Jay Clouse's 3 elements of world-class community experiences

Jay Clouse's 3 elements of world-class community experiences

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Jay Clouse, Founder of Creator Science, breaks down the 3 elements that all world-class community experiences have to make people feel welcomed.

Community” has become a buzzword in the tech world. Like most things, it’s easier said than done.

Much like a gardener taking care of an orchard of juicy vegetables and fruits, building, nurturing, and growing a thriving community takes a special skill.

One of those community-building experts is Jay Clouse, he started working at Startup Weekend as an organizer. Then the community he created got acquired by Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income. Now he’s the founder of Creator Science, a thriving community of professional creators (full disclosure: I'm a member of his community!).

Today, Jay will be sharing the three elements of world-class community experiences.

In this Marketing Powerups episode, you’ll learn:

  1. Why community is not a broadcast channel.
  2. The three main primary reasons why people join communities.
  3. How to create a welcoming experience for new community members.
  4. The one thing that’s helped Jay excel as a professional creator.

Watch it on YouTube, or listen to it now on Apple Podcast, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app.

⭐️ The 3 elements of world-class community experiences

Jay has built and grown engaging communities as the Founder of Creator Science, Community Experience Director at SPI Media, and Global Facilitator at Startup Weekend. Here are the three elements that make up a world-class community experience:

1. A clear purpose 🧭

A common mistake community builders make is not defining upfront the purpose of the community. How could you help people become successful in your community if you don’t know that?

People join a community for any or all of the following reasons:

  1. To connect with others and feel like they belong or feel cared for by others
  2. To transform and level themselves up together with others.
  3. To find a sense of identity with people who have the same belief.

For example, in high school, I joined the chess club (yeah, I was a nerd in school 🤓). I joined primarily to meet new friends who enjoy a casual game of chess. But, after a few meetings, I realized how competitive and serious everyone in the community was. So, I ended up quitting.

I probably wouldn't have joined in the first place if I knew that leveling up our chess skill level is more important than connecting with others.  

2. A warm onboarding experience 🤗

First impressions last. It’s true when you meet people for a first date or interview. It also applies to community experiences. When you set people up for success during the community onboarding, they’re more likely to stick around and become active participants in your community.

One of the best examples is when someone joins a Crossfit gym. New members get:

  • Shown around the space.
  • Introduced to others within that space.
  • Trained on the tools around you.
  • A friend, partner, or mentor to help.
  • A plan and schedule to help you see a physical transformation.
  • Swags and freebies to help you start seeing yourself as a Crosfitter.

Great onboarding leads to connection, transformation, and identity.

Here are some of the goals of world-class community onboarding:

  • Remind them of the community’s promise to members.
  • Make them feel comfortable to participate.
  • Answer the question, “Now what?” until you deliver on your promise.
  • Deliver on your promise ASAP.
  • Show them how you delivered on the promise.

3. A gratifying experience to participate 👑

If your community has a clear purpose, then your goal is to deliver on that promise as soon as possible. When they achieve that goal, they gain a sense of gratification, which the dictionary defines as a “pleasure gained from the satisfaction of a desire.”

The problem is that it’s hard to measure “gratification.” And it’s why most community leaders track “engagement” instead, whether that’s the number of new posts, comments, or discussions. However, high engagement metrics aren’t always directly correlated to the happiness of community members.

Clouse gives an example at SPI Media. After organizing small mastermind groups for community members, he saw engagement metrics go down. But, their retention rate and customer satisfaction scores have gone up.

Figure out a better way to track engagement.

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    🎉 About Jay Clouse

    Jay Clouse is the founder of Creator Science and the host of Creative Elements, a narrative-interview podcast going behind the scenes of today’s top creators. He previously led the Community Experience team for Pat Flynn and Smart Passive Income, designing their paid membership community and cohort-based course programs.

    💪 The sponsor

    I want to thank the sponsor of this episode, 42/Agency.

    When you're in scale-up mode, and you have KPIs to hit, the pressure is on to deliver demos and signups.

    And it's a lot to handle: demand gen, email sequences, revenue ops, and more! That’s where 42/Agency, founded by my friend Kamil Rextin, can help you.

    They’re a strategic partner that’s helped B2B SaaS companies like ProfitWell, Teamwork, Sprout Social and Hubdoc build a predictable revenue engine.

    If you’re looking for performance experts and creatives to solve your marketing problems at a fraction of the cost of in-house, look no further.

    Go to https://www.42agency.com/ to talk to a strategist to learn how you can build a high-efficiency revenue engine now.

