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Employee using Zoho Campaigns: Autoresponders with help of ZBrains

Zoho Campaigns: Autoresponders vs. Workflows

Businesses use Zoho Campaigns to capture website leads, nurture them through the marketing funnel, and execute their email marketing strategy.

In this article, we’ll show you how to work with these Autoresponder and Workflow, Zoho Campaigns’ two tools for automated communication, and how you can leverage them in your email marketing campaigns for maximum impact.

Maximizing Engagement with Zoho Campaigns’ Autoresponders

In Zoho Campaigns, autoresponders allow you to create a series of emails that automatically send at predetermined intervals or based on certain actions your subscribers take, such as signing up for your newsletter, downloading an eBook, or making a purchase.

A few examples of when to use autoresponders include:

  • Welcome emails
  • Educational series
  • Abandoned cart reminders
  • Post-purchase follow-ups
  • Confirmation emails

These time-saving automations boost engagement while creating a more personalized experience for your customers.

What are Workflows?

Workflows are more sophisticated than autoresponders, as they enable you to create multi-step and multi-channel journeys.

You can use workflows to segment your subscribers into different groups based on their interests and preferences, then plan personalized messages designed to reach their inbox at exactly the right time, or in response to a trigger, such as sending a discount code when someone purchases a certain item.

In Zoho Campaigns, workflows are triggered by events or conditions that you specify in advance.

For example, you can set up a workflow so that when someone subscribes to your newsletter, they automatically receive a welcome email plus additional emails over the following weeks about your products and services.

You can also configure workflows to send out surveys or discounts based on certain criteria or customer segments such as their location or purchase history.

Like autoresponders, they are massive time savers and help keep your customers engaged. They make your life even easier by allowing you to create an automated sequence of emails and actions that can be monitored for conversions and adjusted as needed.

Autoresponders vs. Workflows: When To Use Each

Autoresponders are based on time intervals or specific subscriber actions, while workflows use more complex triggers, such as subscriber engagement, lead score, or changes in contact information.

They are also simpler tools—companies primarily use them for linear email sequences. Workflows allow you to build branching email campaigns based on multiple conditions.

Workflows offer greater flexibility in terms of targeting, segmentation, and tracking.

Use Autoresponders for:

  • Simple, time-based email sequences (e.g., welcome series, educational content)
  • Basic follow-up emails based on specific subscriber actions (e.g., abandoned cart reminders, post-purchase follow-ups)
  • Help desk or customer service emails that require immediate response (e.g., confirmation emails, account verification)

Use Workflows for:

  • Complex email campaigns that require branching and multiple conditions (e.g., targeted promotions based on user behavior or preferences)
  • Advanced targeting and segmentation (e.g., sending emails based on lead score, engagement, or changes in contact information)
  • Improved tracking and reporting to optimize email performance

How to Create Autoresponders and Workflows in Zoho Campaigns

Create an Autoresponder

To create an autoresponder, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to the toolbar and select “Automation,” then choose “Autoresponders.”
  2. Click on “Create Autoresponder” and hover over the Signup autoresponder before clicking “Create.”
  3. Fill in the necessary information:
  4. a. Assign a name to the autoresponder for easy reference.
  5. b. Choose a mailing list associated with your autoresponder or create a new one if needed.
  6. c. Opt to include contacts added to your mailing list through Import and CRM Sync, if required.
  7. Click “Create.”

The Signup autoresponder offers two views: timeline and tree view. You can switch between these views using the toggle button in the top-right corner.

Create a Workflow

To create a workflow in Zoho Campaigns, follow these steps:

  1. Go to “Automation,” select “Workflows,” and click “Create Workflow” in the top-right corner.
  2. Choose a template for the desired workflow type or create a custom workflow.
  3. Select a trigger from the left panel to initiate the workflow and configure it on the canvas.
  4. Pick a flow control component or condition component from the Process section and set it up on the canvas.
  5. Add and configure actions from the Engagement, Productivity, or Zoho CRM categories.
  6. Click “Activate” in the top-right corner to enable your completed workflow.

Best Practices When Using Autoresponders and Workflows

When using Autoresponders and Workflows, remember the following best practices:

  • Be aware of your subscriber’s actions. When creating an autoresponder or workflow, consider the actions that the subscribers have already taken. For example, if someone has already made a purchase from you, don’t include them in your onboarding sequence.
  • Only send content around topics your customers have subscribed to. Make sure your content is relevant to the topics they signed up for.
  • Test and refine your emails as much as possible. Monitor email performance and adjust your campaigns accordingly. Keep track of open rates, click-through rates, unsubscribed, etc., to ensure each campaign reaches its desired goal.
  • Limit send frequency. Avoid bombarding subscribers with too many emails. Make sure you are only sending content that is engaging and valuable, as opposed to promotional or irrelevant emails.
  • Keep your messages short and sweet. Simple formatting and plain language help readers digest the information quickly, leading to higher conversion rates.


