Welcome messages and account activation


(Priscilla McClay) #1

Hi everyone,

I’ve been reading some helpful discussions on here about optimising your onboarding process and welcome message, and I have a couple of questions:

  • Do you have an email activation step in your account creation process?
  • What steps have you taken to encourage people to activate and not drop off at this stage?
  • If you have an automated welcome message, does this send after people activate their account?

I’m looking to do some work customising the automated emails that people recieve (happily, my platform lets me do this), but I think the existing subject lines are a bit misleading.

  1. When the account is created, they get an email with the subject line ‘Welcome to the [site:name] community’. The activation link and prompt to activate the account are in the body text.
  2. When they activate their account, they get an email with the subject line ‘Account activation for [user:name] at [site:name]’. The body text is pretty sparse, and basically just tells them they can now log in.

My feeling is that it’s wrong to say “welcome” in the first one because it implies they’ve completed the process, when, in fact, they still need to activate. Do you agree? Would I be better to change this to a clear call to activate the account?

I could then use the second email to craft a more engaging and personal-feeling welcome message - with a call to action to post in a specific conversation.


4: Confirmation and welcome emails
(Sarah Hawk) #2

I’m also doing some work around this topic @Priscilla so I’m glad you raised it. I don’t think we have this process right yet either.

[quote=“Priscilla, post:1, topic:1354”]
Do you have an email activation step in your account creation process?
[/quote] Our process is complicated slightly but the additional step of selecting a membership level. We removed the activation step because there were already 6 steps in the process.

The key to creating great user experiences (and habit forming platforms) is to simplify processes as much as possible. We decided that the pros (simplification) outweighed the cons (possible bot/spam signups) in our case.

I agree with you. The word Welcome definitely implies that the process is complete. The suggested change to your process makes a lot of sense to me. 1 clear purpose + 1 clear CTA in each email.

Make sure monitor your stats when you make the change, so that you can see if it’s working or if you need to make further tweaks.


(Richard Millington) #3

Think this was one we disagreed on right? :smile:

If we were a bigger site, I’d probably have the activation step - and that might change one day soon.

I’d have an activation step and then a welcome autoresponder at some point in the future. Maybe a day or two later. Some platforms let you do this, some don’t.

Are you using Discourse @Priscilla ?


(Sarah Hawk) #4

Nope – I think we’re in agreement here. (Stranger things have happened!)

I’m interested though, why do you both want activation emails?
It makes sense for paid accounts, but I’m not sure of the value for general community registrations.

[quote=“richard_millington, post:3, topic:1354”]
I’d have an activation step and then a welcome autoresponder at some point in the future.
[/quote] We have something similar now in that we have the immediate “Welcome thanks for joining” email from the main platform, followed by the Welcome autoresponder from Discourse that comes later.


(Darren McKay) #5

I’m with @richard_millington. I have a 22,500+ user community with over 7m posts. It’s a honeypot for bad actors and the email activation step is a valuable one. I concede that it adds less value for smaller communities.

That said, I’ll admit to having not studied drop-off between registering and activation. I suspect it’s higher than I would like it to be. If you are a non-member and you are taking the step to register it must be because you have read something you wish to respond to, and to do so NOW.

The activation step adds friction and a delay. By the time the activation email arrives in your Inbox, the moment has passed. You may feel less inclined to make the point that was burning when you registered.

I’m not sure I have this right now.


(Sarah Hawk) #6

I’m curious to hear why. The only reason I can think of is so that people don’t make a typo which might affect the efficacy of password resets in the future.


(Stine Verdelin) #7

This is something I am working on right now as well - so I have been following the discussions here closely. Ours is a branded community and we have account activation but only for people with the company email. The reason for the activation is that internal people are allowed to see more content than a regular user. The regular user will get a welcome email upon sign up.
We have had instances where the activation email has been ignored and people have complained they could see the expected content. I am now wondering if the phrasing has something to do with it. The subject line is “[site:name] Email Verification” but the mail text is “Hi [name] Welcome to the community” I do have a huge VERIFY button two lines down, but I never considered that the word Welcome would imply that the process is completed. Maybe “Just one more step and you are in” would do the trick.


(Priscilla McClay) #8

Thanks for the replies, everyone. It’s good to know that I am on the right sort of track with the welcome emails - I will do some work on changing the copy, and, of course, keep a close eye on my stats before and after.

It is an interesting question about whether the activation step is strictly necessary. I didn’t start working on my community until after launch, so I’m not sure if there was a discussion about this in the development stages, but I could find out.

I thought one of the purposes of activation was to make sure that the person setting up the account owns that email address? I’m sure it is pretty rare that people try to sign up to communities with someone else’s email - but, given the sensitive nature of my community, I suppose it’s arguable that we should err on the side of caution.

@richard_millington, No, Drupal.

@Stine I like “Just one more step and you are in” - sounds as though it could be very effective!


(Sarah Hawk) #9

Try it and see. I always find it amazing how such a small thing could have such a huge impact.
Welcome, by the way. :smile:

[quote=“Priscilla, post:8, topic:1354”]
I’m sure it is pretty rare that people try to sign up to communities with someone else’s email
[/quote] I thought about that as well, but I can’t see what purpose it would serve. If I started getting emails from somewhere that I didn’t sign up to, I’d just unsubscribe (or contact them). If you’re not seeing a downside to the activation email, then I agree, caution makes sense.


(Priscilla McClay) #10

Well, there is certainly a drop-off with people not activating, but I will see if I can bring this down by optimising the process and the email wording.