Planning For What Happens When It Doesn’t Catch On

There’s a dangerous myth that a community either catches on or it doesn’t.

Almost every prospect we’ve spoken with has treated their community as a ‘one-shot’ deal.

They will develop the platform, launch it, and hope people get engaged. If they don’t, they close up shop and leave. Some prospects even ask for an exit plan.

The odds of success are low if you plan on hitting a home-run on your first swing compared with taking multiple swings.

Like most things, it’s a process. We use audience research (often overlooked entirely), experience, and data to come up with the community program that’s most likely to work and begin testing it with the audience.

If it doesn’t catch on, we see what is and isn’t working and adapt accordingly. For example, if we can get a lot of people to visit but not stick around, that’s a relevancy problem. However, if we can’t get many people to visit in the first place, that’s an outreach and promotion problem. Both are fixable.

The more swings you take, the more you learn about what members want and what works. If you’re going to invest $500k (or even $50k) in a community, you want more than one swing at this. Don’t hype up launch day and treat the community as a one-shot deal. Treat it as the beginning of a process in researching what your members want and need.

Prepare for the game, not the home-run.

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