Successful Businesses and Customer Communities

Target concept, people be selected.

The future of successful businesses will be heavily dictated by their ability to build customer communities. You may have already noticed, with the emergence of Google and social media, the consumer is no longer a laid-back, passive individual who is waiting for salesmen to come knocking on their door. We now live in a world where active, information seeking consumers are trying to discover experts in certain industries.Click to Tweet

With this in mind, it’s critical for you and your business to be one of these experts by building customer communities. By doing so, you build credibility and attract the best kinds of customers. Not to mention more sales, shorter sales cycles and more revenue.

There are four different types of communities, and it’s up to you to decide the priority and relevance of each in regards to your specific business:

1) Knowledge Communities

Have you noticed a new trend, where more and more successful businesses seem to be becoming publishers? They are producing knowledgeable blogs, publishing case studies, creating videos and making white papers. Not only are they creating great content, but they are also doing it on a consistent basis. Creating new content less than once a month is neither an effective nor a consistent way of building this type of community. Fresh and constant content must be produced.

2) Expert Communities

Very similar to a knowledge community, however, they take your status from knowledge provider to expert. Experts tend to produce webinars, conferences, e-books, technical whitepapers and other in-depth sources of information. As an expert, you can also work alongside other experts, build each other’s communities and enhance your reputation through theirs.

Personally, I’m currently coaching two top performing sales reps in Fortune 100 companies. They are both creating their own content and also actively speaking. It’s no coincidence that they are both number one performers in their respective companies, because they are establishing their own expert communities.

3) Corporate Communities

You need to capture corporate mindshare in corporate communities. It’s vital to establish positive relationships with decision makers and gatekeepers wherever possible. Now more than ever, there are more people involved in the decision making process. Once you’ve gained a corporate community’s trust, they may be more willing to share important information with you. Not to mention the more relationships you’ve established, the better your chances of gaining an account.

4) Learning Communities

This is your opportunity to get your product or service to stick. Try creating blog posts, podcasts and videos that demonstrate how to use your product better, leverage it in new ways or work around common roadblocks. By doing this, you create a following of loyal fans who will not only get the full value from your service but will also rave about you to their peers.

While creating and establishing these communities are hardly an overnight endeavour, doing so should be a top priority to work toward in the coming months. Remember, these communities do not replace your already successful practices, such as making outbound calls. It is, however, becoming more of a necessity for businesses to establish their own respective communities, in order to remain relevant in the eyes of the consumer.

What steps are you taking to create your business’ community?