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How to Use Suppression Lists in Campaign Automations

Suppression lists have been a possibility for traditional ClickDimensions email sends for a few years, and now they are available for use in campaign automations as well. Suppression lists are simply a marketing list of individuals that should be excluded from an email send. So, for example, if you have customers across the U.S., but want to only exclude customers in Florida from receiving your email send, you can create a marketing list using an advanced find—or use an already-created marketing list—to capture all your contacts or leads with a state/province of Florida. You can then append that to your email send as a suppression list. Thus, everyone on your marketing list that is in Florida will be excluded from receiving the email.

The screenshots below show an advanced find looking for contacts living in Florida to create your marketing list, and then where on the email send record you can add suppression lists.

At the time of the send, the system will cross-reference the marketing list(s) appended to the email send with suppression list(s), and any recipient on the suppression list(s) will be excluded from the email send.

As of ClickDimensions version 9.2, suppression lists are now available for use within a campaign automation. We added a new field on the Send Email action in a campaign automation that allows you to add suppression lists to the email send within a campaign automation. Bringing this feature into the campaign automation makes it easy to exclude certain individuals from an email send they would receive as part of the campaign automation.

In an earlier blog post, I detailed how you can use a decision node to periodically check and filter out ineligible individuals from progressing further down the path of a campaign automation. In that blog post, I used the example of a company with different service level tiers (silver, gold and platinum), and the decision nodes checked to see what the individual’s service level was at various steps throughout the campaign automation. If it was platinum, we put those individuals on a path that terminated with a Remove from List action. If it was gold, they progressed through the rest of the campaign automation. With the suppression list field now available on the Send Email action, you can build this in a different way. Let’s say you have a dynamic marketing list for each of the service levels.

You can then build your campaign automation, but instead of having the decision nodes at each checkpoint, you can just add your dynamic marketing list(s) to the Send Email actions as suppression lists. Because it’s a dynamic marketing list that we’re using as a suppression list, it will query the system at the time of the send, and anyone who matches that criteria will be excluded.

The decision node in the screenshot above still checks the Service Level field before sending the individual participant through the SMS step, contrasting how we had it configured before (with decision nodes) with the current method (with suppression lists). Note that both are still valid methods!

Another case where this might come in handy: Let’s imagine your business sells small pet supplies, and you have a form on your site to capture new leads interested in receiving your monthly newsletter.

You’re offering a 20 percent discount to new leads only. So, you create a marketing list for leads—and a separate one for contacts—created before your form went live.

Then, you create your campaign automation with your email send offering the discount.

In this scenario, everyone who fills out the form will be added to the campaign automation pipeline, but with our suppression lists added to the Send Email action, only leads created after the specified date will receive the discount email. As displayed in the screenshot below, in the Send Email action sidebar, when you click on the suppressed marketing lists lookup field, you can search for and select the desired list.

One benefit of this process is that the existing leads and contacts who filled out the form will still go through the steps following the Send Email action—in this case, a campaign response recording and notify user email. This means that you can prevent certain recipients from only receiving an email send as part of a campaign automation without pausing or terminating their timeline completely. It’s as easy as creating a marketing list and adding it as a suppression list, just like you would in a traditional email send.

Happy Marketing!

2018-11-08T11:49:36+00:00 By |Campaign Automation|2 Comments

About the Author:

Emily Clever is a ClickDimensions Product Consultant.


  1. Mikkel Pedersen Kaas August 7, 2018 at 12:03 pm - Reply

    What happens with contact/leads on the suppressed list? Will they just terminate at the send email action or will they proceed to the next step?

    • Bob T'job May 15, 2020 at 9:15 am - Reply

      I queried this same question with CDi today and received this answer:

      “The suppression list from your Email Send step will not carry over to the SMS Send step so that will not apply to both sending steps.”

      Therefore, the suppression list is local to the specific email action.

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