Community Growth: Step 2: Connecting (KB)

  • 25 October 2017
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You have already learned about how to reach out to your (potential) audience. The second step in growing your community is connecting. Connecting with your audience is all about creating relevant, persuasive, and timely communications about your community. Or in other words, presenting your community members with the right content, at the right time. Here's how!

Why relevant?

Your content and communication should be as relevant as possible. In other words, as tailored as possible to your target audience. You may rightly so wonder, what if different types of people receive my communications? In this case, the pitfall comes when we give in to the temptation of trying to talk to everyone at the same time. In most cases, your audience (e.g., your customers) are already segmented in, for example, 3 types or personas. When for instance sending out a mailing, it may be wise to use this segmentation to create three versions of your email rather than sending one, generic email to your entire audience.

Our own analysis tells us that, when it comes to different forms of below the line communication, relevance outperforms reach. Click-through-rates can be 4 to 5 times higher in communications tailored to specific segments or personas. This implies your results will be better when sending a tailored, targeted message to 200,000 people, than when sending a generic message to 1,000,000 people.

Why persuasive?

Connecting with potential community members through social media and direct mailing requires you to write direct messages and provide clear benefits of visiting the community. Once they visit, they must be able to easily find a reason to join your community. In order for your message to be persuasive, we have the following best practices:

Focus on a single message

Even if you can think of many different reasons why potential members would benefit from joining your community, your communications should be about just one of those reasons. This will ensure that you send out one clear message, which makes your message more persuasive.

Have a clear call-to-action

If you are for instance creating a social media post about your community, it should provide clear guidance on what you want your audience to do. It might be something such as "Visit our community" or "Ask a question" or "Share something". As long as the CTA is clear, your message will have higher conversion rates.

Be attentive of the channel of delivery

If you are creating an integration in your support page, for instance in the form of a link or a banner, the message you place here is important as well. Make sure it is relevant to the user at that moment, and on that particular page of your website to increase the chances of directing people to your community.

Why timely?

Being timely in your community is the key to connecting. A thorough understanding of context and ability to respond in a timely manner will positively affect the performance of your communication. 

Why is that? People use each communication channel with their needs and expectations in mind. They will also typically use some channels more than others, as we talked about in step 1. Timely communications therefore mean being aware of what content performs well in what channel, and adding a layer of context to it.

Here's an example: Say you know the most visited part of your support page is the FAQ section. A timely message would then be to let people who visit the FAQ know that your community contains even more FAQs and support.

Another example relates to the use of communications about service outages or failures, which can be an opportunity for you. Namely, when you position your community as the best way for people to keep track of what is going on, when issues will be resolved, and whether it affects all geographical locations in the same way. Now, you know how to connect to your members. This marks step 2 in a successful acquisition strategy. Continue reading about step 3: Motivating! 

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