Scenarios

Introduction

What are scenarios?

Scenarios are a great way to connect with your customers at any point of their journey by using emails, push notifications or web hooks.

From sending a basic email to complex automated flows with multiple targeted segments and A/B testing, scenarios are easily created by drag & dropping various scenario components to a board.

Why should you use them?

By connecting with your customers you can increase their engagement and retention, bring back lost customers or offer highly targeted offers based on the past behavior for every customer.

Even though scenarios are incredibly powerful when combined with analytics, they are an independent module of Exponea. This means you can use them even if you don’t plan on fully integrating your business with Exponea.

How do scenarios work?

In the first step you create a scenario where you set up targeting, conditions and actions as you like.

In the second step you start the scenario and from that point on, Exponea handles the execution of the whole flow you have created (targeting of customers, sending messages, etc.).

In the third step you evaluate the success of your scenario. What was the open or click through rate in sent emails? Which group from the A/B split converted better? Did push notifications affect retention?

Exponea’s scenarios are a complex yet powerful tool. This guide helps you get started with them in no time.

Creating a basic scenario

Create a new scenario

You can create a new scenario by clicking the Create new button in the Scenarios section of Campaigns.

Adding and removing components

After creating a scenario you should see an empty board with the component panel on the left.

Every scenario is a set of components connected into a flow. Learn more about different components in Scenario components.

To add a component you can click on the component you want to add or you can drag & drop it onto the board with your left mouse button. The component should immediately appear on the board.

Scenario with two components added on the board:

To remove a component you should select the component by clicking it with your left mouse button and then hitting the Backspace or Delete button on your keyboard.

Notes:

  • number of components in a scenario is unlimited
  • in every meaningful scenario there should be at least one Trigger component and at least one Action component

Editing components

Every component you add on the board (with the exception of the Now trigger) is editable.

You can edit a component by double-clicking the component with your left mouse button. This will open a component-specific edit window.

Editing the On date trigger:

Editing the Email action:

After you edit the component you can save the changes you have made by clicking the Save button. Note that this only saves the changes for the edited component, not for the whole scenario.

By editing components you can change how the scenario should be executed, create conditions or use different actions for different segments of customers.

Learn more about editing components in Scenario components.

Connecting components into a flow

To create a meaningful scenario, components must be connected into a flow as components by themselves won’t do anything.

You can connect two components by creating a path between the output connector of the first component and the input connector of the second component.

Example of connecting of two components:

Input connector is always on the left side of components, output connectors are always on the right side or on the bottom of components.

Flow is a set of components connected by a path. Customers will pass through this flow starting from a trigger (e.g. On date) to operators (e.g. Condition) and finally into actions (e.g. Email).

Example of a flow with three connected components:

 

Notes:

  • there can be multiple flows in a single scenario
  • all components have the output connector (with Condition having two)
  • all components with the exception of Triggers have the input connector

Saving and executing a scenario

After you add all components and connect them into a flow, you can save the scenario. You can either save it for future editing by clicking Save as draft button or you can save and execute it by clicking Save and execute button.

Executing a scenario means that the scenario will become active and triggers will now start streaming customers into the flow. We call this that triggers go live. As customers pass through this flow along the designated paths, they can enter either Operator components or Action components.

There is a functionality called dry-run, which will be shawn upon launching a scenario. It will show a result of how many actions will be triggered (emails sent) with the current combination of all conditions and policies in the scenario. It allows one last check before making the scenario live.

Let’s have a closer look at how these components are handled during the execution.

How are Triggers handled?

There are four types of Triggers with these live behaviors:

  • Now – will stream all customers to the flow immediately after execution
  • On date – will stream all customers to the flow on the specified date and time
  • Repeat – will stream all customers to the flow repeatedly, based on the specified time condition
  • On event – will stream a single customer to the flow every time the specified event is tracked to this customer. This excludes Exponea generated events, such as merge, campaign or survey.

Learn more about customer streaming in the Triggers section.

How are Actions handled?

When a customer enters an Action component, an Action is executed. There are seven types of Actions:

  • Email – will try sending an email with the specified content (e.g. body of the email, sender, subject) to this customer’s email
  • SMS – will try sending an SMS with the specified content to this customer’s phone number (phone number in international format, e.g. +421XXXYYYYYY for Slovakia)
  • HTML – will save a piece of HTML content that will be shown to the customer upon the visit of a connected webpage (only available in the JavaScript SDK), which is useful in the instance of homepage customization for different customer segments
  • Push Notif. – will try sending a push notification with the specified content to the customer’s phone
  • Webhook – will try sending all customer’s attributes and a custom JSON message to a specified URL (e.g. your server’s address), which is useful in the instance of filling and submitting a lead generation form.
  • FB message – this will set a default response for the customers affected. This will set a default response for the customers when they write to the FB page
  • Retargetting – this will update a FB audience based on the match of email, phone number, FB ID or mobile advertiser

Learn more in the Actions section.

How are Operators handled?

