The importance of customer loyalty cannot be underestimated. When you have a loyal community of shoppers you can depend on them to spread the word about your brand, advocate on your behalf and drive revenue growth.
Creating an online customer community is all about retaining valuable shoppers so that you can develop your brand. Short-term discounts and initiatives that lack purpose won’t contribute to your revenue growth long-term. A lively, growing community will also make you stand out from your competitors and create buzz around your brand.
But, marketers face many hurdles when building a customer community. It’s sometimes seen as a vanity metric, difficult to measure, and hard to convince your company to focus on it. But, brands with communities can see over 4,000% ROI.
In this blog post, we’ll explore four ways to build a community that really drives revenue.
How to create an online community
1. Communicate your values
Make sure that your brand values come across loud and clear then use these values to grow your online community. This establishes a common bond between the user, the brand, and the customer.
Authentic communication that speaks to your community strengthens your bond.
“It’s the age of authenticity and brands need to get real if they want to connect with their audience. 86% of consumers say that authenticity is a key factor when deciding what brands they like and support.”
Make sure you portray your brand values and clearly communicate what you stand for in your welcome emails. Members will be able to get behind your brand from the outset and emotionally connected customers spend more. This will also prevent your emails from sounding too salesy and snore-worthy.
Balance Athletica is a company that’s got it right when it comes to communicating its values. In their welcome email, you get a sense of their mission and find out they’re a family-run business. They enthusiastically communicate that their goal is to empower customers. And they also explain that their community is the place to receive updates on everything new and exciting.
The personality of the brand is clear from the first interaction. It is authentic and purposeful. They are not just about drawing in customers, they want to unite shoppers around shared values so they feel part of a community of like-minded individuals. This strengthens the bond between customer and brand and improves their loyalty: 54% of customers say they would be loyal to a brand if they become part of a community of like-minded individuals. See the other key drivers of customer loyalty in our set of five cheat sheets.
2. Incentivise engagement and interaction
Creating a brand community doesn’t just happen by chance. It takes hard work for your brand to get the conversation going. So how do you build up excitement around your brand and your community?
Solution: implement a loyalty program that rewards customers points for following you on social media and publishing content on your behalf. This spreads awareness of your brand across the platforms where your customers talk to each other and spend time online.
User-generated content (UGC) is powerful for acquiring new customers and building trust:
“90% of consumers say UGC holds more influence over their buying decisions than promotional emails and even search engine results”
Never Fully Dressed rewards points for a follow on each of their social channels. Then, on these platforms, they post engaging IGTVs and UGC content that gets the conversation going between community members. Read our full case study on Never Fully Dressed to see how they increase their repeat purchase rate by 64%.
About the author
Mollie is a Senior Content Marketing Executive at LoyaltyLion. After graduating from UCL in 2016, she has worked both in-house and at marketing agencies providing expertise in content for both B2B and B2C clients. At LoyaltyLion, Mollie manages our content, making sure our readers get the best quality resources about customer loyalty and retention.