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Teaser Forums: A carrot on a stick to get members to join


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#1 Charles

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 03:38 PM

Ok I admit I made up the term "teaser forums" just now. There is no such setting in IP.Board but you can create these by creative use of permissions. So let me explain what I mean.

In my very special definition a teaser forum is a forum that a visitor does not actually have access to but it still shows up on the listing. When they click into it rather than getting a not-so-friendly "Permission Denied" message they get a sort of sales pitch. You can have IP.Board display custom text to explain to a member why they should join so they can have access to this special, private area. Another approach may be a paid content area. Let's say you require members pay for access to certain sections of your community. Using the teaser forum approach you can show them what they're missing without actually giving them full access.

Here is a screenshot of settings in Manage Forums from our site:

Attached File  IP.Board_ > Forums > Forums.jpg   45.63KB   477 downloads


The first setting, Allow members who can see the forum but cannot read topics to see the topic list, is a bit confusing at face value but really all it means is that if a member does not have the "read" permission set for a forum IP.Board will, rather than just showing an error message, show the listing of topics in that forum. However, if a user tries to click into a topic they will then be defined access.

This setting is optional. If you have it enabled it shows a member what topics they could be reading if only they had access. It's a great way to entice people to sign up. If you do not enable this setting then the forum can still show to a user but they will be denied access without seeing the topic listing.

The second setting, Custom 'Permission Denied' Message, is your change to brush up on your sales skills. This is where you can offered the default, generic "permission denied" message and instead present some useful information and encouragement to join. Here on IPS Community we use this feature to explain to members that they have to be an active client to access certain sections.


Sure it's a simple set of features and sure I made up a whole new term today but using these simple settings can really increase your membership by showing people what they are missing.
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#2 Brett L

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 10:48 PM

I find that the success of this is directly related to how origional your content is.


Personally if I come flying in off google only to find myself staring at a "you must register page" I leave assuming I can find the solution else where.



On the other hand this strategy will work if you are the only place that offers said content.
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#3 Alfa1

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 12:09 AM

Wouldn't the above approach work more effectively if there would be a real teaser? i.e. the guest can read a teaser, but not the whole thread.
Or the guest can read a topic and even reply to it. But before the reply becomes visible the guest must complete registration.

#4 Cyrem

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 12:50 AM

Thanks for the post Charles. I should probably do this sometime.

I was thinking, would this not also help with SEO as the spiders can index the topic titles?

#5 Charles

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 07:47 AM

Thanks for the post Charles. I should probably do this sometime.

I was thinking, would this not also help with SEO as the spiders can index the topic titles?


Yes seeing topic titles is good.

You obviously would not enable this on all communities and you're right that having to register to see everything is annoying but there are circumstances where it makes sense.

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#6 Mikey

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 11:58 PM

I already do this on my Red Zone forum for my members where I keep my heated debates and stuff. At first I just hid it from the members until they reached X posts, and then I've simply done this and it increased participation tenfold. Great tip, Charles!

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#7 Cyrem

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 09:32 AM

I already do this on my Red Zone forum for my members where I keep my heated debates and stuff. At first I just hid it from the members until they reached X posts, and then I've simply done this and it increased participation tenfold. Great tip, Charles!


I quietly laughed when I saw "General Shenanigans".

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I think these messages are also a great opportunity to convince guests that becoming a member is worthwhile by explaining the features or benefits a member recieves.
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#8 Zizzla_JA

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 10:54 AM

Wouldn't the above approach work more effectively if there would be a real teaser? i.e. the guest can read a teaser, but not the whole thread.
Or the guest can read a topic and even reply to it. But before the reply becomes visible the guest must complete registration.

Wouldn't the above approach work more effectively if there would be a real teaser? i.e. the guest can read a teaser, but not the whole thread.
Or the guest can read a topic and even reply to it. But before the reply becomes visible the guest must complete registration.


Or the guest can read a topic and even reply to it !!! this to me personally would be inviting spammers to post crap, i have used charles "teaser forums" on my board and it works fine, as long as you do not allow guest to post ! only read the post, you don,t even have to allow this also , just show the forum, when they click into the topic all they get is "Permission Denied" message, but what i also do is allow my members to post in the forums, forums i use are usually some thing like

1. Animals/Pets
2. Cooking
3.Sport
4.Travel

The above forums usually get guest intrested, i have also tried adult section lolz, that took of like a bat out of help... I wander why :D

#9 Alfa1

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 12:12 AM

I would never allow guests to post, without registration. That would indeed invite a lot of spammers. My suggestion is to let them post, but only show their posts when they complete registration. This to increase registrations.

