So you’ve built a fantastic community for customers in love with your products and services. Maybe they loved the new hiking kit you launched recently, or maybe, they’re just a group of people who share a passion for your product or service. Communities are great sources of support, and they’re likely to host your most loyal customers who trust you to solve their problems.
It’s easy to focus on the already existing customers in your customer community, but how do you get new people to join? These days, people are more connected than ever before. They flock to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to connect with friends, family, and other businesses in your industry. 40% of small businesses already have a community of people looking for content that can inspire them and provide solutions to their problems.
However, getting new customers to join your b2b customer community is not an easy task. That’s why in this article, you’ll learn how to motivate customers to join your community.
Increase Customer Engagement by Building an Online Community
Online communities are a great way to connect with your customers and keep them engaged with your brand. These communities can take many different forms, from forums to Q&A sites to Facebook groups.
What is a customer community? It is a group of people who come together to form a network around a shared interest. Communities are most commonly built around a brand or product, but they can also be built around a common goal or purpose.
How to build an online customer community?
- Create an online space for people who share a common interest
- Share interesting information that can solve problems
- Engage in regular conversations with the group members
- Conduct contests, surveys, or polls
- Offer discounts or giveaways when they sign up
- Share photos from events you hold
- Have team members organize meetups in the real world
- Continue to update the customer community platform with articles on topics that matter to your audience
Before you start attracting new members, it’s important to understand who you want to see in your customer community. It’s tempting to want everyone and anyone interested in your topic to join your community. But remember, not everyone is a good fit for the group.
For example, if you’re trying to encourage people to join a local hiker group, don’t message someone who lives in a city and has never been on a hike before. Instead, send messages specifically aimed at the people who would be interested in your topic.
6 Tips to Get More People to Join Your Online Community
Learning how to create customer community user interactions goes beyond tossing around groups and adding new members. Communities are about meaningful interactions, and that’s only possible when people know what’s happening and have the opportunity to ask questions.
Here are six tips with customer community examples to get more people to join your online community:
1. Offer Incentives
Incentives are the perfect way to motivate customers to join your group or buy your products. Think of what they might need and why they want it, then offer a discount for their email address. For example, if you have a community for people who love running, you could offer discounts on running shoes to customers who sign up for your email list.
The more valuable the incentive, the better - but don't forget that it's also important to provide quality content once they sign up
2. Share Great Content
If you're looking for new members, be sure to share great content that speaks directly to the needs of your audience. It could be an article about hiking safety or a blog post about how to speak Mandarin fluently.
Make sure that every piece of content has something that will speak directly to the needs of your audience. If you're offering an incentive with this type of content, make sure it's something they'll be interested in so they'll click through.
3. Share Real-Time Updates
Share relevant updates from upcoming events or share photos from recent hikes with your customer community. As long as they know what's going on in real-time and feel like they're part of it, they'll feel more connected.
4. Provide a Compelling Reason
Building a customer community starts with providing a compelling reason for people to join your customer community. Here, you get to use the expertise that attracted people in the first place. For example, if you’ve created an online community for people who love hiking and you want them to join your email list, tell them they can access discounts on gear or new information about hikes as soon as they sign up.
You’ll also want to offer a way for them to share their thoughts and be a part of the community without signing up. As an example, a local hiking club may offer an expert-led training session for free if someone signs up for their email list. Another option is offering exclusive content only available via email subscription.
5. Create an Offer
One of the most important aspects of your customer community is an offer. What can new members expect to gain when they join? To attract new members, you need to highlight the benefits of your community and provide an incentive to sign up.
For example, if you have a fitness club and want to grow your membership, offer a free month of membership with the purchase of a year-long membership. This will encourage people to commit long-term and make it more likely that they’ll continue to come back. Make it something that will motivate people to join right away – like a free gift or discount on your group’s services.
6. Keep it Consistent
Consistency is one of the most important things when motivating customers to join your customer community. If you want to build a strong community, you need to share relevant content consistently. You’ll have more success with consistent sharing than sporadic posts.
