‘The Money is in the list’, is one of the most inaccurate money making quotes online, created by Internet Marketers of yesteryear!
There may have been a time in the early days when consumers were less internet savvy that this may have been true. But times have changed.
The internet is growing up. Social media transparency means that those wishing to simply exploit the systems have and are being exposed.
Potential customers not only have much more choice now, but are also far more educated as to how it all works and they don’t just want to be a name on a list.
Email marketing is no longer the be all and end all, it is part of the bigger picture. And that bigger picture my friend is your ‘community’.
[Tweet “Your community is your business! Find out more here…”]
Your community is made up of paying customers, subscribers, readers, listeners, watchers, sharers, commenters, likers, followers, advocates, and quiet observers.
It is much more than just your ‘list’ and each one has his or her own role to play in your success as a business, even if they never become a paying customer.
Think of the word ‘Viral’, it’s actually a horribly negative word, but I can’t think of one that better describes the process. Someone may be carrying the cold virus, but never actually get the cold, but happily pass it on to you who then has a full blown outbreak!
Well, that’s how it works. The bigger your ‘community’, the more people who appreciate and share your useful information and content. The more exposure you get, the more eyeballs you get on your products and services.
It’s your job to ensure the eyeballs are targeted and your products and services meet the needs of your marketplace. We’ll save that for another blog post.
For now let’s look at some effective ways to build your community!
Content of course underpins everything!
No matter if you’re posting daily on your Facebook page, or tweeting every half an hour. Everything you publicly publish is content of some kind.
You need to think intelligently about the kind of content you’re publishing. Start by asking yourself:
If you can say yes to these three questions then it’s far more likely that your content is worth liking, commenting and sharing.
It’s very easy to become overwhelmed with all the content advice running around out there. Write long blog posts, be amazing, be completely unique, create extraordinary videos, be everywhere, etc etc.
The most important thing is to just start and consistently produce. You can improve and perfect later. I suggest starting with creating one piece of stella content every week.
You’ll be amazed at how fast your content library grows simply by consistently producing one piece of content each week. Give it a go!
You need to have somewhere to tell people about your great content and to create engagement and conversation.
The term community is defined as ‘a group of people who have the same interests’. Well I’d take that one step further and say a community is a group of people who come together to share and discuss the same interests.
You want to be the catalyst that brings them together and there’s nowhere better than connecting people than on social media platforms.
Building a social media presence however takes time. It’s not an overnight success and is becoming more challenging the more businesses embrace it and platforms become more commercialised.
So here’s my tips for building a community quickly using social media:
As I said above, email marketing is part of the big picture and what an effective part it is! Of course you can send out details of your products and services, but you can use it for so much more than that!
If you’re not sure how to get started building an email list see my post here – How to Build a Simple List Building Funnel in 10 Minutes or Less
Here’s some tips on how to use email to build relationships and grow your community:
If you view email marketing as relationship building you won’t go far wrong.
Also as an advanced strategy if you have a presence on Facebook and are generating leads through FB ads, you can upload your email addresses into Facebook as a custom audience and target your subscribers that way. I’ll go into that in more detail in a separate post.
Commonly known as a lead magnet, offering a free report in exchange for an email address is a great way to build your email subscribers, get activity on your social platform and grow your credibility and authority as a content publisher in your niche.
Consumption is the key! If your target audience consume your content they’re far more likely to take action such as share it, engage with you, and/or become a paying customer.
If they download it and it sits gathering dust on their desktop, they’re more likely to move on and go elsewhere to get the answer they’re seeking.
Who doesn’t love a good contest!
As with the free report above, a contest is a great way to build your email subscribers and get activity on your social platform. Depending on what you offer as the prize means you’re either building your own authority or creating great relationships with other content publishers in your niche.
Let me explain:
With either option you’re building your subscriber database at the same time, win win!
Tips for running a good contest:
Webinars ROCK! There is no other way of putting it.
