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Introducing the User Lists Addon

First we made it possible for Uncanny Automator users to extend user profiles with the Custom User Fields addon. Then we made it easy to build simple membership sites with the Restrict Content addon. Both plugins were offered to Automator Plus and Elite annual license holders at no extra cost. And now we’re changing what’s possible with Automator again with a brand new addon that makes it easy for users to manage Automator emails and admins to manage email campaigns.

Yes, right after the huge Uncanny Automator and Automator Pro releases yesterday, we’re thrilled to announce our third Automator addon: User Lists. It’s going to completely transform how you set up transactional emails and email campaigns with Automator.

The User Lists Addon

Until now, it’s been hard to offer a way for users to choose to not receive emails from Uncanny Automator recipes. If you offered this, you probably did so by offering a form, having users submit that form to set flags in user meta, then adding conditions to your email actions so emails would get sent (or not sent) based on those flags. This type of setup would be complicated to set up and manage, making it difficult to do things like send massive email campaigns using Automator (though technically you could with User Loops; offering unsubscribe options was just difficult).

Another pain point was managing “lists” of users that would allow you to target the right users with the right emails. Here again you would have to set up multiple conditions in a recipe to make sure everything worked smoothly and no unintended emails went out.

These are the types of problems that we created the User Lists addon to address. Here are some of the key things you can do with the new tool:

  • You can create and manage lists, and add and remove users from lists
  • You can add an Unsubscribe token to your Automator emails
  • You can set up a page in the front end where users can unsubscribe themselves from lists
  • You can add and remove users from lists in Automator recipes, as well as trigger recipes based on users being added or removed
  • You can filter actions and run loops based on lists, so you could enroll everyone on a list into a course or send everyone on a list (that hasn’t unsubscribed) an email

How’s that for a powerful addon?

Managing Lists

Everything in the User Lists addon is built around the concept of “lists”. Here’s what it all looks like:

User Lists Settings

In the example above, we have created 4 lists. Each of these lists can have multiple WordPress users associated with it. You can also set up a URL where users can manage their access to lists and you can define the text used for Unsubscribe links in emails. (Don’t worry, the page to manage list memberships can be used by users whether they’re logged in or logged out.)

Automator integration

Okay, so users can be added and removed from lists, but how does that apply to automations?

At the most basic level, here’s how you can control lists and access to lists as part of your Automator recipes:

User Lists Triggers & Actions

A user buys a product, they get added to a list. A specific purchase is refunded, they get removed from a list. They get added to a list, they’re enrolled in an onboarding course and sent a welcome email. All of these are pretty straightforward and powerful additions to your recipes.

But, of course, you want to leverage the real power of what you can do with lists, so let’s get into tokens, filters and conditions.

Suppose you want to send an email campaign out to everyone on your “Marketing” list. Have a look at this recipe:

Send a campaign emailEasy, right? With that loop filter, you can use a Run Now recipe to instantly send out a campaign to anyone on a certain list. Or maybe use the new Schedule trigger in the 5.7 release to schedule that loop and the emails to go out at a certain time. And yes, this filter type (on or not on a list) is also available as a condition.

Now you might be thinking, “Okay, but what if I don’t want to add lots of list conditions and I just want to exclude someone who opted out of emails from getting new ones?”

Well, you’re in luck. When you manage user access to lists from their profile pages or users do it from the front end, there’s a handy “Unsubscribe from all” option. It looks like this:

List Subscriptions

When users choose to unsubscribe from all lists, we automatically exclude them from future Automator emails unless you choose to override the behaviour. We make it easy with this new field in send email actions:

Bypass Unsubscribed List

So if you have a recipe that sends out an important transactional email, like a purchase receipt, just check that box and the email will go to everyone, including unsubscribed users. But otherwise you don’t need to worry about emails and unsubscription options, because we’ll take care of it automatically.

So how do users unsubscribe?

Start by creating a page and add this shortcode to it [automator_ul]. Then update the settings from the User Lists page to map to the new page with the shortcode. Once that’s done, you’ll see that in your recipes you have the new tokens shown in the screenshot below. If you want to include an Unsubscribe link in an email, you can use the token that’s highlighted.

User Lists Tokens

That token generates a unique, secure URL for each user that takes them to a page that outputs the lists they’re currently subscribed to. It works whether the user is signed in or out. They can simply check or uncheck list selections, submit the form, and their lists will be updated.

How’s that for a 1.0 release?

That covers the basics of the new User Lists addon. With those features, you’ll be well on your way to powerful list management and campaigns using Uncanny Automator. The plugin is available now at no extra cost for Plus and Elite customers, so if you don’t have a license yet, make sure to check out, and if you’re a Pro user, you can upgrade from inside your account.

Make sure to check out our new Knowledge Base section for User Lists Addon articles as well.

We have big plans for this addon over the next few months. Stay tuned here for updates, and we hope you’re as excited about this new release as we are!

author avatar
Ryan Moore Director
Ryan Moore (MA, PMP, BCom) is the Cofounder and Director of Uncanny Owl, creators of Uncanny Automator and a suite of popular add-ons for LearnDash. Since 2013, Ryan has helped thousands of companies add elearning and automation capabilities to their WordPress websites.

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