Operators are generally used to change the way customers move through the flow. There are five types of Operators:

  • Condition – functions as a gate, it will stream customers who match the specified condition through the match (green) output connector and customers who don’t match through the don’t match (red) output connector
  • A/B Split – splits customers into two or more distinct groups based on the specified ratios
  • Label – simple text label that you can use to name flows
  • Set attribute – assigns a new value to the specified customer attribute
  • Wait – after entering this component a customer will wait here for the specified amount of time before he is streamed to the flow again

Learn more in the Operators section.

Scenario components

In this section we will talk about various components that you can use to create your own custom scenarios.

The board

The board is the place where you add components and connect them into a flow. Every component can be dragged, re-positioned, edited or deleted.

Example of an empty board:

Triggers

Now trigger

At the moment of the execution the Now trigger will stream all customers (present in your project at the time) into the flow.

After the trigger streamed customers into the flow

After all customers were streamed, this trigger becomes inactive. This is indicated by the trigger text turning gray with the word “(inactive)” being added at the end.

Important: Inactive Now trigger will not stream customers into the flow during repeated executions anymore.

Example of the Now trigger in use

This scenario will try sending all customers an email immediately upon execution.

Usages

Common usage is executing a one-time scenario immediately (e.g. sending a newsletter, setting a customer attribute for a segment).


On date trigger

At the moment of execution this trigger will become live. Live On date trigger will stream all customers into the stream at the specified time and date.

Editing the On date trigger:

You can edit the time and date of the trigger.

After the trigger streamed customers into the flow

After all customers were streamed, this trigger becomes inactive. This is indicated by the trigger text becoming gray with word “(inactive)” being added at the end.

Important: Inactive On date trigger will not stream customers into the flow during repeated executions anymore. It is also not possible to edit an inactive date trigger anymore.

Example of the On date trigger in use

This scenario will try sending all customers an email on the 2nd of June, 2015.

Usages

Common usage is executing a one-time scenario sometime in the future (e.g. sending a newsletter, setting a customer attribute for a segment).


Repeat trigger

At the moment of the execution this trigger will become live. Live Repeat trigger will stream all customers to the flow repeatedly based on the specified time condition.

Editing the Repeat trigger

The trigger is executed repeatedly during the time specified in the time range based on the options you choose inside the edit window of the trigger.

Daily repeat:

This Trigger will stream customers into the flow everyday at 5:12 AM of your local time:

Weekly repeat:

Option Weekly let’s you choose selected days of the week when the trigger should be executed.

This trigger will stream customers into the flow every Tuesday and Friday at 5:12 AM of your local time:

Monthly repeat:

Option Monthly let’s you choose only selected days of the month when the trigger should be executed.

This trigger will stream customers into the flow on the 1st, 16th and on the last day of the month, every month:

Editing the time range:

It is also possible to limit the time range during which the repeat trigger should be active. You can specify the time range after turning on the Time range picker.

Without specifying the time range the Repeat trigger will be active as long as the scenario is active.

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Repeated execution

The same customers can be streamed into the flow repeatedly. You can see how many times the trigger was executed in the View mode.

Unlike Now and On date triggers, Repeat trigger will not go inactive after its execution.

Example of a Repeat trigger in use

This scenario will try sending a reactivation email everyday to customers who match the condition (they were last seen exactly 30 days ago)

Usages

There are many usages for the repeated scenarios such as:

  • reactivation of inactive customers
  • sending periodical updates
  • resetting customer attributes

On event trigger

On event trigger becomes live when the scenario is executed. From this moment on, it will stream a single customer into the flow every time the specified event is tracked to the customer.

Editing the On event trigger

For the trigger to work, you must first specify the event in the edit window. It is possible to select only tracked event attributes.

On event execution

The same customer can be streamed into the flow multiple times.  You can see how many times the trigger was executed in the View mode.

Unlike other triggers, the On event trigger always streams only a single customer into the flow. Similarly to the Repeat trigger, it will also not go inactive after its execution.

Important: Be careful when creating On event scenarios as this trigger will fire every time the specified event is tracked to a customer. You should use such scenarios only with events that happen occasionally (e.g. reading an article, session end, purchase).

Example of the On event trigger in use

This scenario will send the customer who ended his session a push notification after a two hour wait.

Usages

The On event trigger is the most flexible trigger available in Exponea’s scenarios. By using this trigger you are able to create automated scenarios for reactivation or engagement.

For example you can:

  • send customers an email after registration
  • send a push notification after customer ends their session
  • display different content on your webpage depending on which pages customer visited

Actions

As customers pass through the flow, they can enter Action components. There are five available Actions that you can use in your scenarios to connect with your customers.

Email action

How does the Email action work?

The Email action sends emails to your customers. The process of sending an email is completely handled by Exponea, so you only need to take care of preparing the email and setting up a scenario.

Creating a basic Email action

You can set up an Email action by editing it. After you double-click the component, you will see the edit window.

Customizing the sender name and email address

Here you can specify the sender name and email that will be displayed in the email client when a customer receives the email.

By default, these fields are filled with the information of the user who has created the component. Also these fields are required when sending an email campaign.

