There are three main principles of communication automation:
A trigger is a lead's action on your website. It initiates an auto message sending.
Any lead event can be a trigger. For example, "session started", "visited sign up page", "clicked "Checkout" button", etc.
Divide your leads into segments to initiate different communication. A segment is a group of leads unified by the same properties or events.
Since lead properties can have different values (number, line, date, etc.), you can segment by their content.
we need to send an email to leads from New York:
Or you want to send an email to leads who have shopping cart amount more than 200$:
Events can be filtered by its number, date of first and last event.
you need to select all leads who visited your website for more than 5 times:
All leads who changed or added an email within last 5 days (last event date is less than 5 days ago):
Read more about segmentation in this article.
Timeout is a sending message time delay.
Example: you want to send a promo code to a lead who is looking through the items for more than 30 minutes. In this case you may indicate "session started" or "visited item page" as a trigger, and set 30 minutes timeout.
It is important to note that if an auto message has a timeout, then lead properties and events will be checked when this time is over:
triggered action - N-time period - lead segment is defined (it matches all filters).
The same principle has an abandoned cart email. An email will be sent to a lead in an hour if they visit a shopping cart page and don't complete the purchase.
Now you are able to send auto messages to the right leads (segments) in the right time (trigger and timeout).
You can do real magic by setting triggered messages with segments and timeouts.