This is a typical first conversation with clients.
Q: What's the objective?
A: To increase loyalty
Q: What happens if customers are more loyal?
A: They visit our website more frequently
Q: What happens if they visit the website more frequently?
A: They buy more of our products.
The objective of the community is to sell more products and services to existing customers. This is good, we can measure existing benchmarks, establish antecedents (increased visits to the website), and track whether it succeeded.
Too often, we use terms such as loyalty, knowledge exchange, and improved sentiment when we should be talking about real ROI metrics.
Here is a useful sheet we use to help those that take our course: http://course.feverbee.com/ROI.pdf.
You usually have to get behind the initial response and go 2 to 3 layers deeper to uncover the real ROI of a community. Don't be afraid of doing that.
Our first steps with new clients are always the same:
1) Establish the objectives in ROI terms
2) Ensure a community can achieve these objectives (i.e. not something short-term or targeting new customers)
3) Identify a method to measure the increase in ROI (usually split tests/control groups etc…)
4) Identify visible antecedents of the ROI for checking progress more frequently (the ROI is a complicated thing to measure, establish easy antecedents you should also measure)
Going back to the ROI sheet here, the objective is the second column, you measure the third, and check the fourth.
If you want to master the social science approach to building successful communities, sign up for our Professional Community Management course.
Registration is open now. The course begins on April 28th