Growing your community starts with helping one single user. And then another. And then another. And knowing the answers to these questions. By Jody Porowski (Founder & CEO, Avelist)
As the founder of an Internet Consumer website, I spent a great deal of time thinking about my users and the community that I'm building on Avelist. I think it's easy to be distracted by the quest for big numbers. In fact, I think we're often so distracted by the quest for many users that we forget how valuable each individual user is. On that note, I've been thinking a lot recently about the power of one. One single user. How does one person hear about Avelist? Why did they join? How can I help them? How can I welcome them?
What if we thought about users as one person instead of lumping them into a crowd? Because one person who has an amazing experience is going to tell more people than 20 other people who had a mediocre experience. One person who has an amazing experience is going to come back more times than 100 people who had a “blah” experience.
So how can we make our products better for each individual user? If you're able to answer each of these ten questions, you're well on your way to creating a positive experience for one user… and ultimately for one million users.
1. How Do They Hear about Us?
Very few products create an immediate, viral sensation. So how do customers hear about you? Are you pitching the the media, are you active on social media, are you linking to your website every chance you can get, are you talking to individual people and companies, attending meet ups, and convincing your own friends to join?
2. What Do We Offer Them?
They need to gain something from your product. How do you make their life better? Hopefully you know what you offer them, but do they know?
Make sure you tell them! If you don't tell them (on promotional material, on the landing page of your website) they won't know!
3. Why Do They Join/Sign Up?
What's their incentive? This is linked to #2. Make sure you offer them something (an ego boost, access to information, a community they need, entertainment, opportunity to learn) and make sure you clearly tell them what it is you're offering.
Hint: It should be so clear that they can easily explain your mission to others. This is crucial for "word of mouth" marketing.
4. How Are They Welcomed?
Do they receive a welcome message after signing up or a welcome email? Signing up for a new product and receiving no acknowledgment from the company is similar to inviting a guest into your house and not greeting them when they get there. Don't do it!!
5. How Are They Directed Once They Arrive?
How do you explain things to them? Your website might be super obvious to you, but to a first timer, websites and apps can be pretty confusing. Do you have a tutorial for new users? Does the welcome email contain instructions? Do you tell them how to use your product?
6. How Do We Make Them Feel Special and Important?
Is a new user just a number or are they a real, live, important, unique individual? Do you ask them about themselves and give them a unique experience based on their answers? Do you give them an opportunity to create their own identity and profile? Do you ask for their opinion and converse with them? Do they earn points for actions they complete?
In the iconic words of Maya Angelou: "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
7. How Do We Show Them They Belong?
Do you show them other users who are similar to them? Do you show them content that relates to their life and their interests? Does your style match their style?
Think about your target audience. Are you doing everything you possibly can to relate to them -- think about your design, your content, your word choice, etc.
8. How Do We Connect them to the Existing Community?
As one of my favorite PR professionals always says: "Relationships make the world go round." If someone forms a relationship on your product or because of your product, they gain tremendous value because of you. Are you fostering such relationships? Are you encouraging them and promoting them? Can people find their friends on your product or make new friends by mutual interests? Do you have an easy commenting system that encourages dialogue? Note: Your competitors might be able to copy your product but they cannot duplicate your community. Build it well. Treasure it. Foster it.
9. Why Would They Come Back?
Did they have a good experience on your product? Do they have a reason to come back? Will you provide a new experience and deliver more value the second time or will they have the exact same experience as they had before?
We all want repeat users but are you giving them a reason to use your product again? For them to come back again and again you have to deliver value again and again.
10. How Do We Remind Them to Come Back?
People are busy. Busy and distracted and forgetful. While they hopefully have such a fantastic first experience with your product that they are dying to return, sometimes they need a friendly reminder.
Are you letting them know when someone comments on their activity? Are you sending them juicy pieces of content that draw them back to your website? Did you ask them to follow you on Facebook and Twitter so they see your status updates? Do you email them to tell them that you miss them or to let them know about a cool new feature. It's your job to keep them connected. It's your job to build the relationship.
This post originally appeared on Avelist.
What's another important question to ask about your users?
About the guest blogger: Jody Porowski is the Founder & CEO of Avelist, a platform that crowd sources other people's knowledge and experience to save you time and give you guidance. Follow Jody on Twitter @JodyPorowski and check out her company at www.avelist.com