    🕰️ Timestamps and transcript

    • 02:33 - Jay's journey as a community builder
    • 07:24 - Peer-to-peer community experiences
    • 09:21 - The three elements of world-class community experiences
    • 11:05 - The three reasons why people join communities
    • 14:02 - Why connecting like-minded people is table stakes for communities
    • 17:33 - How to onboard new community members
    • 22:55 - The most important question when onboarding new community members
    • 24:01 - How to measure community happiness
    • 27:27 - Why tracking community engagement metrics doesn't always work
    • 29:06 - How the power of belief accelerated Jay's career
    • 33:16 - The two pieces of advice Jay would give his younger self
    • 37:35 - Wrapping up

    Episode transcript

    [00:00:00] Ramli John: Community—it's become such a buzzword in the tech scene. Like most things, an easier said than done. Much like a gardener taking care of an or juicy vegetables and fruits, building, nurturing and growing a thriving community takes a special kind of person and sets of skills. One of those community building experts is Jay Clouse. He started working at Startup Weekend as an organizer.

    [00:00:23] Then the community he created got acquired by Pat Flynn's Smart Passive Income. Now, he's the founder of Creator Science, a thriving community of professional creators that I'm actually part of as well. Today, Jay will be sharing the three elements of world-class community experiences. 

    [00:00:40] Jay Clouse: If you Google community and look at the actual definitions, there are so many definitions.

    [00:00:44] So one time I did it as an exercise, I looked at these different definitions, and then I color coded some of the same themes that are in different definitions. In general, I think we can all agree that a community is a group of people who have a shared interest. Now, where things diverge for different people is Do those people need to have a shared space where they interact in a peer-to-peer way?

    [00:01:06] Or can it just be a community of people who love this brand but don't interact? I think either is valid. Because if you identify with an idea, if there's a group of people who identify with an idea, I would say that's a community. But for my work in my business, I really focus on peer-to-peer experiences in community where the value is both created from the people that are there and experienced by those people as well.

    [00:01:29] Ramli John: In this Marketing Powerups episode, you learn: First, why community is not a broadcast channel. Second, the three main reason why people join communities. Third, how to create a welcoming experience for new community members. And fourth, the one thing that's helped Jay Clouse excel as a professional creator. For each episode I create a powerups cheatsheet you can use to download, fill-in, and apply the marketing concept to your business right away.

    [00:01:56] And go to marketingpowerups.com to get those right now. Are you ready? Let's go 

    [00:02:02] Announcer: Marketing Powerups! Ready? Go. Here's your host, Ramli John 

    [00:02:14] Ramli John: Let's jump in and talk about marketing power ups. And one that I wanna really dig into is around building really world-class community experiences. But before we do, I'd love to just hear your story of how you got into community.

    [00:02:27] I believe what I've heard is you started in 2012 in a Startup Weekend. What is that story and how on how you like got into building and creating nurturing communities?

    [00:02:38] Jay Clouse: Well, in 2012, I had a really basic idea for a mobile app, and I didn't know how to get it developed and I couldn't develop myself.

    [00:02:50] So my young brain was like I need money to hire a developer. And so I applied for a grant and they said, this is not what this grant is for, but here's a hundred dollars. Go to startup weekend and pitch the idea there, and maybe you'll get it made. And what a gift that was, that this grant judging committee didn't.

    [00:03:09] Say no. They said no, but here is a place where we can get you on the right path. Huge gift. So I go to startup weekend and I pitch my ideas and I don't get a single vote. Nobody wants to help me build this thing. And I was literally walking out the door because I didn't know anybody there, and I got no votes.

    [00:03:28] I felt man, this was a bust. I had my backpack over my arm. I'm walking out the door and somebody behind me yells, Hey, I liked your idea. and I turned around and I've never met this person, but she was very kind. Her name was Susie. And she said, you should join my team. We're gonna build this thing. And I said, amazing.

    [00:03:45] And I stayed and I made friends. Susie began organizing the event later that year and asked if I would help her organize. So I started doing that. It was it's a free weekend. That's not. There is a ticket cost, but it's a three-day event over the course of a weekend. And you get so much out of it.

    [00:04:05] It's an incredible experience teaching you how to val validate ideas, build prototypes, get customer feedback, and at the end of the day, you leave with relationships more than anything else. Cause we had over a hundred people that go to these events and so organizing these, we organized three a year for a few years and each event had over a hundred people.

    [00:04:23] A lot of them knew you're getting. , like local startup executives to come in and mentor and judge. So my network became pretty strong here locally. And then I would go to the Startup Weekend Global organizer summits, and I would meet organizers that were people like me in different cities all over the world, like Toronto.

    [00:04:42] And it was just amazing. I was like, holy crap. Like this is the best group of people that I've ever met. I wasn't using the term community much at the time as a new concept to me, but that's what it was. It was a global community of people. were generous with their time because they were volunteer organizing these things and they cared about cool technology, cool software startups, things like that.

