How to Determine Whether the Online Community Drives Sales - dummies

How to Determine Whether the Online Community Drives Sales

By Deborah Ng

If the goal of your online community is to sell things, one area you’ll want to pay special attention to is sales. You’re probably hoping that sales are on the rise and your campaigns are working, but without analysis, you simply can’t tell.

By using special links and discount codes, you’re better able to determine whether sales growth, or even sales in general, is occurring due to a positive community experience.

bitly and other URL shorteners not only allow you to fit your links to a character limit, but also let you create and track URLs if you create a special URL for a specific campaign by using bitly. For example, the website will tell you how many people used that link.

Still, how do you determine whether how many people are using that link to drive sales? One thing you can do is use a special promotional code for members of that campaign only.

So if you’re selling sneakers, and 75 percent of the people responding to a sneaker promotion are from your community campaign, as indicated by the promotional code, you can tell that the bulk of your sales are coming from community efforts.

Using special URLs and promotional codes, you can even determine which campaigns bring in the most results. For example, if your Facebook page, Twitter account, forums, and blogs each get their own promotional code and URLs, you can see how many people react from each community.

Also, you can measure general sales growth. If your sales numbers grow as your community numbers grow or fall after a bad community experience, compare them with the overall community numbers for that same period.

Don’t overlook community discussions. Members often like to mention when they received a good bargain or enjoyed a certain product. Monitor these conversations to determine what community members are buying.