Hadley Clark Childs, Senior Customer Success Manager at Autopilot

Jes Kirkwood, Content and Community Marketing Manager at Autopilot

Lesson 7: Get To Know The Canvas

Knowing how to navigate Autopilot’s canvas and understanding our terminology are the first two steps toward remarkable journey marketing.

Journey is the term Autopilot uses to describe the path a contact flows through. Journeys replace what other email and/or marketing automation tools call marketing campaigns, workflows, or programs, but are designed to offer much more freedom and flexibility. Inspired by drawing on a whiteboard, journeys are built by freely dragging, dropping, and connecting shapes on a visual canvas.

In this lesson, you’ll learn how to:

Autopilot's canvas
A high-level overview of Autopilot's canvas

Navigate the canvas

When you create a new journey, you’re dropped onto a blank canvas, where you build the workflow your contacts will progress through.

Autopilot canvas
Navigate to the journeys tab, then create a new journey by clicking on the + in the bottom right-hand corner

The canvas is where the magic happens. It’s your command center for visually designing and executing individual customer journeys.

Use triggers, actions, and conditions

Journeys are comprised of triggers, actions, and conditions, which take the form of different shapes on the canvas. As you can see below, triggers are represented by circles, actions are represented by squares, and conditions are represented by octagons.

Triggers, actions, and conditions are represented by circles, squares, and octagons
Autopilot shapes

Triggers start journeys. They define what needs to happen in order for a contact to enter into a journey. Each journey can have multiple triggers or entry points. Here’s a sample of the triggers you can use:

Autopilot trigger shapes
Common trigger shapes in Autopilot

Actions do things, like send an email or update a field. Here’s a sample of the actions you can use:

Autopilot action shapes
Common action shapes in Autopilot

Conditions check whether contacts meet specific criteria. By allowing you to check contact and activity data, conditions personalize the path contacts follow. Here are the condition checks you can use to tailor your journey:

Autopilot condition check shapes
Common condition check shapes in Autopilot

Your toolbar of shapes can be found on the right-hand side of your canvas. Learn more about each individual shape here.

Find the shape toolbar on the right-hand side of the canvas
Autopilot shapes toolbar

Build your journey

You can create both operational journeys that perform internal actions (like notifying teammates or routing leads to Salesforce) and customer-facing journeys that engage contacts via email, in-app and on-site messaging, SMS, and direct mail.

For example, the journey below is designed to send a follow-up email to contacts who have submitted a form, then send a reminder email if they haven’t opened the email within a certain period of time.

A sample customer-facing journey, in which contacts who submit a form are sent a follow-up email and reminder
autopilot sample journey

To create journeys, simply drag, drop, and connect shapes on the canvas. In addition to freely moving each individual shape, you can select and move groups of shapes. Once selected, drag and drop them elsewhere on the canvas or delete the entire group.

autopilot shapes group select
Select and move groups of shapes on the canvas

Each shape must be configured before publishing the journey. You can either configure shapes as you build the journey or structure the entire journey before configuring each shape—it’s up to you!

If you see a yellow icon in the upper-right corner of a shape, it still needs to be configured. Click on the shape to open the configuration panel:

Click the shape to open the configuration panel
autopilot shape configuration

Not sure where to start? Choose a best practice journey template from our guide book to kickstart your marketing efforts in seconds.

Publish your journey

Once your journey is fully configured, it’s time to publish your journey. Only after a journey is live will contacts enter the journey and flow through the path you’ve created.

Once you’re ready, click “Publish Journey” in the top right-hand corner of the canvas.

Publish your journey
autopilot publish journey

Before you hit publish, you can also click “Request a Review” to have a member of our success team review your journey and provide personalized feedback.

Request review for feedback before publishing
autopilot request journey review

Understand live view

After publishing your journey, the live view tab becomes available.

live view tab
The live view tab is in the top-right corner of the canvas

Switch to live view to see how many contacts are progressing through your journey in real time. There are two numbers on each shape:

Switch to live view to see how many contacts are progressing through your journey in real time
autopilot live view

The number on the left represents the number of contacts who have entered the shape.

The number on the right represents contacts who remain in the shape. These contacts either didn’t qualify to continue (e.g., in the case of a condition), are currently processing (e.g., in the case of a delay), or have reached the final step of the journey.

Within live view, you can also access performance reports for individual emails and Headsup messages. To view a report, click on the icon in upper right-hand corner of the email or Headsup shape.

How to access reports from within live view
autopilot message reporting

Keep in mind: Performance reports become available 15 minutes after the message has been sent.

Use the guide book

Autopilot’s best practice guide book makes it easy for you to quickly build remarkable journeys. Each guide is a pre-configured journey template with notes on how to get started.

To access the guide book, navigate to the journeys tab, which is located on the top left-hand side of the page, then click “Browse Guide Book” in the bottom right-hand corner:

autopilot guide book
Where you'll find our guide book

You can also access the guide book from the upper left-hand corner of the canvas:

autopilot guide book
How to access the guide book

From there, you can choose from a collection of guides.

Create new guides

Eventually, you may want to create guides of your own. Here are a few reasons why user create their own guides:

  • To implement their own best practices
  • To regularly use the same journey template
  • To share their journey templates across multiple instances of accounts

To create your own guide, click “Save as Guide” in the upper left-hand corner of the canvas, write a brief description, and select your sharing preferences.

save journey guide book
How to save a journey as a guide

Congratulations! Your guide can now be used to create new journeys.

Stop a journey

To keep things clean and organized, it’s important to actively manage your journeys. For this reason, we recommend stopping the following journeys:

  • journeys that have been replaced by updated versions
  • journeys with messages that are no longer relevant
  • journeys created to send a one-time email blast
  • journeys in which all contacts have reached the end

Doing so will help you keep tabs on journeys that are active, in process, or finished.

Sort journeys by those currently engaging contacts

Stopping a journey both prevents new contacts from being added to the journey and stops existing contacts from continuing to progress through the journey.

Once a journey has been stopped it cannot be restarted. Having said that, you can duplicate journeys to reuse the framework you built.

Duplicating a journey is preferable to creating a guide when you only plan to do so once. In other words, if you send a monthly newsletter and need to duplicate the journey every time, you’re better off creating a guide.

To stop a journey, access the live view tab. Here, you’ll see the option to stop the journey in the upper right-hand corner:

Stop a journey from the upper right-hand corner

After clicking “Stop Journey”, you’ll be asked to confirm that you’d like to stop the journey. Remember: This is permanent and cannot be undone, so don’t proceed unless you’re certain.

If you have any hanging questions about building journeys on the canvas, watch our Autopilot Training 101 webinar

Next Lesson

Lesson 8: Organize Your Journeys

Put on your productivity hat. It’s time to start organizing your expanding collection of customer journeys. Multiple people (or even teams) can create automated journeys in Autopilot, yet everyone has ...

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