Organizations that are customer-first make it a priority to add value for their customers through a thorough understanding of their needs, wants, and experiences.
With market research online communities (MROC), companies can interact with their customer base directly and gather valuable feedback through a number of tools such as surveys, discussion forums, polls, video chats, and home use tests to name just a few. Communities can spark actionable insights that aid daily decision making, from testing product concepts to evaluating user experiences. Communities are a multi-use tool that just about every organization can benefit from utilizing.
When forming a market research online community, one of the first questions that needs to be addressed logistically is “How many members should be in a community to achieve the level of insights needed?”.
How many members are needed in order to gather actionable data that can drive internal decisions?
Answer: It depends on a few different factors
Historically, market research online communities have consisted of around 500-600 members but now they typically have around 500-2,000 members. Some communities can even have upwards of hundreds of thousands of members.
To achieve a fair number of responses and create an environment where customers feel as though their opinions are valued, it’s good to aim for the 500-2,000 member range.
Understanding the overall purpose of the information and how you’re going to use it is key to understanding how many members your community needs.
If the data is going to play a larger role in critical decisions, you may want to scale your community to be on the larger side. However, if your end goal is directional information, you may want to move to the smaller end of our suggested range.
Occasionally, finding specific targeted groups of members can be more challenging to recruit and participate. In this instance, the best choice might be to maintain a lower member count and put a great emphasis on overall engagement and correctly incentivizing to maximize participation.
When deciding how many members to recruit, budget can also play a role. More responses, more data analysis, and higher incentives can require a larger investment.
On average, even within an engaged community, response rates on individual activities can often range between 25%-60% (although, some can even get to 90%+ depending on community structure and the incentives.)
The size of a community has to reflect not only the total number of members, but those that are actively participating on a regular basis. Maintaining communication with the members in your online community allows members to stay engaged and active.
A great way to begin communicating with community members is to create a welcome email when they join and provide plenty of opportunities for them to provide their feedback on a regular basis through a variety of activities!
Providing recognition to members for their efforts through gamification (points, badges, etc.) can also aid overall engagement. Additionally, providing feedback to members on how their opinions have been helpful to your organization can enhance the member experience overall.
“How many members should be in an MROC?” While data is objective, the right amount of data that you need is subjective and circumstantial.
My-Take can guide you through the process of determining how many members are right for you based on your objectives, comfort with various response levels, importance of segments, and, to some degree, budget. Click here for a free consultation!
Kait is a Marketing Specialist at My-Take with half a decade of industry experience. Her specialties include content creation, growth hacking, and social media marketing.