    [00:05:04] Nice. 

    [00:05:05] Ramli John: And then that kind of led you to building out your own community with Unreal Collective got bought up by Pat Flynn and now your. Will you say you're an expert at community? I know it's of weird to be called an expert in something because even people call me , "Ramli's the expert at onboarding." And I feel weird about that, but have I'm sure a bunch of people call say that 

    [00:05:26] Jay Clouse: about you.[00:05:26] Part of me is be humble, say no. But then part of me is also no step into it. I do think that I have a lot of experience with building community, both offline and online, and I think I do a good job of sharing that experience and packaging. and I think it's worthwhile to people who wanna learn it.

    [00:05:44] So I would say that I'm good at this and I know it well, and I'm doing things differently than most people, which I think is more valuable than anything else because even if you disagree with the way that I do things, or you wanna do 'em a different way, at least it's challenging you on your assumptions of how to do things

    [00:06:02] Ramli John: I love that. I love that humble response on its own, but you're just, what you're learning and I really love that we're actually gonna be talking in a bit about the three things you found over and over again that makes up world class cause community experiences. But before we do the word community is so loaded.

    [00:06:20] We hear it in product-led companies where they do, "community-led growth is a new thing." Or we heard, we hear with cohort-based courses, where community being thrown around. , even CrossFit. Can you first of all define what community is for you and how you see it differently, maybe differently than other 

    [00:06:38] folks see it?

    [00:06:39] Jay Clouse: If you Google community and look at the actual definitions, there are so many definitions. So one time I did it as an exercise, I looked at these different definitions and then I color coded some of the same themes that are in different definitions and in general. I think we can all agree that a community is a group of people who have a shared interest.

    [00:06:57] Now, where things diverge for different people is do those people need to have a shared space where they interact in a peer-to-peer way? Or can it just be a community of people who love this brand but don't interact? I think either is valid because if you identify with an idea, if there's a group of people who identify with an idea, I would say that's a communit

    [00:07:16] But for my work in my business, I really focus on peer to peer experiences in community where the value is both created from the people that are there and experienced by those people as well. It's not a broadcast relationship where it's just me to 200 people. It's actually. Meet those 200 people, but also those 200 people to, to the 200 people, they can communicate with each other.

    [00:07:40] And I think that's the powerful benefit of having a community is that you become the bridge for two people who have this shared interest and now you can actually build a relationship and they can transfer information and knowledge between each other. 

    [00:07:55] Ramli John: I think what's very clear as well with that definition is not necessarily about being a broadcast channel. You're really about, you mentioned the bridge other words, I've heard you mention it as your curator. You're aggregator and you're really community is about connecting. People together is what really what I'm hearing up peer, you call it a peer-to-peer network and I love it cuz I come from a computer science background.

    [00:08:20] Yes. It's like, like, oh, it's so visual. . 

    [00:08:22] Jay Clouse: Yes, exactly. Like y like a lot of people build an audience and they have this giant or small group of people who all have a shared interest, but they're all in these individual silos where they have a one-to-one relationship with you as the creator. But you have this opportunity when you've gathered all these people with a shared.

    [00:08:40] To now connect them and give them new relationships, new perspectives, and new relationships. I think that's important. 

    [00:08:47] Ramli John: Now, like I mentioned, you've seen many communities you work the startup weekend with Pat Flynn for a smart passive income. Now you have your own which a plug is I'm part of.

    [00:08:59] For people who are a part of a good creator. The lab community, but you've noticed, you've seen a pattern of what world class community experiences do, and you've seen three things that really those community experiences do really well. Can you share those three and then we, maybe we can dig into each one in a bit a after.

    [00:09:17] Jay Clouse: So I think about it in three ways. The first most important ingredient is a clear purpose. What is it that this community exists to do for people? Why should people join? What should they expect? . If you don't have that, then you're really setting yourself for self up for failure right from the beginning.

    [00:09:37] Second is strong onboarding because if I take the leap of faith and say, okay, that sounds like a purpose that I believe in and something that I want, sounds like this community can help me and I jump into that, you need to then take them by the hand and help people understand. How do you realize that promise with the.

    [00:09:56] The thing that is this membership or this community, how do you actually interact with that to achieve the results that is promising? And then the third thing is always optimizing for what I call a gratifying experience. A lot of people will talk about engagement in a community as the goal, making sure that there's high engagement and people are making posts and comments and things.

    [00:10:17] I think that's close to what we should be focusing on, but can also create some complic. More importantly is member happiness. Are they satisfied with when I put effort into this community? , that was worthwhile. That's gratification. That's a gratifying experience, and you need to focus on your community providing that type of interaction for people.

