How to Get Potential Online Community Members to Sign Up
A bunch of people who you met offline liked you and liked what they heard about your online community. Don’t be too excited, though; only a small percentage of the people who you spoke to will become actual members. Sure, they seemed interested and gladly took your business card, but a few days later, they don’t always remember why there were so excited about your community or your brand.
You have to make signing up interesting for them. You have to give them a reason to sign up, beyond the good vibe received at a conference or networking event:
Trial membership: If you have a pay-to-play community or your community is centered around a subscription-based service, consider offering a trial membership to potential members. They can sign up, look around, participate, and, hopefully, become more permanent members. Not everyone who takes part in a trial membership commits to a full-fledged membership, but if you get a one commitment for every ten trial memberships, you’re doing well.
Swag: Make it so that members can’t forget you. Entice them with a perk. Use a trick many Internet marketers are now using and offer potential community members something of value for being a part of your community.
T-shirts, Internet apps or programs, ebooks, or any other product or service entices potential members enough to have them sign up for your newsletter, join your forum, or commit to another aspect of membership.
Discount or freebie: You know what attracts potential members? The feeling that they’re getting a bargain. Everyone loves discounts, and everyone loves to save.
Whole communities are devoted to discounts and freebies; every time something is offered at a lower rate or a free sample is up for grabs, members of these communities share them with other members, and thousands of people will come by to see what you have to offer.
Even if your discount isn’t shared in deal-seeking communities, when you offer a perk during your offline recruiting, you’re sure to bring in a few new members.
When potential members sign up for promotions and offers, you can offer a spot for them to opt in for future mailings. As your mailing list grows, so will your customer base.