Despite all the planning in the world you will likely miss something at some point in crafting your automations.
The way I get around that inevitability is to use a WAIT FOR statement as the very last step of an automation that is either still in the works or that I want to add to sometime in the future.
Without this safeguard your contacts will get to the end of the sequence and you cannot restart them (without doing some manual shenanigans which you should avoid at all costs).
So here we would send an email then wait for 1000 days (more than 3 years) before the automation ends. What this is doing is preventing the contact from ever reaching the invisible ‘End Automation’ step.
How To Add A New Step After The Wait For 1000 Days
I love a good metaphor. And the one for this step is that of creating a dam.
So what we are going to do is create a dam at the end of the existing sequence BEFORE we add any new steps or remove old ones.
- Add a new WAIT FOR 1000 days step at the very end.
- Add whatever you want to happen now in between the 2 Wait For’s. Perhaps a new email or a tag or something.
- Finally, adjust the first WAIT FOR (the original one at the top of the stack) to whatever the waiting period after the step before it should be. If you are sending emails that might be WAIT FOR 1 DAY. If you are just doing a tag then WAIT FOR 5 MINUTES.
Let’s pretend a user has made it to your first WAIT FOR 1000 DAYS step and is just hanging out… watching the clock. They’ve been there for 5 days now.
You then add a new email to the sequence and a new WAIT FOR 1000 DAYS step after it. Then you update the original dam to 1 Day.
The user that has been at the step for 5 days will immediately get the new email because they have been waiting for 1 Day (or more). She’ll then flow to the new dam and start waiting for 1000 days again.
The new users that are just entering the sequence will flow through just as it is now. They won’t ever know there was a WAIT FOR 1000 DAYS step and your machine works as you planned.
Why 1000 Days?
No specific reason other than it is a long time. You can enter anything you want but if you have not made a change to this automation after 1000 days (or 10,000 days) then you are likely not going to.
Why Not Delete The First Wait For?
There is a potential for the people that are waiting at that step to accidentally not trigger the move to the new stuff. It is safer to set it for the minimum time (which is 5 minutes) then revisit the automation after you are sure everybody that would’ve been at that step has made it through. Once you are 100% sure there is nobody waiting at that step you could delete it.