The dream journey might look a
little like this…
Step 1: The member hears about the community several times
through friends, via existing sites for news on that topic, and on social media
platforms. Better still, they hear about the community from a friend using a
Step 2: The member visits the site and sees a list of
exciting discussions on the landing page with an open box asking for his/her
opinion on a major issue of the day. After the member submits an opinion, they
are prompted for an e-mail address and anti-spam code to register. It’s two
If they complete this, their comment already appears (it’s
deleted in 3 hours if they don’t click the e-mail confirmation link, after 2
reminders at one hour apart).
Step 3: Immediately they’re taken to a page that shows
meetups in their location, members in their location, or highlights some of the
community’s most popular discussions.
For location, use the IP address of the visiting member. Dating site adverts
do this especially well (or mischievously).
Step 4: They receive a notification on the first reply (and
only the first) to their first contribution to the community. A volunteer
community member also contacts them to ask a few questions and begin building a
relationship with a view to guiding them to people with whom the newcomer can
forge strong relationships.
It’s important that the outreach is genuine, solicit real
responses, and the volunteers are fun, likeable, people – not drones. Drones drive
Step 5: After 5 contributions they receive an e-mail
inviting them to share their biggest success/failure. It’s a ritual. They get
access to see the stories from previous members. This is a highlighted active
area of the community. They also receive further information about the
community’s history, goals, and ideals.
Step 6: After a few weeks they’re sent an e-mail inviting
them to become more involved in the community. Would they like to submit
regular content, take responsibility for a particular topic, or help greet new
members? They’re told it’s expected that members will help out the community.