Discover Why People Join Your Community
Let's talk about why people join your community. Because often those are two very different things. Sometimes their related, sometimes they're two sides of the same coin. Often, they're very different. Joining is a much bigger barrier than use. Once someones joined, they actually want to use the platform and often they, often we put barriers in front of them for that use. You know, so if you're sending someone to a shopping cart over here or you're asking for their email address over there and then you have to send them an invitation, and then this other thing has to happen and then this other thing has to happen before they can even make their first post. You just made It harder for them to use the platform. People want to use what you've created once they join it. The joining is the tough part, okay? It doesn't have to be tough, but it often is. Again, let's get real. Joining is the biggest barrier than use. So why people join tends to be a more acute need or problem. It's that one t...
hing that sets them over the edge. Okay, or it's that one memory they have of feeling left behind, of feeling alone, of feeling like they didn't know what to do next. Whatever it is for you but, you really wanna focus on not just what people use the platform for, but those specific moments when we were ready to change something. Right? So, Ayela, your four month old, they didn't nap. You've got three hours until, until salvation. In the form of your partner coming home or you've got an appointment and you're like, Okay, I just gotta make it until then. That's a story that all of us can relate to, that are parents right? And in those moments, we are desperate. Right? That is a use case for joining. So, the use might be all those times when you don't know what to do with your kid but joining is that one time that you were alone with the baby that didn't take a nap and you don't know what to do. Right? Have you had anyone give a story like that as a reason for joining your community?
Yes, actually, I've been doing some customer research calls lately and it's been very helpful. And, let's see, a couple things, one thing that someone said to me was, you know, in those early days it's like, you just wanna, you just gotta, there's so much pressure to get it right, there's so much overwhelms so if I have something like the strength in words community lab that takes the pressure off, it gives me one thing to do today instead of I have to do everything and make sure that I get it right.
Yeah, exactly. So telling a story like that, that kind of story that whether you have a one month old, or a four month old, or a six month old, it's a universal story. Gives us a context for why we would want to join. We might not be in it in that moment, this isn't about that kind of instant marketing gratification, where it's like, problem, solution, sold. It is about creating a context for that. We're gonna get more into that, but I want us to think through more of the specifics behind why people join things. So I've got a number of examples and I'm gonna put you on the spot and I want you to shout out, with microphones, (laughter) why, a specific reason, someone would join. A specific story, feel free to get into it like I did with the four month old, right? Tell me the story of why someone would join this. Yeah, so let's give it a try, you guys game? Okay, cool. Let's start with Aaptiv, so we're gonna do things that we've already talked about. Why would someone decide, I'm going to download this app pay the money, and start working out with Aaptiv? Because nothing else has worked? Okay
And worked for what?
You know you've tried losing weight on your own. And you tried Fitbit or something like that and just nothing else has worked because you don't have the accountability or the community to keep you going.
Okay, yeah because nothing else has worked for weight loss.
Because I'm a stay at home mom who only gets to work out at home, while my kid is napping.
Yes, exactly (laughter) Anybody else on this one?
I'm looking for consistency.
Consistency, great. Yeah, totally.
To quote an ad, because I don't like the way I look. (laughter)
Yeah, the more specific you can make it, the more specific you can make that story, the better. But those were four great examples and just like with any other product or service, you're probably not going to get it right first. So the fact that we've got four different example here means there's four different things, four different messages that you can experiment with, alright? And so if you were building a fitness app and community you could experiment with each of those four things or more until you get it right. What about the Lululemon Lancaster community? What is a specific reason you might chose to join in one of their free Saturday yoga classes?
To find like minded people who also love to work out.
And when would you need to find those people?
No I mean, when is a time, like what would trigger your need to find those people
You're feeling lonely.
Okay, feeling lonely. Why might you be feeling lonely? I'm gonna keep picking until we get something really specific.
Because you feel bogged down with work because you haven't made any time with your friends.
That's a great one, awesome. That is a great story, what about another one?
Because I need a reason to get out of bed Saturday morning and I'm too lazy to do it on my own or something.
Yeah, that's a great one.
Well because it's yoga it might also be I just got out of my work chair and my legs are all tight or something and I am wanting support in taking on something I've never done.
Alright, what about I just moved to the area? Yeah, I just moved I love Lululemon in Richmond, Virginia. I just moved to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I don't know anybody here, and it is pronounced Lancaster just so we're clear. I just moved to Lancaster and I don't know anyone here. But I love Lululemon, that's where I'm gonna go to meet people. Right? Alright let's try another one, The Abundant Artist community. What might be a reason someone joins The Abundant Artist community? Think specific, yeah Jen.
So I just graduated Art school and I don't know how to sell anything yet.
Boom, love it, that's a great one. Let's do another. How about, I just got rejected from a gallery. (laughter) Don't let another art gallery rejection stand between you and a successful art career. Denise
I've been trying to sell my art online for years and I never sell anything so I need to learn how to do it better.
And what kind of specific thing would trigger because that's sort of something that could be just rolling around in your brain all the time right?
So what might be like a specific scenario where that just really comes up to the surface again?
That I just didn't get, there's no money in my account.
Yes, there you go. You check your bank account, there's three dollars in it.
