Is your membership community doing well? How do you know? The not-so-easy answer is “metrics”. The not so easy Part of it is that there are an infinite number of data points that you can analyze. Sound overwhelming? Don’t fret. In my previous post, I shared five tips to avoid ruining your membership community, and today I’m going to reveal it the most important metric Every community owner needs to know and measure to ensure the success of their community.
Community professionals understand this world well. A big part of our role is knowing which metrics are critical and which are irrelevant to the health of our communities. Yelp, for example, will care a lot about user generated content (UGC) in the form of reviews, while a brand like Peloton will be more focused on membership retention and churn (percentage of churns).
Obviously, these are big companies with lots of resources. But what about small business owners running their own communities? With so much potential metrics to collect and track, busy business owners may hesitate to start tracking any Metrics because it’s hard to know which ones are really important.
Getting started with metrics: choosing the right platform
For those of us who run communities on a smaller scale than Yelp and Peloton, there is still hope. Some platforms provide metrics for you. And some platforms, usually social media giants, only give you limited access. This is one reason why we choose not to invest in communities based on social media.
At Team SPI we use Circle (affiliate link) for our communities, which allows easy access to several important metrics and gives you an easy way to get an overview of engagement and activities. For a business owner with little to no staff, the metrics provided is a good place to start.
At SPI Pro, we take care of our active and inactive members because we want to make sure everyone gets the maximum benefit from their paid membership. There will always be ups and downs, so this November or March drop isn’t all that alarming. However, when we see a downtrend that is not recovering month after month, we know we need to spend time talking to our clients inactive members to see what we can do to get them back engaged.
The one metric to rule them all
Active or inactive members are one of the most important metrics we track to measure the health of our Community. With so many differences between community types and goals, what is the most important metric for everyone Community owner?
Put simply, return on investment (ROI). Understanding exactly why your community is worth the time and effort can help determine the overall health of your community.
So what would do Your Community worth the time and effort?
If you own an online plant store and start a community for plant lovers, would you prefer to see a quieter community but increase sales, or would you like a busy and supportive community with strong brand awareness?
If increasing sales is the primary purpose of your community, your ROI is directly related to your monthly sales rather than monthly user interaction. However, if your community purpose is to get plant lovers to connect, your focus should be on engagement metrics like daily active users and membership growth.
Find the purpose of your community
What if you have trouble figuring out the purpose of your community?
Here’s a hint: Healthy communities are about connection. People want to connect with each other and join communities about things or beliefs that they are interested in. Hence, your community should offer value that fosters connection in a way that makes sense for your brand.
Ask yourself What is the purpose of my business? Now you ask How can I add value to the people who use my company?
We already know that at SPI Media, our business is helping people create sustainable income. SPI already offers a variety of educational content, courses and workshops and therefore has a large customer group. So it made a lot of sense to create a community that is tailored to customers and followers who have managed to develop their own revenue stream and who now want to network with and learn from other entrepreneurs who are trying to start their business bring to the next level.
A note on the “investment part” of ROI
Make sure you understand the minimum investment required to sustain the community you envision. For example, one of the fastest ways to ruin your community is to neglect the interaction with your members through well-thought-out content.
By the way, investing in the community means a lot more than investing money – above all, investing time. Whether it is your own time or that of a community manager, it will take time to create content, manage the strategy, and carry out the day-to-day operations. There are many ways that can be automated, but any community needs regular human attention to be successful.
A workshop for members of the membership community
Do you need help clarifying the purpose of your community?
Try our free two-hour mini-workshop, Building a membership communityThis goes into detail about how we designed our private SPI Pro business community. We examine how our first attempt in a community didn’t work (because we needed more clarity about our purpose), how technology catches up with what we need to run a robust community, our strategy for adopting SPI Pro, and the future of memberships.
The truth is, if you know what the purpose of your community is and the efforts you put into the community help you achieve that purpose, you have positive ROI and your community is working.
This doesn’t mean that you should ignore all other metrics. By looking at data trends, you can better understand when a slump in activity is a problem or just an expected lull. Spend some time researching and starting with the metrics your community or social platform already provides.
As someone who has tracked metrics for different types of communities, I’m here to help. Stay tuned for future posts that will tell you how to track and analyze general metrics. In the meantime, evaluate the ROI of your community and, if in doubt, ask your community members what they would like to see in your community.
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