Do you want to build your customer engagement? We’re going to go into detail on how community building can massively grow your customer response. Stay tuned and read on!
1. Increased Incentive – Gamification
Gamification is one of the most prominent methods when it comes to stimulate your customers into action. But what actually is gamification? Gamification is the process of turning something (your community, in this case) into a game, with certain rewards given to players with the highest ‘scores’.
Currently, your customers see nothing beyond the usual interaction with your brand. However, by implementing gamification, you motivate them to contribute, so they can be the ‘best player’ and be rewarded. Such rewards can come in two forms: online community-only rewards, which include badges, points, and a ranked scoreboard; and real-life rewards, which can include vouchers for your product, coupons, discounts etc. Whichever (or both) form of reward you decide on, you can count on an increase in consumer engagement at all levels of interaction.
People love games and winning. It’s in our nature. Acknowledge this fact and inspire a friendly competition among your customers: you’ll see people racing to come first among the other brand-fans, to have an exciting badge, to save money, etc. Your imagination is the limit, in terms of what you can offer as a reward. Soon enough, your brand won’t just be “a store where I buy products/services”, but a brand that rewards loyalty and contribution. And we all love those!
2. Empower Individuals with Platforms
How can you expect to hear more from your customers? Easy one, through giving them more space to express themselves! To encourage a good pace of growth for your customer engagement, it is vital that you have systems to hear back from your customers. By establishing a community platform for them to express themselves, not only do you show them that you are ready to listen, but receive a free financial/PR advisor – the best one, and completely free of charge! An online community for your customers gives them an opportunity to swap stories, exchange ideas, and recount experiences. As a silent observer, you gain valuable insights in the process.
The bigger your community is, the more customer engagement you can expect. Add a forum, a chat-room, several creative contests or something similar, and voila! You have a teeming group of people who contribute with valuable advice, precious opinions, and – engagement. Lots of it, actually.
Customer engagement and feedback aren’t the only rewards you can get from giving your customers a space to communicate and express their feelings. The icing on the cake is that they will respect you more for giving them the option to do that, irrespective of whether the feedback is positive or negative. So, think about it for a while, and you see that there are no negative sides to this: only plenty of free rewards for your brand. Yay!
3. Self-Growing Autonomous Community
Let’s say that you’ve decided to give online communities a go. Fast forward a bit – and you have a thriving centre around which your customers can gather. Here comes the magic part: you can now just leave it be, because it has reached the point where it no longer needs your influence in order to grow.
Whoa! Isn’t that incredible?
We’ve introduced gamification at the beginning of this article. The only requirement to self-growing, autonomous community is that you empower the most active customers to become admins of your brand group. The first step is to spot your potential PR managers. Look for the people with high scores, who are at the top of the community scoreboards. Next, approach them and offer to make them admins, whether for further gamification rewards or other incentives, it is entirely up to you.
Once they accept, they will create, regulate, and modify the contents of your community on your behalf. More admins means more content, which means more customer engagement, which means more customers, which means more admins… Do you see the pattern? This is how all the major brands keep so successful. They have a community of faithful customers to keep them floating.
What is stopping you from having one of your own?
4. Valuable Insights
We have mentioned insights already, but their importance can’t be stressed enough! One of the main reasons of online communities’ success lies in the valuable insights that you receive from them. The days when marketing used to base itself around “the average customer” are long gone. Today, we know that such a thing as an average customer does not exist. Instead, we separate our customers into groups that differ in age, gender, tech-savviness, ethnographics, income, etc… And even with a layered structure like this, we like to hear each individual customer, along with their individual criticism and praise.
To precisely determine your audience, your business goals, the effectiveness of your methods, and any other data that is crucial to your business, you need insights. Online communities allow you to conduct mass surveys, questionnaires, and tests quickly and efficiently. Once you get the results, you can implement them immediately. A brand that listens is a brand that draws customers – and the correct usage of insights means that you can never make a bad decision.
5. Pareto Rule Benefits Your Business
Another principle that fits into the concept of online community is the Pareto Rule (or 80/20 rule). How does the Pareto Rule affect your business, I hear you ask. The Pareto Rule states that 20% of things cause 80% of results. When applied to your business, it means that 20% of your efforts produce 80% of your results. Further apply that to your marketing and selling, and you’ll notice that 20% of your brand content should be hard-selling, while the rest of it should be oriented towards your customers and what they want to hear about. Look at the big brands. Why does Coca-Cola make an ad about family values without mentioning any sales at all? Why would someone spend money to create content that has next-to-no possibility of achieving a sale?
The answer is – the Pareto principle works.
If you show your customers (with 80% of your content) that you care about what they want to hear, about fun content, about relevant content, and in general the things that they find to play an important role in their lives, you’ll be able to convince them (with 20% of your content) that you care about them, and that they should spend their money with you. Engage your customers with content that resonates, not the content that sells, and they’ll be better customers!
Even these five are enough to convince you, we think, and these are just a tip of the iceberg! Give community software a try. You won’t be disappointed!