There's no sales. (laughter)
You checked your Etsy shop, there's no sales again. Yeah, that's a story, that's why people join. Doesn't have to have happened to them that day, I'm not saying the only people who are going to join The Abundant Artist community today are the people that only have three dollars in their bank account because that's not gonna work because you have to pay to get in. (laughter) But, it's a story that the right people can relate to and when you talk about it, then people, they remember that urgency, they remember that need they have that immediate yes, I could've used something like this then, I'm gonna do it now. One more, what about Shawn Fink's Abundant Mama Peace Circle? Why might you join that community? Jen.
Because you just had another blow out with your kid and you don't want to fight anymore?
Yes, that's a good one. Anymore? Yeah?
Because I want to believe that I can have it all.
Okay and what might trigger that because again it's similar to what we just talked about.
I just had a crappy, chaotic weekend. Been running around ragged and my kid has been, I'm not a parent so I'm just riffing. (laughter)
No that's great, that's great.
So just putting myself in my mom's shoes for a minute. (laughter)
Yeah so I've just had a really crappy week and I've been seeing stories of women saying, you can have it all, and I'm like really? Maybe this can help me find that.
Alright, great. So that the key here is really finding, again, a single trigger okay? It's a single scenario, it's a single story that you can tell that helps people really understand now is the right time to move forward. This is what I've been looking for. If it is a sort of low level problem or a low level mindset or something that's kind of always in the back of their head, that's not good enough. It will be for some people, don't get me wrong. You'll get people joining. You won't get enough people joining. You won't be able to reach that kind of critical mass. Whatever that is for you. Really want to hone in on that particular need, problem, question, frustration, scenario in which people are ready to make a change. Where they recognize aha, yeah, I need to do something differently. Mya.
How is this different from how you would normally approach a marketing problem, you like problem solution kind of, I'm feeling there's a distinction here that maybe I'm not getting?
It's harder. (laughter)
But seriously, because community is something that feels like it's always available because you have to buy into access to other people is what I need. The solution feels less tangible which means you need to make that need or problem or goal or whatever it is more tangible. Because then, the more tangible you make that initial trigger, the more you can give a great example of how access to other people can really help. And so when we get into more of the actual marketing piece of this, we'll talk about how you can kind of create that flow. But that's, really we've already laid the ground work for the marketing piece basically we talked about the story where what is changing here, why is this the right time. What is this going to allow you to accomplish that you've never been able to accomplish before. Here's why you need it right now and opposed to later, or remember the last time that happened. How'd that work out for you? Don't let that happen again. So yeah I hate to say that it's like harder than marketing something else and there's certainly other things that are difficult in this very same way without being a community. But yeah, you really, your imperative behind finding the right story and creating the right context is much much higher than a product where you have a clear need, a clear, a hole that the product is going to fill. You have to create the hole essentially. Which is not to say you need to manipulate people. (laughter) You need to remind them of a hole that they've had in the past. Okay? So let's go a little bit further into this. So that you can start really crafting your messaging. So this is your opportunity now to do this work on your own community. What is the messaging going to be? How are you going to get people to join? How are you going to get them to use it? How are you going to create those habits? So, why do people use your community? You guys actually have already given me a lot of these answers so we're gonna go through this pretty quickly I think. Why do people use your community? That needs to be the first place you start. The reason is because retention is just as hard, if not harder than acquisition. And if your not jumping in from day one with a retention strategy you're gonna lose all the hard work that you've put into your community. You guys know what I mean when I say retention right? That's getting your members that have joined to stick around as long as possible. So that's why we start with use. What is that habit that they're gonna get into. How are they gonna use it, why are they going to use it, what's that story. Everything needs to be built around that to start so that as people join and your gonna get lots of early adopters who don't care so much about that specific use case of why they're joining. They want in, they're interested to keep them engaged you need to tell them a story about why they're using the community on a daily basis. Then you want to take that use case and boil it down to a specific frustration, problem or obstacle that's related to that use. Just like we did just a couple of minutes ago with all those other great examples.
When you have a small business, you’re always on the lookout for your next customer. They might pop up at a networking event, they could subscribe to your email list, they might fill out the contact form on your website.
Too often, knowing where your next customer is going to come from seems unpredictable at best and, at worst, like a huge gamble.
Luckily, there’s a way to ensure you always know where your next customer is coming from—and that your existing customers purchase from you more often—and that’s by building a community.
All sorts of businesses can benefit from making community-building part of their growth strategy and many can benefit from making it part of their business model, too. Whether it’s an informal community (like an email list or Instagram hashtag), a brand-driven community (like a free Facebook group that brings together people in love with the same brand and values), or a dedicated community (like a local group, interest-based social network, or a support group, your business can cultivate deeper connections with existing and potential customers.
Of course, an engaged community doesn’t just happen. If you want to reap the benefits of community-building for your business, you need a plan.
In Build a Community & Grow Your Standout Business, Tara Gentile, the founder of the small business support & social network CoCommercial, will share the must-dos, nice-to-haves, and compelling extras you need to make the most of the community you build around your business. By the end of this class, you’ll have a plan for making community-building an integral part of your marketing strategy—and always knowing where your next customer will come from.
Tara will cover:
- Simple ways to generate community without a group or forum
- Why and how to level up into a dedicated space for your business’s community
- How to create a clear reason Why for joining or participating in your community
- The systems and procedures you’ll need to manage the workload
- How to avoid community management burnout
- How to plan to earn more through your community—whether that’s through charging for membership, selling add-on offers, or generating more word of mouth marketing
Stop waiting for your next customer to come to you and start building a community that brings new business your way every day.