My point is that a permission denied page does not lead to many registrations, because the user still needs to decide to register, go find the registration and then make it through it. For example: If a guest hit a permission denied page on my site, I redirect them to my registration page. That has almost doubled my registrations to 4100 per month. The registration process can be further optimized to funnel guests through it.

#10 Cyrem

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 03:34 AM

My suggestion is to let them post, but only show their posts when they complete registration.

So if a guest posts, but never registered... it's never shown to anyone. If this is the case, you might as well stop guest posting. I can see nothing but problems with a system like this, especially when 2 guests might use the same name.

#11 Zizzla_JA

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 12:27 PM

I would never allow guests to post, without registration. That would indeed invite a lot of spammers. My suggestion is to let them post, but only show their posts when they complete registration. This to increase registrations.

My point is that a permission denied page does not lead to many registrations, because the user still needs to decide to register, go find the registration and then make it through it. For example: If a guest hit a permission denied page on my site, I redirect them to my registration page. That has almost doubled my registrations to 4100 per month. The registration process can be further optimized to funnel guests through it.

I would never allow guests to post, without registration. That would indeed invite a lot of spammers. My suggestion is to let them post, but only show their posts when they complete registration. This to increase registrations.

My point is that a permission denied page does not lead to many registrations, because the user still needs to decide to register, go find the registration and then make it through it. For example: If a guest hit a permission denied page on my site, I redirect them to my registration page. That has almost doubled my registrations to 4100 per month. The registration process can be further optimized to funnel guests through it.

Intresting with redirecting them to registering

#12 Alfa1

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 09:49 PM

So if a guest posts, but never registered... it's never shown to anyone. If this is the case, you might as well stop guest posting. I can see nothing but problems with a system like this, especially when 2 guests might use the same name.

The trick would be to guide them through registration, after they submit their post. If they do not complete registration, then their posts are removed from the database. But as they have already posted, they are very likely to complete registration. IPB has an instant username check function, so there would not be any duplicate user names.
Anyway, I probably should not have mentioned the idea, as its getting too far off topic. Once I have access to the suggestion forums, I can post a write up there and see what people think of it. Or just have the functionality coded for me.

#13 TM4

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 12:49 PM

Wouldn't the above approach work more effectively if there would be a real teaser? i.e. the guest can read a teaser, but not the whole thread.
Or the guest can read a topic and even reply to it. But before the reply becomes visible the guest must complete registration.



Exactly.

Personally i´d love to see such a simple thing as the wordpress [more...] tag.

(eventually automatically inserted after xy words/chars)

That really would mean "teaser" to me and would lead to far more regs then any "permission denied" message.
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#14 jackflash

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 01:49 PM

I like where this is going :)

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#15 chrisjmc2006

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 02:17 PM

This trick has actually worked quite well for me. My community as a whole has some niche content one forum is particular I noticed was of interest to a lot of visitors. This little gem does indeed help bring in new posters. Though, if your content is weak this generally wont work. IMO that's common sense anyway.
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#16 Kirito

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 11:44 PM

This trick has actually worked quite well for me. My community as a whole has some niche content one forum is particular I noticed was of interest to a lot of visitors. This little gem does indeed help bring in new posters. Though, if your content is weak this generally wont work. IMO that's common sense anyway.

Yep, same here.

A teaser to get people to sign up and post to gain full access, or sign up and donate/subscribe for unlimited access right off the bat :P

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#17 wingman23

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 07:21 PM

You dont need to redirect people to the sign up page, the link is right there in the denial page. you just have to point it out... One thing i do wish though is that i could reword that ERROR thing.. to something like Ooppps Sorry, its less direct and doesn't make it sound like the board doesn't work properly..

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#18 Charles

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 07:24 PM

You dont need to redirect people to the sign up page, the link is right there in the denial page. you just have to point it out... One thing i do wish though is that i could reword that ERROR thing.. to something like Ooppps Sorry, its less direct and doesn't make it sound like the board doesn't work properly.. Attached File  Community Message.jpeg   63.93KB   37 downloads


Already done in 3.3 :)
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#19 Kirito

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 12:49 PM

Already done in 3.3 :smile:

Glad to hear that, I always found the whole "error" thing to be pretty confusing for guests.

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#20 Zizzla_JA

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Posted 25 March 2012 - 05:48 PM

Glad to hear that, I always found the whole "error" thing to be pretty confusing for guests.

Also glad to here this, when i upgrade to 3.3 looking forward to seeing this error gone :smile:




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