Create an Email Automation Branch

Link multiple email automation workflows together to create branches. A branch is an automation workflow that sends based on different actions your recipients take. For example, if you have a welcome series that targets new subscribers who haven't made a purchase, you could create a branch that thanks new subscribers when they do make a purchase.

In this article, you’ll learn how to create a branch in an email automation.

Before you start

Here are some things to know before you begin this process.

  • This process uses series automations. Depending on your plan, you may not have access to this feature. To find out what features are included in each plan, check out our pricing page.
  • This is an advanced process and is recommended for users familiar with how email automation works in Mailchimp.
  • To create an automation branch, you’ll need to be familiar with segments. Check out our article on Getting Started with Segments.
  • You may want to limit the amount of automation branches you create from a workflow, to keep your content more manageable.
  • This article focuses on creating an automation branch with an e-commerce trigger for users with a connected site. However, you can create automated email branches with any trigger type.


  • Root
    An automation that branches into separate workflows. This is where subscribed contacts start the series of emails.
  • Branch
    An email automation linked from a root automation.

Task roadmap

To show you how to use branching logic in an automation, we’ll create a root welcome automation that branches based on purchase activity. This process involves two important tasks.

  • Create a root automation
    You’ll create a custom welcome series for the root automation, and set the second email to send to subscribers who haven’t made a purchase from your connected store.
  • Create an automation branch
    You’ll use segmentation to send this email to subscribers who make a purchase after they’ve started the root automation.

This example will help you understand the steps to create a branch, but you can create automation branches using other automation types, triggers, and segments.

Create a root automation

First, you’ll create a root automation. In our example, you’ll set up a custom, 2-email welcome series. The first email welcomes your new subscribers and might include a link to your online store. The second email follows up with the subscribers who haven't made a purchase, and could include a promo code.

To create a root automation, follow these steps.

  1. Launch the Automation Builder.
  2. Click Custom.
  3. Enter a campaign name. The campaign name is for your internal use. Make it unique, so you can refer back to it later. We’ll name this example email Potted Planter Welcome - Root.
  4. Click the drop-down menu to choose your audience.
  5. Click Begin.
  6. On the Emails step, click Edit on the first email’s trigger.
  7. Click Change trigger.
  8. Click the Audience management tab, then click Signup.
  9. Click the Delay drop-down and choose Immediately.
  10. Click Update Trigger.
  11. Click Add Another Email.
  12. Click Edit on the second email’s trigger.
  13. Click Change trigger.
  14. Click the E-commerce tab, then click Not purchased any product.
  15. Set the Delay.
  16. Click the Settings drop-down menu and select your connected store.
  17. Click Update Trigger.

Great job! You’ve created your root automation. After you add your content and create your automation branch, you'll be ready to start sending.

Create an automation branch

Now that you’ve created a root automation, you’ll create an automation branch. In this example, we’ll use the single-email version of the Thank first-time customers automation. This email triggers when a subscriber purchases a product. You’ll use a segment so the branch only sends to subscribers who have received the first email in Potted Planter Welcome - Root, but not the second email.

To create your automation branch, follow these steps.

  1. Launch the Automation Builder.
  2. Enter a campaign name and click the drop-down menu to choose the same audience you connected to your root automation.
    frontdoor-automatedemail-thankfirsttimecustomers-campaignname Automation branches will only work if they’re all connected to the same audience.
  3. Click Begin.
  4. Next to Filter by segment or tag, click Edit.
  5. On the Segment Email screen, make sure the Contacts match drop-down is set to all, so Mailchimp will pull contacts that meet all of the conditions you set.
    example-segmentemail-contactsmatchall-ordertotal The default first condition for this automation is Orders (Total #) | is | 1.
  6. Click Add.
  7. For the second condition, set the first two drop-down menus to Automation Activity | started workflow. In the third drop-down menu, choose your root automation. In this example, it’s | Potted Planter Welcome - Root.
  8. Click Add.
  9. For the third condition, set the first two drop-down menus to Automation Activity | not completed workflow. In the third drop-down menu, choose your root automation again.
  10. Click Save Segment.

Excellent work! You’ve created and linked your first automation branch. If you chose the email series version of this automation, delete any emails you don’t need. After you add your content, you'll be ready to start sending. We recommend you start your root and branch automations at the same time.

Next steps

Now that you know how to create automation branches, use a combination of triggers and segmenting options to customize your automation strategy. Here are some resources to help you get started.

All the Automation Triggers

All the Segmenting Options

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