Automation Rules can be daunting.
On one hand, they're versatile and powerful tools that can be configured to meet just about any need or goal you have, and they help automate tedious and time-consuming actions that reduce the burden on community managers; on the other hand, if you're not already familiar with how to set them up, the hundreds of criterion available and countless combinations possible may leave your head spinning. Email-based rules, in particular, have the potential to spam every user in your site if you don't plan and schedule them properly.
If you're new to Automation Rules, this probably sounds intimidating, which is why we find many clients aren’t using these wonderful tools; but being that dozens of excellent Automation Rules come provisioned with your site, there's no reason not to. That's why you should dip your toes in with six of our best-practice email rules every organization should use.
NOTE: Each email-based Automation Rule, including the six below, has a corresponding email template you can edit on the Communities > Email Templates page. From there, select Automation Rules from the Category menu. You should update these templates as needed to align with your organization's guidelines style.
Welcome New Member
Most of the rules below target users who are already active in your site, but what about those who haven’t yet become active? Even if you include your site in your overall welcome messaging to new members, having community-specific welcome messages is incredibly valuable: Appearing to come directly from the community manager, it provides a personal touch to new members, giving them a “friend” in the organization to reach out to, and potentially even specific actions to undertake to help ease them into the site, like introducing themselves in a Discussion forum, completing their profile, or downloading important files from a Library.
Before Automation Rules, community managers were forced to welcome new members individually; with rules like this one, you can automate an otherwise tedious task and put the time you'll save to better use, like planning other member-engagement activities.
Your First Post (Picture) & Your First Post (Bio)
These twin rules do exactly what you'd expect: If a user posts their very first message in a Discussion and doesn’t have a profile photo or a bio uploaded, respectively, the email thanks them for their contribution and prompts them to take a moment to update their profile with a picture and bio. If you’re worried about spamming all of your members to update their profiles, this email offers a way to target the low-hanging fruit: People who've already shown interest in the site.
We Miss You
This email is sent to a relatively small group of people: Community members who've made significant contributions in the past, but who haven’t posted in awhile. It’s a friendly, appreciative message, and many clients who have used it say it not only receives great feedback from their users but has also prompted many of them to come back to the site within a week of receiving it.
Keep the Conversation Going
Much like We Miss You, this rule targets a small segment of your user population: budding community MVPs. The Keep the Conversation Going email is sent to members who've started a thread or post that became unusually active, but who haven’t accumulated a certain number of contributor points yet. It tells them you think they’re great at starting discussions, and invites them to start more. This rule regularly has a 100% conversion rate, meaning it almost always succeeds in prompting those who receive it to post again.
Try Mobile App
If you’ve licensed the MemberCentric mobile app for your site and haven’t yet enabled versions A and B of this rule, stop everything and enable them now. Version A targets people who use your site frequently, while Version B targets anyone who has accessed your site from a mobile browser. It figures out if those people have logged in to the mobile app, and if they haven’t, sends them an invitation to download the app and give it a try. Many clients have seen a significant increase in mobile app logins after enabling these rules.
Most online communities require its members to accept a code of conduct/terms and conditions when accessing them for the first time; if they don't, they can't log in. Enabling this rule sends an email to users who've accessed your site site but didn't accept your terms, giving you an opportunity to inquire if there's anything you can help them with and gently prompt them to come back and see what they're missing.