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Author: Circle Editorial Team

Circle Editorial Team

175d

7 min read

How to increase meaningful community engagement
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Can you relate to any of the following situations?

  • Spending hours trying to think of the perfect thing to say in your community, only to receive the same few replies
  • Hearing crickets or seeing the same questions in your community if you don’t create content every day
  • Having a ton of member activity in your community but don’t know if this type of engagement is valuable
  • Second-guessing yourself often and feeling like community engagement is random

You’re certainly not the only one.

Increasing community engagement is one of the most significant struggles of any community builder – even for larger communities.

But by concentrating on analyzing and increasing meaningful engagement only, you can beat overwhelm, keep calm, and stay focused on what matters most.

Carrie Melissa Jones, Community Consultant and Author of Building Branded Communities, gave our Circle members an incredible training workshop teaching them how to overcome community overwhelm and increase meaningful community engagement.

So, we thought it would be helpful to put together an accompanying guide that explores the idea of community engagement further by clarifying what meaningful engagement is in a community, how to measure it, and ultimately, how to increase it.

If that’s something you’re interested in learning, just keep reading!

What is meaningful community engagement?

Meaningful engagement will look different for every community and is often something we must define and figure out for ourselves.

As you’ll learn in this guide, engagement metrics can only tell us so much about the real value we’re offering our community members and the difference we’re making in the world.

To truly understand what meaningful community engagement is, we first need to know what it’s not.

What empty engagement looks like

Empty engagement can take up so much valuable time and energy to generate but isn’t actually worth a whole lot. It’s engagement for engagement’s sake. It commands attention, sure – but not connections.

You can see the content you post only to drum up a bit of activity in your community doesn’t offer real value. The engagement that follows is often just shallow interactions.

A surefire sign that you’re about to post something that will produce empty engagement is looking online for content ideas or trying to copy others. These things are both fine, but only if you have your purpose and values behind it. (More on that later!)

What meaningful engagement looks like

Meaningful engagement is entirely different. Think about it as anything that furthers the connection between members or furthers their connection to your community’s purpose. It’s all about people and purpose.

You see, just because members are commenting on posts or liking them doesn’t mean you’re fulfilling your community purpose and giving people the value they expect and want.

Why you shouldn’t worry about vanity metrics

Measuring engagement is one of the most challenging things to do, and measuring meaningful engagement? Even more so. But some vanity metrics definitely don’t define your success when it comes to engagement, so try not to get bogged down in them.

  • Community size: Even communities with 100K+ members can lack meaningful engagement.
  • Page views: The amount of people looking at pages in your community is entirely irrelevant, especially if it’s private.
  • Impressions: Just because thousands of people viewed your content doesn’t equate to meaningful engagement.
  • Post activity: When people click or comment on your posts, that doesn’t always mean you’re fulfilling your purpose and making a difference.

If you don’t focus on your purpose, it can be easy to start comparing yourself to others and looking only at the numbers. Any time you feel like you’re doing this, gently bring yourself back to the “why” behind your community.

Metrics that help indicate meaningful engagement

To increase meaningful community engagement, you first need to understand how to measure it. Focus on these key metrics to help guide you.

  • Direct messages: The number of people talking 1:1 in your community shows that members are building meaningful connections.
  • Member actions: An overview of the number of actions your members take over time will help indicate their commitment to the community.
  • Member connection: Asking members how connected they feel to others, the community, and its purpose on a scale of 1-5 can produce fantastic meaningful engagement insights.
  • Sense of progress: Asking what progress members are making thanks to the community can create a fantastic baseline for meaningful engagement.
  • Support sentiment: Whether emotional (you can do this!) or informational (here’s how I solved this problem), messages of support can heavily indicate engagement levels.
  • Event retention: The number of people that show up to events and, very importantly, how the event helped them can show you how much value people are getting from the community.

Increase community engagement through purpose and values

Without a community purpose statement or community values, you can quickly feel like a traveler without a compass. Your purpose is the who, what, and why behind your community.

