Build a Community & Grow Your Standout Business

 

Lesson Info

Leverage Your Community for Other Offers

You can make money in membership fees. You can make it your core offer, but you're probably gonna wanna make more money, because, money. (audience laughs) So this again, we're gonna go through the same set of examples and I'm gonna tell you how they make more money. This is Becca Tracey from The Uncaged Life. People hop into this community for free, so she's not making money directly from this community, but she uses this community to nurture people into her course. This one we are all very familiar with, right? Free community, to paid offer. Easy peasy. Let's go further. This is the Writer's Oasis, this is Jen Louden's core offer. She also hosts writing retreats several times a year. Where do you think a lot of those retreaters come from? Probably the Writer's Oasis. And anyone who goes on her retreat, who is not already a member of the Writer's Oasis, probably joins the Writer's Oasis as soon as they get home, if not before they leave whatever beautiful local she is in. So she can ma...

ke more money on her retreats because of the Writer's Oasis and most likely, she can also make more money on the Writer's Oasis because of the retreats. So there is a really good synergy there. As I already mentioned, CoCommercial provides us with all the clients that we need for the Insider Mastermind. I think for this last round that we enrolled for, I maybe sent a link to our list once to the sales page. There was no marketing campaign. The way we sold this out, was just talking about it inside of our community. Get on a Q&A call, hey by the way guys, we're enrolling for the next Insider Mastermind. Get on a virtual conference, hey guys buy the way, January we're starting new masterminds, come join us. And we had enough people that we sold out two groups just that simply. So the community is our core offer, this followup offer is made possible by that community. And our plan is to start layering on more of those masterminds and generating additional revenue that way. Another option here as well, is in a low-cost or in a free community, affiliate marketing can be a great option or sponsored content can also be another great option. This is kind of an example of both, so we're running a free course over the course of this next month. We're doing weekly workshops, basically turns into a free course, on email marketing foundations with the folks from Convert Kit. They're creating all the content for us. And of course we're promoting Convert Kit as they create that content for us. And of course we're promoting an affiliate link. And then they pay us on a monthly basis for the accounts that we refer to them. We get a portion of every account's monthly fee. That really adds up. Especially with something like email marketing, where there is very low return, because the cost of switching is so high. So we have plans to do this with lots of other companies too. Not content marketing, not information marketing companies, but software as a service tools. Where there's much less possibility of conflict of interest with our members. For instance, if I am an affiliate for one person's e-course, we might have ten other people in the community or 100 other people in the community that have a similar e-course to that. So I don't want to get into there. So I'm always thinking about, how can I serve my members and how can I make more money without stepping on anybody's toes? For us, that means affiliate marketing with software as a service tools the things that you guys use to run your businesses with. I have lots of really good connections to the founders or the marketers behind those tools, and so we can bring them in, do some sponsored content, make some additional revenue on this, and provide an awesome service for our members at the same time. No one said, oh my gosh Tara, I can't believe you're making money off of Convert Kit and giving me all this free amazing content at the same time. People are just super excited about this course. They're like, oh my gosh, this is exactly what I needed. And we have such a great relationship with those people, and because they're such great people, that they're creating a course that you can go off and use with Mail Chimp or Mad Mimi, or Constant Contact, I hope you're not on Constant Contact anymore. I don't know where that came from. (audience laughs) But you can use whatever email provider you have, with the content that they're creating. Okay, so this is a really great way to make additional revenue as well, from your community. So you may choose to keep your community free. You may choose to have a low-cost community. It doesn't mean you have to give up revenue. There are so many ways you can make revenue with a community. You can host live events, you could do conferences, you could get sponsorships, you could host masterminds, you could sell coaching. So many things you can make money off of when you have a great community with an amazing culture, that's mission based, that's there supporting each other. And it makes your job so much easier. Any questions about other ways you can make money from your community? You guys kind of got that à la carte menu of things that you can do now. That was my goal here. There is no one right way to build a community driven business model. But there are a lot of pieces that have worked for other people that you can draw on to pull together something that's gonna work for you. My main direction to you, my main imperative to you, is to think about your customer journey, and make sure that as you pull those pieces together it doesn't just make sense revenue-wise or marketing-wise, but it actually makes sense helping people move through that customer journey. Because the further you help them move, and the faster you help them move through that customer journey, the more they are going to love your brand, talk about what you do, invite other members into the community, and help start that cycle all over again. Alright, we have covered a lot over the last, oh about 15 hours (laughs). And a lot of lessons, and I hope, that where you are right now, you see a huge opportunity. And so I wanna ask you guys, what were some of the fears, trepidations, worries, questions, that you came into this class with? And what are some of the things that you're really excited about now that we are at the tail-end of this class. Alice? I'm a start. Kay So, funny enough, I came in with wanting to know more about how I can serve my prestige business and branding. Prestige being one of your grow styles. Just a very high touch, very personalized, one on one, I love the one on one deep work, and so I'm like, I'm just never gonna make a community, it's just not in my interest bucket. But I always wanted to find ways on how to, you know, one brand at a time, it's gonna take a long time for me to get all these cool projects out in the world, basically. And so a community, obviously, offers that just a much more, I'm Swiss, much more efficient way on getting there. And so I'm just really excited how now, I just have a mountain of work ahead of me in terms of, how am I gonna switch over again into, I had just sort of separated the two businesses in my mind, and now I feel like, alright, you know what, no, they're not separate. How can I infuse one with the other? So I'm excited, and also just, I'm so glad I'm in CoCo, because I know this is the perfect community where I can work through all of the issues that I'm gonna run into (laughs). Yes, that is true. So yeah, you're welcome guys (laughs) (laughter) Awesome Bailey? So, gosh, I think I was most just kind of nervous that I was feeling a little bit lost about, like, I have this content and community hub. How do those things that are sometimes diametrically opposed going to work together. And now I think I have a much better understanding of that. And I also, after yesterday, went home and was like, oh, I need to infuse community into everything that I do including all of my marketing. And I have now, I was like, I need a hashtag. (laughs) (audience laughs) So I asked my community what it should be. (laughs) That's awesome. Yeah, well and I think that idea of