Everybody says you should build a community. Nobody tells you how to do it.
That’s why I’ll show you exactly how we did it.
Before we get into juicy details, let’s see what you can get from a community.
Product-market fit is a piece of cake if you build a community first
If your current project fails, community is your safety net
Network with influencers in your space
Differentiate your brand
Promote your business
Here’s what Massimo, founder of AdEspresso ($6m ARR exit) said about building a community:
I’ll cover all of the above in more detail, but let’s look at the basic facts first.
Our community grew to 1,843 members in less than a year.
We built it inside a Facebook group. People spend too much time deciding where they should host their community.
I find it quite simple. Just answer these questions:
Where does my audience spend time?
How much can I own the platform?
Am I good at creating content for this platform?
Will the platform promote my community?
…and build there.
Once you narrow down your choices, ask the people.
Offer Something New, Damn It [Concept]
As you saw in the screenshot above, I didn’t ask where should we build our community.
Nobody wants to join a community, just like no one wants to subscribe to your newsletter.
What people want is content relevant to them. An offer that promises them something they’re struggling to find. And then delivers on that promise.
I decided what my community should be all about just based on what I would like to see in the world of SaaS marketing.
And that is more transparency, more results. Showing how it’s done, not what should be done.
Then I’ve tested my offer and messaging by posting content around that. Once I had enough (positive) feedback, I knew I was onto something.
It Won’t Grow On Its Own [Promoting]
It really won’t. People won’t join another Facebook group just like that.
You need to attract them with content. So here’s what we did:
host weekly events
AMAs with niche influencers
Shared our expertise within the group
Let’s me show you an example of how we promoted our group through AMAs:
And you can guess what’s in the comments…
It took us almost a year to reach 1,000 members. Once we started promoting these AMAs, we doubled that number in just 3 months.
We did the same for our weekly events.
Conclusion: Don’t promote your community. Promote the content.
Who’s Gonna Do the Talking? [Engagement]
Steal this group engagement strategy:
Accept members twice a week / ask them to introduce themselves
Weekly AMAs with influencers in your niche
Host weekly live events
The first one is easy.
Accept members, tag them in a welcome post, ask them to introduce themselves. And here’s the ultimate tip for spicing it up…
Add an entry question like the one below (possible in Facebook groups only):
People just love these. At least those who have something to brag about. And you want as many of those in your community.
Tag everyone in a post
Tag those with achievements worth of praise in a comment
Ask them how the hell did you do that?
That’s it. You just got a random AMA with someone who actually achieved something worth sharing and got some great content for your community.
Weekly AMAs with influencers your niche.
This one takes more planning, but still pretty easy.
- List out all the influencers in your niche
- Connect with them on social media
- Engage with them for a few weeks/months
- Ask them out
Craig Campbell is one of the biggest SEO influencers out there. Here’s how I reached out to him.
Here are my laws of outreach (100% acceptance rate so far):
- Engage before you reach out
- Speak as if you were at the bar (yo buddy)
- Be as direct as possible
- Present social proof
- Know your ‘prospect’ before you reach out
- Offer something in return
- No buzzwords, no fluff
Hasn’t failed me once. Here are a few big shots we did AMAs with:
Massimo Chieruzzi, founder of AdEspresso, exited at $6m ARR
Steve Toth, runs SEO Notebook, the biggest SEO newsletter
Jason Hennessy, owner of a $10m SEO agency
Ryan Steward, creator of the best SEO course doing $250k/month
Tyler Hakes, took College Raptor from 0 to 100k monthly organics in a year
Now let’s take a look on the operations side. This is what my flow looks like:
- Reach out
- Offer a time frame
- Schedule the exact AMA time
- Create a calendar item
- Remind them two days before
- Do a comment thread AMA (more engagement than live video)
- Post it one hour before the schedule (so you get more questions)
- Get your team to ask the initial questions (get the convo started)
Final note: don’t invite boring people and those without the outcomes your community wants to hear about.
Host weekly live events.
No hacks here. You’ll need to create some badass content, and if you’re not the subject matter expert, people are gonna feel it.
You need to find a sweet spot between promoting your product and creating the content your audience is dying for.
My design skills are just awesome, I know.
Here are the rules for your weekly live event:
- Find the sweet spot
- If you don’t name it, it won’t stick
- Agenda + Q&A
- Host must be an expert
Our product is a keyword grouping/research tool, ClusterAi.
The biggest issue our audience was facing was manual keyword research. It takes too long (weeks) and it’s all based on guessing/opinions.
So this was our offer:
takes 15 minutes > takes weeks
Google’s data > some guru’s advice
We named it 15 Minute Keyword Research Challenge.
So that’s how we found the sweet spot and named it so it sticks.
And then, in the first 15 minutes, our Director of SEO would show them exactly how we did keyword research.
Q&A session would follow for the next 15-20 minutes and we’d get to bond with our community members.
With multiple SEO projects that we took from 0 to 100k monthly organics, and the biggest one doing +500,000 after just 17 months, we really were the subject matter expert.
This event ended up being sort of a group demo, but better. We had 15-20 people joining us every week, and we recorded each session.
By distributing it all over the place, in just a few months we got around 5,000 views on YouTube on these clips alone.