Zoho Campaigns is one of the most straightforward and robust email marketing platforms that you can use to create autoresponders and workflows. Autoresponders are ideal for simple, time-based email sequences while workflows are perfect for more complex campaigns with multiple conditions. 

Following the steps in this guide, you can create successful campaigns that will engage your customers and drive conversions.

If you’re still having trouble setting up and automating your campaigns, chat with us for more help.

Marketing team planning a campaign

Choosing the Right Zoho App or Module for Your Marketing Automation

We get this question all the time at ZBrains: what is the difference between Zoho CRM Campaigns, Zoho Campaigns, and Zoho Marketing Automation? 

Although the names of these apps and modules are all quite similar, each has its own unique strengths. Let us take a closer look at how to use each resource, as well as the situations where it makes sense to use one over another:

What are the Marketing Features Offered by Zoho CRM Campaigns?

The Zoho CRM Campaigns module brings marketing automation features directly into your Zoho CRM to help you track the success of your sales and marketing campaigns. Depending on your business, that might mean measuring the number of deals, sales, or orders generated from a campaign. 

In any case, this module is mostly about marketing attribution, and Zoho gives you 6 algorithm modules to choose from:

U-shaped attribution and the time decay model–which attributes the most ROI to the last campaign someone was active in–are pretty standard choices for B2B businesses, while first-touch attribution is often more appropriate for small sales. Whatever you choose, all you have to do is pick the model, hit ‘Save’, and Zoho does all of the work for you.

As a note, although you can make campaigns manually in Zoho CRM Campaigns, you might not need to if you are using the Zoho Campaigns app or Zoho Marketing Automation. You also should not use Zoho CRM Campaigns to send mass email campaigns. The module does limit sending to 1,000 messages per day, but because the messages are sent from your own domain, you risk incurring penalties from Google for sending that kind of volume.

Zoho Campaigns

The Zoho Campaigns app is an email service provider (ESP) that is built to help businesses send marketing emails at scale, legally. Think of it like Mailchimp, Constant Contact, or other similar email marketing tools.

In addition to providing the standard email builder features you would expect from an email marketing solution, Zoho Campaigns gives you the option to create new campaigns in Zoho CRM Campaigns simultaneously. To set this up:

  • Click ‘Advanced Options’ inside your Zoho Campaign
  • Find the toggle labeled ‘Create campaign in Zoho CRM’
  • Toggle it to the ‘on’ position and save your changes

Then, if you log back into your Zoho CRM Campaigns, you should see your email or social campaign in your list. 

You will still need to create phone and direct mail campaigns manually, as Zoho Campaigns and Zoho Marketing Automation focus on top-rated digital marketing company. But once you have your campaigns fully integrated between the 2 apps, Zoho Campaign activities can be recorded in your CRM records, helping your salespeople better understand your contacts’ engagement.

Another key point about Zoho Campaigns and Zoho Marketing Automation is that they do not send from your mail servers (even though you use the authorization to on your DNS). Zoho Campaigns also sends emails in batches–typically smaller batches to warm up the IP of whatever server they are being sent from–so that they have a much higher chance of getting into recipients’ inboxes.

Zoho Marketing Automation

Finally, there is Zoho Marketing Automation. Going beyond the kinds of email, SMS, and social campaigns found in Zoho Campaigns, Marketing Automation adds autoresponder campaign types including:

  • Sign-up
  • Date-field
  • Closed Group
  • Calendar
  • Email-action
  • Smart Series
  • Lead Nurturing
  • Cyclic

These different autoresponder types are based on contact actions and other triggers. For example, a Smart Series autoresponder is like a newsletter–contacts can be added midway through a campaign, and they will receive new messages as they are added. 

With a Lead Nurturing campaign, on the other hand, email addresses are added directly to the autoresponder. Once they are warmed up, they are thrown over the fence into Zoho CRM for follow-up by sales.

The process of working with Zoho Marketing Automation looks very similar to Zoho Campaigns, but when you go to a ‘Journey’ in Marketing Automation, you will see that there are a lot more actions to choose from than with the comparable workflows in Campaigns. There are more entry points, more lead score calculation options, and more end-of-journey actions–it is just a more robust builder overall.

For these reasons, Zoho Marketing Automation is more comparable to a platform like Marketo or Pardot, while Zoho Campaigns is really meant for simpler campaigns built around email, social, or SMS.

Choosing the Right Zoho Marketing Solution

While there are plenty of other differences between Zoho CRM Campaigns, Zoho Campaigns, and Zoho Marketing Automation, the features highlighted above should give you a sense of when to use each:

  • Use Zoho CRM Campaigns to monitor campaign performance, but build your campaigns in Zoho Campaigns instead, where possible.
  • Use Zoho Campaigns to automate email, social, and SMS campaigns without compromising deliverability.
  • Use Zoho Marketing Automation when you need more complex autoresponders than can be achieved with Zoho Campaigns alone.

Any other questions about these tools? Reach out to the team at ZBrains if you have questions or need clarification.