automation has run and complete before the comms automation runs. I’ll elaborate…With software we’re talking about a world where things happen in milliseconds, lines of code are processing complex programming and in the blink of an eye hundreds, if not thousands, of commands have run, and if your contact was Tagged even 1 millisecond after the welcome email was sent – then you’ve probably sent that customer a communication with inaccurate or even incorrect information.

In an ideal world ActiveCampaign would simply know to tag first and send second, but it’s software not a human… it takes a human to put that kind of thinking in place… and all it takes is placing a 5 minute wait period at the very beginning of any Comms automation – to allow the Ops automations to do their job and make sure the contacts are managed/tagged/segmented/updated first and messages are sent second.

If you take this approach and label each of your automations as either Ops or Comms, you can easily review all your Comms automations and make sure they have a 5 minute wait period to ensure all your Ops automations run and complete prior to any Comms automations … allowing those Comms automation to use effective and accurate conditions as part of their flow.

All Onesend customers go through our 45 day success plan as part of their ActiveCampaign account setup and implementation, where we go in-depth into Automation best practice. We also provide over 20 preconfigured automation recipes to fast track their journey into automation land!

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