Once we have optimised our CTAs (calls to action) for the relevant channels we need to think about how to maximise the likelihood that our new conversions will become engaged members. One of the primary ways of doing that is through your first email contact.
Every platform handles the registration process slightly differently. Some require email activation and others don’t. Ideally we want to minimise the number of system-generated emails because people will be overloaded with information and your CTA will be lost.
New members should receive an immediate confirmation e-mail when they register and then a more personal follow up later. Each email should have one clear purpose and one clear CTA.
Let’s look at each of those in more detail and then talk about how we can track their efficacy.
The confirmation email is system generated and its purpose is to let a user know that they have a new account. It should be short and direct, containing their user information (so that they can refer to it later if they need to) and one clear CTA.
You have a very small window to convert a newcomer into a regular. You need to guide them to make an active contribution to the community within the first 24 hours. You need to ask them to participate in something that has a low barrier to entry, but has the potential to raise something that you can draw them out further on.
We ask people what they are working on with the aim of finding out what challenges they have and need help with.
Here is a template that you can customise to work for your community.
Welcome to [community], we’re really pleased you found us.
Here are your account details:
Username/email/membership level (or even better, link to their profile page)
We ask every new member to take just one action when they join. We want you to tell us what you’re working on. What’s the biggest challenge you face? What can others help you with?
You can tell us about that here [link]
You might be surprised just how much great advice you get!
Following up with a personal welcome email can also be effective* but it is time consuming, especially in large communities. Measure the efficacy of the personal welcome in your own community and then decide on whether it’s worth prioritising your time.
The key to the personal welcome is keeping it short. Emails are read for ~20 seconds, so excess content means that the important CTA is more likely to be ignored.
The other thing to remember is that people often call system generated emails that have someone’s name in them ‘personal’. They’re not. This one is different, and to make sure that is clear I always spend some time researching the individual. I only take a minute or two, but it makes a big difference.
- Look at their email address. If it contains a name (eg: sarah.hawk @domain) Google that first.
- If that doesn’t work but the email address is a business (eg: @feverbee.com), Google that.
- If the email search turns up nothing, try their username. People often use the same one for numerous accounts.
Ideally you’re looking for their LinkedIn page, a mention of them on an organisation’s website, or failing those, another social media account. Pick a fact that relates to their professional life (be careful if using Twitter), offer a compliment (eg: “it sounds like you have lots of interesting experiences to share” or “I imagine you have lots of ideas that we could learn from”) and ask an appropriate question (“Are you looking to solve a particular challenge at [organisation]?”).
Here is a template:
I see that you’ve recently joined us at FeverBee. Welcome!
I see that you work at [organisation]. I imagine that’s an interesting position with unique challenges! Does your interest in community relate to your role there?
Is there anything in particular that you’re looking for from FeverBee? If there is, then please feel free to start a new topic [here] and I’ll make sure I send some experts your way.
If you’re simply here to be a part of our group, I’d love to hear what you’re working on [here].
Anyway, that’s probably enough from me! I’m truly glad to have you on board.
Community Manager – FeverBee Experts
Tracking the data
This is the important part. Assuming your CTA is the same in both emails, you need to know which one is the most effective. The easiest way to do that is to create a campaign for each in Google Analytics. Here is now you do that:
- Build a tracking URL using the URL building tool. (Make sure you choose a good campaign name so that you can easily recognise it in your GA report – eg: personal-welcome)
- Use that URL as the CTA in your personal welcome email
- In GA go Acquisition --> Campaigns --> All campaigns and then search for the campaign name that you set in step 1.
Every time someone clicks the link it will register in the report.
If you have the ability to customise your system generated confirmation email, you can set up a separate campaign for that as well.
``* I have only just started tracking the data so don’t have hard numbers to share yet.