Getting Started with Workflows

Workflows allow you to automate your marketing strategies. From a simple automated email to your most complex multi-channel automations. If you can dream it, Workflows can bring it to life. But where do you start? 

In this guide, we’ll walk you through what goes into a Workflow, give you all of the tips and tricks you need to successfully use them, and dive into an example of a simple welcome series Workflow with a coupon.

Before You Get Started

Here are a few things to think about before you get started:

  • Determine your objective. The first step to creating an effective Workflow is to think about your overall Goal. Defining a clear Goal helps you drive communication toward that Goal, and makes creating the rest of your Workflow a whole lot easier.
  • Think through your strategy. Where does the flow start? When does it end? What steps happen in between? What’s the timeline? 

Answering these questions at the onset of the process provides clear direction and strategy for the Workflow. This prevents your Workflow from becoming too broad or too narrow in its focus. Once you’ve determined these things, it’s time to bring it life in Drip. 

Workflow Components

Workflows are made up of a series of components that automate your marketing strategies. 

  • Triggers provide a way to enter a Workflow. 
  • Goals are what you want people to achieve in a Workflow.  
  • Actions are the steps required for people to reach your Goal. 
  • Decisions split a path into two branches “Yes” or “No.” 
  • Delays hold people at a certain step in a Workflow. 
  • Exits remove people from a Workflow.   


Add a Trigger.

Every Workflow starts with a Trigger, which is an action that defines how people enter the Workflow. A Trigger can be anything from marketing engagement - which email someone opened - to orders made, pages browsed, actions taken in a third-party integration, and more

Workflow Triggers are forward-facing. They only apply to people who perform the action defined after the Workflow is activated. 

After someone triggers a Workflow they will move downwards from there. People can only move down in a Workflow.  

Add a Trigger by clicking Define your trigger… and select the event that should enter people into the Workflow. Click Update Trigger


Add a Goal.

Goals are what you want people to achieve in your Workflow. For example, if you want people to make a purchase, your Workflow Goal would be “Placed an order” or “Order created.” 

Goals typically belong at the end of a Workflow because all of the steps between the Trigger and the Goal drive people towards the end Goal. When somebody who’s active in a Workflow achieves the Goal, they are pulled down to that point in the Workflow. This prevents people from going through steps needed to achieve the Goal after they’ve already achieved it. For example, if your Goal is for people to make a purchase you don’t want to send them an email with a coupon in it after the fact. That won’t make your customers feel good about your brand! 

Add a Goal by clicking on the + icon > Goal. Select the event that should trigger the Goal and click Update Trigger.


Action steps.

Actions are how you drive people in a Workflow towards your Goal. Actions can be anything from communication - sending an email or adding to a Facebook Custom Audience - to tracking customer data - applying tags and custom fields, or recording events. For example, if you want to encourage people to make their first purchase the Actions might be send a one-off email with a coupon in it and add to a Facebook Custom Audience to create a multi-channel experience. 

Add an action by clicking + > Action. Select the Action you want to add and click Update Action. See the full list of Actions in our User Manual

Learn how to Connect Drip to Facebook Custom Audiences in our guide. 


Add a Decision.

Decisions split a path into two branches “Yes” or “No.” Decisions allow you to tailor your communication and perform different Actions on people based on specific criteria.  

For example, you can evaluate which products someone bought, or how many purchases they’ve made at a certain point in a Workflow and tailor your communication accordingly. 

To add a Decision, click + > Decision. Use the filter to select the criteria you want to evaluate, and click Update Decision


Add a Delay step.

Delays allow you to hold people at a specific point in a Workflow for a certain amount of time (minutes, hours, or days). This allows you to pace your communication so you don’t overwhelm people with too many messages at once (read: it’s all about sending the right message, at the right time). 

Add a Delay by clicking + > Delay. Enter the amount of time you want people to wait and click Update Delay. 