    [00:10:39] Let's dig 

    [00:10:39] Ramli John: into each one. First, let's talk about purpose. I also believe that you found patterns into what the purpose of core purpose of people who join communities. There are some things that. Come up over and over again as to why that is. What do you think those, what what is a good purpose for a community that really 

    [00:10:59] Jay Clouse: is striving, I'm evolving my thoughts on this in real time, so let me just think out loud a little bit.

    [00:11:07] If you've ever heard of a Jobs to Be Done framework, We hire products and experiences to do things functional and emotional things for us. Most people don't think about what their community is being hired to do for the member, and if you don't define that upfront, People will close that open loop in their mind with an assumption.

    [00:11:30] And if they close that with an assumption, you don't necessarily know what that assumption is. So if you have people joining your community based on assumptions of what they're gonna get out of it, what they're hiring your community to do, you don't know how to win with that person because you don't know what they expect.

    [00:11:44] And so it can be a really bad relationship off the bat and you'll likely experience turn and that is a bad thing for other members as well. Yeah it's challenging to win with your members if you don't know what their expectations are. That's why a purpose should be there. So what is a job you're doing for people?

    [00:12:03] I think it's helping them realize some better version of themselves, helping them accomplish some outcome, helping them navigate some journey. These all sound ambiguous because there's a lot of space here for different types of purposes, but there should be some specific reason. that people would hire your community and it should make sense with the delivery mechanism that is an ongoing membership.

    [00:12:30] If you can teach people how to start their home garden through a one hour course, why don't you just do it in a course versus having an a monthly membership if you're gonna have a membership to help people with their garden. What is the ongoing nature of what they need that makes an ongoing transaction make sense?

    [00:12:50] So it should solve a clear purpose and it should fit the delivery mechanism that is ongoing. Jobs we thought 

    [00:12:57] Ramli John: is actually a very product term and people usually draw, hire let's say. A tool or a podcast mic or a mic to deliver something of value. And that value could be different based on who is using that tool.

    [00:13:13] It could be a public speaker or radio announcer or podcast host. And really that's what you're getting at with this, where really getting to know your audience your your community members, and understanding why did they hire your community for, and it could be. They just wanna feel like they belong.

    [00:13:29] It's a lonely . It's a pretty lonely especially when things, people working from home, like they, they're looking for connection and that it could be one of the reasons why they're just feeling lonely and they just wanna feel connected with their people. Is what I'm hearing with this.

    [00:13:43] Jay Clouse: I agree with that. I think connecting you to like-minded people is table stakes at this stage of community. Now maybe you have a pretty esoteric. Rare shared interest that you're giving people a connective place that genuinely otherwise doesn't exist. But you and I have talked about this before, Romley, like marketing is a big world.

    [00:14:08] So there are probably a lot of places online where people can connect with other people who broadly care about marketing. It's not sufficient, like it's necessary, but not sufficient. Any level of competitive landscape like you, you need to have even further fidelity on top of we're gonna connect you to other people.

    [00:14:28] Because like I said it's necessary, but it's not sufficient for most industries and niches because there are other places for me to get connection. And if you are leaning on simply Connection, then you better do an incredible job in the actual. Community experience of connecting people and not just leave it to them.

    [00:14:49] Ramli John: So what I'm hearing, and especially with the Job framework, is that it's the key part to that is the transformation. And it's not just a transformation as a sole person, it's actually a transformation together as a group where we're. Elevating each other, essentially, where I elevate you, I don't know if that's the right word.

    [00:15:08] I hope you become better. You help me become better. Yeah. And together we become better and we celebrate us becoming better. , essentially. Yeah. 

    [00:15:16] Jay Clouse: Towards some common goal and sometimes. Communities play a huge role in simply accountability. I recently spoke with the London Writers Salon, and they're a community of writers where every day they have three Zoom calls per day that are open to their membership, where people can just come in and spend an hour.

    [00:15:35] Writing quietly alongside other people. It's a lot easier to remain focused and on task when you're in a Zoom window of other people being there. There's like some positive tension and accountability there. So it can play like fairly simple roles like that. Or it can be highly educational where it's like, Hey, we're gonna help you go from, you've never spoken on stage before to now you're giving a keynote in front of 200 people.

    [00:16:00] And we're gonna take you along every step of that process. That could be a huge, like very specific educational experience-based transformation. It's a huge spectrum, but there, there needs to be some specific purpose. 

    [00:16:13] Ramli John: Before we continue, I wanna thank the sponsor for this episode 42 agency. When you're in scale up mode, you have to hit your KPIs.

