I know you may be thinking “Why do I need to read about the case for building a community? Everyone already knows it’s the latest and greatest marketing trend.” Which is precisely my point.
If all the community building going on right now is only based on the fact that it’s a marketing trend, it’s doomed to be just another flash in the pan. And haven’t we all had enough of those?
If, however, you build your community with a solid understanding of the fundamental business ROI that a community can bring to the table, it will be an integral part of your business success strategy. And isn’t that what we’re all after?
So, let’s roll up our sleeves and get neck deep in what I call The ROI of a Fiercely Loyal Community:
ROI #1 – Raving Fans Who Will Help You Spread The Word
In this loud crowded marketplace we all operate in, it’s really, really critical to have a group of people who will help you spread the word about what you are up to.
What makes them want to spread the word?
Maybe you’ve let them beta-test your latest new thing for free and they’ve found out how awesome it is. Maybe you asked them to help you create your latest new thing so they feel ownership in it. Or maybe you’ve made them feel like such a vital part of what you are doing that they feel invested in making sure it succeeds.
ROI #2: A Grassroots Research and Development Team
A fiercely loyal community that is invested in your success is like having access to a brain trust comprised of your ideal clients.
Instead of just asking them what they want, tap into their imaginations. Empower them to help you tease out the real problems they are facing so you can co-design powerful solutions. Let them play with the stuff you’re working on so they can help you make it better before you ever release it to the public.
ROI #3: A Client Base Waiting to Gobble Up Whatever You Offer
You’ve got to have clients and customers to stay in business, right? Imagine clients who’ve been involved in helping you design and build your latest thing. They know it’s going to solve their problem and that it’s going to fit them like a glove. Think they’ll want to buy it?
Even if they haven’t been intimately involved in the design process, bring them along with you as you are designing. Ask them questions. Learn who they are. This insider feeling helps them see how you design solutions just for them.
ROI #4: Reduced Customer/Client Attrition
We’ve all heard it: “It’s cheaper to keep a client than it is to go out and get a new one.” Happy, thriving, fiercely loyal communities are your greatest asset in keeping your current clients and customers engaged with you.
When your clients are engaged in your community and feel like it plays a vital role in their lives and/ or their businesses, they aren’t likely to leave you for the latest and greatest widget. Leaving you means leaving the community and that’s a price they just aren’t willing to pay.
ROI #5: Happier Customers and Clients
Happy customers and clients are a delight to do business with. They complain less, refer more business and actually may spend more money with you.
Did you know that all of the happiness research out there points to two things that are most vital to our happiness: connection and engagement? Many of your customers and clients are actively looking for this connection and engagement. When you provide that for them, they will see you as a source of happiness. Which is a pretty awesome (and uncommon) thing for a business to provide.
So there you are. Five solid business ROI’s of a Fiercely Loyal Community. Which ones speak to you? Which ones would have the biggest and/or most immediate impact on your business? Focus on building your community to achieve those ROI’s first, then focus on the others. You’ll be well on your way to creating a Fiercely Loyal Community that is anything but a flash in the pan.
If you’d like to read more on The ROI of a Fiercely Loyal community, complete with case studies and action steps, you can download my opt-in free whitepaper.
Sarah Robinson is President and CEO of Sarah Robinson Co. She is a seasoned business coach, strategist, advisor and speaker who helps business owners set their companies apart from the pack. Based in Birmingham, Alabama, Sarah advises her international clients on how to build a thriving, successful community, how to increase social media effectiveness, and how to develop a remarkable online and offline business presence.
Her expertise in personal and business change was developed through many years of working with and providing coaching to entrepreneurs, small businesses and start-up non-profits, where she honed her ability to “turn around” thousands of struggling individuals and organizations. Learn more about Sarah and her recently-released book, Fierce Loyalty: Unlocking the DNA of Wildly Successful Business, on her website.