Automation Rules: Getting Started

Introduction to Email Rules

1. Decide which rules you want to implement, and in which order. We designed the out-of-the-box automation rule templates to appear as if they're coming from the community manager him-or-herself. However: if you implement them all at once, you can accidentally send certain members a barrage of emails! We recommend coming up with a staggered plan for deployment. Decide which rules are most simpatico with your goals, and start with those. With our community management clients, we usually assess their organizational strategy and recommend an automation rule implementation plan based on their long-term plans, but it can be as as simple as saying, "we really want more people to upload profile photos, so let's start with that." If you're feeling extra-cautious and just want to dip your toes in the water, here are some ideas for where to start.

2. Review the associated email templates, making changes as needed. The email templates that are sent via the rules live in your Admin area under Communities>Email Templates rather than in the Automation Rules tool area. Go and check a few out now. Some of you might like the templates as-is, while others may want to tweak the language in order to better appeal to your demographic. Go for it! Just note that the templates utilize mail merge variables; some of these must be set in the configuration area (see #3 below). We cannot recommend enough using the "Send to Me" button next to each template to check your work before going live with a rule. It's easy: just click the lovely turquoise button to the right of each template.

3. Double-check the Automation Rule configurations. Be sure to set these before sending any messages out. Here is where you set the community manager from whom the emails are sent, as well as how frequently the system sends the emails, a link to an "Introduce Yourself Here" thread, etc. Access the configuration area in Admin>Tools>Automation Rules>Configuration. It's simple and should only take a few minutes. Important: Your email rules will not send until you do this.

4. Implement the rules selected in #1 and their associated conversions. You will see that alongside our selection of prefab email automation rules, there are "conversion" rules. These are fantastic, because they will help you to see whether or not that automation rule inviting your members to perform a specific action has been effective. We have special reporting tools just for this, and they are great! It gives you the opportunity to get tons of useful data on which rules and which rule templates work for your members and which don't. So just remember--when enabling an email rule, enable it as part of a pair. This is done in the Tools>Automation Rules menu in the Admin area. All you have to do look for the "Edit" button next to each rule and select "Enable" or "Disable" from the dropdown as needed.

5. Do It Now--or don't. In addition to saving a rule and having it run automatically according to the time period set in your configuration area (there's #3 again), we have a "Do It Now" feature. However, "Do It Now" is limited by how much data our server can handle. Too much to do can make it time out. A handy guideline--if a rule is going to go out to more than a hundred people, use "Save" instead of "Do It Now.



SNAP! Training Webinars

SNAP! Training: Automation Rules 101 -- Email Edition

60 minute webinar covering the out-of-the-box campaigns built into the system, as well as the process of setting up an email template, automation rule, and conversion tracker.

Click here to watch.


SNAP! Training: Automation Rules 102 -- Ribbons & Badges Edition

60 minute webinar covering how to configure your ribbon and badge designs, and then how to assign them based on security groups, community membership, activities, and more.

Click here to watch.


Additional Resources

Blog Post: Suggested Automation Rules for the Faint of Heart

The above blog post gives you an idea of some of the easiest, simplest, and most successful rules to start out with. If you feel overwhelmed, try some of these!

Automation Rules Q&A Community

This is a great place to ask questions and get feedback about the rules from fellow users and Higher Logic staff. Have a criteria idea? Suggest it here!

List of Automation Rules Criteria

Want to see all of your options when it comes to Automation Rules criteria? Then check out this list.