Darren Rowse of ProBlogger is, of course, known as leader in the blogging world. But, what some may not know about Darren is that he is the owner of a great digital photography community, the Digital Photography School Forum.
And, once in a while, he steps outside of the blogging realm and writes about forums. In September, he wrote a post called “What I Learned by Increasing My Forum Membership by 400 in 24 Hours.” It’s a great reminder that it’s just as important, if not more so, to cultivate and worry about the people you do have – rather than worry about the ones you do not.
In the post, Darren highlighted two methods by which he grew his community’s member base. One was to contact recently active members, thank them for participating and invite them to spread the word to their friends.
The other one, that accounted for half of the membership boost, was to simply e-mail unconfirmed members. That is, members that have not yet confirmed their account. This relates to what I want to write about today.
Simply, remind people that you exist. Sometimes people sign up and forget you. Sometimes people make a few posts and forget you. Sometimes people make a bunch of posts… drift… and forget you. You can bring some of them back by reminding them that, yes, you do, in fact, still exist. You may be surprised by the impact that this can have.
How can you remind people you exist? Well, in Darren’s case, he used a once off message. This is good. Newsletters, activity digests and other forms of e-mail communication can also be used. If you have developed a community of people who use your site, outside of your site, such as on MySpace, Facebook, etc., those outlets can be similarly used, as long as you are responsible for them (a MySpace group or Facebook fan page that you started, etc.).
Some of these things require only a basic effort, maybe an hour or so of your time in the case of a once off. But, the benefit you receive from that time can be tremendous.