Launching Your Successful Online Patient Community
You have only one chance to make a first impression. Make it the right one by carefully preparing and launching your online patient community. Any lasting community is based on building a shared sense of identity among a specific group of people. It’s the outcome of thousands of interactions, but at the same time intensely personal. A smart launch is essential to your long-term success. Here are some key steps we help you follow.
Identify your community manager
During the discover stage we help you identify the resources you need for a successful community. One of those resources is your community manager. Your community won’t grow by itself. It needs care and nurturing like any living thing. Building a successful online community is hard work and requires someone with specific skills. A community manager will be an important part of your success. Depending on the size of your community, you may need additional support. You may want to hire a community manager, or you can contract with us to provide that service.
Develop a detailed 90-day plan
We work with you to develop a step-by-step 90-day plan that starts 30 days before your system launches and takes you through the first two months of your startup. We’ll show you exactly what you need to do to start on the path to success.
Populate the community with essential content
If patient education is an important element of your online community, now is the time to add pictures, videos, workbooks, guides, FAQs, blogposts, and other information to your platform.
Avoid the temptation to attract community members with drawings and giveaways. People will sign up but not participate, and when people come to the site there will be no reason for them to stay.
Every sizable online community today started small and grew over time. Starting small provides two very important benefits. It gives managers time to iron out the wrinkles before larger numbers come on board, and it allows them time to do the real work of the community, providing social, emotional, and knowledge benefits to community members.
There is a science to recruiting and nurturing early members, and we take you through that step by step. Some principles that apply here include:
- Focus on engagement, not numbers.
- Offer prospective members a compelling reason to join. This strategy is gleaned from interviews conducted during the discover stage.
- Make it extremely easy for people to join.
- Create the perception that the community is active and engaging.
A critical start: Two-month plan for new members
Research has found it takes an average of 66 days for a behavior to become habitual. You can see why the first two months after a member signs onto the community are crucial. We help you establish a series of science-based triggers, actions, and rewards that will keep your newcomers hooked for the first two months. Once visiting your community becomes a habit, there’s a very good chance they’ll stick with it. This plan is something you can continually measure and refine.
Use traditional, digital, and social platforms to promote your community
Now that you have a core group of engaged community members, it’s time to reach out to the rest of your audience to nurture them into the community.
The Launch Deliverable
We work with you step-by-step to:
- Identify the community manager.
- Create and populate community content.
- Develop a 90-day plan for the launch that includes traditional, digital, and social platforms to promote your community.
- Implement a 60-day strategy of science-based triggers, actions, and rewards to keep your community members engaged.