Your purpose is why you’re building a community in the first place and why people engage with it. Figure this out, and you’ll find measuring and increasing meaningful engagement becomes much more straightforward.

So, how can you create your purpose statement? Follow this template below to get started:

I gather ____ (The strong shared identity of your community members) to ___ (3 verb statements for how these members want to progress) so that ___ ( Why the community exists).

Empathy Map Canvas

If you’re unsure how to answer these questions, you need to learn more about the community members you’re trying to attract, what really matters to them, and the specific issues you’re solving for them.

Try to put yourself in their shoes by following this framework:

Using your purpose to increase community engagement

By first establishing your community purpose, you can use it to make informed decisions about your community, content, and processes.

Your purpose will help you define meaningful engagement, as you can always ask yourself, does __ fulfill my purpose? If it does, then you’ve created meaningful engagement.

If your purpose is to “help budding artists learn how to find their unique style and sell their work so that they can gain creative confidence,” for example, then you can focus only on metrics related to these key drivers – because they’re what matter the most.

It’s also a great way of coming up with new ideas and sense-checking them to see if what you’re about to do connects to your purpose or not.

How to define your community values

Define the values that make your community unique. If you’re not sure what we mean by community values, here are some examples:

  • Loyalty
  • Spirituality
  • Humility
  • Compassion
  • Honesty
  • Kindness
  • Integrity
  • Selflessness
  • Determination
  • Generosity
  • Courage
  • Tolerance
  • Trustworthiness
  • Appreciation
  • Empathy
  • Toughness
  • Attentiveness

Write down the core values that make the most sense for your unique community, and omit any values that are too contradicting to make sense for the final cut.

Knowing your values will help guide every decision you and your community members make. They can determine how people respond to those who cause conflict in the community, where you invest your budget, time, and the type of content you put out.

To measure and increase community engagement, you’ll know that if you’re fulfilling your purpose and staying true to your community values, you’re doing the right thing.

Increasing community engagement isn’t about hacks

Trying to follow the many tips, guides, and tricks to increase community engagement can feel overwhelming, especially when they don’t work.

You might think you have to post every day or create specific types of content to increase community engagement, but what works for one community may not work for you.

The best thing you can do to increase community engagement is to bring every decision back to your community’s purpose and values to create stronger connections and more meaningful engagement across the board.

Ready to start building more meaningful community engagement?

Now that you understand what meaningful engagement looks like and how to use purpose and values to increase meaningful engagement in your community, it’s time to put what you’ve learned into practice!

We want to thank Carrie Melissa for the expert advice she explored in her training workshop, and we can’t wait for the next one! To learn more, check out her book Building Branded Communities, or visit her website.

Check out Circle’s other training videos for more inspiration, motivation, and top tips.

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Circle Editorial Team

175d

10 min read

How to create a premium, paid community from scratch in 7 simple steps
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Creating a premium paid community can be tricky, even when you’ve been building your free community for years. But starting your own premium paid community from scratch? Well, that’s a whole other ball game.

You might be worried about convincing people to buy into your premium paid community with no prior experience of it, securing the first group of founding members, or marketing the value of a community that hasn’t even started yet!

Aside from those worries, you may also struggle with the fact that you could be putting all this time, money, and effort into building a premium paid community that doesn’t work out, making it a complete waste of time.

These are very understandable concerns and ones we hear about often, but it’s certainly not impossible to create a successful premium paid community from scratch. In fact, we recently spoke to someone who did just that – and in only a few months!

Our interview with the founder of Swipefiles.co, Corey Haines about how he created a premium paid community from scratch has inspired today’s guide, which will give you all the tips, tricks, and advice you need to get members to pay for your community from the very beginning in 7 simple steps.

Step 1: Find your members

Without members, you have no community. So the first step you need to take for building a premium paid community from scratch is to create a network of possible members. Here are some possible channels you can take advantage of to do so:

  • Social media

Whether you’re active on Tik Tok, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or all four popular social media platforms, it’s time to harness the full power of social media by creating a community – before you create a paid community.

