The key thing about community relationships is that the more you communicate with them in a useful, honest, and direct manner, the more trust you will build. And the more trust that you build, the larger the community will become.
The people in your community are prospects who, given time, can become customers. The way to communicate with your community is to keep content coming regularly without driving them away.
Communication Isn’t a One-Way Street
Communication takes at least two people; the person delivering the message and the person receiving the message. When it comes to online relationship building, both parties can trade in their roles, but it always takes two-way interactions – not just broadcast delivery. The way to ensure that you remember that is to always respond to comments, and seek ways to interact with your audience.
Have Real Conversations with Your Community
Letting go of your agenda (to make sales) and entering into free conversations with your readers on your blog or social media is important. Strategically you’ll want to try to keep these conversations public so that others can benefit. Remember, this conversation is not only useful to the person you’re talking to, but also to the people reading. It’s also good for SEO to have more user generated content.
Personalize Communication to Help Them Feel Special
Personalization via email marketing is simple because you can set up automation to help with that. And you should, because it works. Personalization in communication on social media is a little harder because you’re going to have to ensure that you get their name, and respond to them in a personal way. Using their name and when possible tagging them so they will see your response will help.
Show Your Fans Behind-the-Scenes Information
Outside of calling out people by name, another way you can endear your community to you is to give them some personal insight into your business behind the scenes. If you’ve failed at something, or didn’t do something as well as you wanted, say so. If you have already written a blog post about something they are asking about, answer them, but link to that old post too. When they see the effort you’re taking for them, it will build a lot of trust.
Ask for Audience Participation
You can ask your audience to upload images, memes and even videos around the topic in question. For example, if you’re trying to promote exercise habits to desk workers, you can ask that they share pictures of their stand-up desk or exercise area or even start a “Fitbit” community to help encourage moving during the work day. The audience participation is key and will build trust, which is crucial to making sales.
Link to Fitbit – http://www.amazon.com/Fitbit-Wireless-Activity-Sleep-Wristband/dp/B00BGO0Q9O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1424560859&sr=8-1&keywords=fitbit
Plan a Competition in Your Community
Depending on what you’re promoting, you can plan different types of competitions. For example, if you’re building a Facebook Group, you can offer random prizes to members who bring in more appropriate members to the group by using a tagging system so that you know when your group is shared. In addition, you can give out random gifts for shares.
Host a Q&A session on Facebook, Google Hangout, or Some other Method
Q&A’s are very popular and ways to build camaraderie with your community. They are fun too. You can use many free software programs to do it such as Google Hangout On Air, or you can use paid webinar software like GoToWebinar.com and even charge a small fee to cover costs and control how many people show up. This is a great way to prime your community and weed out customers from prospects – not to mention add them to a mailing list.
Link to Google Hangouts On Air – https://plus.google.com/hangouts/onair
Link to GoToWebinar – http://www.gotomeeting.com/online/webinar
Automate Carefully by Planning Both Scheduled Content and Live Content
Pushing blog posts to your social networks is great, but that will only go so far if you’re not doing it in a personalized way. Automation is useful but if it looks automated (because you don’t include an interesting blurb or quote from the content you’re sharing, or answer and respond to comments on the social media), your chances to build community will be scarce.
Remember that building community means having more prospects and more customers. But, you’ll need a wide range of content types in order to do it. Every time you post something on social media, it’s content. Every time you post an article on your blog, it’s content. Content is everywhere, and it should be. Use it to its best by making it interactive.
Once you’ve decided to create a membership, one of the things you’ll need to determine is the price. How you price your membership is very important. You can turn away or bring in the right market based on the price. Price in and of itself doesn’t always indicate value, though; that’s for the members to determine. What you need to do is figure out what you want to charge based on the type of value and the number of members you want to attract.
Limited Memberships Mean Higher Fees
If you have a limited membership where you only let a certain number of people in the group at any given time, then your fee structure will be based on that. Figure out the time and effort the membership will take from you, how much you want to earn each month, and then use that information to determine the monthly fee.
