Community-led growth is not something new, but how you actually implement it in your business makes all the difference in its ultimate impact. Your online community can boost acquisition, product adoption, customer retention and ultimately create brand advocates to create lasting growth.
You may have already created an online community, or you may be starting from scratch. Whatever your starting point, community-led growth is how you’re really going to have a business impact. How? By putting your community at the centre of your growth efforts.
Zapnito has created an exclusive community-led growth methodology based on our years of experience, and we are happy to introduce to you the first free community-led growth course to help you get started. Just register in our online community to access it.
Every company has a community of customers, employees, partners, and other stakeholders. The key is harnessing them for growth. Bringing them together in an owned space to share valuable knowledge and build connections is how you power community-led growth.
Why community-led growth?
Community-led growth is a go-to-market strategy that leverages the inputs and influence of your most engaged customers to create measurable business impact. As the Harvard Business Review puts it, “If a company can transition from simply delivering a product to building a community, it can unlock extraordinary competitive advantages and both create and support a superior business model.”
When done well, your community creates value your prospects and customers cannot get anywhere else, making it stand out among the competition.
How to get started with your community-led growth plans
There are a few vital points to understand when embarking on a community-led growth strategy.
1. Clarify your value proposition
To have an impact, your community needs a clear vision and goals. Creating your community’s value proposition helps you to community your community’s purpose to internal stakeholders and to early members. Your value proposition will comprise two things:
- The benefits your members get from the community.
- The business outcomes your community is expected to deliver.
Once you have these, you can set your objectives and goals.
2. Know your audience
With a private, brand-owned community space, you can choose who to invite to join. Your community can be as exclusive or expansive as needed, depending on what your business goals are. At the first in a series of community-led growth events we hosted, Laura Bineviciute of Data Leaders explained why exclusivity when choosing ideal members was key to the ultimate success of the community.
Laura said, “Our focus was on the number of members who get value from the community. It was vital that our first step was knowing who these people were and who we should not target.”
Opening the Data Leaders community up to everyone, risked diluting the value of the community. Would your community experience something similar?
3. Map out your pathways
To create growth in your community, your members need to move through various stages of acquisition, adoption, retention, and advocacy.
Growth doesn’t stop once a customer makes their first purchase with your brand. The community-led approach enables you to continue nurturing your customer relationships to move them through the four stages of the community-led growth flywheel.
- Acquisition: when a customer first commits to your organisation and/or community. They are getting to know you.
- Adoption: this is when your customer is beginning to understand the value that your company and community brings them and start using your product
- Retention: this is when they feel loyal towards your brand and community and are more likely to stay.
- Advocacy: eventually those happy customers refer others to your brand and community, creating new growth opportunities.
Each stage has different goals and actions, so you can clearly see what your success metrics need to be to have an impact on each benefit. Retention, for instance, could be influenced and inferred by measuring the number of active users in your community and how many people are regularly posting or liking content in the community.
This is a really important part of community-led growth to master. So we’ve created a series of exclusive events in London that we’d love you to join us at, to work through these stages practically and get in-person advice. For those who can’t make it in-person, the Zapnito community offers a wealth of insights and peers who are working through similar journeys along with an exclusive course and individual pathway templates.
4. Start at the best pathway for your goals
These pathways don’t have to be done in order. You can start with the one that aligns most with what your business wants to achieve right now. If that’s acquisition, then start with that pathway. If you want to retain more customers, then focus your initial efforts on the retention pathway. The great thing about communities is that they are agile, they adapt as your business needs change and can be iterated over time.
Moreover, this approach will allow you to align resources with the pathways that will be your quick wins. Giving you quick, tangible results to show the value of your community to your wider organisation.
The great thing about community-led growth is that it is essentially a cycle that continues to grow upon itself. Making your community and business grow exponentially. What other community marketing strategy or sales tactic can make the same claim?
That’s a reason in itself to invest your time and energy this year into building a brand community. To help you get started, we created an online community specifically for this theme. There you will find interview series with business leaders, the first free course around community-led growth, templates to help you get started, and much more.
And we’re hosting workshops in London that gives you the opportunity to work with our team to apply it to your business. Read more about these events and sign up now.