Find similar communities and befriend members, engage in their posts, use similar hashtags, and reach out to people to connect over shared interests. By connecting online, you can build trust with potential paid members for your premium paid community.

  • Newsletters

Having potential members sign up for an informative newsletter can help you build credibility with your audience, give them something of value, and ensure they understand the benefits of learning from you.

You could fill your newsletters with free how-to guides they might find helpful, downloadable checklists they can save, video tutorials, or even invitations for free 1:1 calls with you to connect.

  • Social circle

Reach out to your family and friends to see if anyone might be interested in joining a community like yours. Once they discover that you’re building a community, they’re highly likely to support your endeavors and help get the word out there.

You could even offer them a friends and family discount for participating in your paid community or offer the membership for free for a while, so they can help you get the ball rolling with community engagement and growth.

  • Manual outreach

Do you ever come across people online that you know in your gut would be perfect for your premium paid membership? Don’t just scroll on by; why not reach out personally and see if they’d be interested?

By sending a friendly DM or email, you can help potential members understand the value you can offer them. Maybe even invite them to try out your community for free with a free trial before purchasing. Even if they don’t join, they can help spread the word to other people that may be interested in a community like yours.

  • Website

One of the best ways to secure paid memberships from the very beginning is by making the process of joining easy and the value your premium community offers clear with a compelling sales landing page.

On this landing page, highlight the benefits of joining your premium community, explain price plans, help people understand if the community is the right fit for them, set expectations, communicate your value, and describe your credentials to build trust.

Step 2: Build a founding members group

Once you’re confident that your online network is strong and expansive enough to set your premium community up for success, it’s time to get your founding members or “beta testers” on board to kickstart your community. Here are some critical steps to follow to create your dream founding members group:

  • Conduct interviews

To increase your chances of getting buy-in for your premium community, it’s a good idea to see what people actually want from a community like yours. So don’t be afraid to connect to your network and ask people what communities they’re a part of, why they like it, why they don’t, and what value they get from it. This information will inform your approach.

  • Communicate benefits

Reach out to your network and see who might be interested in becoming a founding member. Explain how they benefit from joining your community from the beginning, leveraging the advantages of the Circle platform itself (no distractions or ads, only people ready to contribute can join).

  • Choose founding members

Gauge interest within your network to see who might want to join as a founding member and create a shortlist. You may have more people than you think who want to help you grow your premium community, so narrow them down based on their level of interest, dedication, and relevant background.

Step 3: Use founding members to build support

Great! You’ve created your founding members (or beta testers) group! These people will help you get the word out about your premium paid community and all it has to offer. So, what next?

  • Set expectations

Make it clear what you expect from founding members from the start to ensure everyone is on the same page and ready to commit to things like posting a specific amount of times, engaging with posts, giving feedback, etc., in return for a free trial, discount, or free membership.

  • Build momentum

Once you’ve acquired some members in your premium paid community, ask your founders to encourage as much interaction as possible by posting questions, replying to new members, offering 1:1 onboarding support, and building momentum by sharing the community with their contacts.

  • Post reviews

If you’ve been building an online community for any length of time, you’ll know how important member testimonials are for increasing community growth, especially with premium paid communities – where the stakes are higher. Ask your founding members to post community screenshots and reviews on their personal channels to help attract new members.

Step 4: Increase member participation

Nothing makes a paid premium community die quicker than a lack of engagement. If your paid members aren’t feeling the love, finding connection, and getting much value out of your community, they’re highly likely to quit paying for a subscription. Here’s how you keep the momentum going with your members:

  • Explain tools

Premium paid communities are still a new concept to many people. So when they’re on your community platform for the first time, they may not know how to engage and interact with others. Message them during the onboarding phase to make sure they know how to use all the communication tools on offer.

