Ongoing engagement is critical to the success of an online community. Without active dialogue and member participation, communities fail to meet the expectations of organizational leaders and stakeholders. Increasing engagement enables companies to build a community that's healthy and successful, as well as achieve high customer retention and user satisfaction. However, increasing online community engagement can be a challenge. Email is an effective way to keep your community top of mind and build quality user participation.
Here are three ways email can effectively build engagement in your online community:
1. Create a Message that Resonates
We've found that one of the best ways to engage with an audience is to first understand their interests. At DZone, our users are some of the world's smartest (and best) software developers and technology professionals - they're short on time and have low tolerance for anything that isn't useful. These are important points to understand as we grow our community. Keeping these points in mind guides the way we choose to communicate with our users.
With email, we're able to deliver a message that resonates with our audience and encourages community engagement. According to Pardot, the top three uses of email marketing are newsletters (66%), promotional content (54%), and welcome series emails (42%). Our Daily Digest newsletter keeps users informed on site activity and encourages them to like, comment on, and share the posts they find compelling.
We also refine our emails to meet the specific interests of our community members. In addition to the Daily Digest, we send spotlight emails for each portal, or Zone, and highlight top reads based on topics such as Java, Big Data, and DevOps. The more targeted the message, the more beneficial the emails are to our users.
2. Encourage Actions
Once you identify the interests of your audience, you want them to take action. This can include a call to action, such as read the latest blog post or download a new eBook. In our case, we use email to showcase community content and direct people to DZone.com. Through consistent messaging and relevant information, our Daily Digest email increased our non-organic traffic by 100%. This increase in web traffic has resulted in significant levels of engagement.
3. Keep the Conversation Going
Emails create a dialogue and build meaningful user experiences. On DZone.com, users receive email notifications if someone responds to their comments. This builds an ongoing conversation between community members We have also incorporated email notifications into the AnswerHub solution. Users can configure their settings to receive email notifications when someone responds to their question or a new topic of interest is published.
Many of our clients also use email to create engagement. For example, Hybris sends out regular emails highlighting community health and stats, including the number of questions asked and the top users with the most reputation points. This creates a level of transparency among community members and encourages them to participate more frequently.
Creating community engagement isn't always easy, but email can help organizations overcome this challenge. Email enables companies to cater messaging to the specific interests of their audience. This allows them to deliver a more valuable user experience can result in higher quality engagement. Email also keeps communities top of mind and motivates members to participate on a regular basis.
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