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:
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.
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.