How building a community can scale your online business
One of the toughest challenges faced by online entrepreneurs is how to go about scaling their business quickly yet sustainably. Bigger doesn’t always mean better, and business owners need to think carefully about how to drive growth while remaining nimble and efficient.
One of the best ways of doing this is to introduce a community aspect to an online business, encouraging consumers to become valued members of your company forum. A growing number of organizations are doing this and with great success; lead generation company Good Game Limited has done this with its latest site, Bojoko.com.
The company is using a community to scale its online business by leveraging the following growth factors that it brings.
User created content
Online businesses can use their members to create top-quality content on their behalf. This helps to significantly increase the amount of content that can be published.
This content can take many forms, from reviews to guides via videos for YouTube and posts and shares on social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Not only does this help to increase content output and better engage consumers with your business, but it also brings tremendous SEO benefits.
When it comes to ranking websites, Google likes to see user generated reviews and content as it shows they are interacting with the site and engaging with the information on it.
Generate valuable feedback
Another huge advantage of creating a community is that online businesses can obtain valuable feedback on their site/products/services/etc.
This feedback is so valuable for several reasons:
- It is from people that are signed up to the website and engage with it on a regular basis
- These people are invested in the website and product and want to help make it better
- They are real consumers with genuine opinion, both bad and good
This community feedback can then be used to help fine-tune and improve the user experience and overall offering. Bojoko, for example, created a page for pay by mobile casinos after members of its community asked for more information on the topic.
Feedback can also help online businesses understand what they are doing right and how they can continue to keep consumers happy.
Websites such as TripAdvisor and Amazon have revolutionized the way people make online purchases, whether booking hotels or buying electronics. A big part of this is down to the reviews that customers are able to leave on hotels/products/etc and the encouragement this gives others to make a purchase.
The entire customer review ecosystem revolves around social proof and helping other people to make better purchasing decisions. So long as you are confident in the product you sell online, allowing consumers to leave reviews can lead to a significant uptick in sales.
Improved word of mouth marketing
Social media is the new word of mouth, and businesses that create an online community can take advantage of the huge exposure this can bring them.
Content – including that created by the community – can be shared across channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube to reach a much wider audience. This content can also be shared among community members, which in turn sees it land in the newsfeeds of their friends and connections.
A loyalty program is one of the most effective ways of enticing customers to come back again. This program can apply to both online and offline purchases.
Basically, a loyalty program comes in the form of “buy three get one free.” But there are also more creative rewards. For example, an online casino can offer “Welcome Bonus” to reward customers for signing up on their website. The offer is also meant to encourage them to continue playing at the casino.
Lastly, word of mouth has always been a great way for businesses to scale and today this means building an on*line community and encouraging members to share content on social media.
These are just five ways in which creating a community can help online businesses drive growth quickly and sustainability. Communities are often made up of people that remain loyal to your business and brand as they feel like they are a part of the organization. They also allow digital companies to leverage resources beyond their own capacities to scale at speed without having to make substantial investments.
All things considered, creating a community for an online business is one of the best ways of encouraging consumers to engage with your business/brand and unlock your true potential.
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