Aside from generating new revenue streams through your online community, there are other benefits that will elevate your business and open up new growth opportunities.
Providing valuable resources to your community members generates a sense of exclusivity, and monetizing it validates that your insights are unique and not accessible to everyone.
The primary goal of managing an engaging community is to keep members active and contributing to it on a regular basis. You can find more about this topic in ‘How to keep an online community thriving?.’
Now, it’s time to discuss ways to utilize your investment in creating an online community to the maximum. We asked for advice from our Head of Growth, Aleksandar Micev, and his experience with our community Growth Marketing Pros.
We will focus on the advantages of creating a community and the various ways to monetize it.
How can an engaged community help the business to improve and unlock new opportunities?
Whether you’re B2B or B2C the benefits of having an online community are limitless. You can incorporate it into your business strategy in several ways, unlocking new opportunities for growth.
Here are 9 benefits of having an online community:
- A place for collecting feedback. Having an engaged community provides a direct line of communication with customers, allowing businesses to collect valuable feedback on their products and services. This feedback can be used to improve existing products and develop new ones.
- Co-creation. Involving your clients in the product development process can give you a competitive advantage as well as save you valuable resources by steering you on the right path and providing you with precise information about what you should focus on next.
- Innovation. An engaged community can be a source of innovation, as members can contribute new ideas and perspectives that can be used to improve products and services.
- Conducting market research. Market research plays a vital role in any business. Without it, the business is set up for failure. An online community is an excellent tool for collecting data from possible clients and facilitating discussions that encourage potential users to express their opinions and describe their needs and pain points.
- Support. Having an online community gives you the advantage to resolve issues quickly and improve your customer support which improves the overall customer experience.
- Marketing channel. An active community can serve as a low-cost marketing channel, allowing businesses to directly reach their target audience.
- Brand awareness. Apart from having a unique brand identity, you can raise brand awareness by connecting with your customers and potential users online over topics relevant to your brand. Positive word-of-mouth is another way to increase brand exposure and trust.
- Networking. The variety of people found in communities is limitless. This allows you and your members to connect with people from all backgrounds and experiences, which may result in unique connections that will help your business develop.
- Increase revenue. The opportunity to conduct cost-effective marketing, research, and address customer support impact your overall revenue by decreasing the costs of conducting these processes and other experiments. Once your community has gained value, you can consider ways to monetize it and use it as a new revenue stream. Continue reading to learn about the various approaches you might use.
A vibrant community may aid a business in a variety of ways, enhancing its offerings, boosting profits, and stimulating innovation.
Strategies for converting your online community members into customers
“When deciding on a monetization plan, it is crucial to consider the interests and needs of your community members. You must also make sure that any monetization efforts are transparent and aligned with your community’s values.” – Aleksandar Micev, Head of Growth at Solveo
We will examine 11 monetization strategies:
- Membership fees. You can develop different membership plans depending on the access to the different content available and charge monthly or annually. Bear in mind that to gain paying members you’ll need to offer unique and exclusive content that doesn’t exist elsewhere.
- Offer advertising space. One of the simplest methods to monetize your online community is offering advertising space for companies in your niche. However, no one enjoys being spammed, which is why native advertising has been introduced as an alternative to the usual promotional material. It is carefully constructed to grab the attention of a specific audience.
Keeping the following in mind will make it easier for you to execute this:
- Running paid advertisements is acceptable as long as they benefit the community.
- Accepting low-quality content should be avoided because it will harm your reputation and the loyalty of your members.
- Affiliate marketing and cross-selling. Collaborating with other businesses to create special offers, exclusive to your community members can increase your revenue and help increase the number of sales of other startups.
- Donations and crowdfunding. Providing great value is recognized and appreciated, so to keep doing a great job people will willingly support you. Seeking donations or funding from your community members to support your community is also a form of evaluation, offering members to contribute based on their judgment and their income.
- Paid events. Hosting webinars, workshops, and AMA sessions with well-known people allows you to promote your event as an exclusive experience for your members while also providing them with an opportunity for valuable collaboration that they are willing to pay for. Because you already know what their pain points are, you can offer 1:1 calls in the form of brainstorming sessions, consulting, or coaching.
- Sponsored newsletter. Creating a newsletter with exclusive and valuable content opens up the possibility of subscription plans and generating revenue this way.
Once you’ve established your newsletter you can offer companies to sponsor your newsletter, in return to promote them and feature their content.
- Selling e-books. Leading an online community gives you a unique opportunity to peak into your potential readers’ minds, figure out what type of content they want, and get writing. Selling your e-books directly rather than through third-party websites increases your profit and gains trust among your customers.
- Online courses. Most online communities are based on learning. Start selling your expertise and knowledge on the topics you’re most confident in and teach people new skills while also keeping them interested in your brand.
- E-commerce. You can set up an e-commerce shop, offering your products or merchandise. This can be expanded through collaborating with other members of your community.
- Offer valuable tools. Another useful resource is to develop and sell tools based on your knowledge and experience in the community topic. Sharing what worked for you and assisting others in using it correctly can be profitable.
11. Recruiting. Creating a space where people can share their portfolios and employers can advertise open positions can be used as a monetization strategy, charging a certain amount of fee to be featured in such space.
A monetization plan for your online community may strengthen your brand’s credibility and guarantee privacy and security. It is a method of filtering out uninterested members and drawing in just those who are genuinely interested in the subject.
Monetization can incentivize community members to participate more actively, using all your community has to offer and help your community grow.
This will also allow you to have more control over the tone, atmosphere, and vibrancy your members bring into your community.