You've built an attractive online community, people are logging in but something is missing. A way to maintain that engagement and continually highlight the value of your online community.
In several recent articles, we've discussed the untapped community management benefits of a newer marketing technique called remarketing or retargeting. By now, you're likely familiar with how it works: your members visit your online community, their browser gets "cookied," and then calls-to-action follow them across the web encouraging them to come back to your community.
While retargeting is an effective and affordable tactic in the traditional marketing realm, community managers are leveraging retargeting to boost participation in private online customer or member communities
If you're struggling to imagine how retargeting can work to increase activity in your private online customer or member community, check out these five proven examples:
A significant portion of the value your online community offers members is the ability to connect and discuss with their peers. The discussion areas of communities are often the most active areas of the community because community members seek opportunities to support each other, share ideas, and ask questions of people who have been in their shoes.Boosting engagement in your discussion forums is one of the best examples of how retargeting can positively affect the activity level in your online community.
Boosting engagement in your discussion forums is one of the best examples of how retargeting can positively affect the activity level in your online community.
Picture this: a community member signs in and clicks on one of your product forums page, maybe scrolls through a few pages, but doesn't add to the discussion.
Now, there could be any number of reasons your community member chose not to post to the discussion boards. Maybe they didn't feel confident enough in their opinion. Or, they were distracted by something else on the Internet vying for their attention. Or, maybe, their officemates chose that time to gather together to sing happy birthday to him or her while delivering a tin of cupcakes. Regardless, retargeting can help bring them back to the community.
Once they click away from the community, your retargeting platform tags their browser with information about which pages in the community they visited and serves up a targeted ad on other websites they visit. It might say, "Come back and join the discussion," or "Your peers are waiting to connect with you."
Depending on the features of your retargeting tool, you may even be able to produce more customized ads that speak to specifics about your member. For instance, if you know they have purchased a certain product, the ad can appeal to them as a product user. These reminders and encouraging call-to-action drive them back to your community where they follow through on participating in the discussion.
The only thing people love more than sharing their opinion is sharing their opinion when it is openly solicited. Following a big company announcement or regulatory change in the industry, you can customize your retargeting campaigns to ask specific members for feedback.
For example, let's say your company unveils a new module of your software product and a forum topic is created around the module. Since you can configure your remarketing campaign to target visitors of that specific forum, create a feedback campaign that gets those specific product users to contribute.
The most successful examples have one thing in commonâ€”they are specific. Let's say, you know that a particular member has access to the product advisory board, you can tag those pages to serve up ads that are specific to their role on the board. This can remind busy members to take their stay involved and contribute their opinion to the conversation.
Retargeted calls-to-action are also a great way to remind community members of different community features they may not have explored yet. There are always those customers or members that signed into your online community for a specific purpose, then ignored other ways they can get value from the community.
Examples of programs or tools that you can drive community managers back to are a new template or calculator, a mentoring program, or a study group for a certification they've shown interest in.
You want your online community to have an exclusive value to your community members. Highlight additional value that would make community members revisit to your private online community.
Initially, your customer or members will come to your online community for the content that they can't get anywhere else. Over time, that value proposition will be expanded to include the relationships that they form in the community.
This means content is a big deal. It is the reason many new members visit your online community, which leads to participation in other areas of the community (with the right calls-to-action).
Once community members browse away from your community, retargeting can bring this group back to your online community by highlighting the valuable, exclusive, original content in your community.
Ads for this type of campaign can be creative and highlight many types of content. You can create ads motivating them to check out certain articles, download a new document or join in on the comments section of a polarizing blog post.
Live events and conferences play a big role in building community. The have a significant impact in building relationships between community members, igniting passion around a topic, and increasing the "sense of community."
In-person meetings and customer conferences compliment the ongoing engagement in your online community well.
Community managers are using retargeting to drive community members who have exited the community to register for the communities events.
Use the combination of tagging community members who visit specific pages, like the conference information pages, and your remarketing platform's location-based segmentation features to target people who are likely to register for the event. Since they are familiar with your organization and have received value from your community in the past, it is a much warmer lead who is getting the ad than those people who you're targeting with non-retargeted display ads.
In addition to driving conference attendance, retargeting is an excellent tool to promote webinars or other online events that require a registration process.
For instance, if you are hosting a webinar on the features of a specific product or an educational webinar with a partner, you can use your retargeting campaigns to market to community members who have expressed interest in that product or subject area in the past.
Continually engaging the members of your online community is no easy task. Taking time to utilize tactics such as retargeting can make a big impact on ongoing engagement. These five examples are just the start of how retargeting can boost activity within your private online customer or member community.
Remarketing platforms are very flexible. You can create campaigns in response to areas where you want to increase engagement and based on the individual goals of your online community marketing. Retargeting is accessible, affordable, and effective, it's a strategy that online community managers should strongly consider adding to their tool belt.