    [00:16:20] The pressure is on to deliver demos and signups. It's a unlock to handle the Imagine ABM email sequences, revenue ops, and more. That's where 42 Agency founded by my good friend, Camille Rex, can help you. They're a strategic partner that's helped B2B SaaS companies like ProfitWell, teamwork, sprout Social and Hubdoc build a predictable revenue.

    [00:16:44] If you're looking for performance experts and creative to solve your hardest marketing problems at a fraction of the cost of in-house, look no further. Go to 42 Agency, that's number 42, agency.com. Talk to a strategist. Learn how you can build an high efficiency revenue engine. Now, find that link in the description or show notes.

    [00:17:04] That's offer. Now, let's jump back into this episode. 

    [00:17:07] The next second part to what you mentioned around elements of a world-class community experience. These are all onboarding. I believe in a workshop that you gave, you said this is a big hole for a lot of communities. Full disclosure, once again, I'm part of your community.

    [00:17:19] The lab, I actually recorded it for myself. It's wow, this is a great experience. And I'm I'm plugging your community in because it's one of the best ones I've seen. Terms of onboarding. Can you walk through like how you. Intentionally thought about how you onboarded new members to the lab.

    [00:17:35] For people who are not part of it, for people who are, who were part of it, just they might have it might have evolved. So can you Yeah. Just walk through how you onboard people to, 

    [00:17:44] Jay Clouse: to the lab? For sure. I started thinking about this came at it from two directions before I build a membership.

    [00:17:49] I was selling. Courses, like one-off courses that are prerecorded, they're self-paced. You can enroll in them anytime and then get into them. And what I realized about courses, I'm guilty of this, a lot of course creators are guilty of this. We really optimize for everything up to the point of sale. . But then after sale course, completion rates are very low.

    [00:18:13] And what are we doing about that as course creators next to nothing? Because we've already extracted the value and we've given that person what we believe to be the value that they paid for. And so we say it's on you. I think that's even, I think it's true in communities as well, but in communities where you aren't just like handing over the value it's a little bit more difficult to realize the value in a community, like it requires more work on the part of the individual.

    [00:18:45] And with my background in-person events and communities, I think to those times that I would go to in-person meetups, and you'd usually drive across town, it might be a 15 or 20 minute commute. You walk into the door, you take the elevator, you open the doors to the room where the meetup is, and you immediately start looking around for someone you know, because it's uncomfortable and you're like, I'm alone.

    [00:19:06] I'm in a group of people. I feel awkward. I hope I can find someone here that I know that I can link to and feel more comfortable in the space. I. in that discomfort, it's unlikely that you turn around and leave because you've already made the effort of going there. People have seen you. It's almost even more awkward to leave now.

    [00:19:26] But online, we feel that discomfort when we get into a new online space all the time and it's so easy to leave. There was no commute, there's no one knowing that you're there. You can click the red X and say, this is hard. I don't know how to use it. I'll try it again some other time and then never come back.

    [00:19:40] That happens in online communities all the So I, I started asking myself how do, what great community experiences exist online or offline? And I thought a lot about fitness communities because when you go to a gym, you're often greeted very warmly. They will show you around the space. You've already built a connection then with at least that person that's showing you around who might be a friend or a roommate or somebody you already know, or might be like the desk.

    [00:20:06] They show you like the different tools. They get you comfortable with the physical space, the tools that are within the space. They're introducing you to other people there. Hey, this is Karen. She's been coming to this gym for two years. She's amazing. If you ever need help with anything, talk to Karen.

    [00:20:18] She shakes her hand, she gives you a hug. She says, you're awesome. I wanted to try to emulate that in an online space as well. So in the lab onboarding, I wanted to rank really clear how you use this thing, and then further, once you get into the community, I'm always trying to get better at how do I get you to have an interaction with a real person.

    [00:20:39] Then, and an easy way is for me to be that first person in our onboarding. Step one is schedule a welcome call with me so that I can get to know you better. I can make better recommendations of who to talk to or I can introduce you to people, but at least you've now had an interaction with somebody in this community.

    [00:20:56] And it's been positive. But I also think about the question now. What a lot, like if I go into anything, I will complete a task and I'll say, now what do I do? There's not a lot of people who are so self-guided that they just wanna explore things anymore. Like they want to know how to do things right?

    [00:21:15] We're very optimized, and most community onboarding experiences don't tell you what to do. They just say okay, here it is. You have it now. Okay, now what? What do I do? Some people will introduce themselves and they'll say, now what do I do ? So I just try to answer that question now. As many times as possible consecutively until you feel really comfortable with the space and you've built a relationship with somebody else in it.

