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What is Community Marketing and Why it Matters to SaaS Startups

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The SaaS industry is on a roll. The whole industry is expected to reach more than $171 billion by 2022.

Are you excited about the potential for growth in the industry? You should be excited, but at the same time, you should be worried about the competition waiting for you. Several companies offer the same SaaS product as you and target the same market.

To be ahead of your competitors, an entrepreneur needs a strong marketing plan. As part of your plan to market your lifetime deals SaaS, you should include community marketing.

 

What Is Community Marketing?

 

Community marketing is a marketing strategy in which a community of customers and leads is created and fostered so people can engage with your brand. The said community can be built around a topic related to a specific product or brand.

Let’s say that you have software for digital marketing. You can build a brand focused on content, email, social media, or email marketing.

The community can even be about digital marketing in general or any featured deal. The idea is to build up the community and market the product or brand in a not in-your-face or too intrusive way. It’s marketing without marketing.

 

How Effective is Community Marketing?

 

So is community marketing effective?

The answer is yes. Community marketing is effective simply because it is a great way of connecting with an audience without being too direct. It is effective because 76% of all internet users participate in some form of community. That means your audience can be reached by community marketing.

Facebook is another fertile ground for community marketing. It’s the most popular social media platform with 2.9 billion active monthly users. Around 1.8 billion of those users engage in online communities monthly. They engage in the over 10 million Facebook groups in existence.

Facebook Group is just one of the platforms that you can use for community marketing. Just imagine building a community with 10,000 members, or 100,000. The marketing potential there is enormous.

Community marketing is effective because people like to belong to groups and communities. In fact, that desire for connection is more of a need. That need may not be as clear as the need for the necessities of life, but it is there. It is what drives people to create clubs and organizations. According to research, the brain is wired so that people feel good when they connect with other people.

It’s also worth noting that the brain physically deteriorates when people are forced to go on isolation for long periods. There is evidence that the part of the brain responsible for learning shrinks because of chaotic isolation. This is very significant for marketers since it shows that building communities has real benefits.

 

Why Is Community Important in Marketing?

 

Communities are useful to marketers because they are made up of like-minded individuals. Let’s say you have created a SaaS tool that can do bookkeeping and inventory management for small businesses. Your potential customers are owners of small businesses.

Now, imagine if you can market to a community of small business owners. That means your marketing can be more focused. You can go straight to the advantages of using your SaaS instead of explaining the basics of inventory management.

If you were the one who created that community, then you have control over the ads and marketing materials that they can see. Of course, the problem is that building a community is not an easy task and cannot be rushed. It takes time to grow a community organically.

 

What Does a Community Marketer Do?

 

So, now are you intrigued by what a community marketer does? Here is a very general breakdown of the tasks of a community marketer.

The community marketer will determine the target audience for the marketing campaign. Ideally, this should be in-depth planning that would determine the actual audience and entice them to join the community.

The next step is to start building the actual community. This means the marketer must identify the right platforms where the target audience can be found. If it was determined that the target audience is made up of business owners and managers, then LinkedIn is the best platform.

It takes a while to build your community, but the marketing can start once there are enough members. Community marketing is different from other forms of marketing because it is less direct and takes on more of a subtle approach.

The marketer must engage with the community members and see to it that there are regular posts that keep them interested in the group. Members should also be encouraged to interact with each other.

 

What Are the Major Components of Community Marketing?

 

Remember that community marketing is a niche marketing strategy. What does that mean? In the past, marketers preferred their marketing to be as broad and general as possible. The wider the audience, the better the marketing campaign.

That’s no longer true. Marketers today recognize that it is better to be more specific regarding targeting. This is why so many marketers favor community marketing. How one does community marketing can vary, but these are the basic components of every strategy:

Picking the niche. You need to identify the niche that works best for your brand or product. In the example used before, it might not be enough for you to market to a community of business owners. You also need to pick what type of business.

Research. This goes without saying, but some people tend to forget the importance of proper research. For example, you need to research more about the community you target and what can interest them.

Connect with influencers. Most if not all communities have influencers within them. These influencers are the recognized authority within the communities and the niche. Getting their approval and recommendation can do wonders for your brand.

Customize. You may have several communities that you can market to. While you can use the same strategy and approach for all your communities, make sure that you customize for the needs of each.

