If you run an online community, good for you, probably means you like to get closer to your customers! We have one here at VerticalResponse, it’s called the VR Marketing Lounge, a Cool Spot for Hot Marketing. We have it so that we can interact with our customers and have other customers chime in on everything from email marketing, to how to market their businesses better. We use Ning to power the VR Marketing Lounge, it’s about $30 a month, but there are other solutions available too. Rsitez is another to check out.
So you build a community to get engaged with your customers and want them actively participating in conversations, right? But if you don’t market it, it won’t grow quickly. Here are a few things to do to get it going.
1. Collect email addresses for your online community and make it a separate list from your customer list. With most providers you have to be a member of the community to contribute so you can access that list to email. With some you can include a newsletter opt-in form as well.
2. Include the last 3-4 posts in your weekly or monthly newsletter to your customers asking them to join the online community and participate.
3. Send an email to the community list about what’s happening on the site every few weeks. Include your “Top Posts” based on replies or comments. WebProWorld (below) does a fantastic job at this. It gets people back into the community and active.
4. Send an email to the community if there is a really hot topic going on that you think others will be able to answer. You might even name it “Hot Topic: Whatever The Topic Is”.
Another great reason why email marketing and social media go hand in hand.
Takeaway: Cross promote your online community presence in your newsletters — tell people what they are missing if they are not members or interacting with you on these channels.
Any tips to promote your social media and online communities you would like to share with us?