Over the years, experts have debated the value of customer acquisition over customer retention and vice versa. In a recent survey on small business owners, the majority of entrepreneurs indicated that they struggle with identifying and reaching new customer prospects, while only 17% of them struggle with customer retention.
However, customer retention can be a more sensible strategy to grow your business sustainably, and many companies make the fatal mistake of not giving it the attention it deserves.
Here, we will introduce you to a marketing strategy that focuses primarily on existing customers, rather than acquiring new ones. For anyone who has never been introduced to community marketing, this may be the strategy your start-up has been lacking.
About Community Marketing
As mentioned in our previous article, “The point of community marketing is to identify the natural communities that are attracted to the brand, philosophy, product, or service and then focusing the efforts and resources on nurturing this community to grow.”
Community marketing actively focuses on the needs of existing customers as opposed to actively looking for prospects. There are two main types of community marketing:
- Organic: Organic community marketing (or earned marketing) relies heavily on customers engaging with each other and happens without the brand’s intervention or help. This type of community marketing tears the projected limitations posed by brands and seeks to strengthen relationships between community members. Subsequently, it fosters loyalty through active customer engagement.
- Sponsored: In sponsored community marketing, brands or companies are directly involved, as they develop the initiatives themselves most of the time. Companies can provide the resources for events that promote the well-being of a specific community in society. Most of them do this through corporate social responsibility.
So Why Do Community Marketing?
There are a lot of reasons for investing in community marketing, and you’re probably familiar with some of them. Here we present you with four winning points to consider:
Nothing probably expends the convenience of social media more than community marketing. With everybody wired to their devices, social media has created some of the largest communities which are unbounded by geographic limitations. Mandating social media assets then carries a lot of cost-effective potential for businesses both established and those starting out.
Community marketing is cheaper and requires less maintenance compared to other aggressive marketing techniques. With this marketing strategy, you mostly let your existing consumers drive the noise and promote you. Focusing on growing the loyalty of existing customers has a huge potential of being lucrative. For example, according to world-renowned entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, increasing your customer retention by 5 percent can increase your profits by up to 95 percent.
For English angel investor and online marketing guru Neil Patel, startup marketing is “a whole different science” that involves careful planning because the resources are limited. He adds that success is often determined by the level of customer awareness about the product or service. Like we mentioned, raising customer awareness through the use of digital platforms doesn’t have to be costly.
When done right, community marketing can nurture fiercely committed patrons that help maintain brand momentum and fuel its continuous growth.
Loyalty, as an indispensable marketing force, is an intangible mover for brand campaigns and pronouncements. Media company Randall-Reilly said that even with price in the equation, brands with a devoted following can easily win out over everything else.
We’ve recently seen a collective proclivity of the market for personalized, tailor-fit options. This includes a heightened propensity for more personal relationships with the brands they subscribe to. Brands can stroke this inclination by engaging with their communities and making select individuals feel like they’re part of the team. This nurtures loyalty among individuals and potentially encourage lead-generation.
Get Valuable Feedback
Informed decisions are based on market intelligence, so it’s important that you zero-in on consumers’ sentiments. The digital age helped birth a new wave of marketing, one that utilises information available online. With all the information stored online, it’s now easier to draw out the market’s sentiments on your business.
Community marketing will also help brands ease to transitions, as it allows brands to anticipate market response to business-wide innovations. Tune into what your core community is already saying and use this intelligence to weed out what doesn’t work.
Consider community marketing then as a map that leads you out of anticipated or even unforeseen impasses. We can never stress the importance of market intelligence on building a brand, especially building a start-up reputation that persists.
Nothing seems more lucrative for any business endeavor nowadays than allowing customers to feel a brand’s authenticity.
Modern customers raise their eyebrows at impersonal, one-sided relationships with products and services they utilize. They feel more at ease with brands that they’re familiar with. Since brands are dealing with an intricate cohort of customers, marketing techniques that have worked before may fall short now.
Customers don’t like being marketed to. As Forbes’ VP of public relations Stephen Dupont pointed out, consumers are all for establishing meaningful relationships with the brands they use—whether they’re aware of it or not. And brands often do this by establishing their authenticity and being transparent with their customers.
Customers need to feel that they’re an important aspect of your business, so make sure you know them well. Understand what makes them tick, generate insights about how they behave online and offline, and determine why your product could help improve their general experience. Your responses to prospective and existing customers’ feedback ultimately show that you value their opinions.
Community Marketing Done Right
While now common among start-ups, community marketing was first utilized by established brands. The latter used the technique to generate leads and introduce themselves to potential customers. Taking notice, the marketing strategy was then used by start-ups to form and create initiatives for their respective communities.
For example, CommonBond, a start-up finance company that helps students with their student loans, makes the journey comfortable for their borrowers with a welcome package that contains a handwritten card, a custom T-shirt, and a handpicked gift based on their interests. They also spearhead events that connect their borrowers with one another, facilitating the growth of its community all while greasing the wheels of their business’s community marketing initiatives.
MangoPlate, a Korean restaurant information platform, also attests to the effectivity of community marketing. The business runs offline events for its fans, mostly influencers (bloggers and foodies. This allows them to garner intel on improvements that their customers want and increase their exposure through word-of-mouth
Start-ups enjoy a level of intimacy that allows them to “hire” customers as product advisors and salespeople. Community marketing helps brands grow customer loyalty at a low cost and helps influence other business endeavors.
Whatever you decide to do, placing great emphasis on community marketing will be beneficial for you. So, do a double-take on traditional marketing strategies and start incorporating fresh approaches that will help grow your revenue.
Still unsure where to begin? Why not get professional social media marketers to manage your community for you?