Advice on our Community landing page

(Dale Reardon) #1

Hello everyone. I joined a little while ago but have been flat out getting everything ready for launch of our new community - My Disability Matters - which is a social networking site and forums for the disability sector, family, friends and sector businesses.

We have built it using BuddyPress and BBPress software on WordPress.

A couple of initial questions as we have no members yet. We do have a Twitter following of around 6500 and 400 approx. email list and 1200 FB fans to start with.

Our current draft joining / sales page is at:

We are having a free membership for personal users and then paid business memberships. We will have some upgraded personal options in the next 6 months but nothing yet.

How much info / sales pitch do you have to put on the joining / home page? Do you need a video presentation for example? I’m fine to do one - have done a lot lately trying to source investment!

What about testimonials and other normal things you might put on a sales page?

What is the best way to encourage people to join and then to encourage them to engage in the community?

I am disabled myself (blind) so have contacts in that sector and community of course but publicity is still hard work and advertising expensive so have to try and get some initial signups from our current following to help us spread the word.


So, what are you working on?
(Sarah Hawk) #3

These are good questions.

Some of them are probably best pitched at the digital marketers amongst us
(@Suzi_Nelson @edfryed @phil)

Getting people to join and encouraging them to engage are two very different things, but both come down to value and motivation. This will give you a starting point. A Model for Getting People to Join and Engage in Your Community.

What you need to be doing now is reaching out to your contacts and nurturing relationships with them so that you have a core group of people who will be your founding members. This article explains more: How to find your Community’s Founding Members.

As an aside: One thing I note is that your body text is very small. I’d suggest increasing your base font size to a min of 14pt for readability. The same for your main navigation.

(Phil Betts) #4

Hi Dale,

A couple of thoughts I had in response to your situation.

I think the more directly you can demonstrate the value of your community with concrete examples, the more enticing it will be. One site I came across yesterday that does this really well is a medical practitioner community called SERMO. Unlike your site they have quite a few barriers to sign-up - all of their content is walled off for guests, and you need to go through a professional verification process to register. Despite this, what makes them effective at driving sign-up is that on their landing page they demonstrate the value and benefits of joining with real, specific examples.

I’m not sure if you’ll be able to read it because the site has text embedded in images, but for all of the things you can do (join conversations about the industry, start polls, discuss cases etc.) they give examples of actual topics and discussions pulled from the site. They’ve also got testimonials that highlight specific benefits. If I was a medical practitioner I’d definitely consider joining.

New communities are in a bit of a bind because you don’t initially have that track record to draw from. Unfortunately, this means that at the start when you make abstract claims like “Meet, Share, Discuss, Learn”, they’re just empty words. When people click through and see mostly vacant boards, those words seem vague and meaningless.

This is one of the reasons we recommend communities start small with a core group of users, and wait until they’ve achieved some momentum before they widely market their service. You’ve got one shot at that first impression - if you direct all of your Facebook, Twitter and email folk to an empty board right at the start, the sign-up rate will be very low.

Much better if you can get that core group of members interacting first, and from that you can curate for potential users some specific examples of your site’s benefits (or they can just click through and discover for themselves). It’s a great idea to use your existing networks to identify some leads who might be effective founding members, and work to get them on board. However, I’d hold off on any big announcements until you’ve got quite a few discussions going.

As to the video, think in terms of your purpose and target audience. I generally don’t like video and prefer text (I scan ahead as I’m reading and like jumping back and forth), but some kinds of content calls for it. Where I don’t like video, younger audiences tend to enjoy it and consume it much more. Likewise, perhaps there’s a core segment of your user that prefers video for accessibility? In other words, I wouldn’t just create video because you can - I’d only do it if I had a clear justification.

Good luck!