The Start node is the only node on the canvas to begin with. This is the first node of your program requiring your attention.
Click on the Start node to define the criteria for when contacts are added to your program. A panel of options will slide in from the right side of the screen.
The start rule is the criteria for a contact joining the program. Each day the program builder will check to see if any contacts satisfy the rules to join the program and enroll them.
A contact may enroll in the same program multiple times over the years, but will not be re-enrolled if they are already in the program and have not yet reached an end node.
Start rule options
In configuring the start rule there are four areas requiring attention:
- Start rule type
- Rule for enrollment
- Time of day
Start rule type
You firstly have a choice of adding contacts based on a certain date, or based on a birthday / anniversary of a date (meaning a contact will be added to the program once a year).
Pro-tip: You may be tempted to use an anniversary rule for a contract expiry. In this case we recommend you use the standard (non-anniversary rule) and store in a data field the contract expiry date. If the contact renews their contact, then update that data field such that the contact qualifies again when the new expiry date is reached.
Rule for program enrollment
When a contact in your account meets the rule you set here, they will be enrolled in the program. Depending on the start rule type you selected you will either be enrolling a contact:
- [N] days before/after a data field; or
- [N] days before/after the anniversary of a data field
The data fields available will be any custom data field that you have added to your account. Additionally you can trigger enrollment from the CreatedDate, which is the date the contact was added to your account; and the LastMailedDate, which is the last date that a contact was sent a triggered or non-triggered email via the platform.
Bear in mind that being able to use the program builder tool is dependent upon having at least one date-based data field, and the richer your date-based data capturing is for your contacts, the greater the choice you will have when it comes to picking date fields for your program.
Birthday program: Let's say you want to add contacts a week before their birthday, in order to send them an automatically generated campaign to remind them of your services prior to the big day. Set a start rule that sends to contacts "7 days before the anniversary of their date of birth". It's not only a great personal touch that encourages brand loyalty but it also reminds them, if they're not currently engaged with you, that your business or service is available to return to should they want to spend any extra birthday money they might have come by!
Time of day
The program will enroll contacts once a day. Use the time picker to select the time of day that this occurs.
For that extra bit of piece of mind, at the bottom of the controls is an example showing you what contacts will be enrolled were the program to be active tomorrow.
Applying your changes
As you create the start criteria, a statement will populate for you to read in the Start node on the program canvas.
Once happy with the start criteria, click Apply. Or click cancel to discard your chagnes.
If, at any point, you want to edit the start criteria again, simply click on the Start node again to produce the panel from the right.