Using Lifecycle Optimizer

With Lifecycle Optimizer, automate individualized messaging to customers across channels using insights and predictions from the Sailthru customer profile to deliver timely, customer-specific communications.

Seamlessly interact with customer profiles, other Sailthru services, and third-party platforms, making Lifecycle Optimizer (LO) a powerful hub for all of your marketing strategies.

Using the Lifecycle Optimizer visual interface, create Flows–user pathways with if-then logic. On your list of flows, view real-time reporting of how many users entered and exited each one.

Example Flows

Simple Welcome Series

 example flow 1 - welcome email with follow up wide Entry User added to list
Action Send Thank You email
Wait 3 days
Action Send Follow-Up email

Welcome Series with Engagement Check

 example flow 2 - welcome with engagement check Entry User added to list
Action Send Thank You email
Wait 3 days
Action Send Follow-Up email
Wait 2 days
Check Did user click Follow-Up email? If so…
Action Send Follow-Up email #2.


 example flow 3 - purchase Entry User made purchase
Wait 7 days
Check Did user purchase again since flow began? If so…
Action Send Discount email

Flow Components

Lifecycle Optimizer flows consist of four step types:

  • Entry – An activity that automatically starts a flow.
  • Wait – Time between steps.
  • Check – Criteria to determine whether to continue the user’s progression in a flow, or determine which of two subsequent step options (branches) the user should reach.
  • Action – An action to take for this user, whether internal (for example, setting a custom field value) or external (for example, sending an email).

Only one activity can start a flow, and you can freely add multiple waits, checks, and actions in any order. You can learn more about each step’s options in the Step Glossary.

The Lifecycle Optimizer Interface

To access Lifecycle Optimizer in My Sailthru, under the Communications menu, click Lifecycle Optimizer.

The interface has two pages – the List page and the Builder page.

  • The List page displays all flow names and their current metrics. For details on each, see Flows List.
  • The Builder page lets you create and modify a flow. Access the Builder from the List page by clicking New Flow or clicking the name of an existing flow.

Build a New Flow

  1. From the List Page, click New Flow.
  2. Click the Flow Name at the top left to change the default name. Edit the name, then press Enter.
  3. Follow the instructions in the Configure Your Flow Steps table below to add and configure your steps.
  4. At the top-right, click Save.
  5. To open the flow to users right away, under Status, click Draft. From the Status drop-down, select Active. Then, click Apply. For more information, see “Activating, Deactivating, and Finishing Flows”.
Step Type Options How To

A user action or other event that starts the flow

  • Transactional Email
    when a given template is

    • Sent
    • Clicked
    • Opened
  • List is joined (currently only User API call)
  • Purchase is made, with optional:
    • Value range
    • Quantity range
    • User’s first-ever purchase
  • Custom Event (API) with optional
    • Custom field presence or value
  1. Click New Flow.
  2. Click Entry: Not Set.
    Screen Shot 2017-02-09 at 2.52.08 PM

  3. Select an option from the Start this flow when… menu.
  4. Specify the additional options below the menu. For example, the name of the template, list, or API event. For more details, see the Step Glossary.

What to do when the prior conditions are met

  • User Profile Custom Field (a.k.a. var) values:
    • Set
    • Increment/Decrement
    • Delete
  • Send Email using a specified transactional template
  • Add to a List
  • Remove from a List
  1. Click the default “Action” placeholder if its location meets your need. Otherwise, on the arrow that will precede this new step, hover over the circle circle-retina or plus plus-retinaicon and select Action.
  2. Next to Do this…, select an action, then specify the action’s parameters below. For more details, see the Step Glossary.

Optional delay before the next action.

Number of minutes, hours, days, weeks or months.
  1. Click the default “Wait” placeholder if its location meets your need. Otherwise, on the arrow that will precede this new step, hover over the circle circle-retina or plus plus-retinaicon and select Delay.
  2. Enter a wait time, for example:
    Wait for: 2
    Unit: Days

Criteria to determine whether to continue the user’s progression in a flow, or determine which of two subsequent step options (branches) the user should reach.

Check one of the following.