  • Set expectations

Community engagement is a team effort and something you can only guarantee if you set clear expectations with your premium members on how much you expect them to engage within the community and what that engagement looks like.

  • Check-in regularly

While it’s important to ward off “buyers’ regret” by checking in during the onboarding stage to ensure your premium members enjoy the platform and have no problems, you also need to check in regularly to ask for feedback and keep your members happy.

  • Post strategically

You might find there’s little to no activity in your premium paid community from time to time. Though this is not the end of the world, it’s important to keep engagement levels high if there’s no activity. So keep an eye on member engagement levels and post or ask others to post if they’re dipping.

Step 5: Create quality spaces

Like with posting content, it’s quality over quantity when it comes to your Circle spaces. By creating too many spaces, your members might have difficulty choosing which one to engage with, whereas with fewer spaces, they’re more engaging and easier to switch between. So, how do you create the perfect spaces for your premium paid community?

  • Research ideas

Check out other premium paid communities and see what works for them in terms of spaces. Ask your members for feedback and survey them to see what kind of spaces they enjoy or feel are missing in your community.

  • Collate similar topics

By grouping similar topics into one space, you can boost engagement, make it easier for members to find the information they’re looking for, and stop any spaces from becoming dead zones.

  • Space examples

As you can see from the example below, you can keep your spaces general enough that members can discuss many topics in one space – rather than segmenting too much and making choosing a space confusing for your members.

  • General
  • Feedback
  • Questions
  • Resources
  • Tips
  • New members

Step 6: Consistently ask for feedback

Whether you’re running a premium paid community or a free one, the key to community growth and member satisfaction is regular check-ins and feedback from your members. A community should be an ever-evolving space that keeps getting better.

  • Create processes

Make it a key part of your community growth and engagement strategy to ask for member feedback regularly. Asking what your members think is the only way you can meet their needs, resolve any issues, and keep improving their experience. You can keep your finger on the member satisfaction pulse through surveys, polls, emails, and group discussions.

  • Set up check ins

There’s nothing quite like a personal check-in with your premium members to show them how much you care about their experience in your paid community. You set up check-ins as frequently as you like to mentor members, answer their questions, and generally see how they’re getting on.

  • Show you listened

After all those check-in calls, surveys, and polls, you want to ensure you’re actually implementing the feedback and showing members that you listen and will take action to enhance their community experience at every opportunity. So let members know anytime you implement new changes to keep the community fresh, vibrant, and cared for.

You see? Creating a premium paid community from scratch is possible!

You’ve reached the end of our 7 steps to creating a premium paid community from scratch. From knowing where to find potential members and building your founding members group to setting up the best spaces and increasing community engagement – we hope you now have the confidence to start putting these steps into motion.

We’d like to thank Corey for the insightful ideas and tips explored in his interview, and can’t wait for the next one!

If you’d like to learn more about successful paid community leader Corey Haines, you can visit his website, Swipefiles.co – a community of marketers and library of marketing and copywriting examples.

Or, you can check out Circle’s other training videos for more inspiration, motivation, and top tips.

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12,000 of your peers are already in the know

Circle Editorial Team

176d

10 min read

How to create a paid membership community alongside free content
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If you’ve been a content creator for some time now, you’ll understand the struggle that comes with marketing paid memberships to your community.

Perhaps you’re afraid they’ll leave the community because they don’t want to pay for content, or you won’t get as many paid membership sign-ups as you hoped for. You’re certainly not alone in this. Offering paid memberships alongside free content is a tricky balance to master.

Aside from your community’s reaction, you may also feel unsure how to value yourself or what you’re offering as part of your paid membership packages.

Too high, and you might alienate your community; too low, and it’ll be hard to make a profit. Market your paid memberships poorly, and not enough people will take the bait.

There’s a lot at stake here. But thanks to our recent interview with the founder of the uber-successful Ness Labs community, Anne-Laure Le Cunff, who created a thriving paid membership community with 1K Circle members – that journey is now that bit clearer.

