Hadley Clark Childs, Senior Customer Success Manager at Autopilot

Jes Kirkwood, Content and Community Marketing Manager at Autopilot

Lesson 2: Transition from Old to New Journeys

You’ve published your journey, contacts are making their way through, and you’re seeing success… now what?

As my colleague once said, “The journey never ends”. Journeys are meant to be tweaked, optimized, and evolved to maximize their results. This lesson covers the best way to seamlessly transition from an existing journey to a new and improved journey. We’ll also cover which metrics to watch and when it’s time to start working on your next version.

In this lesson, you’ll learn how to:

How to make the transition from old to new journeys
How to make the transition from old to new marketing journeys

Evaluate the success of existing journeys

Before you can measure the success of your journey, first you need to know what your definition for success is. Are you looking to…

  • Build more brand awareness?
  • Generate qualified leads for your sales team?
  • Convert free trialists into paying customers?

A defined goal is an important indicator of how existing journeys are performing. In order to benchmark what you’re looking to improve, you need an understanding of what success means today.

Below are some example metrics to watch depending on your goal:

sample KPIs email marketing automation
Sample KPIs

Keep these goals in mind as you plan and implement your journeys. They’ll help guide your decisions as you structure your journeys, craft your messaging, and develop your content. Plus, they’ll help you brainstorm ways to improve your journeys down the road.

The original version of your journey will become your benchmark for success and provide a starting point for what you’re looking to achieve.

In order to benchmark what you’re looking to improve, you need an understanding of what success means today

Define improvements to be made

Once you’ve got a sense of how a journey is performing against your goal, you can create an updated version to improve upon these initial results.

In the following example, we demonstrate how a simple nurture journey can be transformed into a more advanced journey.

Sending emails regularly using a simple nurture journey is a great place to kickstart your customer journey marketing. It allows you to stay top of mind without layering in more advanced behavioral triggers or personalization.

In this initial journey, all contacts receive the same email after a predetermined amount of time. How the user is engaging with your content and the actions they take based on the email don’t come into play.

sample simple lead nurture journey
Example of a simplified nurture journey

Launching this basic journey allows you to build initial performance benchmarks. Once you’ve got these numbers, you can compare them against the impact of a more personalized marketing experience—one that incorporates better contact segmentation and more targeted messaging.

By understanding where the user is within their customer journey and their historical engagement with your brand, you can provide contacts with a relevant customer experience based on their unique context. In other words, you’ll be able to send the right message, to the right person, at the right time.

Once you’ve got a sense of how a journey is performing against your goal, you can create an updated version to improve upon these initial results

At this stage, determine what key actions are crucial to your success: Is it checking whether an action was taken within your platform or on a page they visited on your website? Whether they’ve submitted a key form or signed up for a free trial? Defining what small steps they need to take to ultimately meet the end goal you outlined will help you pinpoint what metrics you should be prioritizing within the journey.

One easy way to build on the simple nurture journey is to use a check email status condition to discover whether a user has clicked the email, then send them slightly different content based on their level of engagement.

nurture journey optimizations
Update the simplified nurture journey with email activity checks

Not only can you better customize the content you send to these contacts, but you can more frequently connect with those that are engaging. Because they’ve shown interest in what you have to say, you can accelerate the messages they receive to drive them to convert faster than those who aren’t opening or engaging with your emails.

More interested in product engagement? Checking a user’s actions within your platform can help you effectively onboard new trialists or customers. Rather than sending the same content regardless of activity, push users toward taking the actions that’ll make them successful. In your messaging, be sure to communicate the value of the functionality they aren’t currently taking advantage of.

educate users product value journey
Educate user’s on the value of the features within your platform

Once you’ve defined the optimizations you want to make, you can move onto implementing these changes within Autopilot.

Seamlessly transition to new journeys

At this point, you’ve analyzed your results and determined the changes you want to make. Now it’s time to implement them! You can go about making these changes in one of two ways:

  • Altering the journey on the existing canvas
  • Starting on a fresh canvas

The optimizations you wish to make will define which method is best. If you’re making small optimizations, such as using our AB split action to test which email subject line performs better, you can make these changes within the existing journey. Note that these changes will affect any new contacts that progress through the journey. Learn more about modifying your existing journeys here.

ab split action autopilot
Try optimizing your lead nurture journey with an AB split test

Caution! Removing shapes that contacts are currently in (like delays) can delete the contacts from the journey.

If you’re altering the overall framework of the journey and/or want to clearly measure the difference in performance between the original and new journeys, we recommend transitioning to a new canvas. By making changes on a fresh canvas, you’ll be able to distinguish whether the new version is driving better results. Plus, you’ll gain insight into how specific optimizations impact user engagement and conversion.

By making changes on a fresh canvas, you'll be able to distinguish whether the new version is driving better results

It’s possible to create a seamless transition for those contacts currently progressing through the original version of the journey. By making the following changes, existing contacts will remain within the original version of the journey and complete their path without interruption. The goal is to send contacts who newly enter the journey through latest, optimized version of the journey going forward.

Phase one: Original journey

In this phase, you’ll replace the trigger in the original journey to prevent new contacts from being added. You’ll also add the original trigger to the new journey to make sure any new contacts enter the optimized version of your journey. Follow these steps to make it happen:

1. Drag and drop a list trigger onto the canvas, then click to configure the shape
2. Click into the drop-down menu and create a new (empty) list to replace the original trigger
3. Select “Add all contacts on this list” before finishing the configuration process
4. Delete the original trigger, then click “Publish” to make these changes live

How to create a new (empty) list from within the list trigger
autopilot list trigger configuration

Because no one is on the list when you publish the journey, no new contacts will be added. This allows those who’re currently progressing through the journey to simply continue on their existing path until they have completed the journey.

To minimize downtime, make sure the updated version is ready to go before redirecting contacts from the existing journey to the optimized version.

Phase two: New journey

You can now leverage the original entry point—whether it was a Segment event, campaign trigger, or list trigger—within the new version of your journey. Follow these steps to make it happen:

1. Drag and drop the trigger of your choice on your new canvas
2. Once configured, click publish

New contacts that match the trigger criteria you specified will now begin to enter the new journey you’ve created.

Remember: The journey never ends! Monitor your results on an ongoing basis to understand how you can continue to build better journeys and convert more contacts. With each version, you’ll learn more about what messaging and cadence your contacts prefer and respond to.

Next Lesson

Lesson 3: Limit Daily Email Frequency

How can you prevent a contact from receiving too many emails on the same day? Leverage these tips to manage your send frequency. The more journeys you publish, the more potential there is ...

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