Community Lead Generation Machine

November 28, 2013Comments Off on Community Lead Generation Machine

Like a business, a community needs to generate leads.

These are people potentially interested in joining the community. 

A good community manager both generates leads and converts them into regular, active, members. 

Generating leads

This typically means content, events/activities, and direction interaction (see the CHIP process). The goal is to collect e-mail addresses or methods of directly contacting someone. 

  • Whitepapers. Use the community to co-create a whitepaper that tackles a difficult issue within the industry. The more analytical, the better. Let people outside of the community download it for free. 
  • Surveys. Survey your community member regularly and publish the results. The Community Roundtable does this well with their annual state of community management reports. 
  • Host live twitter chats. Set a day, identify the biggest topics, and debate the issue on twitter. Make a list of the people that retweet the material, participate, and can later be contacted.  
  • Funny. Create a collection of the funniest stories from community members. Turn this into an eBook or a single document that members can download. Make it easy to share individual stories on Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn. 
  • Events and meetups. Host an event either online or in person. Make a list of the people that attend. Directly interact with people at the event. 


  • Unexpected. Publish a regular list of stories from the community that are unexpected. These are usually member experiences. Thay might include best/worst experiences, an amazing revelation about a topic, or broadly a heartwarming experience. 



  • Referrals. If your technical, build in a simple process for members to highlight and select friends which might be worth approaching to join the community. This works very well on LinkedIn/Facebook/Twitter.



  • Social media channel. Review your own accounts and highlight the people that might be interested in joining the community. 



  • Commenters. If someone comments on your blog, they become a lead you can follow up with later. A very interested lead too.



  • Prospecting. You can also build up your own list of prospects from existing information (listed interests in social accounts etc..) and follow up with these directly.  


Take this as seriously as any type of lead for your business. Use a proper CRM system (we like Salesforce). Enter each lead with a follow up task (i.e. contact again in 1 week re: previous experiences with {topic}. Use a soft sales process.

Try to engage and build a relationship first (repeated series of questions/responses/self-disclosure) before asking them to participate in the community.

You need to create around a dozen high-quality sources of new leads for your community. A one-time activity is good, but having a regular channel which drives new leads for the community is far better. These sources need to be regularly updated and augmented with more material. 

Track your leads throughout the membership lifecycle. Ensure you always have a follow up action with each member to check in and see what more you can do to get them more engaged. Very often, simply identifying a new discussion someone can participate in is enough of a nudge to convert them into a regular, active, participant in the community. 

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