So far, I’ve been talking about different aspects of customer communities including its compounded benefits and numerous business outcomes that you can achieve by building one. And, I believe you’ve gotten tons of useful information which you may use to start building your own community, from scratch.
However, before you continue down, try to remember the community goals in your head through some of the stories that you’ve read till now.
Now you might say — “Hey, we know this, of course! Online communities will help us increase brand loyalty, generate more sales, reduce support costs, and increase retention. Isn’t it?”
Yeah, you’re absolutely right. BUT! Is this information enough?
Think about it: a goal to raise brand awareness is kind of nebulous. If you go into building your community with just that in mind, it’s hard to know where to focus your efforts. But, when you tell yourself that you want to increase brand awareness and you intend to track this by tracking the number of website visitors, you now have a way to focus your community management strategy.
This is where metrics come in. They are nothing but measurements, which can help you understand the behaviour of members within your community. It will ultimately guide you to take data informed decisions regarding your community strategy. So, in this story, let’s talk about understanding key metrics in your community.
Before going into depth, you can go and read one of my previous stories - it’s a good warm up, I must say!
Understanding Community Metrics
While it’s imperative to have a specific goal in mind to help you affect the broader success of the company, the only way you can do this is by identifying the KPIs, which are the most important metrics.
Singling out KPIs guides your testing in all your community efforts. You can’t test effectively if you don’t know what you’re trying to accomplish. Start by identifying which goals are
the most important to your company:
Are you trying to build awareness?
Are you trying to create new customers?
Do you want to engage existing customers so they become repeat, loyal customers?
For each of these goals, you’ll rely on a different set of metrics to figure out whether you’re reaching these broader goals or not.
If your goal is to raise brand awareness, then one of your KPIs might be as simple as getting new visitors on a website. If you’re trying to retain existing customers, then it will be more important to identify your community email open rate and click-through rate as a key performance indicator.
Possible metrics to track in an online community
Let’s have a quick look on all these possible metrics which you can track in your online community. Keep in mind that these are just an idea, it may vary depending on your business goals.
Conversion rates (customer acquisition)
Cost per conversion
Visits to your website
Email open rate
Social media engagement (likes, shares, comments)
Number of followers on social media
Cost per click
Number of website visitors (including returning and repeat ones)
The list could go on.The types of KPIs you want to track may vary depending on your analytics programs, but it’s essential to identify what’s most important to your business, and create a strategy to help guide that performance to achieve better results.
A popular data analytics company tracks the metrics in their online community to monitor the conversion rate of a customer moving through signup to implementation. And, their report shows that users who start using their platform within 7 days of signup, those who visited the community demonstrated 30% higher conversion rates. Not only this, they also track product adoption and usage through the community analytics. And they have found that users who are most engaged in the community also show the highest engagement in the product. So clearly, if you measure properly, you can manage efficiently.
Defining relevant KPIs to your community
This is an important bit. It’s time to take a look back at all your research and data, and review those hypotheses you developed in the early stories.These should help provide a solid foundation for establishing the weak part in your current community management process, and should help you solidify which metrics are most important to help you grow your company.
Here, you need to be as specific as possible and look for metrics that might not be so obvious, because thinking this through carefully will lead you to design an effective community strategy which would address those specific issues. So, instead of being generalistic, the key here is to identify which metrics are most important to you.
For example, if you run a marketing agency, you probably want as many people as possible to visit your website. And, you probably also want them to spend as much time as possible consuming the information on your website.So, some of the most useful metrics to track here would be the number of site visitors and the time spent on the site. Also, you have to track the bounce rate as well to ensure a lesser number of people are leaving your website. So, you would want this number to be low.
I am so excited to see that one of the most discussed topics on the internet today is online communities. It’s indeed a good time to be building communities :) Hope you guys feel the same. And I’d be glad to know from you guys what topic should we cover next in our newsletter? Add your thoughts in the comment section. Or reply to this email. We’d love to hear from you.