    [00:21:40] That's a 

    [00:21:41] Ramli John: really great way to put it, and I'm trying to recall back when the onboarding, I remember when we jumped on the welcome call. Then now what you asked me said, Graham, have you introduced yourself to the community? I said, not yet. When you're comfortable, please introduce yourself.

    [00:21:55] And as soon as I introduce myself, I remember just seeing other people just say welcoming me. And I think that's a huge part from a community member's point of view, is when other people. Welcome you there. Goes back to that core purpose of belonging and oh, you're trying to achieve Yeah. Build a creator business and then everybody's oh, me too

    [00:22:17] No, we God, lift a common goal. And just that initial connection is sending people off for success essentially. So glad to hear you say that. Cause that's that's exactly what I'm trying to do for people. Now you get to be at a point. You're a month or two in and you've had some success.

    [00:22:33] Jay Clouse: You've used it in some ways, but there are probably days where you're like, okay, now what? Now how do I use this? And I still need to get better and better at continuing to give helpful, productive ways for you to continue to engage with this thing, to get you further on that journey to becoming a professional.

    [00:22:50] It never really ends. Like the deeper you can allow onboarding in your mind to go, like the structured experience, the better off you'll be. 

    [00:22:57] Ramli John: I love how you're putting this, cuz I wrote a whole book on product onboarding. The onboarding experience actually sets up somebody for success for the long term.

    [00:23:05] Like they're more likely to stick around rather than you mentioned earlier. If they don't know the now, what they're more likely to bounce out, especially in an online world. So thank you for being tough about this and talking more 

    [00:23:16] Jay Clouse: about this. Yeah. Thanks . I I'm probably preaching to the choir here.

    [00:23:20] Thanks for allowing me the space to share my perspective. I'm sure we believe a lot of the same things. I wanna jump into 

    [00:23:25] Ramli John: the third part to world class communities that you've seen is around this gratification, and I feel like what you're really getting into here is this idea of measuring engagement.

    [00:23:35] Usually what you know, Somebody is not in the community world, they're like, oh, just measure the number of messages you've seen on that space or slack especially in the B2B or in the marketing world where communities are on Slack. It's oh, just count the number of messages on Slack, and that's a good way to measure gratification.

    [00:23:55] Can you talk a little bit about why that might be a terrible idea, or might be a counterproductive metric to measure, and what's a better way to measure. Community gratification or people gratification in a community? 

    [00:24:08] Jay Clouse: I try to optimize for member happiness am I happy that I'm here and that I made this investment and in the way that this serves me?

    [00:24:19] And I think engagement came about because that was like our closest. way we can measure happiness just based on the way the tool is used, because it's hard to measure happiness. Like how do you do that? It has to be self-reported. You can't measure that in analytics. So engagement is kinda like the closest, easiest thing we can get, which means that a lot of people pay a lot of close attention to it, but it's incomplete because if I am somebody who's joining a community, I am likely pretty self-directed.

    [00:24:47] I'm pretty driven. I'm ambitious because I'm taking actual steps to achieve a better version of myself. So I am susceptible to being given tasks and completing them. When people try to increase engagement, often what they'll do is they'll say, okay, we're gonna have rituals now where we're gonna like post, Hey, share your wins or share your goal for the week, or Do this thing.

    [00:25:11] Do that thing. I'm gonna make a post to drive comments and that can become homework to the type of person who would join a community. It feels like another thing on my to-do. that is serving the community's engagement goals, but is it serving my goal for why I joined this community? Maybe. But a lot of times it's not.

    [00:25:31] So pushing towards engagement can actually create like low level underlying stress and extra work for somebody who's just trying to get to this outcome that I was promised. So that's how I think about that and gratification is this idea. Whatever level of effort or way that I'm showing up in this community, what, however I'm doing that I feel glad that I did.

    [00:25:58] Some people join communities because they just want to be a fly on the wall and see what other people are saying and be informed by the discussions there. Their activity is not captured in engagement metrics at all. Like maybe you see that they are not inactive, but if they're not making comments or posts.

    [00:26:18] You might look at their engagement, quote unquote, and think that they're unhappy, but in fact, they could be very happy. They could be having an incredibly gratifying experience. So it's just something I'm aware of and try to structure the way that I ask people to show up. in a way that's towards their goals and not my metrics.

    [00:26:40] I believe 

    [00:26:40] Ramli John: in that workshop you share this story with S P I Pro with a mastermind and how that actually lowered engagement. Can you share that for the people who might not heard about this story? 

    [00:26:51] Jay Clouse: Yeah. When I was working at S P I, one thing that we thought we would try to do is facilitate mastermind groups or help create mastermind groups within the community.

