This is a guest post by Thomas Griffin. Thomas is the president and co-founder of OptinMonster, a lead generation software that’s being utilized in over 700,000 websites.
Have you ever wondered how some companies seem to amass a following that’s totally in love with their products?
Apple has got it’s huge fanbase that would never dream of switching to one of their competitors. Starbucks has its many customers who can’t start their day without a cup of their coffee.
These companies have got their customers on lockdown; not only will they never stop buying their products but those products are basically a part of their identities. So, how can you create the same for your business?
If you want your customers to become obsessed with you, build a community. People love being part of a group. In fact, 200 million people are members of meaningful Facebook groups.
Building a community around your brand gives your customers a place where they can be a part of something, interact with like-minded people, and talk about your product.
Keep your customers in love with you for life. Here’s how to build a community around your brand that reduces churn.
Choose the right platform for your community.
The first step to building a community around your brand is to choose the right platform. You need to pick a platform to create your community on that works for you as well as for your customers.
If you’re just starting out, you can use Facebook to create an online community for free. Create a Facebook group and invite your customers to join. You can have the group open for anyone to join or for a more exclusive feel you can set your Facebook group up so that customers have to request to join. Having a closed group that customers have to request to join is also a great way to capture emails and insights about your customers.
When they request to join, you can require them to fill out a form so that you can learn even more about them. You can then use that information to further reduce churn.
If you’re more of an established company, you might want to create your own self-hosted online community. You can easily do so using a tool like MemberPress. With MemberPress you can turn any WordPress blog or website into an exclusive online community. You can build password protected community forums, control what content is available to members vs. non-members, generate custom coupons for members, and more.
Add value to the community.
This next tip is important: Stop selling! Your online community should not exist solely for the purpose of selling your product/service.
Of course you can promote your products sparingly, but your community needs something more.
After all, if your customers join your group looking to be a part of a community of like-minded people and all they get is sales pitches, they’re going to abandon your community — and fast.
So, if you want to create a community that your customers will love, you need to add value to the community.
Share advice and tips your customers wouldn’t get elsewhere, offer exclusive deals or discounts, or even create a space where users can interact with each other and share ideas.
For instance, Harley-Davidson has a Harley Owners Group where members can connect and engage with other Harley-riders online — their community boasts over 1 million active members.
Whatever value you plan on providing your members, the benefits of joining your community should be clear. People will rush to join a group that offers up something unique.
Engage with the community.
Now, you can’t expect to have a community that’s bustling with activity if you never interact with the community yourself. In fact, your community members might not even know what to do with themselves if you don’t ignite the conversation first.
So, don’t sit back and wait for the magic to happen. It’s not just about creating posts either, it’s about truly engaging with your community.
You can engage with your community by:
- Liking posts and comments
- Responding to comments
- Creating polls
- Posing a question to members in a post
- Using emojis in your posts
Your members are joining your group to be a part of something, so they won’t return if they don’t feel like they’re involved. On the other hand, user engagement will skyrocket if you join in and they’ll return again and again.
Reward your most loyal community members.
The last step to building a community around your brand that reduces churn is to reward your most loyal community members.
Rewarding your most loyal customers is a great way to reduce customer churn so you should be doing the same for loyal community members. Rewarding your community members will let them know you value you them and they’re likely to become an even more active community member once they’ve been recognized.
You could run a giveaway or offer coupons, but something as simple as shouting out a stellar community member is enough to make them smile.
You could even do a “Community Member of the Month” to recognize the most active members or give out profile badges to those who comment the most for instance. The other great thing about rewarding your loyal members is that it will encourage the members of the group that aren’t so active to participate more.
Build a bustling community around your brand today.
An online community isn’t just a great place for your customers to hang out, it’s a useful tool to build trust, boost brand awareness, increase loyalty, reduce churn, and much more. Now that you know how to build a community around your brand that reduces churn, start building it today.
Don’t forget to promote your community like crazy. Promote it on your social media, to your email list, add a popup to your site, and so on. You could even create a “Coming Soon” page on your website to hype up your community before it’s even built. The more you promote your community, the more customers you can prevent from churning.