Businesses are looking to increase their revenue all the time. Taking advantage of anything that can help with improving the situation is a priority for a lot. And it just so happens that creating communities on the internet has its share of benefits as well.
The whole idea of creating a community from scratch might sound like too much. However, if you have a WordPress website, you can integrate a BuddyPress plugin which helps with account registrations, user profiles, account feeds, groups, and more. Also, the plugin is free and you. Take the best it has to offer by reading this BuddyPress Wordpress themes guide.
If you have not thought about starting your own private branded online community, you will want to reconsider after reading this article. Here are some benefits that an online community will provide to the business.
Benefit #1 – Cutting Costs of Customer Service
Hardly anyone is that keen on calling customer support. Sending an email also does not guarantee a quick response, and if a customer is in a hurry, it can turn out as a bad situation.
Instead of relying on customer support, encourage your shoppers to take a proactive approach and find answers themselves. FAQ pages are a good example of how to provide answers.
But a community that is made out of members who rely on each other is another great method to not only save money on the business end but give more satisfaction to the customers.
Being part of a community is great by itself, and if there are individuals who help each other out, you stand to gain a lot without doing that much but leaving it in the hands of your audience.
Benefit #2 – Helping Customers Get More Value
Finding answers to technical questions is one thing, but what about if there is a problem of having to choose one product for multiple options?
Bigger businesses have a much higher variety of products they offer, and a new customer will get overwhelmed by available choices. And relying entirely on one’s own intuition is not something that a lot of individuals like.
These days, reviews and other pieces of advice left by previous customers are worth a lot. According to Ready Cloud Suite, 87 percent of shoppers trust online reviews as much as word of mouth.
Therefore, having a system where customers help each other out with reliable pieces of advice is beneficial and helps those who are first-timers.
Benefit #3 – Acquiring New Customers
A business will have a tough time sustaining itself if there is no influx of new customers. Online communities will attract more people in two ways.
The first one is organic traffic. Thanks to the variety of content, like articles, forums, search engines help. When someone is looking for a product or an answer to a question, appearing in the top pages of Google indicates that you are an authority in the industry. Users will click on your URL.
The second point is how a plethora of information and genuine feedback from long time customers reduce the risk of spending money on something a new customer is not familiar with.
Benefit #4 – Improving Retention Rates
Invesp has published research which revealed that it costs about five times more to attract new customers rather than keep the old ones. As such, customer retention is one of the major priorities for businesses.
By creating an online community, you give your fans another reason to visit the website. They get attached to other members and these connections that are built throughout the years contribute to retaining your most loyal customers.
A community is mostly self-sustainable and does not require a lot of maintenance. You can leave one of your employees as a moderator and even automate some of the processes to make the person’s in charge work easier.
Benefit #5 – Driving Product Innovation
New and fresh products and services are needed if you want to stay ahead of your competition and make more sales. And what better way to find out what the market is in need than directly from your customers?
Communities can be instrumental in designing your next idea and their feedback should be pursued when you decide that it is time to launch something new for your business.
Benefit #6 – Marketing and Selling More Effectively
At the end of the day, brands are looking to work efficiently and with that said, online communities go a long way in bringing efficiency.
Leveraging your customers early will give an advantage because they will ask questions, offer solutions, and help new customers by providing suggestions as to where these new customers should spend their money. And a happy customer is one that will continue to buy from you.
Sam Makad is a business consultant. He helps small & medium enterprises to grow their businesses and overall ROI. You can follow Sam on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.