Our conversation with Anne-Laure inspired us to delve into this topic further with a guide on how to create a paid membership community alongside your free content. So if you want to know how to launch a paid community with clarity and confidence, just keep reading!

How to pitch paid community memberships

Create your membership sales funnel

First, you need to get to grips with who you’re pitching paid memberships to. So, take a deeper look at your target and current audiences and figure out how you can tap into their pain points at every stage of the sales funnel: Awareness, consideration, and conversion.

What is a sales funnel?

We’re glad you asked. It’s commonly referred to as the “path” or “buyer journey” that people take before they “convert” or purchase something from you.

We break this sales funnel down into three stages, and it’s your job now to figure out how your audience behaves in every stage, as this will be totally unique to your community.

  • Awareness: The person becomes aware of you, your content, and your paid memberships via your social media, website, newsletter, ads, or even word of mouth.
  • Consideration: The person compares you with similar offerings, checks out reviews online, and does their own research to learn more about you and your competitors.
  • Conversion: The person weighs up all of their paid community options. Then, they choose the winner and convert (a.k.a. sign up for your paid membership!)

How to optimize your membership funnel

Now that you understand the three stages of every sales funnel, it’s time to use this core marketing system to your advantage.

Begin by creating “buyer personas” for each audience segment you currently have or are targeting. Each segment will have different issues, lifestyles, and needs, so you’ll need to market to each one differently.

Here is an example of a “buyer persona” for a social media-related paid membership – so you know what we’re talking about.

Buyer persona:

Name: Annie Jones
Age: 18-26
Occupation: Beauty technician by day, budding influencer by night
Location: California
Income: $30k
Hobbies: Makeup artistry, nail artistry, going to the gym, clubbing, beach days
Hangouts: Instagram, Tik Tok, YouTube
Pain points:

  • Works hard with her beauty page on Instagram, but not seeing results
  • Frustrated by her peers growing fast on Tik Tok while she lags behind
  • No time outside of her full-time job to focus on her Social Media career
  • Finds writing captions time-consuming & not sure how to use hashtags

How you can help:

  • Help build long-term social media strategy for growth
  • Give her training on deciphering social media analytics
  • Empower her not to compare herself with others online
  • Provide her with the tools she needs to succeed on Tik Tok
  • Help her develop a content calendar to save time and stress
  • In-depth guidance on making the most of hashtags

How to reach your audience at every stage of the membership funnel

Once you’ve mapped out every buyer persona and their journey through the funnel, create content that resonates with each persona at each stage.

The idea here is that you’re positioning yourself as someone who brings value to your audience to create more engagement and build “hype” for your future paid offerings.

Awareness: Valuable content that builds your community in public like Q&As, rich social media posts, and linking Twitter conversations to specific threads in your community.

Consideration: Informative content that shows your audience the benefits of joining your community, case studies, how-to guides, and anything else that helps your audience decide.

Conversion: Sending your audience to a landing page for your paid membership, newsletters inviting them to sign up, member testimonials, and free trials.

How to create an attractive paid membership community

To entice those who’ve been enjoying your free content for some time to join you in a paid community, you need to create a community in which your people will find genuine value.

Rather than just dishing out “exclusive content”, you want to offer something your audience won’t find anywhere else.

Here are some top tips for creating more value in your community:

1. 1:1 time
People love feeling like they’re getting their money’s worth – and scheduling 1:1 time with your members (especially founding members) is one of the best ways to do just that, even if it’s just a 15-min call every week!

2. Buddy system

Matching your members up with others in a buddy system helps to build consistent engagement and gives your members the connection they often crave from joining a paid community.

3. Live interactions

Live Q&As, tutorials, panels, and discussions with your members are key to building an engaged paid community. If you’re only offering static content and discussion groups, your members may not see much more value than your free channels.

4. Special spaces

After each live stream with your members, it’s a great idea to set up specific spaces where they can continue the conversation, especially if your live stream is focused on a particular topic. This way, you can help your members help each other.

