When it comes to launching a new forum it is absolutely critical to tell people that it exists and then entice them to participate. The need to on board users effectively is especially true with a private forum. In this situation, the potential user base is smaller and the visibility of the forum is lower because the content is private.
Most site owners that create a private forum have an existing user base. This could be a group of subscribers who already pay to access the site, it could be a group of students and/or alumni, or it could be members of your newsletter. In each of these cases, the users need to be corralled into the forum.
This formula works well for us:
- Tell users to be on the lookout! The company CEO sends an email blast to all prospective members. This email should contain enticing language the describes the amazing forum is warn recipients to be on the look out for a special, top-secret, super exclusive invitation.
- Send the invitation. The Ninja Post admin panel has a special “white list” invitation generator that sends unique invite codes to emails pre-approved by the site owner.
- Herd the cats. Not every user will accept the first invitation. It pays to be persistent! We make it easy to re-send invitation codes and recommending sending 3-4 invitations to any stragglers.
- Show activity. When the early adopters begin participating, we can then show proof of activity to anyone who still has not joined. This is like giving someone a sneak peek into the VIP section of a club and usually does the trick!
When we work with a new client, we take great pride in working with them to “herd the cats”. This process is not glamorous but when a new forum springs to life it is unbelievably rewarding and exciting.