  • User’s optout status
  • Purchase made
  • Site visited date
  • Email clicked
  • Email opened
  • Custom field (var) presence or value
  1. Click the default “Check” placeholder if its location meets your need. Otherwise, on the arrow that will precede this new step, hover over the circle circle-retina or plus plus-retinaicon and select Check.
  2. Select a Check type from the drop-down to begin defining the criteria for determining whether a user should proceed to the branch marked “Yes” below.
  3. Set additional parameters specific to the type of check. For more details, see the Step Glossary.
  4. Proceed to add additional steps to the “Yes” branch for users who meet the criteria of the check and additional steps to the “No” branch for users who do not. (You can also choose to add no further steps under Yes or No. Users who reach the branch that contains no further steps will exit the flow.)
  5. If you need to swap the Yes and No branch, simply click Yes or No.

For more information on adding and removing checks and their branches, see the section Yes/No Branching.

If default steps or steps that you have added remain unconfigured – gray with a dotted-line border – you can Save the flow, but you will not be able to Activate it until you delete or configure these steps.

Delete a Step

To delete a step, hover over its shape on the builder canvas, then click the X in the top-right corner.

You cannot delete a check that has steps following from both of its branches. To learn more, see the section Yes/No Branching.

Flow List

When you open Lifecycle Optimizer, you’ll see your list of flows, with information about each.

Table Columns:

  • Flow Name, which you choose when creating the flow and can change any time. Click a flow’s name to view or modify its configuration.
  • Status that you have selected for the flow: Active, Inactive, Draft, or Finishing. (For details, see Flow Statuses to Activate, Deactivate, or Delete.)
  • Created date.
  • Entries – the number of customers who entered the flow in the time span chosen from the Metrics drop-down.
  • Metrics link – For each flow, use this link to open the flow with overlaid metrics enabled.

Screen Shot 2017-03-23 at 1.08.04 PM

The Metrics drop-down lets you choose a time span for the displayed Entries data:

  • Today, Past 7 Days, Past 30 Days, Past 90 Days, or All Time.

Click each column header to sort the entire list by that column. Click again to sort in the reverse order. You can also filter the display to show flows matching one or more statuses, or search across all flow names.


Lifecycle Optimizer currently tracks Flow Entry counts, as well as the number of users who proceeded to each step of the flow. These counts are presented in real-time at page-load time.

You can see reporting:

  1. On the List Page (which displays Entries only) and by clicking the Metrics link to jump to the builder’s Metrics view.
  2. In the Builder, using the Metrics toggle to enable the Metrics view.
    Screen Shot 2017-02-09 at 7.52.35 PM
    Stats will overlay on each step of the flow.

An entry represents any start of a flow by a user. Entries can represent a single user having entered the flow multiple times.

If you deactivate a flow, its metrics will remain viewable. If you reactivate an inactive flow that previously ran and had users, the metrics will be aggregated.

Flow Statuses to Activate, Deactivate, or Delete

A flow has one of four statuses at any given time: Draft, Active, Inactive, or Finishing. New flows not yet activated begin in Draft status. You will change the flow’s state as needed by clicking the status name at the top of the flow builder. The following diagram describes the four statuses and when they are available.

LO Flow Status Flow Chart

  • You may only delete flows in the Draft state. To delete a Draft flow, navigate to the builder view of the flow and click the Delete icon in the toolbar trash.
  • Setting a flow to Active turns on the flow immediately. All qualifying Entries will enter into the flow. Setting a flow to Inactive immediately terminates the flow. Entries will not be allowed, and all users in the flow will immediately exit and no longer experience any actions from the flow. Reporting will persist for the flow, but will no longer update.
    • You can activate or deactivate a flow at any time. Re-activating a previously activated flow will not automatically add users back to the flow; they would need to re-enter by again meeting the Entry criteria (for example, a new email click).
    • If reactivated, a flow’s metrics will reflect an aggregate of all past active sessions and the current session. To reset metrics, Save the flow as a new flow before activating the new copy.
  • If you want to discontinue new entries in a flow, but allow its current users to continue through the flow, you can set the flow to Finishing. You cannot edit a Finishing flow; you can only set it to inactive.

Editing and Saving Active Flows

When a flow is active, you can easily change basic settings within an existing step and click Save to update the flow-in-progress. Structural changes – adding or deleting steps, or changing the type of the step (for example changing Action “Send Email” to Action “Add to List”) – require that you save the flow as a new flow. When you save an active flow as a new flow, you can simultaneously mark the prior, active flow as “Finishing” or “Inactive” to prevent double flow entries.

