Even if you already have a strong customer base, you can grow it further by building a branded community around your business. Many consumers are drawn to these communities because they offer inspiration, encouragement, and support. Your business, however, benefits by getting a boost in brand exposure and credibility, reduced need (and costs) for customer support, better customer retention, and more sales.
But as a small business owner, you already have enough on your plate, and building a community for your brand might seem expensive and difficulty. Fortunately, it doesn't have to be. Here's how you can do it.
4 Ways to Build a Community Around Your Brand
Provide Instant Opportunities
Once a customer or a prospect joins your online community, you want to keep them interested and onboard. It's similar to welcoming someone to the neighborhood. Help them get their bearings. You can direct a member to the website page that features discounts or any new deals you're offering. After all, new members are excited about what they can get from their new community. But don't make the mistake of overwhelming or annoying your new community members with a barrage of emails and upselling tactics.
Develop a Loyalty Program
A rewards or loyalty program is a simple but effective way to get repeat customers. This program is quite popular for a variety of businesses, like coffee shops, boutiques, and restaurants. A typical loyalty program would have points rewards whenever a customer makes a purchase. They would then give a prize once a certain target is hit.
Try to come up with a unique loyalty rewards program or be more creative with the prizes. For example, instead of giving away free coffee on the customer's 10th visit to the store, maybe they could win a cool coffee mug with your logo on it. You can also partner up with another business for the rewards. Post the names of winners on your website or do a follow-up on them about the reward they received (but make sure to ask their permission first).
Make Allies of Other Businesses
You can have a stronger presence or reputation within the community by developing partnerships with local businesses. Align yourself with companies that complement your business. You can even work with your competitors. For instance, if you own a boutique, you can team up with a jewelry designer or a handbag company. Or if you have an online bookstore, collaborate with other sellers and organize a book fair.
There are many advantages to partnering with other business owners in your community. Your company gets a boost in reputation, especially if you're working with a bigger or more established brand. You also get the chance to reach a wider audience.
Share Your Skills and Become an Authority
Your loyal customers and prospective clients will want to learn more about your products or services. Share your expertise with them through well-written content or by conducting seminars. Speak at local events or give a talk at the community college. It's a way of giving back to the community. It also helps build you up as an authority in the niche.
Companies often don't give enough thought to the idea of building or joining a community. This can be a costly mistake as community members can have a big impact on the long-term success of your business. So take the time to develop your community and make sure to treat your members well.[Featured image via Pixabay]