For example, let’s say you’ve created a membership that you’re only going to allow ten people to join. In this membership you allow open office hours, a one-hour personal call each week, unlimited email interaction, a weekly webinar or monthly webinar on a topic of interest to the group. Plus, you have a private Facebook group for members current and past only.
You can go by the time it takes you to conduct all this work, or you can instead just determine how much you need and want to make. Let’s say you’ve decided you want to earn $100K a year with the membership. With only ten paying members allowed at any given time, you’ll need to charge about 833 dollars a month to each paying member to earn $100K a year.
Here’s the math: Desired earnings 100K a year / 10 Members = 10,000K /12 Months = $833 per month, per member.
Unlimited Members Means Lower Fees
With unlimited members allowed, you won’t have time for the one-on-one work, so it’ll be hands off other than interaction in a private forum. So, let’s say your membership offers a learning center, with a new course added each month that relates to the niche, plus a group coaching forum. Through the membership you’ll offer other opportunities, but they’ll all be group format and no one-on-one activity. For example, you may offer a teleseminar monthly on a topic, as well as early intro to new products and services.
In this case, you need to find out how many potential customers you can attract to meet your goal of $100K a year. If the market has one million people in it, how many of those can you convert to paying subscribers? At $27.97 a month you’ll need about 298 members to meet the $100K a year goal.
You’ll need to study whether it’s a possibility or not. If not, you may have to raise or lower the price to ensure that you attract the right amount of regular members to the membership. Here are some examples of how it might break down.
Goal $100K a year:
* 418 Members @ $19.97 a Month
* 298 Members @ $27.97 a Month
* 174 Members @ $47.97 a Month
You’ll need to also keep in mind the payout to affiliates, marketing, advertising and so forth, but this gives you a general idea of what to consider when pricing your membership for best results. It always starts with your goal, big or small group, and your audience. How many of them are there, and how many can you attract and keep happy?
When you start a membership program you want to have a steady flow of new members entering the program at any given time. The average time someone stays in a membership program is usually 12 weeks or 3 months. Therefore, you need a constant stream of people coming into the membership to keep it full and active.
Members Only Referrals
One of the easiest ways to not only encourage people to stick around longer than 12 weeks but also to get new members, is to allow members to refer your group. Require people to stay a member to be able to refer the group and receive commissions. Offer a nice 50 to 60 percent recurring referral percentage to the members who refer others. This will keep them around longer, as well as get more members.
If you don’t want to allow only members to promote your group, you can let affiliate marketers promote it. But, you do want to choose the marketers carefully to ensure that they will use honest methods to promote your group. Provide graphics, blog posts, and other information to help them market your membership.
Make YouTube Videos
A good YouTube video can go viral. If you create a regular channel on YouTube that people like to watch, it is another means of promotion for your membership program. You don’t even have to mention the membership program other than at the end of the videos, and in the description bar. Ask people to share – this is a great way to get other people to promote your membership program.
People love sharing infographics that give data that the audience needs to know. They also are more likely to share visual material than the same data in print or a blog post. The best way to start is to put the graphic on your social media networks. Ask your family and friends to share, and you’ll create momentum.
Provide Excellent Graphics
Other people are more likely to want to promote your membership group if you offer good material and graphics to help them promote it well. Memes, infographics, videos and more all offer everyone a good way to promote your membership program.
A really good way to promote your membership group is to ask movers and shakers within the industry to host a webinar where you’ll be the guest. You will answer questions and then promote your membership at the end of the webinar.
Ask for Testimonials
The testimonials of others will help you promote your membership program, but it will also help other people promote your group. The more good things you can show people about your membership program, the better. The more good people see, the more they’ll want to help promote your membership.
Memberships are a lucrative way to create a new stream of income based on the niche you’re already involved in. You can provide your products and/or services in an entirely new way that guarantees regular and timely income.