infusing community into everything you do, including your marketing, that's exactly what I'm talking about when community forces your brand to play bigger. Exactly. Because you start to see that it is not about you, it is not about your professional services, it's not about the particular problem that you solved. It's about the something that is much, much bigger, and it involves bringing people in, instead of shouting out at them. Exactly, and for me, that's been kind of amazing, over the last six months or so since I started this thing. Because I went from this entire thing that I've created started as a live class that I used to hold in my house when my baby was first born. And then I wanted to take it with me, and affect more people and so I started a podcast, and started shouting out into the world. And it was called Strength in Words. And now, I've come totally full circle, and I have, I was like, but I'm missing the piece that it started around which was that piece that we are all able to learn from, observe each other, talk through things together. Instead of me just talking at people. Which of course I can do that, but I always imagined what I was doing as sort of instead of talking into the void, I had to talk to my best friend who had just had a baby. That's sort of what I was envisioning, right? And now, I have this community, which is not only Strength in Words, but will be strength in numbers, around Oooh I know, I'm like, marketing language, I love it. (laughter) So I'm very, very excited and inspired. Awesome, awesome. Nadia? I think I thought coming in that creating content and putting it out there was gonna start conversations, instead of me facilitating a conversation and seeing what comes up out of it. So that's a big takeaway that I got. Even if I post daily or twice a day on the group, that's not gonna get people to comment or like or share anything. Or even learn something necessarily. But also that what I need to do more of is find other people who wanna facilitate conversations and engage in conversations. And I find those people to be part of the group, that's when something's really gonna happen. Absolutely, Amen to that. Yeah, again with the playing bigger thing. This community building piece really transforms I think, what we all believe is possible for our businesses, and helps us really branch out of the, I gotta do it, it's gotta be me, I need to supply it, I need to work it, kind of mentality that we naturally bring to our business as small business owners. Yeah, Maya. So if you remember, in the hiring plan class, I said that I first came to the Bay area many, many years ago, because I wanted to start a social network for personal growth, and this is, talk about full circle, (laughter) oh my goodness, I realize now in hindsight, as I reflect on it, the journey from then to now has been for me to personally experience being a part of so many amazing communities. Not just CoCommercial but I've been part of, you know, other communities. And so having that visceral first time experience of what it means to be in a great community, it's no longer just an academic thought that I first had when I came here. And now with this class I have the tools to bring all of that into focus and reality, and you know how mission driven I am I mean it just lights me up all the time. And I'm just really grateful in this moment so thank you. Awesome, thank you. I'm so glad all you guys are here. Yeah, Denise. I've been heading in this direction for awhile now, because I'm really, it's important to me to start consolidating things. Yeah (laughter) I've been in this arena for 20 years, so it's (laughs) it now needs to all come together to make it just easier for me and everybody else. And my fear was that that was stopping me I think from just doing it, because I'm pretty much a take action kinda gal, is that I was missing some critical piece to make it successful. Obviously there's no guarantee there, but when you have more information of how things work, there's better chance (laughs). And so now, this is really helped bring into focus, things I hadn't even considered or thought about that I think just I knew sort of by osmosis, but wasn't focused on. So that's been really enlightening and very heady (laughs) and so I'm really excited to create, start to really put the plan together and focus on the consolidation piece and getting people moved into various places based on what I come up with. But this has given me really an excellent path to do my plan with, to create a plan with, so thank you very much. Yeah, I'm so glad to hear that, so glad to hear that. Alright, ope, yeah. One more (laughs), I can skip it. No no. So I had a realization during this segment, actually, that was like oh my gosh, this is why I've been on this path. This is why I built this business. I was like, it brought me to this place right here, because when I first started this business it was like, I'm never gonna make enough money or have enough time working in corporate or working a job or whatever, to have the impact I want to have in this world. You know I'm not gonna be young forever. So I can't keep volunteering forever. I want to be able to donate millions someday to causes I believe in. So I started this to create a movement and to bring people together. But that movement building has been very slow for me, because I got caught up in a cycle of putting out content and teaching. And it's like I started off as a coach because I didn't want to teach, I didn't want to be the expert, I wanted to be able to facilitate and foster the truth inside of everybody that I work with. So now finally it's like, oh my gosh, I can stop being the teacher, I can, I mean I can continue doing that on the side, but it's like, building a community gives me the chance to finally have something where it's all about the mission, it's all about the movement, and bringing people together. I don't have to have all the answers. It's like ah, it's all I wanted all along (laughs) (laughter) and finally I can do it, and finally we have the tools to do it, and the marketing and everything so. Awesome. The other stuff can continue to exist and bring in side income, but this is the true thing that I started this business for. Yes, Amen. So thank you (laughs). Absolutely. And I think that we are all in a very similar boat there. We started these businesses that we have no matter what they are because we recognized a need, we wanted to bring people together. I think we are movement makers. I think we are culture makers. At the very heart of it. And I think, like me, we have often gotten off of the track of that, right? We got sucked into things that are great, frankly, but aren't us. And I know you guys are here, and you guys are out there watching, because you are community builders already. You might not be exercising those skills yet, you might not have the business card that says community builder yet. But that's why you're here, because it's part of your innate makeup of what you do, what you believe in, and what you're here to accomplish. And that's why over time, you have been so sucked into the amazing possibilities of the internet. The amazing possibilities of community and culture even outside of the internet, right? But this is your opportunity to carve out your little corner and that little corner can help you do something so much bigger. It can help you bring together people's learning, people's experiences, people's stories, and help even more people move in the direction that they want to move. This is such an immense opportunity for you, your business, and most importantly, your mission. This really is an opportunity for you to finally step into that identity fully, completely, as a movement maker, a culture maker, and a community builder. And I hope this class has given you the tools for exactly that, because what I want you to do, what I want you to go out and create, is a product, a service, an experience that gets more and more valuable the more and more people you bring into it, and the more and more people you get to use it. Guys, thank you so much for being with me over these last two days. I hope you've got the tools to do exactly that. So go and do it. (applause)

