Wait steps allow you to “pause” a lead’s progression through a campaign’s flow. This article will explain how this is accomplished, and help guide you around some common pitfalls when using wait steps.
When a lead encounters a wait step in your campaign’s flow it is “stamped” with the information contained in that step. Think of it like a rubber stamp marking each lead with the time it should resume its movement through the flow. The stamp also marks the lead with the next step in the flow, so it knows what to look for when its wait time is up.
In the example below, leads will be sent an email from Step #1 then stamped by Flow Step #2 with “Resume on January 30th at 10 AM. Look for Step #3” which will then set aside these leads. They don’t leave the flow, but they’re no longer still in Flow Step #2 either.
Next, we’ll look at some situations you might run into when using Wait Steps. It’s best to think through your flow and make any changes before you initiate your campaign, but here’s what to do if you need to make changes to an active flow.
Keep in mind that in a batch campaign all leads will move through the flow together, so they would all reach the wait step together and would all be stamped with the same information. In a trigger campaign though, leads are more likely to have triggered the campaign at different times, and will be in different places along the flow.
Note: Changing wait steps in a running campaign will not change/update information for leads that have already passed through the original steps.
You started your campaign and have leads running through the flow, but you decide that you want the leads stamped with “January 31st at 10 AM” instead of “January 30th at 10 AM”. Because the wait step acts like a big rubber stamp, altering the numbers on the stamp will not change the data that has already been printed on leads who have been through that step.
In this situation you can simply add another wait step after the original. Leads would resume the flow looking for Step #3, so simply make Step #3 another wait step. They’ll never know the difference!
You started your campaign and have leads running through the flow, but you decide that you want the leads to resume the flow sooner than the original time stamp. Again, it’s not possible to alter the flow step and have those changes made on the leads. So in this case you would need to create a new smart campaign with the remaining steps in the flow.
Your original campaign will still be active, but by removing any flow steps after the wait step nothing more will happen. Leads will resume the flow looking for the next step, find nothing, and the flow will end.
You find that you need to rearrange the flow steps of your campaign after it’s been initiated.
Remember that leads are not only stamped with a time, but also with a “Next Step.” Just as changing the time stamp won’t alter leads who have been stamped, rearranging the flow steps will not alter what the step leads will look for when they resume. Have a look at the example images below.
Leads running through this flow will receive an email, then be stamped with “Wait 1 week, then resume at Step #3”
If the steps are altered after leads are stamped though
Leads that resume the flow will be looking for step #3, they’ll find it… and wait another week!