Creating Automated Emails in Dynamics CRM using ExactTarget

One of the key benefits of using a third party direct email marketing tool with Dynamics CRM is the ability to automate the sending of emails when some event happens or a period of time elapses. This blog discusses how to create an automated email sent from Dynamics CRM using ExactTarget. The email will be scheduled to be sent to a dynamic marketing list every 15 minutes. In practice you would use this method to send an email every 30 days or some similar time frame, or when some event, such as the creation of a particular record, occurs.

The first thing you need to do is create a dynamic marketing list in CRM. To do this, go to Marketing, Marketing Lists and click New.

On the Marketing List screen, enter a Name, set the Contact Type and set the Type field to Dynamic.

Save the marketing list record and click Manage Members.  The query screen will appear in which you can specify your criteria which will be executed each time the email is sent out.  Click the Use Query button when the query is ready.

Once you have your marketing list ready, go to File, ExactTarget, Create Marketing Automation ExactTarget Send.

On the Send ExactTarget Email screen, select a pre-defined Email template, Field Mapping Set, create a Subject, set the From value, select a Campaign if desired, check the “Return individual tracking results as ExactTarget Responses” and “I certify all email recipients have opted in” checkboxes and click OK.

Now that you have an ExactTarget Send record, emails will be sent through ExactTarget to the marketing list every time an ExactTarget Recipient record is created. To automate the sending of emails, you will us a CRM workflow to create the ExactTarget Recipient record when you want the email to go out. To do this, go to Settings, Processes and click New.

On the process screen, enter a Name, set the Entity Type to ExactTarget Send and the Category to workflow.  Leave the “New blank process” radio button selected.  Click OK to go to the Process definition screen.

On the Process definition screen, check the “As an on demand process” and “As a child process” checkboxes, clear the New Record checkbox and save the record.

Now you need to create the steps of the workflow.  Click Add Step and select the Create action.  Select ExactTarget Recipient as the entity type to create.  Click Set Properties to set the values of the ExactTarget Recipient record.  Set the Name, Type, Individual or Marketing List field depending on the value of the Type field, and select the ExactTarget Send record.

After setting the properties of the ExactTarget Recipient record, set the time period to wait until the next send.   To do this, click Add Step and select Wait Condition.

Click on “<condition> (click to configure)” to open the Wait Condition screen.

When the Wait Condition screen appears, select Process, Timeout, Equals, 15 minutes duration and Save and Close.

To run the workflow again after the specified time period has elapsed, add a step to call itself as a child workflow.  To do this, click Add Step and select Start Child Workflow.

Select the workflow itself as the child workflow and save the workflow.  It should now look similar to this:

Now activate the workflow and every fifteen minutes it will execute the marketing list query and create an ExactTarget Recipient record to send the email to the current members of the dynamic marketing list.

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