Plan out a schedule that will work best for you and follow it religiously. It will be worth it in the long run!
How to Manage Your Community Content
We all know how important it is to have a strong online presence on your customer community platform. The truth is that your customers are reading more than ever before. They are researching products, looking for information, and engaging with brands online.
As a business, you have the opportunity to own this space and have a direct connection with your customers. Here’s how to manage your community content:
- Offer relevant content. Content is already a top priority for 80% of marketers for lead generation, brand awareness, and so much more. You want your customer community to feel supported with relevant content at all times. While at it, distinguish the difference between the customer community and partner community to be able to create the right kind of community content.
- Make it easy to join the community. Joining your community should be as easy as possible. Add a sign-up box on every page of your website and blog, or include your email newsletter sign-up box at the bottom of each post or article on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. You can also invite potential customers by including an “invite friends” button at the end of an article or encouraging them to share their thoughts in the comments section of your blog posts and articles.
- Encourage customer interactions on the customer community platform. One sure way to get the ball rolling is by creating opportunities for customer interactions on your site. These interactions can take many forms, such as listener engagement for podcasts, discussions about current events for magazines, or user-generated content for websites.
Last but not least, you want to publish fresh content every once in a while. Publishing a new piece of content in your customer community every single day might sound a little daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right tools in place, it’s easy to manage a publishing schedule that works for you.
Tips & Tricks for Retargeting Inactive Users
Retargeting is a powerful technique that can help you bring back inactive members of your community. With retargeting, you’ll automatically show your ads to people who have shown interest in your community but have yet to sign up or to people who interacted with your community but left the conversation hanging.
Here are a few tips and tricks for retargeting inactive users:
- Make sure your website is optimized for mobile devices - The majority of your retargeting traffic will come from mobile devices, as more than 90 percent of the internet population use a mobile device. Ensure that your website is optimized for mobile with a responsive design
- Create a Facebook ad with a compelling call-to-action and appealing image - Your Facebook ads need to be as effective as possible. Give it an eye-catching design and clear call-to-action (CTA). For example, you could create an ad that says “Learn How to Start a Blog,” with the CTA being “Click Here to Learn More” or “Start Your Free Blog Today!”
- Keep it short and sweet - When writing your ads, keep them short and sweet (around 25 words). Resist the urge to ramble on about how awesome your community is. People who visit your site will already know how awesome it is - so don’t remind them!
- Retarget users who have visited your website - You can easily set up a retargeting campaign in your customer community platform by creating a new campaign and targeting the list of website visitors segmented by those who have been inactive (no longer visit) in the previous 90 days.
Create a new segment based on these criteria or simply pull a list of inactive users from your Google Analytics account or directly from your customer community software.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
Don’t rely on vanity metrics when building a customer community. If you’re only looking at metrics that show how many people have “liked” your page or followed you on Twitter, you’re missing important information. Consider focusing your measurement efforts on the following:
- How many new customers are coming to your website?
- How many customers are engaging with your content? (Commenting and sharing)
- What is the return on investment of running social media marketing campaigns?
Don’t get stuck in the “vanity metric” trap. It can be easy to get caught up in vanity metrics such as social media shares, page views, and how many followers you have. While these numbers can be fun to look at, they aren’t always telling the whole story.
Don’t forget about your other marketing channels. It can be easy to get carried away with social media marketing and forget that you have other marketing channels to pay attention to, such as email, print, and direct mail marketing. Don’t forget about these channels!
Don’t ignore negative feedback. Social media is a great way to receive feedback from your customers. Customer community best practices demand that if you get negative feedback via social media, don’t ignore it. Instead, fix the problem and make sure it doesn’t happen again in the future.
An online community is a social network where people with shared interests, backgrounds, or goals can connect, collaborate, and share information with one another. While it takes some time to learn how to build your online community, every effort counts. Get started on motivating customers to join your community and learn how to build one today!