In this article, you'll learn how to create an Automation Rule that will automatically send an email of your choosing to your users. This type of rule makes it easy to reach dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of users as efficiently as possible.
EXAMPLE: Check out Manage Automation Rules to learn more about accessing and managing your Automation Rules.
EXAMPLE: You can create email-based Automation Rules to send emails to your users for numerous reasons; in this example, we'll focus on the scenario below. Take what you learn here and apply it to meet your specific needs.
SCENARIO - Users without profile photos have been posting to one of your Discussions and you'd like to send an email message to prompt these users to upload profile photos.
ACTION - Create an email-based rule as described below. Note that doing so has three high-level steps (Create an Email Template, Create the Email Automation Rule, and Monitor the Rule's Effectiveness), each with several sub-steps.
Step 1 - Create an Email Template
Because this rule centers around sending an email, you have two options:
- use an existing template
- create a new one specifically for this rule.
NOTE: If you already have a template you plan to use, skip to Step 2.
For this example, we're going to create a new template, which can be done on the Admin > Email > Email Management > Email Templates page. From there, click Create.
On the resulting page:
- Give the template a name that makes its purpose clear (this is not shown to recipients).
- Make sure the Category is set to Automation Rules.
- Enter the email address where you want replies sent. TIP: If you want replies sent to your community manager, insert the variable CommunityManager.EmailAddress to include the address listed on the Automation Rule Settings page. This way, if the community manager ever changes, or their email address does, the variable will automatically update to match the provided community manager's email.
- Write a compelling subject to grab your users' attention.
- Write an HTML and text-only version of your desired message.
NOTE: Where applicable, be sure to add mail merge variables in the HTML version of your message; these variables are automatically replaced with the appropriate information when the email is sent, and allow you to easily include information that's automatically personalized for each recipient (e.g., automatically inserting each user's first name, etc.).
To view the list of available variables, click the Mail merge variable selector button at the bottom-right of the HTML toolbar. We recommend at least inserting the FirstName variable so each email is personalized to each recipient. This variable is located under the Contact category.
TIP: Variables do function in the Text version, and you can copy/paste them there.
- When finished, click Save to create your template.
Step 2 - Create the Email Automation Rule
Now, you need to create the rule itself. Back on the Automation > Automation Rules page, click Create.
On the resulting page, we're going to define our email rule as follows:
- In the first menu, select the Send an Email to category, and then select the following rule criterion (click Add after each selection):
TIP: After clicking the dropdown, you can type in the search field at the top to quickly filter the criterion you're looking for.
- has made at least one discussion post (new thread or group reply) within the last specified number of days - Set this to 7.
- does not have a profile photo
- has received fewer than the specified number of automation rules emails in the last 24 hours - Set this to 1.
TIP: When more than one criterion is selected, they can have either an AND or an OR relationship, controllable via the associated buttons to the right. Select the appropriate option best suited for your rule.
- At the top of the page, toggle the rule to Scheduled so it's active and ready to be run per the defined schedule.
- From the Send the menu, select the email template you created in Step 1 - Create an Email Template OR select an existing template.
- To prevent users from being spammed with unnecessary Automation Rule emails, set the Send this email to those who have not been affected by this rule option to ever.
- Directly below, set when to start sending the email and decide when to stop.
- Name your rule.
- When it comes to saving your rule, you have two options:
- Click Save to run the rule when designated by the schedule.
- Click Save and Run Now from the dropdown to immediately queue the rule for processing.
NOTE: All rules are processed on a "first come, first served" basis. While this is the best method to run a rule quickly, it's not instantaneous; how quickly it runs depends on how many other rules you have in the queue.
TIP: Click the Calculate Who Qualifies button to see how many users will receive the email. Also, at the bottom of the page, you can send a test email to your address if you want to see how it looks before sending it to your users. This is a good way to verify you're happy with the email's formatting, layout, HTML, and/or variables.
Step 3 - Monitor Your Rule's Effectiveness
Ultimately, the most important aspect of a rule is whether it accomplished its intended goal. One way to gain some clarity on this question is to create another rule, specifically a Conversion rule, which will help you monitor your rule's effectiveness.
NOTE: We recommend waiting a week or two before running a Conversion rule to give users time to perform the desired action (in this case, upload a profile photo). You can then continue to monitor, as desired, as more time passes.
To create another rule, navigate back to the Automation > Automation Rules page and click Create.
Just like during Step 2, we need to define the Conversion rule's criteria:
- Select the Mark as Converted category, and then select the following rule criterion (click Add after each selection):
TIP: After clicking the drop-down, you can type in the search field at the top to quickly filter the criterion you're looking for.
- has been affected by the specified rule within the last specified number of days
- has a profile photo
- Toggle the rule to Scheduled so it's active and ready to be run.
- In the criteria area, for the affected by criterion, select the Automation Rule you created in Step 2 - Create the Email Automation Rule and set it to 30 days.
- Name your rule as desired.
- Click Save to create the rule and run it later OR select Save and Run Now from the drop-down to run it immediately.
After your Conversion rule has had time to make an impact, you can quantitatively measure how much using the Rule Conversion report.
To run this report, navigate to the Admin > Automation > Reports page, and then click View Report in the Converted area. A breakdown of the users affected and converted within the designated date range are shown, helping you understand how many users are positively responding to your rules.