In this post I’ll show you how and how not to use link triggers in Flodesk workflows (with examples), and some common misconceptions (i.e. limitations specific to Flodesk) that could lead to unexpected issues.
What’s a Link Trigger in Email Marketing?
Link triggers are used within email marketing automations to “trigger” something else to happen automatically when a subscriber clicks the link in an email.
In other words, it’s a way to tell your email marketing tool to “do ________ when a subscriber clicks this link.”
For instance, “Add subscriber to ______ segment if they click ______ link.”
In Flodesk, you can set up simple link triggers within a workflow automation. I say simple, because there are some important limitations to understand about using link triggers in Flodesk, especially if you’re used to using them in other tools such as Convertkit.
Flodesk Link Triggers vs. Other Platforms
The way that link triggers are set up in Flodesk is more confining than some other email marketing platforms.
There are several potential limitations, but the biggest limitations you’re likely to notice if you’re used to using ink triggers in a somewhat more techy-friendly tool are that:
- Link triggers in Flodesk are tied to a specific timeframe (which you set)
- Link triggers in Flodesk are tied to a specific workflow email
Other tools may have link triggers set up to where you can add the same trigger to ANY email, and the action you want to happen is instant, with no time restriction.
For instance, a popular use of link triggers in many other tools is to allow for 1-click subscribe/unsubscribe from a specific topic or sequence.
However, this is NOT likely to work well in Flodesk, due to the timeframe restriction.
(Keep reading for further explanation.)
Important Limitations of Flodesk Link Triggers
There are many things to love about Flodesk, but it’s important to understand that the appeal of Flodesk for MOST users is it’s beauty and simplicity — not it’s abundance of fancy techy features.
While you can make some fancier things work, it’s not the primary aim of Flodesk.
Frankly, with the price for UNLIMITED subscribers (especially with 50% off your entire first year!?) I’m kind of amazed by all you CAN do — like using ink triggers in any capacity!
That said, the nerd in me would LOVE to have some more flexibility in Flodesk with link triggers specifically, because they way they are currently set up seems to cause some confusion and frustration among those who are used to other tools.
And for nerds like me who want to squeeze out all the functionality we can, including link triggers in Flodesk can make for some ginormously messy workflows (even for just 1 or 2 emails).
3 Flodesk Link Trigger Limitations:
These are the 3 main limitations I’ve come across when setting up link triggers in Flodesk:
Limitation 1. Based on a specific workflow email
While by no means a functionality dealbreaker, this limitation is an inconvenience (and also one of the reasons a simple workflow can get messy fast).
You can’t set up a link trigger once and then use it an any Flodesk email.
And you can’t use link triggers at all in a 1-off email — it has to be in a workflow email.
So, you have to first create a workflow, create an email in that workflow, add a clickable link to the email, and then select that specific link and specific email to create the link trigger…
And since the trigger is a “condition,” a new yes/no branch will be created for each link trigger you want to set up inside a single workflow.
You can imagine if you have many emails in a workflow and want to tracks clicks for ALL of them… (not to mention MULTIPLE links within a single email…) That workflow will be crazy messy and confusing!
TIP: This is why if you want to include multiple conditions (including link triggers) for each of your workflow emails, you might want to consider creating multiple mini workflows instead.
Limitation 2. Can’t select “any” links (“and” not “or”)
This one likely wouldn’t be a big deal for most users, but will be a bummer for some.
If you wanted to set up a trigger like “If a subscriber clicks ANY link in an email…”
Or, something like “If a subscriber clicks link 1 OR link 2…”
… well, you’re out of luck.
You have to select ONE specific link for each trigger.
Or, you can specify “link 1 AND link 2,” but this would mean a subscriber would have to click BOTH links for anything to happen, and I can’t imagine many scenarios where this would be useful, much less likely to happen. (But if you can, it’s an option!)
Limitation 3. Based on specific timeframe*
Now *this is the main limitation where most users will get tripped up (and the reason why 1-click links to allow subscribers to automate an action themselves will not work in most cases):
- Link triggers in Flodesk are “scanned” by Flodesk once — at the time you specify.
- When setting up a link trigger in Flodesk, you have to set a specific timeframe by adding a time delay step (for instance, wait 1 day or wait 3 days) because…
- If you don’t add a time delay first, Flodesk will scan to see if the link has been clicked RIGHT AWAY, which means subscribers won’t have time to even open the email, much less read it and click the link.
- If the link is not clicked within the timeframe, the “action” will not trigger – at all.
- The intended “action” will not be triggered until the time delay has ENDED.
Before adding a link trigger condition to a workflow, Flodesk recommends adding a time delay of at least 1 day to give subscribers time to open the email and click the link.
However, keep in mind that for most “evergreen” use cases (where you need an action to happen REGARDLESS of when a link is clicked), Flodesk link triggers just won’t work the way you hope due to this time delay restriction.
