Every successful business owner has at some point calculated how much does it cost to acquire new customers. According to a study by Propeller CRM, depending on the type of industry the cost of acquiring a new customer varies. Software technology is the most expensive sector while travel is the least. Online Communities allows you to solve problems and provide solutions to your end-users. These communities also help in optimizing the customer experience. Providing you valuable insights into customers preferences and needs, hence, in turn, increasing customer retention and loyalty. They will also lower the expenses bore by you for providing support.
While this all sounds good but the ultimate goal of any effort a business goes along with is to increase the number of users. Online communities create trust between amongst the members and hence improving your word of mouth. While a good word of mouth is enough to bring you, customers. It also helps in your brands SEO efforts.
Communities are a live source of fresh, relevant and member-centric content which is what the user and the search engine bot are looking for.
Utilizing Online Community
Penetration of the internet has made it easier and competitive for brands to capitalize on Search Engine Optimization(SEO). The visibility of content is increased in front of your target audience due to the online community.
What can community software do for you?
The community sits perfectly in the initial stages of the customer life cycle- when it comes to customer acquisition, engagement and then at the end retention. You never get run out of content with the content-generating capability of the community. The community acts as a portal for self-help. Helping you to create a customer-centric platform and provide a medium for customers to help each other out.
You can also use your community to see whether any high-value prospects can become a customer with a little help from your sales team. All you have to do is scout members who are having pre-sales questions about specific topics or features or are requesting feedback on products or services from the members. These are on the brink of becoming your member, it’s your job to bring them over the line.
Isn’t that a great way of gaining new business just by consultative sales?
You need to effectively engage your customers to scale content generation, improve your SEO and spread the word about your brand.
Let us give you some tactics to make your online community a better medium for customer acquisition:
1. Make a content calendar and cover topics
Content calendar lets you systematically create high-quality content while also improving engagement with the community and within with extreme consistency. Evaluate the keywords for which you would like to rank and the type of content that can help you before planning content for your community.
Certain topics that you have not yet explored on your blog or website should be on the content calendar. What you need to do is to keep a track of the keywords that you want your community pages to rank and plan the content around.
Remember higher the quality of content you produce in the community, better the chances of improving the SEO for your company.
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2. Increase Community Engagement
Engagement from the users is a must to allow the community to thrive. It is the duty of the community moderator to make sure that it doesn’t turn into a barren desert.
The main task is to make people feel valued and to show appreciation. You can start it by inviting answers from certain members, ask them to contribute and seek help. On the basis of which you need to have a rewarding mechanism for their contribution while showing them your appreciation. You can create badges or achievements via the GamiPress plugin of WordPress and use it with the BuddyPress. Create a system of scores, leaderboards and badges which will increase competition amongst members.
There can be competitions with surprise gifts and incentives. Placing a tangible winnable item as a reward is a sure-shot way of gaining activity in your online community.
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3. Add Testimonials and FAQs
The next thing to do is leverage the true value of the user-generated content by getting their valuable Testimonials and by filling or by asking them to fill the FAQs. This showcases that your community supports your product or service but most importantly the company. This will boost the confidence of your prospective client and help you in closing the sale.
This is a very efficient way of showing how customers from varying industries have analyzed and vetted your product. New customers get to read the experiences of the customers who have tried your product on a first-hand basis.
Final Words of Utilizing Online Community
You cannot underestimate the value proposition and the business which is generated via a self-sustaining online community. The business will bloom, costs will be cut down and the return on investment will be a hundred times more than any other method of customer acquisition.