The digital age has transformed the way businesses interact with their customers. With the rise of online communities, companies have a unique opportunity to engage with their audience in a more personalized and meaningful way. Based on over two decades of experience, we've identified a three-phase journey that members undergo in a thriving online community: the Before, During, and After experiences. This journey not only enhances the customer experience but also helps businesses reduce customer churn.
The initial phase is all about drawing customers into the community. It's the first touchpoint, where potential members receive email announcements, invitations to create profiles, or prompts to participate in surveys. This phase also includes opportunities for customers to register for webinars, read blogs, or watch educational videos.
Once customers have entered the community, the During phase ensures they are actively engaged. This involves completing registrations, engaging in discussions, and participating in various community activities. It's the heart of the community experience, where members interact, share knowledge, and collaborate on topics of mutual interest.
The After phase is crucial for maintaining long-term engagement. Even after specific events or interactions, businesses need to ensure customers remain connected to the community. This is achieved through follow-up emails, reminders, and providing resources like webinar recordings or discussion summaries.
The IMUG Summer 2023 Conference, held at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, serves as a prime example of how the "Before, During, and After" experience can be effectively implemented in a customer community event. This case study will delve into how each phase was executed and the outcomes achieved.
Announcements were dispatched via email, spotlighting the conference's standout offering of "50 sessions and a huge bang for your buck!" Prospective participants were encouraged to sign up for both the conference and the preceding RPI Bootcamp—a comprehensive day of training. Additionally, details about the Infor Support Sessions were shared, underscoring the unique chance to engage directly with Infor Experts for answers.
The conference began with attendees checking in and mingling with partners, creating an initial atmosphere ripe for networking. A diverse array of sessions followed, spanning topics from finance to HR talent, all led by domain-specific experts. Attendees had the opportunity to dive deeper into niche subjects during the Special Interest Group (SIG) breakout sessions. The day culminated with a relaxed evening at The Grand in downtown Northfield, offering a casual environment for further connection and unwinding.
Pictures from IMUG Meeting in August 2023 (a special thanks to Infor for sharing these images with us).
All attendees are welcome to share their experiences through feedback surveys, helping identify highlights and areas for enhancement. To keep the community engaged and informed, reminders about upcoming IMUG events and activities were also disseminated.
The IMUG Summer 2023 Conference exemplified the "Before, During, and After" approach in action. By effectively implementing each phase, the conference not only provided immense value to attendees but also fostered a sense of community and collaboration. The continuous engagement ensured that the momentum built during the conference was sustained, leading to long-term benefits for both the organizers and the attendees.
To wrap things up, the "Before, During, and After" framework is a holistic approach to community management. It emphasizes the importance of continuous engagement, ensuring customers feel valued throughout their journey. By understanding and implementing this strategy, businesses can foster stronger relationships, promote knowledge sharing, and build a loyal customer base, ensuring mutual growth and success.
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE IMUG BOARD AND YVONNE CHESLOG FOR SUCCESSFULLY ORGANIZING ANOTHER FANTASTIC CONFERENCE!
WorkOutLoud has enjoyed working with the planning committee for their 2023 IMUG In-Person Grand Event at St. Olaf, Northfield, MN.
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