You’ve built a fantastic, informative community, full of great content – now its time to fill it full of excited users (and paying subscribers, if you have chosen that option). However good your community is, don’t assume potential members are going to find it for themselves. Marketing your community is the key to its growth.
Pushed for time? Here’s the Simple Checklist
We recommend reading this detailed guidance, but also recognize that some hosts have very limited time, so here is a simple checklist with minimum recommended marketing tasks you should do when launching your community.
1. Announce your upcoming community on your social media channels and blog
2. Email or message friends and clients letting them know that you will soon have a new community
3. Arrange a community launch party (even if it’s small) – invite family, co-workers, and friends
4. Invite at least 100 people into the community by email, WhatsApp, FB Messenger, etc.
5. Add links to your community on your website and your social media bios
6. Email news of your community release to everyone on your mailing lists
7. Migrate social media followers to the community using posts
8. Introduce your community in 5 or more, relevant events, classes or online groups and forums
9. After one month ask community members to invite their friends
Don’t forget tracking
Imagine the excitement you get when you’re following a parcel online, watching as it gets nearer your address and closer to your welcoming arms… Tracking where your community is hearing about is just as exciting, seriously. It’ll provide insight into what sources are driving the most downloads, what’s working, and what you can spend more time and resources on. Make full use of Google Analytics and similar tools
Starting the momentum before your community is live will give the launch that immediate boost. It will also fill the community with enthusiastic members, creating a positive community vibe that will help turn casual visitors into regular community members.
Set up a dedicated page on your website detailing your community and what your audience can expect from your creation. Use a simple form to create a sign-up page for early-adopters who want to be members and reward them with early-access or downloadable content.
Announce your upcoming community everywhere on your website and add the page to menus. Create blog posts about your upcoming community.
#2. Social Media
Build up the excitement about your upcoming community with announcements and sneak peeks. Direct followers to the sign-up for the community page on your website. Plan an online launch party for your social channels.
Email your existing customers or subscribers about your upcoming community to raise excitement. Use the emails to give a taster of the features and content.
Make a list of people that you want to be members of the community then email, phone, or message them asking if they’ll be part of it. Ask for suggestions for content, listen to their comments. If you have time, then show them the prototype.
Prepare a press release for the community launch with highlights and benefits. Make a list of publications, blogs, and websites to send it to when you launch.
If you have friendly journalists, influencers or bloggers, give them a heads up that you plan to launch your community soon. Explain why you want to create your community and practice your backstory.
You need to turn up the marketing to 11, getting your community into the hands of as many of the right users as possible will help them and you. Take advantage of every opportunity to get your community more widely known about and get members into it.
- Turn the prelaunch community page into a dedicated marketing page with benefits, features, and links.
- Add links to your community to existing blog posts, your email signature, and website footers.
- If you have a blog introduce the community and its benefits in detail
#2. Social Media
You’ve spent time building up your social following, so make sure every one of your followers knows you’re launching a community! 👀.
- Use posts to the maximum, get followers excited about their new community space. If you have an online store or paid downloads, then offer an exclusive discount deal via the community and highlight this
- Pin your launch posts and add a video for maximum impact
- Update your social media cover images with beautiful community graphics – how about using a screengrab of your new community in action!? You might also want to refresh your cover image from time to time to promote goings-on in the community
- Update your profile picture. It doesn’t have to be permanent, you can revert to that carefully considered logo whenever you want, but everyone sees your profile picture so it’s a great place to highlight your community!
- Add your community link to the bio of all of your social media channels
Facebook – add a call to action to your page, simply follow these steps
Instagram – Use interesting stories and add a link to your Story to take advantage of Instagram’s “Swipe up” feature to drive your community to the community.
Linkedin – Create a longer in-depth post explaining what inspired you to create your community.
Youtube – ask vloggers in your field to review your community.
Invite everyone on your mailing list to join your community. If you can, use exclusive content or offers to motivate them to join the community. Create VIP groups for existing customers. Use your regular mailers as an opportunity to further promote your community by highlighting great content, user reviews, or exclusives not accessible anywhere else.
Contact bloggers and specialist publications to get reviews of your community. Introduce the community by giving speeches in events and including it in founder interviews. Hold free events and interesting classes using Meetup and similar platforms (Tip: if you live in a city with WeWork co-working spaces they often allow free events in exchange for allowing an introduction to WeWork at the start of the event).
#5. Paid Advertising
If you have the budget, consider paying for ads on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Bing, YouTube or Google Ads. If this is the first time you’ve used these platforms look for vouchers or credit offers. Always test multiple ads (audience, image, and copy mixes) so that you can put your money into those that perform.
#6. Launch Party
Host a launch party and get people involved in the community. Invite friends, co-workers, clients, experts, and influencers. Whether it’s a dinner party or a big event, get guests involved and encourage them to participate by combining digital activities with the physical party.
#7. Groups and Mailing Lists
Join relevant groups and ask for feedback on your community or content. Subtly advertise and encourage membership. If your field still has mailing lists then ask the mailing list organizer to mention your community.
#8. Community Members
Offline communities have traditionally grown by word of mouth, your community does the same. Don’t be afraid to ask your community members to recommend it, to friends, co-workers, and family, if they find it useful. Communities create loyalty, so encourage this and help members, help you.
#9. Get Creative!
Think outside the box and get creative with promotion: invite nearby influencers for dinner, organize a get together in a local coffee shop, mail out unique or interesting packs of things to journalists & bloggers, ask the local community to put up posters, write guest posts, ask local papers to cover it, see if your alumni or trade association will put your community in their newsletter…