It’s really important to understand how this limitation works, because using Flodesk link triggers improperly can result in some triggers not acting as intended, and potentially even in some confused/annoyed subscribers (who may even mark you as spam) when either:
- The action they expect does not happen instantaneously
- The action they expect does not happen at all
If you’re still confused about when you can (and when you most likely shouldn’t use Flodesk link triggers, the examples below will hopefully make things more clear!
When to Use a Flodesk Link Trigger
There are some cases where you may want a link to be clicked within a specific timeframe for an action to be triggered, and those are the cases where Flodesk link triggers will work best.
For instance, “If a subscriber has NOT clicked Link 1 within 2 days, send them a different email.”
Or “Add/Remove subscribers who clicked Link 1 within 1 week to a segment.”
A simple 1-click poll, where the subscriber isn’t expecting anything to happen after. Something like “click to let me know which one you prefer” and give them 2 or more links to click. You can simply view the results by looking at the overall link clicks in the workflow analytics (which doesn’t actually even require a link trigger), or, you could assign a segment to each poll answer. Just keep in mind:
- You’ll have to set up a separate link trigger condition for each poll option (within the same workflow), so yes/no branching can start to get crazy here.
- Anyone who clicks a link AFTER the time delay won’t be added to a segment (but you could still see their clicks in the workflow analytics). So, if you’re not on a time crunch to get the answers, you could set a longer time delay, to allow as many people as possible time to click a link.
- If a subscriber clicks MORE than one link, each of those clicks will count as a “vote” and any actions (such as adding to a segment) will be triggered.
When NOT to Use a Flodesk Link Trigger (In Most Cases)
Most use cases where you want to allows subscriber to “click this link to immediately [anything],” it won’t work (due to the time delay restriction).
A perfect example of when you’d want to be extra-careful with this is something like “click to stop getting emails about this topic/product/launch…“
… because due to the time delay limitation, you’re likely to run into 1 of several scenarios that could result in confused or annoyed subscribers who will be more likely to unsubscribe completely, if not mark you as spam.
Let’s say you set up a 7-day sales sequence with daily emails about a product, and you want to set up a link trigger to allow subscribers to stop getting those emails at any point.
Here are some things that could go wrong:
- You set the time delay for 1 day or less (so they hopefully won’t get the next email), but then anyone who clicks the link AFTER that time will keep getting the emails.
- You set the time delay to 3 days (to give more time to click), but then even those who click right away will still get the emails for 2 more days.
- You put a 1-day trigger in EACH of the emails (so that each would hopefully cancel the next), but that ONE subscriber who’s on day 3 happens to go back to the day 1 email and clicks THAT link… *Not to mention a link trigger for each email will make for a crazy-looking workflow!
None of these options will be quite as convenient for you or your subscribers as true instantaneous link triggers, but they’re better than getting angry emails from subscribers or being marked as spam! 😉
- Rather than using a link trigger to allow subscribers to remove themselves from topic or type of email (such as “sales emails,”) you could add it to your main subscriber preferences page and encourage subscribers to go there to choose their preferences. Just keep in mind that the number of options you can add to this page is limited, so choose wisely!
- Though a little more complicated (and less convenient for the subscriber, as they’ll have to enter their email address again), you could create a custom unsubscribe form for a specific topic or sequence, along with a workflow to immediately remove them from the topic or sequence segment.
- Though it could still be a little confusing or inconvenient for subscribers (and someone could periodically still slip through the cracks), you could try the 3rd option above (link trigger in each email with time delay that ends right before the next email), but just make sure to say something like “if you’ve already received emails after this one, please go click the link in the most recent email.”
How to Set Up a Link Trigger in a Flodesk Workflow
- Create a new workflow (or add to an existing) and set up the workflow trigger segment (i.e. “Workflow begins with”)
- Add at least one email to the workflow
- Add a link to the email that you want to create a trigger for
- After the email step, add a time delay step of at least 1 day
- After the time delay step, add a condition step and select “subscriber has clicked a link” as the condition. Then select the exact email and link you want to track.
- Decide which branch you want to add an action step (“Yes” branch if a subscriber DID click the link, “No” branch if they did not click)
- In the branch you chose, you can send another email, or add an action step to add/remove the subscriber from a segment
TIP: You can added different actions to each branch!
For instance, under the “Yes” branch you could add subscribers to a segment called “clicked ___ link”.
And under the “No” branch, you could send a second-chance email.
IMPORTANT: Make sure any steps you add are BEFORE the Exit Step in any workflow branch.
Advanced: Add a “Scan for Link Clicks Again” Workflow Step
Though it will make your workflow more complicated with branching (and some subs may still slip through the cracks), you can actually add a SECOND time delay and link trigger to scan again for the click.
For instance, say you want something to happen for anyone who clicks a link within 2 days -i.e. add to another workflow trigger segment.
But then, you still want something to happen (such as add to the same or another segment) if anyone clicks after the 2 days. You could simply add another time delay and the SAME link trigger step to re-scan and take action after a week, a month, etc.