What do companies like Apple, Harley Davidson, Lululemon, and even Kajabi have in common? Our best “spokesperson” is a single loyal customer. No paid media or organic traffic could ever do more for our business (and yours!) as much as a consistent customer base of happy and loyal customers.
But what’s even more powerful than a single devoted spokesperson? That’s right. An entire loyal, supportive, and engaged community. From tech darlings to the folks with “loud pipes save lives” stickered on their bumper, it’s been proven that creating a community around your brand has long-lasting, profitable benefits.
Customers not only purchase from these brands, but they make supporting these companies a part of their lifestyle - incorporating them into the very fabric of their personalities.
Knowledge Commerce Community Building
But how can knowledge commerce businesses replicate the success of these companies, that often have big budgets and dedicated brand marketers? And what’s required to create a brand community that’s truly enticing to your target market?
Let’s be honest - it isn’t easy. And, that’s a good thing.
At Kajabi, we live by the motto:
“When you treat your customers like gold, they feel connected to your brand and there’s nothing more valuable.”
But, no matter how well you treat your customers, they may not be easily persuaded to become a part of any community, especially if they feel like you’re trying too hard to capture their loyalty solely for profit. You can help your audience make their own decision to support your brand and community by providing products, services, and customer experiences that go above and beyond anything else available. Master the art of subtle, yet strategic marketing also doesn’t hurt. The most successful communities are created in an organic, authentic way, by companies who understand that people naturally support brands that enhance their lives.
So, how can you begin growing a community of supporters around your brand? Keep reading!
Characteristics to Consider Before Starting an Online Community
As already established, starting a community, online or off, is not for the faint-hearted. And, because it isn’t easy, a little (or, a lot of) prep work is required. This prep work includes considering several key questions that establish core community characteristics:
Why are you starting the community? In order to develop your own loyal crew of customers, think about what your business can do to engage and motivate your prospects to join in on your vision. One thing almost every brand community has is a clear purpose that everyone can support. A couple of questions you can ask to establish “the why” behind your community are:
- What type of causes or initiatives are important to my target audience?
- Am I looking to increase customer satisfaction ratings or demand for my product/service?
Who is your audience? As you can see from the previous point, your community is all about your audience, so it’s crucial to know exactly who they are. Collectively known as consumer behavior, the psychology, personality, and external motivators of your audience will play into their decision to join. Study it, and you’ll be able to create, market to, and manage your community effectively!
What will your audience want from the community? Once you’ve identified your ideal community member, determining what they will want from your community will come easy. This will depend heavily on what your brand and business offer. For example, if your business involves online financial coaching, your audience may want information on ways to save money or how to pay down debt.
Where will the community live? Last but not least is determining where your community will live (and thrive). Whether it’s a branded Instagram hashtag like #kajabihero, a digital community hosted on your website, or a Facebook group, creating a designated space for your community is essential to letting your members come together.
7 Tips For Creating Your Own Loyal Community
Now, that you’ve established your community characteristics, we can jump into the meaty details of your community. To start, we believe that creating a loyal community around your brand can be encapsulated in a single quote from Theodore Roosevelt: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”.
As you apply that mindset and at least a few, if not all, of the following steps, you’ll be well on your way to creating a successful community.
Let’s get started!
1. Create a space for interaction.
As we said earlier, creating a designated space for your community is essential to letting your customers come together. At its root, this can mean deciding between building a space from scratch or using a ready-to-use platform like Kajabi. Creating a space for interaction also means doing your best to give your customers a voice in how the community is formed and functions. A few ways to do this:
- An online suggestion box or feedback form where customers can pitch you their creative and innovative ideas.
- A tips and advice forum page on your website where your customers can educate one another on using your products or services.
- A branded hashtag where customers can share photos of themselves supporting your brand.
