Automation Rules for the Faint of Heart

By Lindsay Starke posted Mar 09, 2016 02:45 PM



The email functionality of our automation rules can save you a massive amount of time as a community manager, but they are also, rightfully, a little daunting. After all, it’s a tool that has the potential to email everyone in your database. That’s why I find that many of our clients aren’t using the automation rules—but talk about throwing out the (amazing, time-saving, ultra-powerful) baby with the bathwater!

If you’re intimidated by automation rule emails, however, you don’t need to set up a huge, comprehensive tactical plan with every rule in the book. You can simply start with a few and see how they go over. I’ve collected five of my favorite automation rules that are perfect for beginners, no matter how cautious you are.

We Miss You

The “We Miss You” rule is sent to a relatively small group of people: community members who have made significant contributions in the past, but who haven’t posted in . It’s a friendly, appreciative message, and many clients who’ve enabled it have shared that this message gets the most warm-fuzzy replies from users. And it’s not just warm feelings: this rule tends to have a high conversion rate (26% according to one client), which means that recipients are inspired to come back into the community and post again within a week of receiving it.

Keep the Conversation Going

Much like “We Miss You,” this rule targets a small segment of your : budding community MVPs. “Keep the Conversation Going” is sent to members who have started a post that became unusually active, but who haven’t accumulated a certain number of contributor points yet. It tells them that you think they’re great at starting discussions, and invites them to start more. Interestingly, this rule regularly has a 100% conversion rate, meaning that nearly everyone who receives it goes on to post again. In other words, this automation rule is a winner.

Your First Post (Picture) & Your First Post (Bio)

These twin rules do exactly what they say on the tin: if a user makes their very first community post and doesn’t have a profile photo or a bio uploaded, respectively, the rule thanks them for their contribution and asks them to take a moment to update their profile with a picture and bio. If you’re worried about blasting all of your members with an invitation to edit their profile, this is a nice approach to hit the low-hanging fruit: folks who have already shown interest in the community.

Try Mobile App

If you’ve licensed the MemberCentric mobile app for your Higher Logic community and haven’t enabled the mobile app automation rules, stop everything and go enable it. A of this rule targets people who use your community frequently and the B rule targets anyone who has looked at your community from a mobile browser. It figures out if those people have logged in to the mobile app, and if they haven’t it sends them an invitation to download the app and give it a try. Since enabling these rules for one of my clients, they have seen a 294% increase in mobile app logins.

Welcome New Member

Most of the above rules target already active users in your community, but what about those who haven’t yet become active? Even if you include your community in your overall welcome messaging to new members, having community-specific welcome messages is incredibly valuable: it serves as a personal touchpoint from the community manager, giving your new members a “friend” in the organization to reach out to, and it gives them specific actions to undertake and an intro into the community. Before automation rules, I welcomed new members individually to the community and invited them to introduce themselves or ask a question. With the “Welcome New Member” automation rule, I was able to save a huge part of my day for things that required more brainpower.

I hope that you’re feeling encouraged to try out a few automation rules; if you need help with the actual technical process, I did a SNAP! Training on the email rules that you can watch here.

Have any favorite rules you’d like to share? I’d love to hear your front-runners in the comments!