Brian Sun, Senior Manager, Content Marketing at Autopilot

Eloise Shuttleworth, Customer Success Manager at Autopilot

Lesson 6: Manage Your Content

Emails, Headsup messages, and internal notifications… Here’s how to best manage your growing content library in Autopilot.

When you’re creating customer journeys, the very last thing you want to do is dig around for that email template or internal notification that you just know is in there somewhere. The solution? Standardizing the way you manage your content.

In this lesson, you’ll learn:

organize messages autopilot
Different ways to organize your messages within Autopilot

Email naming conventions and organization tips

Choosing a consistent email naming convention won’t make or break your customer journey marketing. But it is a practice that you’ll look back on and say, “I’m so glad we did that!”

Autopilot users take a variety of email naming approaches. Here are some of our favorites:

Date-based approach

If you regularly send emails as part of ongoing campaigns (e.g., your monthly newsletter), taking a date-based approach to naming your emails can help you stay organized. It also makes it easier to locate past email sends.

Here’s how that might look in practice:

Date-based approach to naming your emails
date email names

Pro Tip from Jes Kirkwood: It’s best to order the dates first by year, then by month, then by day. This order ensures that your emails show up in chronological order. Otherwise, you might see emails from February 2015, 2016, and 2017 before emails from March 2015.

Day-based approach

For time-based journeys, you can name your emails according to the day the email is sent, followed by a short description of the email.

Say you’re a SaaS marketer. You’ve designed a free trial journey that delivers timely and relevant messages on Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 7, Day 14, Day 21, and Day 29 of a 30-day trial. One email might be named “Day 14: Mid-Trial Check-In”.

Name-based approach

Another approach is to align your emails with their respective journeys. Let’s say that you have five journeys:

  • Lead Nurturing
  • Onboarding
  • Free Trial
  • Community Newsletter
  • Customer Newsletter

When naming each email, you could start with the journey name (e.g., Community Newsletter) and append a number, date, or other variable to the end.

Here’s what that might look like in practice:

Name-based approach to naming your emails
name email names

Number-based approach

For a simple and scalable way to name your emails, consider a number-based approach.

First, number each of your journeys. In this example, we’ve given “Lead Nurturing” the number 1, “Onboarding” the number 2, and “Free Trial” the number 3.

Number-based approach to naming your emails
number email names

Next, enter your “Lead Nurturing” journey and name your first email “1.1”. In this example, the first 1 refers to the journey (lead nurturing) and the second 1 refers to the first email in a sequence.

Here’s what that might look like at a larger scale:

Number-based approach table
numbered emails

This strategy is also effective if you have several variations of the same email within a single journey:

Number-based approach with an extra layer
numbered emails

For added clarity, you can add a one- or two-word description to the end, separated by hyphens. For example, instead of “3.1.3” you might write “3.1.3 – Welcome – Self-Serve” (which refers to a free trial welcome email that’s tailored to your self-serve customer segment).

Person-based approach

This approach names the email after its creator or reply-to user. You can use their whole name, or simply put their initials at the beginning of the email name.

Template-based approach 

More tip than practice, this approach allows you to designate your original templates by putting [TEMPLATE] at the beginning of their email name.

There is no “right” email naming convention that can be used straight-out-of-the-box for every company – the key is to select and modify a convention that works for your company, and then stick to it.

Why, when, and how to duplicate emails

Once you’ve formatted an email to your liking, you can duplicate it and use it as the basis for a new email. The main benefit of doing so is that it’s faster than creating an email from scratch: Simply update the content while leaving the original structure in place.

Autopilot will not send the same email to the same contact twice, unless you select the override shown below.

Click the override check box to enable the same contact to receive the same email more than once
duplicate check box

For this reason, you cannot simply change an existing email and schedule a new send time. You must duplicate the original before revising it.

Doing so also prevents you from making changes that will affect the original email, which may be live in a journey. That way, you keep a record of every email you’ve sent and avoid sending duplicate content, confusing emails, or incomplete edits of pre-existing emails to your contacts.

How to duplicate emails

Duplicating an email can be performed from within Autopilot’s email manager, which can be accessed via the “Send Email” shape.

Simply click on the shape, then select “Manage Existing” from the configuration window:

To duplicate an email, click to configure your email, then select manage existing
manage existing emails autopilot

You’ll then be presented with all of your emails:

After clicking through, you'll be shown a comprehensive list of your emails
manage existing emails autopilot

From there, find the email that you’d like to duplicate, click on the drop-down arrow on the far right side of the email line item, and select “Duplicate” from the menu.

Find the email you want to duplicate, click on the drop-down arrow on the right side, and select duplicate
email manager pull down menu arrow

The duplicate email will then open in a new window for you to edit.

Note: The duplicate email will have the same name as the original, but with a number at the end of the name. For example, if the original email was named “lead nurture”, the duplicate email will be named “lead nurture 1”. That way, you can immediately differentiate between the duplicate and the original.

Headsup naming conventions and organization tips

The Headsup message manager functions exactly like the email manager. You can arrange your Headsup messages by name, the date each message was last edited, the date each message was last published, and who each message was created by. By default, the manager organizes your Headsup messages by the date they were last edited.

By default, the manager organizes your Headsup messages by the date they were last edited
autopilot headsup message manager

Here are a few naming conventions that will help you keep your Headsup messages organized:

Call out the core message

For example, “Need help?”, “Got pricing questions?”, or “Subscribe to the blog!”

Separate your messages by journey name 

You can adopt the 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 syntax approach that we discussed above, or you can add the stage of the customer journey that the Headsup message is in, such as “Retention”, “Nurture”, or “Onboarding”.

Identify the department the message is from

Does the reply go to sales, marketing, product, or success? Put their name at the front of the message.

Identify the web page where it displays

For Headsup messages that live on specific page (as opposed to all pages), put the web page title in their name.

Notification naming conventions and organization tips

Notifications let you and your team know when a contact reaches a particular point in a journey, takes a specific action, or meets certain criteria. Here are a handful of ways you can approach naming your notifications:

Use the journey name approach 

Like with emails, you can add the name of the customer journey that the notification lives in. For example, “Retention”, “Nurture”, or “Onboarding”.

Say what happened

With this strategy, anyone can read the title of the notification and immediately identify what it’s for. For example, “Form submission”, “Blog signup”, or “New free trialist”.

Indicate the department that’s getting notified

Sales? Marketing? Success? Product? Who’s your notification going to? Include the department name directly in the title.

Whichever approach you choose, the goal is to organize your notifications in a way that makes them easy to find and name them something that makes them easily recognizable.

Next Lesson

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 ...

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