If you knew creating and sustaining engagement in your online community took just 5 minutes a day, wouldn’t you do it?
With hundreds of customers and a variety of use cases, no two AnswerHub communities are the same. But from time to time we encounter a unique use of our software that others might also find compelling and helpful. Enter Jasper Kuria of Capitalandgrowth.org. The Capital and Growth community was born out of Jasper’s own frustrations as a highly skilled engineer and entrepreneur who lacked the necessary marketing savvy to make his first start-up a booming success. We recently sat down with Jasper to find out how he’s made his online community such a sensation.
DZONE: Could you give our readers a brief overview of your company and your online community use case?
JASPER: Sure. My company, Capitalandgrowth.org, is a resource for technical founders and there are three ways in which they can engage with us. The first is our Sales and Marketing Q&A platform powered by AnswerHub, which facilitates the sharing of knowledge between the technical founders, like myself, and dozens of marketing experts. Secondly, on our blog we feature interviews with high profile investors about their investment decisions and processes so that our audience can prepare for upcoming investor meetings. Lastly, we offer courses on marketing should users be interested in more in-depth learning. DZone readers can download our free user acquisition guides here.
DZONE: So you’ve got a robust collection of marketing experts answering these really critical, and usually urgent, questions for entrepreneurs. Clearly you are reading their answers because you have, yourself, turned into quite the marketer. You are single-handedly driving tens of thousands of unique visitors to your community weekly. How are you doing it?
JASPER: Well, it’s not exactly single-handed. I have one other person on my team and two interns who helps promote the site, but we have reached what I call “reasonable engagement”. The challenge is getting people’s attention. I read recently that there now exist more blogs than blog readers so getting our share of readers’ attention is challenging. I use several tactics, including social media campaigns, but most of it is through public relations efforts that drive traffic to the site. We’ve had some success with TechCrunch, which syndicated our initial investor interviews, and an article published by GeekWire that linked back to our site. While the GeekWire article did not drive a lot of traffic it gave us legitimacy and a few dozen sign-ups.
We’ve also posted to Hacker News which has sent us over 30,000 unique visits in the last month! Once there, people see the immediate value and register to be part of it. It’s all free! We only charge for the courses. Additionally, If a technical founder doesn’t want to hire a full-time marketer, he or she can contract with one of our experts on a project, which we dub a “win-win-win”.
DZONE: Which leads to the other attribute that makes your use case so exciting-- You’ve come up with a really different way of incentivizing your community participants. Can you elaborate on what you mean by “win-win-win”?
JASPER: Of course. The marketers in our community are rewarded with karma points and deemed experts based on their number of accepted, correct answers. As such they often receive contract work, which is a win in itself, but we also dedicate a portion of the referral fee to fund scholarships awarded in the expert’s name. So the founder gets his or her question answered and a huge crowd from which to source contract work, the marketing expert gets project work and recognition and the children receive scholarships! We’ve found that once we’ve communicated this “do good” part of our mission, people are even more willing to partner together for a common cause. We highlight our scholarship donors, as well as the recipients, on the Money for Kids page of the website so they feel recognized and connected personally. Some of our scholarship donors even share letters back and forth with recipients. It’s been a wonderful way to keep the engagement level in the community high.
DZONE: At DZone we’ve been particularly focused on community success metrics and hosted a webinar on the subject recently. What else contributes to the success of the community aspect of your company and what metrics do you measure?
JASPER: Moderating the community is absolutely critical. Marking questions as answered and rewarding those karma points keeps the vibrancy going. We measure unique visitors, number of new members, number of shares and number of page views among other metrics. We also measure the growth of our email list. Our blog posts have opt-ins through which we are growing our email list. We then send the most useful answers to the list each week as a way of triggering engagement.
DZONE: What’s next for Capitalandgrowth.org?
JASPER: We’re always thinking of new ways to gain momentum. We’re not at a critical mass yet so we have work to do. We are negotiating a couple of syndication partnerships and also co-organizing monthly Hacker News meetups in Seattle to reach the right audience. We’d like to invite DZone readers—especially those with startup ideas--to engage with our community and download our free user acquisition guides here.
For more information or to try AnswerHub, contact sales at 919-238-7100.
This interview was originally written and posted by our friends at DevRel.net, a blog for technical evangelists, developer advocates, and anyone interested in developer relations.
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