“Build something of value for your customers that isn’t easy to replicate”
– Jason Fried Founder of 37 Signals
I was listening to Jason Fried’s book Rework on one of my long runs and this quote caught my attention.
Most products have competition and can be copied. No matter what business you’re in, this is always a threat. So what’s one thing that you can build that creates a unique value for your customers and is hard to replicate?
Powerful Experiences and Community.
For the past several months I’ve been a part of one of the fastest growing communities of top level SaaS founders, Growth Hackers, and Heads of growth called SaaS Growth Hacks.
Aaron Krall started the group over a year ago as a side project because he wanted to connect with other entrepreneurs and SaaS enthusiasts so that they could swap best practices and drive growth for one another.
What started out as a hobby is now a vibrant community of some of the fastest growing companies in the world. Members regularly ask each other for advice, share challenges, and celebrate successes.
Members have built business relationships, found new clients, and formed friendships from all over the globe.
The group has been successful because it’s not about one person or one product, it’s because it is authentic in its focus on the community and creating value for each other. Don’t believe me? Just ask any of the 3,000 members of the group and take a look at our growth rate. In the past 2 days, we’ve had 359 people join the group!
Developing community is just one pillar of a relatively new hybrid between marketing, sales, and customer support called Customer Advocacy.
Customer Advocacy is becoming the new method for customer-focused companies to create value for its customers and drive revenue growth. To leverage the benefits of customer advocacy you need to enable your customers to advocate for your business by referring their friends, advocate for themselves by building community, and empower your salespeople by serving as references.
So how can you build a powerful community for your brand?
1. It’s about your customers not about your product
Every successful online community focuses on the interests of your target customer. SaaS Growth Hacks focuses on growth marketing, but your community may focus on product development, hardware, or distance running.
2. Be Authentic
Being authentic means that you aren’t trying to sell to every person that’s trying to join the group and members shouldn’t be either. There need to be solid guidelines for members to share content and limit spam.
This picture is a screenshot of our community guidelines.
3. Give your customers a place to promote their work and ask questions
Facebook is a great place for discussion and interaction. One of the challenges is keeping track of all the great advice and resources that get shared. Also, often people want to share their work, but don’t want to be too ‘self-promotional’ so they can stay within your group guidelines.
To solve this problem we’ve built SaaSGrowthHacks.com. It’s a web application that allows members to list their products and services and a Quora-like Q/A platform that enables members to ask questions and save resources for use later.
This application gives our members a place to promote their business and serves as a sort of community brain trust. A repository of all the shared knowledge and resources of the group.
If you’re interested leveraging community building as part of your growth and customer advocacy strategy we’d love to hear from you. We already offer a powerful referral marketing software product and are building out software to power communities in every industry.
I’m happy to walk you through the strategy of how to build a community for your business. Just click here to setup a time to talk. Be sure to leave me a note letting me know that you read this article!