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. 

 
 
 
 

Reviews

  • This class was exactly what I needed. It clarified, confirmed, and connected SO MANY more of the remaining dots for me. Tara, as always, is brilliant, energetic and a general joy to watch as she shares her immense knowledge and helps others get to "the nitty gritty" - thank you Tara, and thank you Creative Live!!
  • Like I said on air... "Wow!" I've been building an online community for about 4 years now, based on what I thought I wanted to my business to be. Now I realize the value of creating a community around my VISION, then building the business based around the community needs and values. What I thought: 1) What people needed from me was my expertise. 2) Members will naturally bond with and engage with one another based on their shared interests and needs. What I learned from Tara: 1) Members rely on me to FACILITATE conversation and sharing. 2) It's my role to be the a connector and mediator. Tara has an amazing presence on stage and is super skilled at drawing out your vision as a business owner/entrepreneur. She makes community building easy to understand. I'll definitely be watching more of her courses. This one alone has changed the way I think about my business and my plan for building in monetization and community building.
  • I went from a vague idea of wanting to build a community to having a clear path to take to start building it. I appreciated the focus on the member vs the business model. Tara presented a clear path for creating the plan first, from vision and purpose to creating the experience for community members, to helping members take the journey to how to monetize in many different ways. My brain is full and I'm excited to take action and launch a community that consolidates my current varied business offers. The presentation was thoughtful and well presented. Excellent and highly recommended.