Customizing the recipient

There are two options when sending an email:

  • Sending an email to the customer who entered the Email action
    This is the default option and you should use it whenever you want to target customers through your campaign.
  • Sending an email to a custom recipient
    Using this option will always send the email to the same specified email. This can be used to get daily reports or when you need to connect your business to other API that supports email integration.

Customizing the subject

Here you can customize the subject of your email campaign. This field is required.

Customizing the content of the email

To edit the content of your email, you can:

  • create a simple email from scratch inside the edit window 
    By clicking the Create HTML template button you will open the Email template editor.
  • use one of the existing email templates
    You can choose an existing email template by picking it from the range of previously saved email templates.

Picking either option will open the Email template editor. You can learn more about the editor in the Campaigns > Email templates section.

You can save the template by clicking the Save as new design button.

You can discard the changes you have made by clicking the Discard the current design button.

Example of editing the content of an email:

Customizing other settings

It is possible to change two additional settings of the Email action:

  • change the campaign policy 
    By default you can not send more than a single email per customer per day. This is a security precaution we have added to avoid sending multiple emails in a short time span to the same customers, as this could damage your sending reputation. Learn more in a separate article at Campaign policies.
  • change the communication group of the campaign
    By default there is only one communication group for all of your email campaigns. You can create more groups to give customers the option to unsubscribe only from the group that doesn’t interest them. Learn more in a separate article about Campaign groups.

Previewing the email

Before you save the edited Email action component, you should preview the Email action you have created. You can open the preview by clicking the Preview button in the footer of the edit window.

The preview should give you an idea of what the email will look like in the email client:

In the preview we generate examples of emails for up to twelve customers (picked randomly from all your customers). You can cycle through them by clicking the Next example and Previous example buttons in the header of the preview.

Sending a test email before executing a scenario

Before you save and execute a scenario with an Email action, we strongly advise that you first try sending a test email for every Email action used.

You can send a test email by clicking the Send test email button and specifying the email address in the modal window.

After you click the Send button, you should receive an email shortly. If you don’t receive an email after more than 10 minutes, please contact us at support@exponea.com.

Process of sending an email

When a customer enters the Email action component in the flow, the component is executed. The execution happens in few steps:

  1. the email is prepared to be sent on our side – the email is enqueued
  2. the email is sent to the customer – depending on the circumstances, the email can be either successfully delivered, bounced or dropped

Exponea tracks this information in “campaign” events. The “campaign” event is tracked to corresponding customer at every point of the processing of an email. Additionally information about the open and click through rates is also tracked.

You can learn more in Generated events.

Please note that email action is executed for a customer only if he has customer attribute “email” set. Learn more about preset customer attributes in Customer attributes.

Example of the Email action in use

This scenario will try sending all customers an email immediately upon execution.

Advanced: Using reply events

It is possible to use Exponea as a sales automation machine. By tracking reply events you can send emails only to the contacts that have not replied yet – and you don’t have to manually check and adjust the scenario every time the email is scheduled to be sent.

You can set up the tracking of replies in the Overview > Settings > Emails.

Example of a scenario that uses reply event:

After sending the first email the customer will enter the Wait component, where they will wait for seven days. After seven days Exponea will check if this customer has replied to the first email. If no reply was tracked, a second email is sent.

SMS

How does the SMS action work?

SMS action sends SMS to your customers. You can send messages to all customers with a mobile phone number.

Creating a basic SMS action

You can set up an SMS action by editing it. After you double-click the component you will see the edit window.

Customizing the sender name or phone number

Here you can specify the sender name or phone number which will be displayed as a sender in the incoming message when customer receives the SMS.

This field is required when sending an SMS campaign.

Customizing the content of a message

Here you can specify the content (body) of the message. Number of characters is currently not limited, however if the SMS is longer than 160 characters, it will be split into multiple SMS. This field is required when sending an SMS campaign.

Customizing other settings

It is possible to change two additional settings of the SMS action:

  • change the campaign policy 
    By default you can not send more than a single SMS per customer per day. This is a security precaution we have added to avoid sending multiple SMS messages in a short time span to the same customers, as this could damage your sending reputation. Learn more in a separate article at Campaign policies.
  • change the communication group of the campaign
    By default there is only one communication group for all of your SMS campaigns. You can create more groups to give customers the option to unsubscribe only from the group that doesn’t interest them. Learn more in a separate article at Campaign groups.
Previewing the SMS

Before you save the edited SMS action component, you should preview the message you have created. You can open preview by clicking the Preview button in the footer of the edit window.

The preview should give you an idea of what the SMS will look like:

In the preview we generate examples of messages for up to twelve customers (picked randomly from all your customers) in which you can cycle by clicking the Next example and Previous example in the header of the preview.

Process of sending an SMS

When a customer enters the SMS action component in the flow, the component is executed. The execution is simple. If a customer has attribute “phone” set, Exponea will try delivering the SMS to this phone number.

Delivery can be either successful or unsuccessful. Exponea tracks this information in “campaign” events.

You can learn more in Events generated by campaigns.

Events generated by campaigns

During and after the execution of certain components Exponea generates “campaign” events that you can analyze to understand the performance of your scenario.