Building a community around your business seems to be the latest marketing buzzword. You can’t talk about social media and marketing without hearing how important it is to build a loyal community.
But is this latest and greatest marketing just that, another flash in the pan marketing idea that will be replaced by the next greatest thing this time next year? Is it a bright shiny object that lures us away from the business fundamentals we should be focusing on?
The answer is it depends. If you go into it because everyone else is then yes, perhaps you are dooming yourself to failure. 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?
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 your 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: Reduce 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 is just a price they 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 at Fierce-Loyalty.com!