5 practical tips to use your online community for growth and retention

Discover how an online community can help you drive growth and retention.
5 practical tips to use your online community for growth and retention

Tough times are coming. We’ve seen the newsflashes and notifications spelling out the fiscal world is about to halt. However, much like a tree that prepares for winter, when the weather warms up, new shoots appear, and regrowth can begin. 

Taking the right steps now to retain your existing customers, add value, and open new revenue streams will lead to this opportunity for regrowth within your business.    

Tip 1: Retain first, grow second. 

It seems straight forward, but in the wake of economic hardship, most businesses turn inward and start to batten down the hatches, shutting out the most important part of their revenue in the rain - their customers. 

Instead, create a space where you can protect them, and in turn yourself, from the storm. An online community, built on a purposeful foundation that has the key objective of retention will allow you to touch base with them regularly, engage in two way conversation and strengthen your customer loyalty. 

Tip 2: Be flexible 

Every community is unique, but there’s always one element that allows it to stand above the rest. Discover that, and make it your focus for value. We know that in times of financial hardship, customers will want to start to cut back, so make sure your platform is something that they cannot, or will not, go without. Think about content that they cannot find elsewhere, or connections that they can make through the network

Direct mailouts, newsletters and alerts are a good way to keep valuable USPs front and centre, making sure that not only are you offering excellent value, but that your customers are fully aware of it.

Tip 3: Use integrated sponsorships to unlock new revenue streams

A good community acts as a safe, collaborative space for members. Paid opportunities should feel like they are enhancing this space – with knowledge, insight, value – rather than encroaching on it. With a well-managed and versatile platform, your sponsorships can add value to your clients and to your commercial partners, with co-branded spaces and informative content that bring in revenue for your organisation without affecting trust or retention. 

Explore monetization options on Zapnito. 

Tip 4: Use data to create a sense of exclusivity through personalisation

As we mentioned in our previous blog, people are more likely to want to be part of something that feels exclusive. On a community building platform like Zapnito, you can create a sense of exclusivity by using data to invite relevant members to more niche or specialist hubs of the community, and to open tailored networking opportunities. This could be in the form of discussion rooms, panel sessions or even online think-tanks to generate fresh content. Be careful that your ‘exclusive’ areas don’t create distance with other members: identify areas carefully and ensure you’re covering a broad spectrum of members.

Tip 5: Use your community to create a two-way conversation with members

To get the full benefits of your community, make sure you’re using it to listen, as well as talk, to your members. Collecting and analysing first-hand community data allows you to track trends and better understand your audience, enabling you to serve content, experiences and promotions that are based on your members’ needs. If your community is attached to a publication, product or subscription, you can also use this data to influence your offering and generate revenue elsewhere. 

If you want more tips and practical advice on securing growth during a recession, speak to one of our team: book a discovery call to find out more about using your online community to protect your business and boost growth during a recession.

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