A Quick Guide To Community Based Marketing
For SaaS Businesses
Did you know that 58% of brands have either an in-person or an online community as a big part of their growth strategy?
More and more businesses are turning to community based marketing to increase their reach, build relationships, and even drive customer loyalty.
And if you’re running a SaaS business, customer loyalty is the key to sustainable growth and long-term success.
In this article, we will have a quick overview of community based marketing, discuss its benefits, and how to do it.
So let’s dive right in.
What Is Community Based Marketing?
Community based marketing is a strategy focused on engaging community members around shared interests or values.
Its goal is to create opportunities for community members to interact with each other and promote the community’s growth.
It focuses on providing an experience that goes beyond your typical product-oriented marketing campaign. In fact, some forms of community based marketing don’t even involve being aggressive in promoting or selling a product.
Benefits of Community Based Marketing
Community based marketing is becoming more and more popular with SaaS business because of the wide range of benefits it provides.
Here are some of them:
Communities Draw Like-Minded People In
One thing the pandemic taught us about human behavior is that people tend to draw towards online communities. Green-thumbed people formed online groups to share gardening tips. Business owners got together to give each other advice. You get the idea.
And even psychology tells us that humans have a natural need to belong to a community, to find their purpose and be accepted by others.
This is why a community marketing strategy appeals to so many business owners. It allows them to attract people from all walks of life who share common values, interests or beliefs.
It also provides an opportunity for businesses to build relationships with their community members over time — fostering brand loyalty in the process.
It Humanizes Your Brand
Another great benefit of community based marketing is that it humanizes your brand.
If you really want to build trust with your customers and community members, you have to make them feel like they are talking to real people, not just a logo.
Moreover, community based marketing helps people get to know the team behind the business. This can be incredibly helpful in showing that there are real people behind the brand.
This can go a long way in helping customers connect with the business on a personal level. In turn, this kind of connection can greatly improve customer retention.
It Builds Your Topical Authority & Thought Leadership
Community based marketing can help to improve your brand’s reputation.
By engaging with community members and providing valuable content, you can demonstrate that you understand the topics and trends in your industry.
This helps to build your authority and thought leadership in the eyes of community members — showing them that you or your brand is a reliable source on the topic.
But even more than that, it shows that they can come to you for help and trust your advice.
With this kind of trust, community members are more likely to come back when they need assistance — and eventually become loyal customers.
It Can Help Generate High-Quality Leads
An online community can also help with your lead generation efforts.
By engaging with community members and providing useful content, you can make it easier for them to find out more about your product or service. This makes it much more likely that they will become a paying customer in the future.
Moreover, community based marketing also provides an opportunity to learn more about the community members themselves.
You can use this data to better understand their needs and create targeted campaigns that appeal directly to them — making it much easier to convert leads into paying customers.
It Can Increase Your SaaS Company Valuation
An established brand community can be considered an asset — and it can increase the valuation of your SaaS business.
This is because community based marketing efforts are relatively inexpensive compared to other forms of marketing but it can lead to significantly high returns.
This makes them attractive investments for buyers who are looking to acquire a business that has an established community.
What’s more, community-based marketing can also make your brand more recognizable in the eyes of potential buyers — making it easier for them to understand the scope and reach of your company.
How To Start With Community Based Marketing
Now that you know the benefits of community based marketing, let’s discuss how to get started.
1) Know Your Target Audience
The first step is to understand who your community members are and what their needs are.
You should also take the time to research the community-based marketing efforts of other brands in your industry.
This will give you a general sense of which community building strategies work and which don’t.
2) Establish Your Niche
Your niche will determine your content topics that you focus on and other factors that come into play when you’re engaging with community members.
These topics will most likely be the common interests, goals, or values with your target audience.
3) Choose A Suitable Platform For Your Community
The next step is to choose the right platform for your community. This will ultimately depend on your niche and target audience.
Here are some options you can consider:
Social media: This is the most popular option, since almost everyone is on a platform like Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.
What’s more, various social media platforms provide a wide range of features and options for community engagement. You have your hashtags, live broadcasts, and features specifically designed for communities (like Facebook groups and LinkedIn groups).
Online Forum Platforms: Forum platforms are another popular option, since they provide more in-depth community engagement.
Third-Party Community Platforms: There are several community platforms out there that you can use to create an online community for your brand.
Some of them have features that could be very helpful with certain goals and purposes that you have for your group.
There are also paid community platforms that provide more comprehensive community management features.
4) Promote Your New Community
If and when you have launched your community, it’s time to promote it.
Now, there are a lot of ways you can do this. Your usual marketing channels would likely do just fine.
Here are some of the most effective tactics for getting more people to join your community.:
Content marketing: Content is one of the best ways to promote your community. You can create blog posts, videos, podcasts etc., that will help generate interest in your community and increase its visibility.
