Your customers are your best marketers.
In fact, the Nielsen 2021 Trust In Advertising Study showed that 88% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know, above all other forms of marketing messaging.
Thanks to the digital age, those we ‘know’ have grown significantly in scope. We’re connected to 1000s of people everyday.
Combine that with our natural trust in other consumers’ experiences and it’s no wonder that community-led growth has become a business focus.
But how can you leverage community-led growth in your business? What community led growth strategies are worth implementing?
In this article, we’ve put together 8 of the best community growth strategies we’ve seen work.
- Leverage wider community marketing channels
- Focus on personalisation
- Highlight your expertise and influencers
- Identify product problems and fix them
- Deepen customer relationships
- Find and promote your customer advocates
- Test different pricing and revenue models
- Act on your insights
What is community-led growth?
Before we explain the strategies, it’s worth getting on the same page.
Community-led growth is when your users share their experience of your product, intentionally or unintentionally creating brand awareness that triggers business growth through customer acquisition and retention.
You can use community marketing to stimulate this growth, putting concerted effort into connecting with your user base to improve their experience while collecting insight into how they use the product.
Want to see community-led growth in action? See how Springer Nature has increased the return rate intention of their authors to 60%.
1. Leverage wider community marketing channels
Your online community sits within a wider business strategy. That’s why you should be checking in with the other marketers and marketing efforts in your business.
A smart community manager knows that community growth doesn’t come from working in a silo. You’ll need to partner with not just marketing but sales, product, your customer support team, and customer success.
Let’s consider event marketing. Events are a great occasion to generate buzz in the community. You can invite existing users (anyone who is an active participant in your community) to your marketing events where they’ll get the chance to speak to prospective customers.
Not only does this nurture your relationship with the existing user, it turns that user into a powerful tool for customer acquisition. They can speak to other attendees about their experience with your product.
That’s why you need to work with and through other marketing channels. Those can include content marketing, event marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, and more.
2. Focus on personalisation
Business growth hinges on showing your customers that you understand and care about their interests, goals, and needs.
What better way to do that than through personalising their community experience?
You’ll only want to show each member the content, courses, events, and discussions that interest them. This curation of content helps you keep your community engaged and returning long term.
Their experience is more valuable and cuts through the noise of all irrelevant content on social media and public spaces.
How do you achieve this?
Start with the data at your fingertips. Dive into the analytics to understand your members’ behaviors and preferences.
Use this intel to craft experiences that resonate, from personalized content recommendations to forums that address their specific interests and concerns.
With platforms like Zapnito, you have the tools to make personalisation a reality, nurturing a community that is as unique as the individuals it serves.
3. Highlight your expertise and influencers
Today’s consumers are saturated with advertising and content. Brands need to stand out from the noise to acquire customers.
Becoming associated with industry expertise is one way to attract prospects and retain customers. A knowledge-driven community will help you get there.
Showcase your experts, from members of your community and speakers you’ve invited to events, to internal experts like your CEO or product leaders.
You can create discussions and content that’s completely unique to the types of communities you’re building — this could include a behind-the-scenes look at your product development, a Q&A with a speaker, a monthly CEO update, or an insider look at a trend currently impacting your industry.
This will encourage people to join and engage with your community. You can also create tiered memberships or paid-for areas that become an additional revenue stream for your business.
Make sure you communicate the value of this premium tier to members so they are tempted to sign up.
Some premium perks you could offer include exclusive content, events, access to industry experts, early product access, discounts, and beta testing/first looks.
4. Identify product problems and fix them
Imagine having a direct line to your users’ needs and preferences, allowing you to fine-tune your offerings and enhance user satisfaction continually.
That’s what your community is.
It helps you retain customers by knowing what areas of the product need development, informs how users actually use your product, and what they would like to see next.
Passing this information on to your Customer Success and Product teams will allow the business to improve the product and address problems before they cause customer churn.
Keep in mind that retaining customers is cheaper than customer acquisition, and improving your retention rate by just 5% can drive profits up over 25%.
5. Deepen customer relationships
Hand-in-hand with retaining customers comes deepening the relationship between your brand and your customers.
If customers have a meaningful connection with your brand and get a sense of belonging, they will be more loyal and more invested in your long-term success. They may also promote your brand more readily to their peers both in the community and outside of it.
Online communities are ideal for building stronger customer relationships as they offer a regular touchpoint between your employees, experts, and customers.
With the right content and experts, customers can gain more value from your products and learn knowledge that improves their performance and results.
If they get to a point where they cannot live without the community, by association, they cannot live without your products.
And because your community is helping them work more effectively, your brand will benefit from the goodwill this generates.
6. Find and promote your customer advocates
The members who welcome new customers and who help spread the word about your brand and products are your customer advocates.
They are invaluable to community building as they will introduce your target audience to the community and create content that retains others. It fits neatly into other content marketing efforts you may be pushing.
Treat them like VIPs and they’ll soon boost referrals. That’s a powerful way to grow long-term, as a WOMMA study finds that referrals are up to 5x more likely to convert prospects compared to any other marketing channel.
It can be a huge growth engine for B2B organisations too, with 84% of B2B decision-makers starting their buying process via a customer referral.
7. Test different pricing and revenue models
Remember how we mentioned premium tiers in your community? There are other revenue models you can explore in your community.
Sponsorship and advertising can be offered to partners and others in your wider network, or you could create and sell online courses.
Your community can also be a place for upselling, cross-selling, and event ticket sales.
Think about leveraging the expertise within your community to create and sell online courses, offering value and fostering learning. Your community naturally houses a rich reservoir of knowledge and insights; why not monetize it?
With Zapnito, you have the platform to implement and test these strategies seamlessly, turning your community into a dynamic and profitable ecosystem.
8. Act on your insights
Your community is a goldmine of first-party data that’s invaluable to your business. We touched upon this already when it came to identifying product problems and fixing them. But the data can do more than that.
You can use this data to inform your community-led growth strategy and uncover new growth hacking tactics.
Data is generated whenever your members engage with your community, from creating new content to posting to discussion boards.
You can analyse this data and share its insights to improve your community growth, product development, marketing and sales, and customer support.
Bonus: Choose the right community tech stack
Once you’ve outlined how your community will support business growth, it’s time to choose your community platform.
Always start with your business and community goals, as this will ensure your chosen technology can fulfil what your business needs now and in the near future.
Also, consider the member experience offered by your community platform. Members need something that’s intuitive to use, to find content, and to network.
If they cannot easily navigate your community, they may lose interest. That’ll ultimately hinder your community’s growth.
Moderation is another important aspect, as it helps members feel safe in your community.
Plus, having comprehensive analytics features will ensure you get all of the benefits of community data previously mentioned.
Want more information about how to choose your community technology? Inside our community we have another piece available that covers everything you need to know when making your choice. You can register for an account and read it today.
Remember, creating a community isn’t easy and even the best community growth strategies will come undone without the right community software to support them.
Community growth in the limelight
Community-led growth is a trend that’ll only get more attention with time. It’s a clear way to drive business value through your community and the strategies discussed here are all integral to your long-term business growth.
It attracts and converts prospects, retains happy customers, and creates lasting relationships and customer advocacy. Now is the moment for smart growth communities to shine.
Want to make the most of community growth? Get in touch with us today to learn how Zapnito makes community management easier and more rewarding for the business.