Have you noticed that your customers are wanting a bit more from you now? That your traditional marketing methods might not be as effective as they once were, and customers are looking for more unique contact. You’re not imagining it! Customers are demanding more interaction from their brands, more information and more open communication. And this has created a whole new type of marketing strategy – community marketing.
What Is Community
Before we look at what community marketing is and how it works, we should probably explain what community actually is. Because it’s one of those fluffy words that people often struggle to define, even if they belong to a community themselves. But all communities are made up of 3 main components, which can be found in the definition;
‘A group of people who cares about each other and feel they belong together.’
If we break that down, we find a group of people coming together over their shared interests, developing relationships and working together to achieve common goals. That effect, no matter how small the group, is what makes a community. And humans need community. It was critical to our survival as a species, and now it’s just as important for our social and mental health.
What Is Community Marketing?
So, what, then, is community marketing? It’s a strategy based on bringing your customers together into a group, using something that they care about, and engaging with them in a non-intrusive, friendly way. In other words, it’s about using your brand to create a community. But more importantly – creating a community that isn’t about you. Instead, community marketing works best when the cause you’re engaging in isn’t your business. Instead, you’re creating two-way communication with your target market about something they care about.
Why Bother With It?
Because in 2022, the consumer has more power than ever before. Customers want to be treated like a person, not a number, so much so that 84% say it’s an important part of their purchasing decision. So when people buy from your business, they aren’t just looking for a product or a service – they’re looking for a real, authentic human connection with your brand. Not only your brand either – but your community of customers. All of this means that businesses need to be focused on building those relationships and those communities if they want to keep winning customers.
Apart from that (very important) point, there are a few other benefits to community marketing too.
Better customer experience
We all know by now that businesses that can provide amazing customer service to their customers will generally see major boosts in their revenue. This isn’t exactly surprising – as good experiences encourage people to come back to the business and recommend them to others. But when community marketing comes into play, it gives businesses the opportunity to improve their customer experience even more. The engagement gives marketers a better understanding of customers, with the relationships and open two-way communication providing an authentic touchpoint for handling issues, gathering feedback and nurturing brand advocates.
Increased brand loyalty
There was a time when having a loyalty incentive would be enough to retain customers and build a loyal brand following. But according to the latest research, 71% of customers say these programs don’t make them loyal at all – and in some cases, it does the opposite! So, if you want to improve brand loyalty among your customers now, you need to invest in that relationship. Building a community is incredibly important for this, as community members are talking, swapping information and relying on each other for purchasing decisions.
Humanising your brand
Many modern consumers can see through traditional marketing efforts. They feel inauthentic and like the brand doesn’t really care about the customer – only their wallet. Community marketing is an approach that’s centred around the consumer, what they want and the causes they care about, as well as more direct communication instead of one-way messaging. It creates a more human face for your brand, which in turn builds trust and loyalty.
The main downside to community marketing is that it takes a unique skill set to get it right. While it might look simple on the surface, it can be challenging to understand the right approach to take, track the impact of communities, and how create the highly targeted messaging you need to make community marketing successful. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it! You just need some help. At Lion Spirit Media we live and breathe marketing. We work closely with you to identify the best marketing strategies for your business and customers and help you put them in action. If you’d like to know more about how we run community marketing campaigns, please contact the team today.