Member Lifetime Value

November 30, 2011Comments Off on Member Lifetime Value

Ultimately, when the great tide of novelty recedes, it's only members that have built relationships with each other that remain. They keep coming back to talk to their friends. 

We need a long-term perspective. We need to focus on the lifetime value of members. If you demand short-term results, you build a short-term community. You build a community based upon clicks.

Clicks represent reactions to stimuli. People click to become members, respond to a discussion, share content. Clicks are measurable, but irrelevant to the long-term success of a community. When something new comes along, you lose the clickers. Your efforts are wasted – you will have to start again.

If you're working on a long-term perspective (more than a year), you know that building relationships is key.

Relationships aren't built upon clicks. Relationships are built upon meaningful interactions. Relationships are built upon increasing levels of self-disclosure, gradual (gradual!) development of trust and familiarity. 

It's worth spending time to build a good relationship with a single member. Five years later, there's a good chance the member will still be participating. 

It's worth introducing two members to each other. That relationship keeps them both active for years.

It's worth connecting a few members with a common interest together. That can become the foundation for a group that grows for many years. 

All these seemingly insignificant, low-impact, tasks (at least in the short term), keep paying off for years.

When you build relationships, make connections between members and assiduously cultivate friendships groups – you build a community for a decade, not for a year.

Surely that's what we should be doing?

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