One of the easiest ways an online community can attract new customers is by increasing traffic to the organization’s website. This can happen in several forms. It might come via ranking highly in search engines, including links in relevant places to product items or corporate information, or simply through offering a single click-through to a place where members visit the brand’s site.
One of the easiest ways a online community attracts new customers: increasing traffic to the organization’s website
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One of the most common mistakes here is to use direct tracking. Here, an organization tracks how many of those who click on the organization’s website from the community buy a product. This is a mistake. This is likely to include customers who would buy from the organization anyway (and could, indeed, be buying less from the organization).
Instead, we want to measure whether the community is bringing in new visitors (e.g. people who have not visited your organization’s website in the past). This shows us additional value. We then need to determine if this traffic is as likely to convert into customers as other traffic.
Remember here that we’re not just tracking the value of whatever a first-time visitor buys. We’re tracking the value of a customer over their entire lifetime with the company.
To calculate this metric, we need to collect seven distinct metrics. All of these are relatively easy to collect:
- Direct visitors from the community (shown below).
- Percentage of first-time visitors to the community (also below).
- Average conversion rate of these users into customers.
- Average order value.
- Average purchase frequency.
- Average gross margin.
- Average customer retention rate.
Community ROI Template
You can drop this data into the spreadsheet here. We have also outlined the process below.