    [00:27:02] The business that I had run previous to working with s p I was actually in personally facilitating mastermind group. So I had a structure and a framework for how to do this. And the challenge was, can we do this in such a way that we don't require a staff member facilitating all of these conversations?

    [00:27:18] And we did my approach to matchmaking of these groups and we would put them into small groups and they would self-direct and lead each other and meet on their own schedule. . And when we did that, what we saw in our engagement metrics was that posts and comments and things went down.

    [00:27:36] What we saw in our membership metrics though, like our stripe metrics retention went up. I think that retention in a paid community especially, is a really good metric of member happiness. Ultimately, I think it's a much truer metric than engagement. So when we had that trade off of higher retention, lower engagement, I said, hell yeah, I'll take that all day every day.

    [00:28:03] I love that 

    [00:28:04] Ramli John: goes against the things I usually heard oh, just call the number of Slack message buddy. If they're finding just value reading through the comments. And they're actually happy. You mentioned the word they're actually delight. By reading the responses by other people, then your community is actually a success to them rather than, oh, we're failing with that specifically.

    [00:28:25] Thank you for sharing this three it is quite interesting how all of this relate to the products to SaaS products, specifically, like on onboarding and measuring happiness of users and retention. The most the greatest measure of success if they're willing to come back for more. I wanna actually shift gears now and talk about career specifically for you.

    [00:28:47] You've been in community space and startup space for over 10 years now. What's something that's helped you, I call it a career power. What's something that's helped you, a advance in your career, accelerate through your through, through your professional 

    [00:29:02] Jay Clouse: Career? I have a working. Theory right now that may be the best driver of success or even predictor of success is belief belief that you can achieve the thing that you want to achieve.

    [00:29:19] It's it's like confidence in a lot of ways, but it seems deeper than that. It's hard for me to even articulate what I mean by belief, but I I think you can feel it because we have these stories that become great documentaries like the Anna Delvy scandal, or the WeWork founder, or Elizabeth Holmes, and we look at this and we're like, how could this person possibly achieve these things and be such a fraud?

    [00:29:49] Answer is they believe that they could. And there are people who believe that they could do all kinds of things for good reasons and do it all the time. But like time and time again, when I see people that have achieved the results that I aspire to achieve, what I realize is they just believe that they could do it.

    [00:30:07] And when you believe that you can do it, you will take the actions and the steps necessary to get there because you believe that you can. And this is obviously the way to do. I think a lot of times we have goals, but we don't always have genuine belief. We hope for the best, but there's a part of us that's just like on our conscious I can't do this.

    [00:30:30] It'll never work. It'll never be me. So all of this is a roundabout way of answering your question, that there have been times in my life where I've had goals and ambition, but I didn't have that belief and the thing that really helped. Was people around me who saw in me the potential and gave me their belief in me.

    [00:30:51] You know what I mean? They've they like say I can see you're going to accomplish really great things, or it's so inspiring to watch what you're able to do. They're able to see things in me that I don't always see. So sometimes I've been able to generate self-belief based on the belief that I was given from others.

    [00:31:08] That's 

    [00:31:09] Ramli John: so powerful. I believe there are several people in your podcast you have for people who don't know Jay has podcasts called Creative Elements, and Msel talked about this. And also Casey Morris the teacher were, they talked a lot about how. Having this mindset and they even I believe Miss, I don't, miss Al hired a coach to help him, her, with her mindset making sure she believes it.

    [00:31:34] So that's a really interesting thing that often the most limiting to us is our own belief in our ability to accomplish it. 

    [00:31:43] Jay Clouse: It's what I'm hearing. I think it's absolutely true. And it's a hard thing. It's not like a switch you can just flip on or a jacket that you can put. , but it is something to strive towards.

    [00:31:51] And I think belief comes from evidence. Like seeing signs that point to the fact that you're on the right track and that you can do this. . But a hard thing to just pick up, but if you're aware of it as something that you need, I think it begins to get easier to work towards it.

    [00:32:10] Ramli John: Love it. Thank you. Thank you for sharing this. It's making me think about a lot of things. Actually. I wanna, another related question to this is if you can give yourself a young, your younger self, an advice when, if you can travel back in. And send a message through time to a 10, 10, a 10 year old.

    [00:32:30] The 10 years ago when Jay was younger. What would be an advice you would give yourself that person starting out in startups and communities and everything else? I 

    [00:32:39] Jay Clouse: have two things, but they're often like really closely related. It's doing the hard things. and asking for what you want. I've also experienced time and time again if you will ask for the outcome that you want to a person who has the power to help you have it, achieve it, you give yourself a really good chance of getting it.