I owe probably about 80% of my community to webinars.
Webinars are a fabulous way of building your email subscribers, getting activity on your social platform and growing your credibility and authority as a content publisher in your niche.
Second only to physically being in a room with someone, webinars build rapport faster than anything else online. Attendees get to hear your voice, and now with hangouts see your face and really connect with you as you train them, answer questions, give useful information and solve problems.
All webinars do not have to be sales webinars. You can run a webinar simply to build your credibility and your email database. (I attracted over 18,000 email subscribers following that philosophy in about 5 months).
Tips for running great webinars:
You’re not too late!
The internet is still so young and there is so much growth yet to come. Millions of businesses still have static, leaflet style websites and no dynamic content or interaction whatsoever.
So stop worrying about saturation and it’s already been done, just get out there and share your knowledge and experience. In fact I’d go as far as to say, if you have useful information to share in your marketplace then it’s your duty to share it and help those around you who need it!
Like social media, it will take time to build your blog. You won’t write a couple of posts and the crowds will come flocking. It doesn’t work like that. But the sooner you start, the sooner it will grow!
If you’re unsure how to quickly and easily get a blog off the ground, see my post here – How to Start a Blog, Customise It & Publish Your First Post, All in 10 Mins or Less
Tips for starting a blog:
I hate to show my age, but I remember the excitement when I was able to take my favourite cassette tape, put it into a little box (walkman) and listen to my fave music on the go!
I was even more excited when I could do the same with a CD.
Imagine my excitement then when I could load thousands of songs onto a little device that could fit in my pocket. And now we can listen to music, podcasts, books, the news anytime and from any device.
It’s incredible how things have developed!
So, if you like the sound of your own voice and think others will too, become your very own radio presenter! Move over Howard Stern – YOU have arrived!
Tips for creating a podcast:
Forums are like an older version of a Facebook group or a linked in community. A community of people all interested in the same things, can go to a forum to ask questions, engage in conversation, answer questions, give advice and just generally have a good chat!
The great thing about forums however, is that many allow you to add a link back to your site or url of your choosing. What a great way to build your authority and build your email subscribers at the same time!
Once again, similarly to social media, blogs, podcasts etc, it will take time to build up trust and authority, but you are more likely to meet your targeted audience quicker as this is a much more concentrated group of people. It’s already a community, all interested in the same thing.
You just have to become a trusted member of that community.
Tips to getting involved in forums:
Getting to know ‘influencers’ can give your business a huge boost. Imagine if just one person with a community in the hundreds of thousands talked about you, or shared your content. It wouldn’t harm your efforts to build a community of your own much would it now!
One of the best ways to do this is to attend live events.
This is where I miss out a bit. As a bit of a sun chaser, I spend most of my time between Phuket in Thailand and Cairns in Australia. Not too many marketing events happening in either of these fabulous places!
I do my fair share of networking online, but there is nothing more powerful than meeting people in person. Networking with peers and potential customers alike.
If you live in a town or city where there are any kind of business networking events that suit your niche, or if you’re a train ride or a even a short plane ride away from attending a weekend seminar of some kind, I highly recommend it.
Not only are you likely to meet people who have already built a community and can expose you to their subscribers giving your brand and content an almighty boot in the right direction, but you’ll also be surrounded by the energy of like minded people.
I almost dare you to come away from a weekend networking event and not be incredibly inspired and motivated to conquer the world!
If, like me however, getting to events is quite difficult here are some tips for networking online:
So there you have it, 10 steps to building a powerful community of raving advocates who love you, your content and your products!
Get this bit right and the rest of your business is plain sailing.
Most importantly. Be Yourself! People warm to authenticity and integrity. Embrace your voice and don’t be afraid to expose it to the world!
Thanks for reading!
I’d love your thoughts on this. What are you doing right now to build your community? What other effective ways have you found to grow relationships and build your business.
Let’s chat in the comments below.