This is how the top 1% Discord servers achieve first week retention

Written by Aidan Wilson

You've got a new member to sign up to your community. Congratulations! But don't just leave them to get on with it: a new member's experience in their first hour, day and week are crucial to whether they stick around.

That means it's vital to guide, encourage and reward newcomers from the moment they arrive in your Discord server.

Fortunately, it's more than possible to turn growth into retention by welcoming new members with the best possible onboarding experience. Here's a step-by-step guide, based on our experience of building, supporting and managing communities for music artists, sports teams, podcasts and creators and global brands of all kinds.

The goal: Turning new members into long-term members

When a fan joins your Discord community, you want to show them that the community is a space where they'll enjoy spending time.

A key metric is first week retention - how many members are still visiting the community a week after joining. By that point, the initial novelty has worn off, and needs to have been replaced by a strong sense of the benefits and enjoyment they will get if they hang out in the server.

We've seen that a member's first week retention is strongly linked to their first hour and first day activation - what they do when they join. Here's how to maximise those early moments and give every new member a sense of value from the very beginning of their journey:

Step 1: Spot your busiest time

Monitor when your most active and biggest community contributors are online, as well as your admins and moderators. It might be a certain time, like the weekend or evening. It might be after an event, like a concert, or after you've dropped new content.

Step 2: Invite people in

Design and launch a promotional campaign to tell fans about your server. Think Instagram stories, email newsletters and other platforms where you find potential fans. Launch the campaign across multiple platforms for maximum effect (and use a unique invite link for each platform, so you can track which ones bring in members).

Here's the important bit: Launch your cross-platform campaign during the active times/days you identified in step 1.

This ensures new members arrive when you know members are around, when conversation is happening and there's support for newcomers to get any help or assistance they may need. Make sure new arrivals see the community at its busiest and best, enticing them to want to be part of it.

Step 3: Hook them straight away

New members are more likely to stick around once they have contributed, so it's important to encourage them to make their first interaction and draw them into the conversation. That's easily done: many servers simply ask new members to introduce themselves, sometimes in a dedicated channel. To nudge newbies into joining in, incentivise them to write a first post by rewarding the newcomer with XP (experience points).

For more ways to hook a member immediately, check out our 11 tactics to launch a buzzing messaging community on day one.

Step 4: Fill their calendar

Plan further events within the first week after your promotional campaign. They can be anything that's suited to the brand, from activations to fresh content to competitions. Use your imagination and think about what will feel special to members new and old. Have your event details planned and prepped so you can announce shortly after your influx of new members, giving them something to look forward and commit to.

Step 5: Run the numbers

After a growth campaign - or indeed, after any influx of new members - take a look at your data dashboard to see what worked and what didn't.

Metrics to look at:

  • referring traffic sources See which other platforms are used by high-intent fans, and see how the new intake changes your audience demographics so you can tailor your future posts and activity accordingly.
  • first hour/day/week metrics See if the member journey is doing its job of turning newbies into engaged long-term members.

Use your detailed data analytics to repeat the success of the membership drive, or adjust future campaigns accordingly.

And of course, continue using engagement strategies to keep members old and new excited and active. With assistance from expert community managers, you'll create a thriving community that drives tangible marketing and monetisation results.

Contact Levellr today to learn more about turning fans into superfans and bringing in new members who'll bring in long-term value for your brand.