Building a strong community is tough, but with the right strategy, software and resources, your marketing team can foster a powerful group of like-minded people that love your brand’s mission, vision, and values. In this post, we’ll discuss different components of a successful e-commerce community.
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Communities don’t need to fit into any specific category. Some teams have cleverly defined their community as something separate altogether. Take Bravo Sierra as an example, their community is called: Battalion. They have a slack group, affiliates and you can speak directly with the founders. It’s a great example of like-minded people coming together around the brand they love and advocating for products they support.
If you’re thinking about what to offer new members, ‘community perks’ are a great way to build early advocacy. Gifts, exclusive affiliate offers, access to events, beta testing, and more are great ways to supercharge your e-commerce community.
Sending your product as a gift is a textbook play. Everyone wants to get free stuff unless of course, you’re always getting free stuff. For the most part, however, people create strong communal advocacy when brands care about them. If you’re curious about how this can lead to more revenue, check out this post we did a couple of months ago on How Gifting Influencers can Lead to Revenue.
If you haven’t run an affiliate campaign before, it can be one of the most powerful ways to incentivize referrals. Even if you’ve been previously unsuccessful, it could be a great time to re-evaluate. Merchants that do affiliate marketing via community can drive millions in sales. Hence, this is one of the key utilities that you can take advantage of when running your community. We have several posts on affiliate marketing, but one post to spend special attention to is How to Make Sure Your Affiliates Remain Engaged and Drive Sales.
Depending on your strategy, developing a paid community can be a powerful way to keep the brand on the top of their minds. This is an emerging trend and we think it’s going to grow a lot. Brands with smaller communities (5-20) pay members a recurring stipend to be true advocates. This could include regular social media posts, product recommendations, reviews, and more. The major benefit of recurring payments to your members is to ensure they keep you top of mind and develop true economic advocacy.
Virtual events and in-person events are great ways to make your community feel special. We imagine that some teams will have massive communities, while others will have tight-knit memberships that feel like test groups or VIPs. One great way is to make your community feel special by inviting them to exclusive events or giving them exclusive access.
Beta Testing and Product Sampling
When you’re looking for feedback on products, activate your community, send them test kits, samples, ask questions, and send surveys. Great community members will contribute and it’s another great way to create strong advocacy.
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