How Digital Leaders are building a global network of over 100,000 people with GoSquared

Digital Leaders are helping business and government leaders transition to a digital mindset. Here's how they use GoSquared to build their community.

The Digital Leaders Team – A selfie from the DL Week Launch Opening Bell Ceremony at the London Stock Exchange

We recently spoke to Louise Stokes (Head of Online) at Digital Leaders – a UK-wide professional network that is helping business and government leaders understand the potential of digital transformation.

They started using GoSquared six months ago to help them understand and grow their community. We caught up with them to find out how.

What is Digital Leaders?

We’re a face-to-face, professional network dedicated to promoting digital transformation across all sectors. Our members care about using digital to drive economic growth and social well-being. We organise a wide variety of conferences, events, and lectures so members can share their learnings and experiences. Our biggest events are the ‘National Digital Conference’ (now in it’s 12th year) and the prestigious ‘Digital Leaders 100’ awards.

Digital Leaders Fact Sheet

  • Founded in: 2010.
  • Total events, conferences, lectures run each year: 155+.
  • Number of UK members: 69,000+.
  • Global members: 127,000+.
  • Number of votes cast in DL100 awards: 30,000+.
  • Team Size: 4.
  • Partnered with: O2, Microsoft, Google, BBC, UK Government, Lloyds Banking Group, University of Cambridge, PayPal, Salesforce.

How have you grown such a large community?

Technology moves at such pace it can can create gaps in society that get left behind. We think the best way to remain inclusive is to ensure our community is always free; all of our events and everything we do is free for our participants. We have a real regional focus with local programmes running in the 11 regions outside of London and we have wonderful partner companies that enable us to run such a cross-sector, knowledgable network who openly share challenges and build collaboration.

There’s a lot of trust in our community – we’ve built up a lot of credibility due to our strict ‘no selling to members’ policy. We are all about high-level discussion and thought leadership on topics that matter to leaders in this digital age.

It’s all made possible through our partner companies. They pay an annual fee to position their leaders amongst our diverse, cross sector community. We have a very broad range of members – for example the head of a local council could be talking to the director of Lloyds Banking Group. It’s what makes our community so unique – you will hear perspectives and views that aren’t in your usual day-to-day, working environment.

How do you decide what’s important to your members?

Francis Maude, Sherry Coutu and Matt Hancock MP ringing the opening trading bell at London Stock Exchange to launch the start of Digital Leaders Week

We listen to our members, we have content writers, we have blogs across about 15 different topics that all inform what kind of events we do and what we talk about. It’s essential that we measure which topics resonate, which content does well and what the community wants to learn more about. The community ultimately drives the agenda and what matters to them – our job is to listen and provide the platform for them to connect.

GoSquared has completely replaced Google Analytics for helping us figure this out. Keeping an eye on things in a really clear, understandable, non technical way is really important to us.

What’s the business impact of using GoSquared?

The whole team is on the same page

We wanted something that we could easily refer to in a team meeting. I can quickly show my CEO and the rest of the team what’s doing well and what isn’t. The whole team gets the traffic report emails.

If we see a piece of content doing well, we’ll push it more. Our overall goal is to try and keep all these numbers in the green:

Screenshot of GoSquared Analytics Trends view

Pitching to partners

GoSquared really pays for itself when we use the stats to report to our board and pitch to new partners. If we can demonstrate the size, level of engagement, and most importantly, who exactly our members are – it really validates the value in our community.

Staying focussed

The Analytics has really helped us find focus and reduce the site down to what really works. Knowing what resonates and who with is fascinating.

We’re finding people that are talking about us that we never knew about before. We always assumed that people use the hashtags that we promote. However your Twitter Search widget revealed that theres a much wider conversation going on that we can now be a part of.

New ways to grow

Our one key metric is the total number of people in our community. After using Live Chat, most, perhaps even all visitors who chat will leave their email address. The people that come to our events, people that subscribe, read our content, and engage on social platforms – that is our value.

We’re a trusted platform, they trust us not to sell to them and not to spam them. We’re all about genuine business relationships.

So you’re not just using GoSquared for Analytics?

Honestly, we only came to GoSquared for the Analytics, but we ended up staying for the Live Chat.

I’m not technical at all but I thought’d I’d give Live Chat ago because it’s so easy to switch on. I did all the setup myself.

What are using Live Chat for?

Louise Stokes from Digital Leaders

During our conferences people will be asking me questions on the site and it’s just so much more personable than email. I can be busy replying, then they’ll look across the room and see me typing away and they’re like ‘hey weren’t we just chatting on the website a second ago?’

When there’s a lot of noise in your email inbox, it’s useful to get somebody’s attention on your site when they’re already engaged. Our users have even complimented us on the chat experience saying ‘this is a great tool’.

When we launched our voting portal (for the Digital Leaders awards) we immediately got all these questions. Where do I vote? How do I nominate somebody? When’s the deadline?

Being able to answer them quickly, we’ve seen a big lift in the number of voters this year because of it.

Is Live Chat influencing how you design your site?

Absolutely, 100%.

Now I know if I’m getting the same question about 15 times that means the site isn’t clear enough. I’ve been updating the copy on the site as I’m having a feedback is coming in. It’s just awesome.

It was actually a tad overwhelming because, if I’m honest, we had a few teething issues when the voting portal went live. Chat gave us real information about the user’s frustrations that we just wouldn’t have known without it. You’ve only got a certain amount of time before people give up and log off.

For us to be totally on that at the time – it really saved us.

Have you found it difficult integrating Live Chat into your workflow?

At the moment it’s just me replying to messages but it’s not been disruptive at all. We were actually really surprised by how easy it was to implement Live Chat.

I really like the mobile app because I don’t always have to be at my desk. People send messages at odd hours. The nature of our audience is that they’re running big companies. They’re at a CEO level, they’re always busy, and always pushed for time. So when they do have a spare minute to research professional development and networking, I can be available on the app to give them the instant response they need. It’s super important.

What do you want to see next from GoSquared?

So when I’m telling people about GoSquared, which I tend to do, a lot… I just say it’s the whole package. It’s just so unique, because it’s a few different elements together and it works – like really well. It does actually do what you want it to do.

So far you seem really open to working with us and our changing needs and that’s really important to us. If we can continue to lean on a team of experts, that would be a huge help for us.

What’s Next for Digital Leaders?

We’re expanding globally to provided a program of events in new countries. We’re already have 60k members outside of the UK and we know that’s only going to get bigger. For example discovering that we get lots of visitors from Canada suggests we should create a new programme there.