What’s Your Strategy to Grow Your Community?


What’s Your Strategy to Grow Your Community?

Having a strategy to grow your community means understanding who your audience is and what their needs are.

Last month I talked about the changing face of customer service, and whether in fact, digital marketing was killing good old fashioned connection. How we came to have that conversation didn’t happen overnight, it’s taken decades of small incremental changes and shifting sands.

Just this week I was reading another Smallville article from Andrew Griffiths on “The Seven Most Common Community Building Mistakes” and realised something… The demise of customer service and the constant changes we see around the ‘latest’ marketing initiative all comes back to one thing.

Most businesses simply don’t have a strategy around their marketing

Now before you click the close button thinking this doesn’t apply to you ask yourself these couple of questions…

How many new leads are you getting into your business each week/month? And when was the last time you asked your customers how you were doing as a business?

The fact is that every business has attrition. We all lose clients.

Sometimes a product or a service has a natural end date. At other times we do something that causes a split. And still, other times clients just drift away without us ever really knowing what happened.

In Andrew’s article, he talked about the need to build a community. Not just build, but actively nurture and engage this community. A decade or so ago this would have been referred to as your ‘raving fan’ base.

It’s these people that will help you ensure that you:

  1. Have a strategy and
  2. Continually check in to ensure your strategy remains aligned to the needs of your community.

What do I mean by that? Quite simply I see most businesses (I’ve been guilty of this too) trying to tell everyone about everything they do. This just isn’t going to work (trust me, if it did, I’d be really really wealthy by now).

The fact of the matter is our community is made up of individuals, and these individuals will form ‘sub-communities’ within your broader group. Each of those sub-communities is wanting or engaging with you for different reasons. Some might buy everything you do, others will only ever want a very particular selection, but each is as valuable to you as the other. And this is why you need a strategy to grow your community.

Let me give you an example

In my business (a digital marketing agency), I work with a couple of different groups. The first are small business owners with less than 20 employees that are based in QLD. The second are manufacturers with fast growth and 100+ employees.

Both are struggling to keep up with digital marketing. And both need education and learning around what marketing ideas to apply (and how) to their business. But their needs (and their budget) is very different.

If I send information to my manufacturing community about some federal funding available to businesses with less than 20 employees, how do you think that will land?

I’ve wasted their time and potentially alienated them by talking about something that they simply can’t access.

I need a strategy

What I need is to be very clear around ‘who’ my community is. Also, I need to be clear on who the potential ‘sub-communities’ are within the broader group. I also need to spend the time getting super clear on the needs, understanding and requirements of each of the smaller groups within the broader community.

Once I have that I can begin to strategise around what it is that my subgroups want to know and what information I can send to my overarching community.

So what’s your strategy to grow your community?

There is a lot of time that we can (and should) spend on getting clear around those people that we serve best. I suggest each of us begin by taking a good hard look at how we’ve been talking to our ‘community’. I recommend asking ourselves: Do I really have a strategy around how best to communicate with ‘my people’?

Time for me to do the same. Let me know how you go, and what you discover.

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