5. Quality over quantity

Instead of worrying about posting a high frequency of content, spend more time improving the quality of your content so that every post is rich, informative, and highly valuable to boost paid community engagement.

6. Exclusive content

One of the most critical aspects of creating a paid membership community is delivering as much content as possible that’s exclusive to your paying members to make buying your plans worth it.

7. No response time limits

Making it clear to your members that they can reply to a specific topic or re-engage a conversation in spaces at any point of their paid membership takes the pressure off to respond immediately and helps build consistent engagement.

8. Let members create spaces

Though you might have an idea of the type of spaces that will work well to build an engaged paid community, it’s not until you allow your members to create their own spaces that you might realize your gut feelings aren’t always right!

9. Play to your strengths

Focusing on topics you’re weaker at isn’t sustainable and will make creating content a chore. When you instead play to your strengths – work doesn’t feel like work. Maintaining quality and consistency is easier when focusing on what you know.

How to define your paid membership success

Employing various strategies to help boost paid memberships and community engagement is all well and good, but if you’re not setting goals and measuring success, how can you know what’s working and what isn’t?

Defining success can be difficult, however. And it will be different for every paid membership and every community. Sometimes, it’s not just about how long your members stay or spend in your community or how much they engage with it, but how much value they get from it. And as we know, value means different things to different people.

Here are some ways you can measure success in your paid community:

  • Surveys

One of the most obvious yet often overlooked ways of measuring community engagement and success is by asking your members. You can set up polls, send out surveys, and simply ask for feedback via chat to get an idea of your success levels.

  • Churn rate

Keep an eye on your churn rate to figure out what percentage of members are signing up for paid memberships, how long they stay on average, and what percentage of them unsubscribe. This helps you understand the value you’re giving people because if it’s not enough – they won’t stick around.

  • Complaints

Surprisingly, complaints are actually a good sign! When you have people complaining or wanting their problem solved, they’re highly engaged and invested in your paid community because, instead of just leaving, they want to improve their experience.

  • Analytics

How many conversations are your members having? How many connections does each member make on average? What is the quality of member-generated content? You can’t measure success without taking data and evidence into account. Comparing figures against KPIs each month will let you know if you’re on the right track.

Use resources to create a more engaged community

We’ll leave you with this final, but essential message for your community engagement strategy: Don’t be afraid to accept help! You’d be surprised by what you can achieve with a bit of support.

  • Mentors

Try reaching out to leaders in your space that have found success with online paid communities and ask them for their advice and support, even if it’s just asking them a few questions over Twitter!

  • Staff

If you’re not great at keeping on top of admin work, finances, or managing technology, why not hire an assistant to take care of the things you’re not good at or don’t enjoy? Hiring staff allows you to focus all your energy on creating more value.

  • Tools

Project management tools, customer relationship management software, scheduling tools, and more can make running a thriving paid community much more manageable. Save time on repetitive tasks and let the tools do the hard work for you!

Ready to create your paid membership community?

Now that you’ve reached the end of our guide to building a paid community alongside your free content, it’s time to start putting your community engagement strategy into motion!

From understanding the sales funnel and buyer personas to creating more value in your community and defining success, we hope you feel more ready than ever to pitch paid memberships to your people!

We’d like to thank Anne-Laure for the excellent ideas and tips explored in her interview, and can’t wait for the next one!

If you’d like to learn more about successful paid community leader, Anne-Laure, you can visit her website, Ness Labs – a community of curious humans who want to achieve more without sacrificing their mental health.

Or, you can check out Circle’s other training videos for more inspiration, motivation, and top tips.

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12,000 of your peers are already in the know

Circle Editorial Team

176d

10 min read

How to plan a successful community launch in 7 easy steps
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When you’re launching (or relaunching) a community, it can definitely be a little stressful. Maybe you’re not sure where to start, let alone how to find and attract the right people or organize the many moving parts in an already packed schedule.

