I am married with two children. My wife and I run a ton for fun. I have run three marathons, four ultra-marathons (50K's) and 40+ half marathons. My wife is actually the "runner" of the family, as she has run a couple of 100 milers, 100k's, 50k's, at least 25-30 marathons and much more. I just try to stay up with her and stay as fit as I possibly can.
From a business standpoint, I am a versatile digital Community Strategist with 15+ years of experience. I have owned community vision, strategy, and execution. I have built four enterprise B2B communities from scratch. I have led the development and execution of community engagement programs and created compelling content for customer communities.
Building an online community from the bottom up is hard. There are a lot of things that go into building an online community from scratch. Here are the top four things to keep in mind when starting an online customer community from ground up.
6 Things You Should Do When You First Build an Online Community
Branded online communities help companies solve complex problems across many departments. Customer engagement lies at the heart of this. Building a true customer community that’s more than a support portal but still a one-stop shop for customers creates a seamless customer experience, provides rich customer data for organizations that propels product and revenue growth, and builds your brand through search engine optimization (SEO) growth and thought leadership.
Capturing search traffic through SEO is a big reason why B2B companies should pursue online communities.
From a marketing standpoint, community will bring leads and current customers to the site. When a user types in a question and community appears in the search results, they might think, ‘Who is this company? I didn't know they solved problems like that.’ Then when users log into the community, companies can capture their information, and now they’re a marketing lead.
An online community answers searcher questions in the way searchers are asking them. When your customers have questions about your product they go to Google to search. If you do not have the answer to that question, then you lose.
With community activity, companies will have thousands upon thousands of questions for Google to index. Because of the community’s effect on SEO, you will start getting more leads and increase brand awareness. Those results are a huge benefit for any company.
In this Peers Over Beers Podcast Video, We continue down the Q&A session. In this podcast we talk about
Having disconnected business systems is a bad customer experience for your customers. It is highly important to create a seamless experience for your customers as best you can. Online communities do this for you. Chris talks about this in the videos.
My vision for communities has always been to create a one-stop-shop for customers to seamlessly find what they’re looking for. Customer Experience is the key. The last thing customers want to do is log into multiple systems to get information. I want to make the whole Digital Experience very seamless and easy for customers using community.
A long-term goal for many communities is to deflect support cases by helping customers to problem-solve in the community, where our strategy is built around providing the most relevant content.
Customers want to help themselves. Most do not want to get on the phone to get answers to their questions, most do not want to create a support ticket to get an answer in three to ten days. They want help now. Community helps to solve that problem with Self-Help.
In this episode of Peers Over Beers, Michael and I talk about activation, engagement, content strategy and linking training and B2B online communities together.
The main problem Customer Success teams are trying to solve with their customer community is around retention: How do we retain our customers at a higher rate?
When customers engage in the community, and they reply, ‘like’ posts, or add questions, you’ll generally retain them, and retain them at a higher rate.
As our community grows, organizations will have more information about their customers probably more than any other system or person at the organization.
Communities tell us what content customers are looking at, where they’re going, how long they’re staying on pages, what they’re talking about, what they’re interested in, and all these things that no one in the organization knows. This gives companies a competitive edge.
Do you have an online community that’s open to more than just your customers? Is getting prospects exposed to the high-value conversations happening in your online community a goal for you? Are customers using your community less than you’d hoped? Read my blog, posted on Higher Logic's website found below or listen to my video on some best practices to drive traffic to your online b2b community