    [00:33:00] There are so many people who get things that we want just cuz they ask for it and they know who to ask. But it's awkward to ask you, you feel self-conscious. You think, who am I to ask for that? But, The act of not asking, almost sends the signal to the person that you don't want it. They don't know that you do want it.

    [00:33:17] They won't give it to you if they don't know that you want it. And the other side of that, like I said, is doing the hard things often asking feels hard. That's why we don't do it. It feels like a hard, vulnerable, risky thing to do. But there are just I'm tuning in more and more to the op times in my day-to-day life where.

    [00:33:35] I know I need to have a difficult conversation for some reason or another with somebody else, and that feels hard. That feels difficult, and so I don't do it. And so the circumstances don't change. They don't get better. Oftentimes, like the things that we want are on the other side of difficult conversations.

    [00:33:53] You gotta be willing to have 'em. , and I wish I would've had that realization earlier because I would've asked for things earlier. I would've had more difficult conversations earlier, and I'd probably accelerated my path in a lot of ways. 

    [00:34:07] Ramli John: I know this is not something I ask you in the questions I sent beforehand.

    [00:34:10] Is there any specific thing that you, any specific example of that where. Asking a hard thing would've helped Earl if you've done it earlier. It could be on asking for a race or asking to do something else in your 

    [00:34:28] Jay Clouse: past. The race is a good example. There there are big asks and there are small asks.

    [00:34:34] The race is a really good example of a very obvious, clear, big ask. And in other smaller ways, like I've heard Ramit Setti remit, Setti talk about this in like financial. Sometimes you just call your bank and ask 'em to waive this fee or give you a better rate, or like negotiating. If you don't ask for those things, this doesn't happen.

    [00:34:51] Like the default happens. I lost my luggage on my honeymoon several months ago. No, and the process, I got it back, but I had to buy new clothes while on my honeymoon because all my clothes were lost. And the it was a miserable experience. The process for getting reimbursed for that. , the airline is liable for it.

    [00:35:09] And so was my credit card company because they have this stated benefit of their credit card. Hey, we reimburse you for situations like this. But they make the process so ridiculous to actually redeem that or realize that on purpose because they know most people won't bring it up, won't ask. And so they won't have to give in.

    [00:35:30] They'll just make it purposefully difficult. So after six months of dealing with this, I finally stopped playing. , like as nice as I was. And I said, let me speak to a manager. And I spoke to a manager and then that person escalated me to a person in a literal department who has a full-time job dealing with people who are willing to make the ask to say, let me talk to, I forget her title.

    [00:35:53] It was like it was like reviewer or something. Like they literally have the title of I will make judgment calls in situations where this person doesn't meet all of our ridiculous criteria. And I could have done that four months ago. And close the book on this. Stop thinking about it.

    [00:36:08] Other people will make offers to help you in certain ways and you'll be like, oh my gosh, so generous. I can't believe they did that. And then we'll still be hesitant to take them up on it, we'll be hesitant to circle back a month later and say, Hey, you mentioned that you would help me on this here is that will you send my resume in?

    [00:36:24] Will you send in this thing? Will you put in a good word, will you share this thing that I. Because we feel like we're imposing, but if they offered, let 'em do the thing. Give them that opportunity. It sounds hilarious be that we don't do that, but like it happens so 

    [00:36:39] Ramli John: often. I hope you got as much from this episode as I did, especially love that one of the elements of world class community experience is something near and dear to my heart.

    [00:36:49] Onboarding to find out more about J Cloud and his work as subscribing to his newsletter Creator science@creatorscience.com. And also check out his podcast, creative Elements on Apple Podcast, Spotify and YouTube. And you could follow him on LinkedIn and Twitter. Find all of those links his work on the show notes and in the des.

    [00:37:10] Thanks to Jay for being on this show. If you enjoy this episode, you'd love the marketing Power UPS newsletter that I sent out Each week, share the actionable takeaways and break down the frameworks of world-class marketers from each episode. You can go to marketing power ups.com to subscribe, and you'll instantly unlock the five best marketing frameworks.

    [00:37:29] The top marketers used to hit their kpi. Consistently and allow their colleagues. If you wanna say thank you, please and follow Marketing Powerups on YouTube, apple Podcast, and Spotify. If you're feeling extra generous, kindly leave a review on Apple Podcast and Spotify and leave a comment on YouTube.

    [00:37:46] Goes a long way for others finding out about Marketing Powerups. Thank you to Mary, so for creating the artwork and design thanks to 42 agency for sponsoring this episode. And of course, thank you for listening and tuning. That's all for now. This is your host from John. Until the next episode, have a powered update.

    [00:38:06] Bye 

    [00:38:07] Jay Clouse: marketing power.

    [00:38:12] Until the next episode.


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