There are three main principles of communication automation:
A trigger is a lead's action on your site which initiates auto message sending.
Any lead event can be a trigger. For example: session started, entered sign up page or clicked "Checkout" button.
Divide your leads into segments in order to send different messages and pop ups. A segment is a group of leads allocated by the same properties or events.
Since lead properties can have different values (number, line, date, boolean variables or list), you can segment by their content:
we need to send an email to leads from New York:
Or you want to send an email to leads who have shopping cart amount more than 200$:
Events can be filtered by it's number, date of first and last event.
you need to select all leads who visited your site for more than 5 times:
Or you want to find all leads who didn't use a discount on your site (number of events, date of first and last event will have the same meaning since all of them are defined):
All leads who changed or added an email within last 5 days (last event date is less than 5 days ago):
Read more about segmentation in this article.
Timeout is a sending message time delay. Example: you want to send a promo code to a lead who is looking through your items for more than 30 minutes. In this case you may indicate "session started" or "entered item page" as a trigger, and set 30 minutes timeout.
It is important to note, that if an auto message has a timeout, than lead properties and events will be checked when this time is passed:
triggered action - N-time period - lead segment is allocated (which matches all filters).
The same principle has abandoned cart email. An email will be sent to a lead in an hour if he visited shopping cart page and didn't complete his purchase.
Now you are able to send auto messages to the right leads (segment) in a right time (trigger and timeout).
Lets look at this example with a pop up which offers a discount and requires to enter email:
Thus, if a lead enters an email before and changed it one more time after visiting your site (during 20 seconds) - he won't see this pop up.
You can do a real magic by setting triggered messages with segments and timeouts.