When it comes to measuring ROI, quantifiable metrics that can directly be tied to community are scarce. A lot of what happens in (and because of) communities, is a domino effect. Something as small as answering a question on time can eventually impact a person’s decision to become a long-term customer or not churn out. The connections people make, the insights they get from events or programs, and discovering newer ways to make the most of your product - all serve as pieces of a puzzle that collectively serve as critical factors in making a user’s decision.
So, as a community manager, you need to be able to keep a close eye on which community members are also active product users. These active users are leads and the more you can identify in the community, the more likely are you to tie conversions directly to ROI.
Communities, as a medium for nurturing prospects, are a great way to generate and identify leads. When you build a community, you essentially initiate open dialogue about your product and brand. Creating a community enables you to create a space for discussion and engagement, nurturing a feeling of inclusivity and connection within your target audience. Such an environment can result in heightened brand loyalty, organic growth through word-of-mouth, and lead generation.
When there are more people organically talking about your product, those outside the community can’t help but become curious about your product. Which leads to them having a bias or an intent to see what all the fuss is about. This eventually makes your community a direct channel for lead generation.
Not to mention, your community can have much more customer engagement than compared to your CS teams having 1-on-1s. This way, product users can also communicate with each other, help solves problems, and give insights into newer ways of using the product. The need for you to facilitate user interaction is alleviated and your community becomes a place where people can rely on each other rather than having to turn to you for everything. Other people’s positive view about the product builds more credibility, credibility builds trust, and trust leads to longer customer relations.
If you’re nurtured a sense of belonging and inclusivity in your community, you’ll more naturally start seeing enthusiastic product users. Some of the low-hanging fruits are product users who are currently on the free trial and have recently joined the community. Someone who’s new is curious, they’re more likely to spend time on your product and even more likely to ask questions or take advice from you, your team, or the community. It’s important to constantly be aware of new users signing up for your product every day and monitoring their activities in the community.
A great way to identify such users is to have an updated CRM like HubSpot or Salesforce. But even then, given everything you have on your plate all the time, it’s unreasonably demanding to sit through users every day and manually identify them. This is why it’s important to have a tool in place that frees you from having to do all the grunt work yourself.
If your company uses HubSpot as the CRM tool, you can sync that with Threado and choose to receive custom data from HubSpot and send custom data from Threado to HubSpot. You can sync user/member data to understand which members are qualified leads, which ones are potential prospects, which one's cold leads, etc.
For example - if the sales, revenue, or marketing teams have already identified potential leads, you just have to sync that data with your Threado and identify those users who are also members of the community.
Here, I’ve received the “Lifecycle Stage” data as the “Member Stage” data on Threado.
Now, I’ll use this data to filter out members who have been marked as “Lead” in HubSpot.
Using this, I can send them personalized messages that can help nurture them, or even setup workflows for specific onboarding or activation.
Similar to the previous example, you can also sync company details to create better cohorts and nurture these leads in a more personalized manner -
Leverage these data points to prioritize the leads and nurture them accordingly. Keep an eye out on their activities in the community and closely monitor how are they engaging in the community. Have monthly checkins to see what percentage of these organizations are active and where or why are they active. The more data you can gather on them, the more effective will be your approach and therefore, the greater will be the chances of conversion eventually.
For this, it’s not just important to know about member activities in the community but also to collaborate with your product team and understand which users are highly active in the product. Product users who are also community members are the ideal cohort that is most likely to convert.
One such way to surface them is to keep a close eye on product-related channels. You can set up a workflow to get notified anytime anything in the relevant channel gets posted.
This is what the workflow would look like -
Another way to surface these leads is to set up a workflow to get notified anytime a certain keyword is used. For example - anytime a member talks about “pricing” or “subscription” or “support”, you should be able to get to those messages as soon as possible and delight them with the right resources.
A possible workflow could look like this -
This workflow will send an alert to you whenever a message containing any of the selected keywords is mentioned. These can be any words, in fact, the more personalized you have these, the better. Feel free to use keywords that are relevant to your product or community.
For a quick guide on setting up these workflows in just a few minutes, check out this video guide 👇
Opportunities can get lost in translation too if you’re not careful or constantly aware of everything going on in your community. But you’re only human and it’s exhausting to say the least, if not borderline impossible, to always stay on top of everything if you’re completely dependent on manual efforts. Now, getting notified of the important things, that’s a surefire way to never miss anything, even when you’re not constantly monitoring.
How about getting notified whenever a person asks a question or posts a query in the community? This way, you’re able to get to the questions faster and also identify potential leads through these queries.
If you want, you can also automatically tag these members as “Potential Leads” as soon as they post a message. This tag can help you identify those members as potential leads in the community and send them relevant resources about the product that can be helpful. This not only makes them appreciate the product more but also the community that comes with it.
The workflow would look something like this -
Always keep a tab on new organizations that join the community. This means doing research about their company, the community team, what kind of work they do, and how can they benefit from your product. This will help you identify good leads early on and prioritize the ones that are more likely to benefit from what you have to offer. Engage them with unique, personalized resources that help solve use cases specific to their cause.
As a daily practice, you can filter to see which new members have joined the community and attach relevant tags to them that will help you identify them easily.
People who are the most active contributors in the community are your direct leads or new opportunities. Consistently looking out for the most active members in your community gives you your potential champions and if you nurture them right, they can not only become loyal customers but also vocal advocates, power users, or champions for your community.
These leads that lie at the intersection of product and community are also the most appropriate to be enrolled in ambassador or superuser programs. You can consider conducting a drip campaign using workflows and include only these members that are “Potential Champions”. You can nurture them through targeted onboarding or even incentivize their contributions both as a product user and a community member. These members can become advocates and play an instrumental role in facilitating word-of-mouth growth for your brand.
Community is about having patience. If you’re able to utilize your community as a platform for generating, identifying, and nurturing leads, you save your company thousands of marketing dollars and expensive sales meetings. An organic way to identify leads is not only more resource-friendly for an organization but also more reliable in the run as it guarantees better customer relations and less churn.
Tying community efforts to ROI doesn’t have to be difficult, just strategic. If you have the right processes in place that are working even when you’re not, you can quantify them to ensure transparency throughout the organization. Being able to identify leads is a direct way to communicate the value of your community with different teams and it directly positions a user into the funnel. Nurturing them in the right manner makes your community a platform for generating revenue. And from a business point of view, this reinforces the importance of community and the impact of community-led growth.