Should I Build an Audience or a Community?
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If you want to attract profitable Perfect-Fit Clients at scale, then you should look at everything that you do in your business as an opportunity to build and grow a community.
For the long-term success of your business, this is where the real value lies.
If you examine the really successful course creators and membership site owners the one thing that they all have in common is that not alone do they have a large audience but they have taken the time and effort to build a highly active and engaged community.
What’s the Difference Between an Audience and a Community?
In simple terms, an audience is a group of people with which you have a one-way stream of communication. Think about when you are watching a TV show or movie, a single, pre-recorded, one-way, mass message is delivered to your device. In this model, you have no way to interact with the creators and if you want to interact with others who are interested in the same show you must do the leg work and find them online yourself. As an Online Business Owner, if you have an exceptional message and you are a charismatic presenter, things can work out ok, but you are missing out on a huge opportunity if you choose to go the broadcast route.
Community on the other hand is a gathering of like-minded people, built around a core topic or a person. This is where you give a platform to like-minded people to interact not just with you but with each other. In doing so they will not only identify you as a leader, but they also self-identify themselves with other community members and feel part of something bigger than themselves.
The Power of Community
Building a strong community, even if small to begin with, is one of the keys to attracting Perfect-Fit Clients at scale. In a community, people see other members engaging with each other, they can see the shared values of the group which is a reflection of your values. This will not only attract other Perfect-Fit Prospects but will also repel those who are not.
Building community is something you should focus on every day in your business. In many ways, your job is to hold a safe space for your community and to facilitate a conversation between community members.
Just take some of the viral companies that have emerged in recent years like Airbnb, Uber, and Peloton. These companies have leveraged intercommunity relationships to fuel their growth by creating a platform for their community to share values and preferences which provides a far better experience for the community members.
So it is not a surprise when you analyze the people who are delivering the big launches in the online knowledge space. They’re the people who are most intentional and proactive in this area and as a result, have the most active and interactive community. Yes, they had really good marketing. Yes, they had a good product. Yes, they had lots of JVs. But, What they also had, and what added that extra dimension to their launch success was the fact that they leveraged the communities they built.
In the online knowledge business world which is filled with immediate gratification and quick wins investing in a community can be frustrating as it takes time. But the long-term ROI makes it more than worth it. When an active and engaged community gets behind your launch the excitement and momentum it builds is a joy to behold. And, when you have momentum and excitement behind your launch you are already halfway towards a really successful launch.
So What Are the 3 Things You Can Do to Start Building Your Community Today?
Build Conversation Starters Into Everything You Publish
Yes, some mediums make it easier to build community than others. But when it comes to publishing content, don’t just post for the sake of posting. Make sure you have a very specific message you want to portray and ensure every interaction is a two-way stream.
Think about different ways to start a conversation with your community. Try asking people for feedback and once you get feedback use it not just to get to know your community better but incorporate it into your messaging and the products you create to serve your clients.
Ensure That All Your Content Is Focused On The Pain Points & Desires of Your Perfect-Fit Clients
Do you understand the pain points that are holding your community back? What challenges do they face, what are their values? You need to understand what they hold most precious in their lives.
Learn to speak their language, live a day in their life. You need to be able to read them a page from their diary with such accuracy that they feel you’re looking over their shoulders. And, when you make everything about them, they are going to respond favorably when you deliver your offers.
Share The Success Stories of Your Community With Your Community
Your job as an online knowledge business owner is to get results for your clients. Your sole purpose is to bring about the transformation you promise in those that you serve. Once you start getting these results for your clients, share them with the rest of your community. Make your clients the heroes of your stories.
By doing this, not only will other members of your community better understand what it is you do and see the results you can help people achieve they will also recognize themselves in and identify with the success story. As a result, they will interact more and it strengthens your community.
And remember, it’s not only the big success stories that you should share. In some ways, the little wins and the small steps are even more powerful as they are easier for your community to believe it is possible for them.
Three Tips for Growing Your Community
Your goal is to start conversations and get the community members talking. Number two is to make everything you talk about your Perfect-Fit Client. And third, you want to share success stories from your community.
Building a community around your product or membership is one of the most important things that you can do to grow your online business and it is a key part of the work that I do with my Impact Inner Circle Coaching Clients.
Every month I make a small number of slots available for FREE Focus Strategy Sessions where we roll up our sleeves and assess the biggest challenges and opportunities facing you and your business. If you would like to apply for a session you can do so here.