Flow Status Description Changes Allowed
Draft Flow is not running and has never been made Active. Users cannot enter. All changes allowed.
Inactive Flow is not running. Users cannot enter. If flow was previously active, users were removed upon it being marked inactive, preventing any further action. All changes allowed.
Active Flow is running, allowing new entries, and taking specified actions. If you edit the settings of an existing step without changing the type (if an action or check)

  • You can Save those changes and keep the current flow active. The changes are immediately reflected upon Save.
  • For example, you can change a template name or custom field value.

If you make a structural change (adding or removing steps, or changing their type)

  • Only Save As is available. (See “Transitioning to a new flow when a structural change is made.”)
  • For example, if you change an action from “Send Email” to “Set Custom Fields”, this is a change to the action type. You can only Save As after such a change, then choose to transition to using the new flow.
Finishing Flow is running but no longer allowing new entries. Users already in the flow will proceed and experience any applicable actions. No changes allowed. You can only set flow to “inactive”.

Tip: Remember you can always change the creative content of a template using the template editor. This will immediately update for all sends of that template. Alternatively, you can copy the template and select the new template within Lifecycle Optimizer. Neither of these changes require you to activate a new flow through Save As.

Note: Changes to a “Wait” length in an active flow will not affect users currently in that wait step. Users in the wait step will observe the wait length they were assigned when they entered the step. All users new to the flow, or who have not yet entered the wait step will observe the new wait time.

Making a change to a step within an active flow

  1. Open the active flow in the builder view
  2. Modify step attributes only. These include Templates, Custom Field names and values and “Check Since …” selections. Making a structural change will disable the “Save” functionality.
  3. Select “Save” from the upper-right in the toolbar. All users in the flow will receive the new version of the flow

Transitioning to a new flow when a structural change is made

Follow these instructions if you need to make a structural change to an active flow-a change that involves adding or removing steps, which disables the Save option. You’ll make the change to the current flow, then select Save As. The original flow will remain intact. When you set the first flow to Finishing and the new flow to Active, users will stop entering the old flow and start entering the new flow.

  1. Open the active flow in the builder view
  2. Modify the flow to your liking
  3. Select “Save As” from the upper-right in the toolbar
  4. Give the new flow a unique name
  5. Use the options to activate the new flow and change the existing flow to “Finishing.” This will discontinue new entries to the existing flow, while allowing its users to finish proceeding through. The new flow will receive all new entries.

Yes/No Branching

When you add a Check step to a flow, you have the ability to define a path for users who do and do not match the check’s criteria.

Configuring the “Yes” and “No” Branch Responses

You can click on the Yes and No labels to swap the path users will follow if they do or do not meet the criteria.

  • Users who meet the check’s criteria will always follow the Yes branch.
  • Users who do not will always follow the No branch.

Note: Switching which branch is the Yes or No branch is among the changes you are permitted to make within an Active flow (selecting to “Update” the flow without using “Save As…”). However, this will not switch the metric totals for the steps in either branch, and is not recommended.

Deleting a Check with Steps in Both Branches

To delete a check that has steps following from it on both branches, you must remove all steps from at least one of the two branches. The remaining branch of steps will be moved up to connect to the step immediately before the deleted check. You cannot currently delete a check with steps in both branches.

Before Check Removal After Check Removal

Checks Within Branches

You may add additional Check steps within the branches of a prior Check.

Additional navigation abilities, including Zoom, to more easily view flows with multiple checks, will be coming soon.

Joining Branches

It is not currently possible to re-join two branches, however, this functionality will be released in Q3 2017.

Branching with Multiple Criteria

It is not currently possible to create more than two branches from a single check, for example, to react to three or more possible values of a Custom FIeld (var). However, this functionality will be released in Q3 2017.

Existing Smart Strategies or Template Triggers

Be advised: Existing Smart Strategies and Template Triggers will continue to run as normal. To prevent the risks of piggy-backing actions or sends from other triggers or from Smart Strategies tactics, it is recommended that you use new templates for all Lifecycle Optimizer flows. If you copy an existing template for use in Lifecycle Optimizer, be sure to check the “Triggers” tab in the Template Editor and remove any triggers on the new template.


  • If you are using the Google Chrome browser, note that Lifecycle Optimizer requires version 50 or higher.
  • If you using multiple tabs and multiple Sailthru accounts, please know that switching to another Sailthru account will cause open Lifecycle Optimizer tabs to automatically refresh, to avoid cross-account conflicts.
  • If you have any other issues using Lifecycle Optimizer, please contact Support.