You might be worried about the launch not going as well as you’d hoped and not reaching your goals, or have doubts about selling a community that isn’t even a community yet! We totally get it, but it doesn’t have to be so nerve-wracking.

Community Strategist and Coach Tatiana Figueredo recently gave our Circle members a fantastic training workshop to help them successfully launch or relaunch their communities – and it went down a treat.

So, we thought it would be helpful to put together an accompanying guide that shows you how to conquer community launch fears, get your dream members to join, and plan your community relaunch or initial launch in 7 easy-to-follow steps. Let’s go!

When is the best time to launch a community?

First, let’s look at what a community launch actually entails.

A community launch or relaunch is a specific period where you market your new or existing community to potential members to achieve an influx of sign-ups.

The best time to launch or relaunch your community will look something like this:

  • You have enough spare time to dedicate to marketing activities
  • You’re confident that you have a strong and unique offering
  • You know who your potential members are and where to find them
  • You’ve decided on your pricing structures and community format

Why periodic community launches work better

Launching or relaunching your community every quarter, or even every year, offers more benefits than an ongoing marketing campaign.

Why? Because when you relaunch periodically, you can:

  • Pre-schedule dedicated time to market your community, rather than spreading your efforts across a few months.
  • Give your members a better, more engaging onboarding experience since they’re joining at the same time as other “newbies.”
  • Streamline your workload by onboarding multiple members at once rather than single members every few weeks.

Before diving into the 7 steps, ask yourself this question:

“What does a community mean to me?”

  • A group of people who want to nurture their own and other people’s growth?
  • A group of people who want to learn the same things and find support?
  • A group of people who want to forge friendships with like-minded individuals?
  • An organization that profits from nurturing individual and collective growth?

Take a moment to reflect and figure out what’s important to you and why you started your community in the first place. That way, you can craft a compelling story that resonates with the right people.

By knowing what your motivations are, it’ll be easier to create an authentic community. And if we’ve learned anything from the most thriving communities here on Circle, it’s that an authentic community is a sustainable one.

Have your answer? Great, now you’re ready to follow our 7 steps.

How to plan a successful community launch or relaunch

In this 7-step process, we’ll teach you how to avoid common launch mistakes, create irresistible authenticity, increase time efficiency, attract your ideal members, and nurture long-lasting connections with your community. It all starts with trust.

Step 1: Trust yourself

One of the key elements of a community is that it’s a very personal, niche thing. Not everyone will be right for every community. But you can bet there will be the right community somewhere for every person. It’s all about finding alignment between who you are, what you value, what you want to achieve, and your community members.

With endless community-building guides out there, remember: there’s no formula. It’s vital you trust your gut and build your community based on what really matters to you and your people, not someone else’s community. In other words, figure out your core values and don’t stray in favor of the latest community fads.

Step 2: Talk to your people

We see it time and time again where people launch communities without actually learning who their members are – which typically results in ineffective marketing strategies and slow community growth. That’s why it’s essential to perform audience research and interview your potential members.

Doing so will give you complete clarity on what people might want from a community like yours. You’ll learn about who they are, what problems they’re facing, and how you can solve them with your community. If there’s anything you’re “stuck on,” rest assured that interviewing will give you complete clarity.

Some questions you could ask are:

  • What are the challenges in your life that you think about every day?
  • Who do you consider your peers, and how would you describe them – this is a way to get them to describe themselves
  • Tell me about your experience with [your topic]
  • How are you already solving [problem]
  • If you could magically solve [problem], what would that look like?

Step 3: Craft your offer

Now that you know who you’re trying to attract, you can build an offer that will speak your target member’s language and offer a helpful solution to their problem. When creating your community offer, keep in mind that some people won’t know what to expect from joining an online community as it’s still a pretty new concept.

