Convert Your Website Audience Into a Thriving Online Community
That feeling of belonging isn't just good for us; it's also good for our businesses. You can buy traffic and even segment that traffic into channels, but ultimately, it won't provide you the type of insights you get from your audience when they willingly become a member of your online community. Once you get traffic to your site, you want to keep them there and learn as much as possible from them. This way, they provide valuable feedback on their buying preferences and how to more effectively market them. The more involved and invested they become in your community, the more likely they will end up buying something from you and telling their friends, too.
Blogs, Forums, and Member Areas
It's not that hard to add a member area to your website these days. Even if you only have a video or text blog, this can turn into a community of subscribers who interact with each other and you. The more that join, the more others will notice. The fact that others trust you enough to subscribe gives you and your business instant credibility. Even if you set up a forum and show up only occasionally, you can get members of the site to answer questions and post interesting content to keep your site fresh and interesting, even when you are away.
Membership has its Benefits
In this case, the benefits go to the community owner. People who register to your online community will have to give their email addresses to do so. You can also request permission to email them when they sign up. Every person that signs up is basically one more contact included in your captive audience. They will no longer be anonymous and they will be more easily marketed over time.
Your Online Community is Your Market Research
Who doesn't like the idea of others volunteering without pay for market research that benefits your company? That's what the members of your online community agree to do when they sign up. You will be able to set up surveys or contests that can clue you in to what types of products and services they are most likely to buy - and then offer them. You can even set up a pre-sales for your subscribers to determine if a product you are planning to develop is worth investing time and money into it. If few people sign up for the pre-sale product launch, you'll know you have a dud and can cancel the project without a penny spent.
Why You Benefit from an Online Community
When it comes to capturing the traffic you spent hard cash to attract, membership sites excel. They create a sense of community that makes people feel like they belong to a special group of people "in the know." They offer you the opportunity to customize your sales offers via the feedback you will receive from your most loyal fans. They are not hard to set up anymore and don't require a throng of programmers, like they once did. Many hosting sites will offer forums, blogs, and other types of membership elements available with a one-click download.