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Sending an educational series of marketing emails
Sending an educational series of marketing emails
Updated over a week ago

If you're looking to send a timed series of marketing emails, that are delivered to a recipient over time then this one's for you.

Automated Journeys allow you to send marketing emails to your email marketing list or segments within it and even to custom lists.

Have you read about automated journeys yet?

Get started there for the basics.

When you might want to send an educational series

There are many reasons! But here's some common examples:

  1. A patient books a class or workshop and you want to send an educational series about it over the next 2 weeks.

  2. A patient books their very first appointment and you want to send a series of educational emails over the coming months.

  3. A patient books their first appointment with a particular practitioner and you'd like to send some friendly information about that practitioner over the coming weeks,

Generally, you'd be using a Transactional email to send anything appointment-related that is important - such as a welcome email with link to intake form, appointment reminders or confirmations and so on. But when the emails are more marketing and less 'essential' - an automated journey could be a better fit than a transactional email.

How to set one up

Step one: Define your series and purpose

Let's go through an example from start to finish. Before you get started, let's answer some questions that will help us to build our automation:

  1. What is the series about?

  2. Who should receive it?

  3. How many emails do you want to send?

  4. Over what period of time should they be sent?

I'll start by answering these questions for my use case example.

What is the series about?

Healthy eating habits

Who should receive it?

Anyone who has booked appointments relating to diet/nutrition OR who has expressed an interest in nutrition

How many emails do you want to send?

8 emails

Over what period of time should they be sent?

8 weeks - 1 per week

You can see here that my 'Healthy eating habits' series should only target people who have an interest in it - either because they have booked an appointment in that category, or we have collected information dfrom them at some point they they want to learn more.

Step two: Segment your database

πŸ‘‰ Before proceeding - please read: if someone is already in a segment, when a journey is turned on, they will not start the journey. Only newly added patients will trigger the journey. To trigger the journey for those already in the segment you would need to stop at step 5 and continue from step 9. You'd only complete steps 6-8 once you've created and turned on your journey.


  1. Do not add any rules to your segment until the journey is on. Just create the segment, name it - but leave the rules blank.

  2. Create the journey and turn it on.

  3. Then add the rules to your segment. This will make the journey send to everyone who is added to that segment.

Now we need to segment out the patients who are to receive the series. We do this by creating segments within one of our lists.

  1. Click on the 'Send Email' tab

  2. Go to 'Lists & Subscribers'

  3. I'm going to click the 'Patients' list - as my intended recipients are people from my Cliniko account. But you can also create custom lists if needed of emails collected outside of Cliniko.

  4. Click on 'Segments' on the left hand side.

  5. Click 'Create a new segment'

  6. In the dropdown - select 'Custom Fields' - this will allow me to build a segment based on information from Cliniko I already have about my patients.

  7. In the next dropdown - I'm going to select 'Attended Categories' as I use 'Nutrition' as an appointment category, so I can easily target anyone who attends an appointment in this category to be added to this automation. What you select here will depend on your desired targeting, and how your Cliniko has been set up.

  8. In the next dropdown - select the rule for how you'll target this field. I'm going to select 'Contains' and target any appointment category which contains 'Nutrition'

  9. Now I'll name my segment 'Nutrition Patients' and hit 'Save'

Awesome - now I have a segment containing any patient from Cliniko who has attended an appointment in the 'Nutrition' category.

But I'm not finished yet (this next part is optional) - I'd like to also include patients who have expressed an interest in Nutrition. There's two ways I can go about this:

  1. If you use 'Medical Alerts' to tag your patients - we can add any patients with my desired medical alert. Here's how you do this.

  2. If you have set up 'Interests' in your patient list - we can also include patients who have opted in for 'Nutrition'. Here's how you do this.

In my example, I'll go with option 2. So now I'll add another rule (by clicking 'OR') to my 'Nutrition Patients' segment to include anyone who has selected this interest in the preference centre. I also adjusted the segment name to better reflect my rules:

Step three: Create your automation

Now that I have created and saved my Nutrition segment, I can create an automation.

  1. Click on 'Automation'

  2. Click the 'Create an Automation' button

  3. Select 'Custom Journey'

  4. Name your automation - mine will be "8 weeks of nutrition"

  5. Select 'Subscriber enters a segment' as the trigger - this will mean that my automation 'starts' when one of my patients enters the segment I defined earlier.

  6. Select the 'Patient' list from the dropdown.

  7. Select the segment you created earlier from the second dropdown - in my case "Patients of OR interested in Nutrition"

  8. Select the trigger frequency 'Only the first time subscribers enter this segment'

  9. Click the 'Build your journey' button in the top right

  10. Now we can go ahead and add delays and emails to our journey. I'm going to add 8 emails - the first email will send right away, the rest will have 7 days between them.

  11. Finish adding content, subject lines and other details to each email step.

  12. Once you're ready - you can turn the journey on.

Handy tips

  • If someone is already in the selected segment of a "subscriber enters segment" journey when it is turned on, they will not start the journey.

  • Subscribers will continue receiving emails in a segment-triggered journey until it is complete even if their segment membership changes part way through. You can work around this for "Subscriber enters a segment" journeys by setting emails in the journey designer to send to the same segment as the trigger.

  • Segment-triggered journeys can be triggered if you change an existing segment rule, which in turn changes that segment's membership.

  • We check for segment subscriber membership changes every 10 minutes. Therefore there may be a delay of up to 10 minutes before the email is sent to a subscriber.

  • For new journey emails with a segment-based trigger, there is a short delay before we start monitoring subscribers entering or exiting the segment. This means that a subscriber that enters or exits a segment in the first 10 minutes might not receive the email. Please wait 10 minutes before testing your journey.

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