2. Develop appropriate rules.
Rules – no one likes them, but when it comes to your community, they are crucial for its survival. Community rules or guidelines provide structure that ensures members use it in the right way. In order to create relevant rules, focus on the “why” for creating the community (we told you this was important) and the kind of members you intend to serve. Some rules you might consider:
- Restricting profanity and self-promotion
- Sharing content unrelated to the community’s purpose
- Establishing criteria an individual has to meet before becoming a community member
For more rule examples, check out Kajabi’s community standards here.
3. Assign community roles.
Similar to rules, community roles provide your community with structure and organization. How many roles and what type of roles you need will depend on how your community is set up and the number of people who will be in it. Dedicated roles in a community will eliminate confusion and ensure rules are being followed, plus maintain your brand’s identity and values. Some of these roles might include moderators or community managers.
While you might think you can manage it all on your own (you’re your own boss after all), it’s still best to consider who else might manage and moderate the community. Not sure if it’s time to hire an employee or three for your community? Check out this thorough guide to help you decide when it’s time to hire some helping hands!
4. Promote your community (over and over again).
Getting the initial word out about your community is one of the first steps to success! To start, it’s best to seek out your audience where they already exist such as your website and social media.
Here are a few specific tips that will help you gain your first members:
- Invite your contacts. Anyone you know personally or through your business, invite them first! Most likely, they will already feel a connection with your brand and be more than willing to join your community.
- Share the community with anyone and everyone. Talk about your community like your life, or at least, your business depends on it.
- Partner with influencers. Collaborate with influencers in a similar industry that have the power to reach a whole new subset of your target audience.
Once the initial promotion is done and the world knows the community’s launch date, where to find it, and why it’s worth joining, your work is over, right? Not exactly. For a community to truly succeed, community promotions will always need to be circulating. To do this, ask your members to refer people to the community and continue to offer perks for joining!
5. It’s better to be yourself.
One of your biggest “secret weapons” in your online business is your ability to be yourself and show off your unique personality. Everyone wants to do business with people they know, like, and trust. By letting go of the suit-and-tie talk and embracing a more casual vibe, you can create a community that feels comfortable around you.
Obviously, you want to always take your target audience’s desires into consideration. The goal is to allow your personality to come through so that you can more fully connect with your community. Yet, you also want to maintain a level of professionalism where they know you take the solving of their problems seriously.
6. Express gratitude to your community (frequently!).
When customers take the time to support your brand and show their loyalty, recognizing their efforts is a small gesture that has a big impact. The more your business interacts with your community, the more appreciated your patrons will feel.
A few simple ways to do this:
- Give your community members shout-outs or public thank you’s when they post or comment.
- Offer discounts or special deals available only to your community.
- Share new developments and products with your community members before making the news known to the public.
Acknowledging your community members in a grateful matter is the surest way to turn occasional shoppers into loyal, lifetime customers. In fact, roughly 40% of consumers say that the number one reason they support a brand is that the company has always treated them and others well. Show that you care, and you’re well on your way to a rock-solid loyal community!
7. Keep content and engagement consistent.
Just like any other marketing strategy, consistency is key. Your community will notice and respond (aka leave) if you start and then suddenly stop sharing content.
Before launching your online community and implementing your strategy, take the time to ensure that you have a clear idea of how you’ll keep your community active and appealing to your customers. Creating and managing a content calendar is one way to ensure your community doesn’t fizzle out!
Build your community on Kajabi
We know that you have something to teach the world. At Kajabi, we’re working to build a world where everyone can build a life and business around their income.
That’s why we created Kajabi. It’s a full-featured platform that allows professionals like you to monetize your expertise.
Create a community and online courses, establish membership sites, and sell other digital products. We offer tons of marketing tools to help you spread the word about your products to earn more revenue.
Of course, launching a business represents a huge commitment. We understand that. To help ease you into the process of creating a knowledge commerce business of your own, we offer a 14-day free trial.
Get unfettered access to our tools, templates, and other assets so you can fully explore what Kajabi has to offer.
Are you ready to become your own boss? Now’s the time. Start your free trial today!