How are you welcoming your users?

Shauna HLV Staff
edited June 2023 in Talk Community #1

Hey everyone! 👋

When setting up a new community (or refreshing an existing one!) one of the things I always like to review is the member journey including the emails they get. This tends to be an interesting topic of discussion, and I was curious what this community thought about it and what you all were doing to welcome your members?

From a technical perspective, what they get depends on what ‘door’ they come in -- will they register directly through HL Vanilla, or will they come in through Single Sign On (SSO)? 

It’s important to think about the member journey as a whole. For example, do members already get a welcome email (or other kinds of emails) from your main site when they sign up via SSO? 

I always like to use a test account to sign up for the community to see what the flow looks like firsthand. 

💡PRO TIP: For unlimited test emails, most email providers such as Outlook and Gmail allow you to append +(text) to your email address and still deliver the content, for example, if your email is, you can test with or

SSO Registration Journey

If you are using SSO, your user journey might look something like this:  

You should consider whether members will receive an email if they sign up to the community and your main site at the same time – if so, do those emails repeat the same information

The default verbiage from Vanilla for an SSO Connect email (fancy talk for the email that’s sent when a user first creates an account in Vanilla via an SSO connection) is: 

Subject: Welcome Aboard!Body:Hello {username}! You have successfully connected to {Forum Name}. Find your account information below.Username: {username}Email: {email} 

Your PM, CSM or our Support Team can update that verbiage for you (though there are some caveats, which I'll outline below)

For those of you using SSO, do you send a Vanilla based welcome email? Or do you just talk about Community in your regular welcome email sent from your mainsite SSO system? Let me know in the comments below! ⬇️⬇️⬇️

HL Vanilla-based Registration Journey

If you're not using SSO, and your users are manually registering for Vanilla, their journey will depend on your registration settings.

How you set up your registration settings will in turn depend on the type of community you are running. Most communities force members to confirm their email. With this option, it can be easier to be sure folks are who they say they are and to deter spam.

Approval is only necessary for highly curated communities where each users needs to be vetted manually – I only encourage customers who really need to vet each and every member to turn this on. This option ensures that only verified members gain access to the community. Still, if it’s not completely necessary for your usecase, I don’t like making members wait for an administrator or moderator to approve them.

Consider what options you will enable and where in the onboarding journey members will receive emails. Depending on what options you have on, their journey will look something like this (perhaps with some steps removed if you don't need 'em):

The default verbiage from the Confirmation Email is:

Subject:Confirm My Email Address Body:Please confirm your email address to continue.Confirm My Email Address: {confirm email link}

The default verbiage for the Approval Email is:

Subject:Membership ApprovedBody:Hello {username}You have been approved for membership.Sign In Now: {Sign in link}

 Your PM, CSM or our Support Team can update either of those pieces of verbiage for you (though there are some caveats, which I'll outline below)

For those of you using our regular registrations, do you have them customized? Are you adding any specific CTAs? Let me know in the comments below! ⬇️⬇️⬇️

🏆 Ranks, Ranks, Ranks

 If you have zero criteria, users will also get a rank email when they first join the community -- this typically looks something like this:

Subject:Congratulations! You've been promoted to {rank name}.Body:Congratulations! You've been promoted to {rank name}.Check it out. {forum link}

This email will also include anything you've added into your rank settings, so be sure to check those out as well!

Some communities will set their first rank criteria to something more than nothing to spread the emails out a bit.

I like to rephrase 'promoted to' to 'earned' -- any other cool turns of phrase you all are using?

🎨 A word on customization...

We can update the verbiage (within certain limits) for these emails, and (except for the ranks email) we can add images and emojis (my favourite!!💃💃💃) and basic HTML such as lists, bold, italics, etc.

However, it's also important to understand that we cannot move buttons around or change the colour theme (besides the options in the email settings). 

If you want to get super customized, I would recommend leverage our Webhooks or Zapier Integrations with an email marketing tool.

✍️Crafting a Great Welcome Email

You can find inspiration here:

But I have a feeling this community has some ideas up their sleeves as well -- this thread

has some great ideas -- I know many of you are doing great things - I'd love to see what you all have come up with!

I feel like my go-to pieces of advice here are simple:

  • Keep it short, noone's got time to read a novel
  • Include one (maybe two) call to action
  • Images and emojis make things pop!

 Any advice from you all? Have you tried different things and received different reactions? I'd love to hear what you have to think!