To craft your offer, make sure you’re really “selling the experience” and showing potential members what it will feel like to be a part of your community, touching on these key points:

  • What’s included in your offer (Guest speakers, 1:1 mentorship, live events, webinars, weekly video tutorials, mastermind groups, perks, etc.)
  • How much it costs to join
  • What to expect every week
  • How members will benefit

Top tip: If you don’t have people in your community yet, sell something that doesn’t rely on other people – like a 30-day challenge, 1:1 mentorship, weekly templates, and tutorial videos. Then when you have enough people, you can sell the “community experience” too.

Step 4: Make a landing page

Now that you’ve crafted your offer, it’s time to create an engaging landing page to convert your target audience into dedicated members. Here are the main things you should include on your landing page for the best results:

  • Who it’s for:

Talk about the kind of people you want in your community, their pain points, why you set up the community, and your values.

  • Who it’s NOT for:

Stating who you don’t want in your community will help you deliver what you promised – a community of like-minded people.

  • Problems you solve:

Describe precisely how joining your community will make your members’ lives better or easier and solve their problems.

  • What’s included:

Provide specific details on what’s included in membership

  • How much it costs:

Outline exact prices and consider early bird or first-time member discounts or a free trial to compel new members to join.

  • How members benefit:

Talk about the key benefits of joining your community.

  • Member agreement:

Describe what you expect from members, like agreeing to show up, contribute, and help others – this will also help with engagement down the road.

  • About you:

Tell your or your brand’s “story, ” highlighting why you set up the community, what you care about, etc., to build a connection and increase credibility.

  • How to sign up:

Give exact details of how to join the community – keep it simple!

Step 5: Pick your marketing channel

It’s all well and good setting up a landing page for your community, but unless you market your community online, how will your target audience know it exists? Focus your efforts and ad budget on one primary marketing channel for better results. Here are some options:

Email marketing

We’d highly recommend email marketing, as it’s much more concentrated, personal, and has far fewer ads or distractions than a Social Media channel, for instance. If you already have a big email list, amazing – capitalize on it. If not, try building partnerships.

Online partnerships

Research what communities, companies, and people share your values and attract the kind of members you want. The outreach to become a guest speaker at events, podcasts, workshops, and even other communities to build awareness with the right people.

Step 6: Design your onboarding experience

Providing a fantastic onboarding experience will set the tone for your new members and minimize “buyers regret.” Engaging, informing, and supporting them during the onboarding stage will immediately build trust and make them excited to get involved. Some people are new to online communities, so it’s essential to show them how to use Circle’s platform.

How to prepare your onboarding strategy

  • Think of common FAQs & answer them during onboarding
  • Prepare helpful resources in advance, so they’re ready to
  • Create a special Circle space just for new members to connect
  • Run plenty of live events during onboarding since this is when users are the most engaged and excited
  • Set up email sequences that show your members how to get the most out of their community experience and take advantage of Circle’s features

Step 7: Create your plan

You’ve come this far, but how do you ensure your hard work pays off? It’s time to create a solid plan. Because when all your tasks are in your head, things slip through the cracks, you can feel overwhelmed, and may even need to delay your launch.

Tatiana’s incredible Launch Prep Worksheet will be your secret community launch planning weapon. This worksheet keeps you on track of all your tasks, centralizes all your launch plan information to one place, shows you your progress, and gives you a clear view of the knock-on effect when you change or delay tasks.

How to use it:

1-Add your week-to-week launch milestones
2-Add your individual community launch tasks
3-Schedule time to complete every task

You’ve just learned how to successfully launch your community!

Congratulations! You’ve reached the end of your 7-steps to community launch success. From understanding your community values to crafting a compelling offer and marketing it the right way, we hope you now feel confident in planning your launch or relaunch and are ready to get started.

Why not give Tatiana’s Launch Prep worksheet a try and see how it can help you keep track of your planning. We’d like to thank Tatiana for the insightful ideas she explored in her training workshop, and can’t wait for the next one!

If you’d like coaching from Tatiana for your community, learn more about her services over at Business Of Community and don’t forget to subscribe to her newsletter which is packed full of even more helpful tips and guides.

Check out Circle’s other training videos for more inspiration, motivation, and top tips.

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