Avoid changing the length of a Delay step after a Workflow activated because people go through a Delay step as it was when they entered the Workflow.


Add an Exit step.

Every Workflow ends with an Exit, which removes people from the Workflow. You can add Exit steps at other points in a Workflow by clicking the + icon > Exit

Example Workflow


In this example welcome series Workflow, you’ll use a Trigger, Action steps, a Goal, and a Delay step to put some of these Workflow components in context.

You want people to enter the Workflow after they submit a form on your website. Click on Define your trigger… and select “Submitted a form” from the drop-down menu. Select the form you want to use, and click Update Trigger

To drive people to make their first purchase, you'll offer a 10% off coupon to new customers. Click the + icon to add a Goal for an order to be created. Shopify is the ecommerce provider, so select Shopify > Order created. If Shopify is not your ecomm provider, select your ecomm provider and the corresponding order/ purchase event. 

With the entry Trigger and Goal set, you’re ready to fill in the steps you need to drive people towards your Goal. 

Again, you want to send an email containing a 10% off coupon to anyone who submits this form. To achieve this, add an Action to send a one-off email right after the entry Trigger. Once you’ve set up your email and coupon, click Update Action

You also want to retarget people using Facebook ads after they submit your form for a true multi-channel experience, so you’re going to add another action to add them to a Custom Audience. Underneath the action to send a one-off email, click the + icon and select Action > Facebook > Add to custom audience. Select your Facebook account, which audience you want to add them to, and click Update Action.   

You don’t want to overwhelm your new friends with too many messages at once. Luckily, you can add a Delay step to prevent this from happening. 

In this Workflow, you want to wait 2 days before sending a second email showcasing your store’s top-selling products. Add this Delay underneath the Action to add a person to a Facebook Custom Audience by clicking the + icon and selecting Delay. Enter 2 days and click Update Delay

Follow the same steps to add another Action to send a one-off email with your store’s top-selling products followed by a Delay of 2 days. 

Add an Exit node right under the second Delay step to push people out who don’t complete the Goal of this Workflow. Remember the Goal you added earlier? When someone completes the Goal of the Workflow, they’ll automatically be removed from any subsequent steps above it and be pulled down to the Goal, so they don’t receive any messaging that doesn’t apply to them anymore. 

Two Exit steps.

You have one Exit (the first one underneath the second Delay step) for people who don’t achieve the Goal. Then you have another Exit (the second one underneath the Goal step) for people who do achieve the Goal. 


Let’s start from the top and do a quick recap of what you just made. Customers will enter this Workflow by submitting a form on your website. Then, this Workflow will automatically send them a welcome email with a 10% discount and start retargeting them on Facebook. After 2 days, they’ll receive another email that introduces them to your top-selling products and tells them a little bit more about your brand. Lastly, people exit the Workflow when they either place an order, and achieve the Goal, or when they complete all of the steps in the Workflow without achieving the Workflow Goal.


Track Results

Workflow Dashboard.

You’ve built your Workflow, now you’re ready to activate it and see the fruits of your labor. The Workflow Dashboard shows you crucial revenue metrics such as revenue earned, average order value, the number of orders attributed, and revenue per person. You can also view important email metrics such as the number of emails sent, opened, and clicked. Check the Dashboard after your Workflow has been running for a few weeks to see how you’re doing. 

Turn on Workflow Analytics to see how many people have completed each step in your Workflow in real-time. 


Here are the key takeaways when getting started with Workflows: 

  • Define a clear goal. Then, determine how you will drive people towards that goal in a Workflow using Actions, Delays, Goals, and other Workflow components
  • Workflow Goals pull people down to that point to ensure people don’t receive any communication that’s not relevant to them anymore. 
  • People only flow down a workflow.
  • Triggers are forward-facing. 
  • Someone can't enter a Workflow if they're already in it.
  • Turn on Workflow analytics to monitor progress in real-time.
  • Look at the Dashboard to see email metrics + revenue analytics.