Most communities have terrible newcomer to regular conversion ratios. If you can improve this, you can rapidly increase the number of active members in your community. Most other problems you think you have in your community pale in comparison to a terrible newcomer to regular conversion process.
In this five step process, you can design the perfect journey for your members from newcomer to regular. Treat these each as unique steps. You can optimize each one in turn. These steps are also numbered in the priority of importance. If you get the first step right, the rest might just take care of themselves.
Step 4) Return visit
Goal: Secure a second contribution.
The biggest influence upon whether a newcomer becomes a regular (after their first contribution), is the speed and quality of the response to their first message. If they don't get a response within 24 hours, they're gone. Give priority to ensuring newcomers (the people with a 1 post count) get a quick response.
The quality of response also matters. The response needs not just to answer the question but to continue the debate. You want the newcomers returning to respond to further questions. This means asking a further question and encouraging the contributor to return to respond. It also means soliciting the opinions of others in the conversation.
In addition, make sure your notification e-mails are opt-out by default, are short, originate from an individual, and have a clearly identifiable subject line. Don't use summary e-mails unless they're specifically requests. The click-through rates plummet with these. Make sure the body of the e-mail is very short and there is a clear call to action to click the link. Measure what works, refine the copy, length, and language. Long-winded notifications with multiple links are destined to be ignored.
Getting the newcomer to visit a second time depends entirely upon getting a quick response to their first contribution. The speed and characteristics of this response are important, but so is the process by which contributors learn their contribution has received a response.
Next Step: Continued Participation
To view all the Newcomer to Regular Journey steps, click here.