Start an Online community NOW. But WHY?

What if your marketing efforts yielded a 6,469 percent return on investment.

Community members spend 2x more and have a 33% higher adoption rate than non-community members.- Erica Kuhl

This is the average return on investment for online communities. Startups are embracing these communities to identify and connect new customers, as well as to expand and personalize relationships with current customers.

These groups may be utilized to gather consumer feedback or request or simply generate new ideas, ideally contributing to lesser support costs, and increasing sales.

Online Community Is the New Marketing: Are You Ready?

Today, branded Online communities take collaboration to an entirely new level. The best communities attract individuals who want to regularly gather online and interact freely based on their shared love for a brand.

What exactly are online communities, and how can you or your businesses benefit from them?

Everything you need to know:

Basic definition of an online community. 

Community is more than just a feeling of belonging. In the context of business, it’s a structure for creating value. A simple way to understand it is to compare “community” to an “audience.”

To build an audience, you help people.

To build a community, you help people help each other.

It’s a subtle but massive difference in mindset. Traditionally, businesses create all the value for the consumer. Community-driven businesses create spaces for consumers to create value for each other.

Ryan Hoover from Product Hunt

Community unlocks the ability to scale value creation, with a relatively small team. It’s how Duolingo is able to run 2,600 events every month with a community team of three people. It’s how 83% of questions asked by Salesforce customers are answered by other customers. It’s how a subreddit with 155,000 members helps Notion users exchange ideas for how to be more successful with the product. They all empower their community members to contribute.

Benefits of Creating a Personalized Online Community

Having an online community is similar to welcoming your virtual store’s customers in and having them return every day after that. You’ll incorporate them into your ecosystem and provide yourself fresh possibilities to learn about them if you develop an online community that suits what your consumer is searching for (in connection to your items).

“I built the Salesforce community intentionally. I knew I could never hire anyone fast enough or keep up with all the trends or channels popping up. We decided to tap into our most passionate advocates to become extended members of our team.” -Erica Kuhl

Here are some of the benefits that internet communities provide for brands:

1. Encourage innovative products.

Customers are the greatest individuals to advise you what changes to make to your product. They can tell you what they like and dislike, as well as what they never use. Your online forum serves as a loudspeaker for your consumers, letting them know what you can do to better your product.

It may be frightening to have them share their positive and negative input, but this vulnerability is where you can enhance your product from Version 1 to Version 5 faster than you could without the community.

2. Learn as much as you can about your consumers.

You can also utilise this to learn about your customers’ before-and-after situations. You’ll find trends in their descriptions of their issues that you may apply to strengthen your content. This makes the material more related to your consumer persona and demonstrates that this is the thing they need.

What better approach to demonstrate consumers that your product is more relevant to them than your rivals’ than using their own words in your copy?

It will also benefit the community members: “You will be giving them a seat at that table – all based on the fact that the commonality of everyone in our community is our product.”

3. Reduce support costs.

Look for trends in your users’ before- and after-states inside your online community. When your product has solved their problem, they will be in the after state.

Your online community can be utilised to not just answer queries from consumers, but also to identify and resolve recurring concerns. This will lessen the amount of tickets that your customer service staff receives.

If the he product team wants a place to share ideas and people to bounce ideas off of, and they want quotes and testimonials for their launches. You  don’t have to build a big team to give them this, and then what's better than giving the product team access to these real customers (Community). They will love it.

4. Feedback about the product.

Similar product complaints or queries should never be overlooked in your online community. They’re fantastic at lowering support expenses, but they’re even better at enhancing your product in the way that your consumers want it.

Don’t allow these concerns and queries to go unnoticed; write them down and add them to your “Product backlog” to identify the pattern.

Listening is the best thing you can do . 

Communicate with Users, Build Something They Want - Ryan Hoover of Product Hunt

5. Boost engagement.

Online communities can help you get more involved in a variety of ways. If you’re the blogger we mentioned earlier who has a sizable Instagram following, having your followers tag you in their stories to share a daily victory, how they’re utilizing a product, and so on, increases your engagement. People may also leave comments on your Instagram posts, join your Facebook group, and react to your tweets, among other things.

All of these activities by other users will raise your account’s engagement and expose you to new people.

Brand awareness, lead generation, and conversions are all boosted by online communities. These communities may become one of your most potent marketing platforms if they have a defined purpose and are moderated properly. Because of their capacity to build relationships between brands and customers, they’re a tried-and-true marketing technique for companies in practically every industry.

“ The community industry is still new but growing rapidly. Companies are now more aware that they need community but they are not entirely sure what community is or how to gain value from it. So this is OUR new adventure at Pensil…, to help YOU create authentic community experiences where YOUR customers/users are engaged and empowered.”

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