These are the core components of community marketing. Now, it is time to look at how you can create a community marketing strategy.

 

Creating a Community Marketing Strategy

 

It’s time for you to start creating your community marketing strategy for your SaaS.

Before creating a strategy, you need to understand a few basic things about communities. Every community has three key components, and those are:

  • A group of people.
  • The people making up the group care about each other.
  • They have a sense of belonging.

That third component is the most important one of all. The group members should have a strong sense of belonging to something.

 

Start and Join the Conversation

 

When you have started your community, you need to keep it interesting and alive. People join communities because they want conversations about the niche it is in. Remember, no one is joining a community because they want to hear about your latest deals.

Start conversations and get to know the people in your community. Don’t just look at them as numbers on your screen.

 

Contribute

 

Remember that you are the one that built the community, whether that’s a Facebook group or a community on LinkedIn. That means you are projecting yourself as the expert on the subject. You are the one who can give recommendations.

When you post something in your community or reply to a post, make sure that you are offering something to the members to show your authority and know what you’re talking about. You should also publish articles and provide how-tos to the community itself. Those articles must be useful to the community as a whole. They should learn something from it.

 

Make Yourself Accessible

 

When the community perceives you as an authority in the niche you have chosen, some of them might reach out to you.

Some might ask questions. Others will just want to add you to their network. Whatever reason they have for reaching out to you, make sure you are available and that you respond.

The quality of your response will also matter, aside from your availability. Make it a point that each response you give out is useful to the community.

 

Create Fans

 

This is not an easy task. The fact that you have a SaaS product makes it doubly hard to make people excited about what you are offering. You can’t really create rabid fans of software for inventory. What you can build is a community of loyal users of your software who will be willing to tell other people about it.

 

Advertise Creatively

 

About 74% of millennials and Gen Z do not want to see ads on social media feeds. That means directly placing ads on your community can negatively impact you, and you have to advertise in a subtle and non-obtrusive way.

You can answer questions and post without asking people to use your software without being too direct.

 

Be Consistent

 

Community marketing does not deliver quick results. It takes time to build up a community, but you will see the results if you are consistent with your efforts. Just keep on posting and publishing content in your community, and the members will notice it.

While your main goal in building that community is to offer lifetime deals SaaS, you can’t be too direct about it.

 

Community Marketing Tools

 

Part of your strategy is to pick the right tools to use for your marketing. Here are some of the marketing tools that you can use in your community:

 

Polls

 

Some people hate polls or surveys, but people willingly take part when the topic involves something that they are interested in. You can use polls to get the feel of the community about your lifetime deals SaaS offers.

 

Push Notifications

 

Push notifications are small pop-up messages that can be clicked and redirect users to a specific page to take a certain action. It’s a great way to drive the behavior of the users on your site and encourage them to sign up for a lifetime subscription. You can use these notifications to ask users to leave comments on your site and other actions.

 

Comments

 

Make sure that you enable commenting on the posts in your community. People love to comment on the internet and when the topic is about something they are knowledgeable or passionate about. You can also use the comments as a mine for ideas about a SaaS lifetime deal that you can use for your marketing.

 

Livestreams

 

Livestreams have become more normalized today because of the pandemic and the ease of doing it. You can conduct live streaming with the users of your software and do a demo. You can also answer questions from your viewers.

 

Analytics

 

One of the advantages of online marketing over the traditional forms of marketing is that you can measure the performance of your efforts with accuracy. You can see clearly what SaaS marketing efforts work and which ones should be abandoned.

 

Offering Your Lifetime Deals SaaS to Your Community

 

Your main aim in community marketing is to get people to subscribe to your lifetime deals SaaS or any other offer you have.

As mentioned earlier, community marketing does not involve directly telling people to buy your product or subscribe for lifetime access. It’s more of a subtle and indirect method of asking people to trust you. For that to happen, you need to make members of the community trust you and see you as an authority. Once they see you like that, recommending your SaaS solution and the offer you have will seem natural and not out of place.

In other words, community marketing is all about building trust and giving people useful and actionable information. That takes a lot of work, but an engaged community’s benefits can be huge.

For more information about the SaaS industry and offers, you can visit our blog here. We have a lot of useful insights that you can implement for your own SaaS deal offer.

 

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Ken Moo
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