Social media campaigns: Social media marketing campaigns are a great way to drive more people to join your community. You can use creative visuals and fun giveaways to attract more prospects.
Paid ads: You can also use paid ads to drive more prospects to your community. This could be especially helpful if your group is for a specific niche or built for a particular demographic.
Email blasts: If you already have an existing email list, you can send out customized emails that are tailored specifically to the community. You can use rewards, discounts, and other incentives to encourage people to join.
Influencer marketing: Influencers and brand ambassadors can be powerful allies in community building. You can reach out to influencers who have a following related to your niche and ask them to promote your community.
Offering rewards for new members: You can also offer rewards or discounts to community members who invite their friends and colleagues. This will help create a sense of brand loyalty, as well as encourage more people to join your group.
5) Build A Content Calendar
The next step is to start planning your community-based campaigns.
You’ll need to create a content calendar for this, which should consist of the topics you plan on discussing in your community and when you plan to post them.
This will help you stay organized and stay on top of community engagement.
Your content plan should have the following:
- Content topics
- Content type (blog post, video, infographic, etc.)
- Date and of publishing
- Discussion questions (if any)
6) Post Content & Engage In Discussions Consistently
Once you’ve created your content calendar, it’s time to execute that plan and start engaging with community members.
This can include activities like answering questions from community members, facilitating discussions, or providing helpful resources to them.
It’s also important to remember that community engagement isn’t just about pushing out content — it’s also about listening and responding to user feedback. So be sure to ask for their opinions on topics related to your niche and listen as much as you talk.
By engaging with community members consistently, you can help increase brand loyalty and trust.
This will also show community members that you’re invested in their success and are genuinely interested in helping them reach their goals.
7) Encourage User Contributions
In order for a community-based marketing campaign to be successful, you need members to contribute content.
Of course, this is easier said than done. So it’s best to start small and build up a community culture of sharing ideas, experiences, and insights.
Here are some ideas on how you can encourage your community members to contribute to your group posts:
Facilitate Peer-To-Peer Support: Sure, a huge part of growing your topical authority is to answer questions and provide sound advice about whatever niche your community is about.
But if you’re doing it in the context of community marketing, you sometimes have to make way for other members to step in and answer questions too. This helps create a sense of collaboration and encourages more community engagement.
Find Active Members And Ask Them To Contribute: If you can find a few active members who love to contribute, ask them to help out by posting regular content and leading discussions.
This will be beneficial for your community in many ways.
For one, being empowered to contribute will make them feel valued, and it will also give everyone else a chance to benefit from their knowledge. This can lead to a significant boost in customer loyalty and satisfaction.
What’s more, encouraging member-contributors will also build brand advocacy and help you spread the word about your community and your SaaS product.
Offer Incentives For User Contributions: Offer rewards or incentives for users who provide quality posts or engage with others in the group. You could offer discounts, special offers, gift cards, or even limited-time free upgrades for their subscription to your SaaS product.
This will help make user contributions more appealing and create a sense of community loyalty among members. It will also encourage more people to join your community in search of rewards or incentives.
8) Hold Exclusive Community Events
One of the best ways to engage with your community, boost brand loyalty, and even promote brand advocacy is to host exclusive events for members.
Here are some ideas for exclusive community events you can host:
Webinars And Online Workshops: Webinars are a great way to educate your community on topics relevant to your niche.
You can use webinars as an opportunity to build your thought leadership and expertise in your niche, as well as promote your SaaS product.
Online workshops, on the other hand, will highly depend on your niche. They’re a great way to engage with your community and provide meaningful value at the same time.
For example, you could host online workshops on topics like programming, coding, design, copywriting, data analysis or any other specialized skill related to your niche.
Online Competitions: Hosting online competitions for your community is a great way to encourage participation, create a sense of belonging, and even turn loyal members into brand advocates.
Competitions can be something as simple as a photo contest or a testimonial writing competition. You could even hold a social media competition where they would need to tag other people and share posts related to your SaaS product.
The possibilities are endless. Just make sure that the prize is something worthwhile and you have clear rules to avoid any confusion.
Final Thoughts About Community Based Marketing
Community based marketing is an incredibly powerful tool for SaaS companies to engage with potential customers, increase brand loyalty, and even promote advocacy.
To get the most out of it, you need to be sure that your community members feel valued and appreciated. That means staying active in the group and responding to questions quickly as well as encouraging participation from all members
You should also consider providing incentives or rewards for user contributions, hosting webinars, holding online workshops and competitions, and much more.
By investing in your community marketing strategy now, you’ll ensure a steady stream of engaged customers who will help spread the word about your SaaS product long into the future.
Looking for more guides to take your SaaS business to the next level? Check out our complete guide to SaaS community marketing or check out our blog here.