Building an online community is a surefire method of winning customer trust and developing an army of brand advocates. It empowers your users with a sense of belongingness, exclusiveness, and the reassurance that your company is looking out for valued customers.
However, establishing a successful community is not easy. It demands expansive planning, research, and time & effort to build an engrossing platform. And hyper engagement only comes when it’s a paid membership community where members pay an annual fee to come together and interact online.
Let’s discuss what subscription-based communities are, the challenges businesses face while hosting them, and in what ways one can overcome those challenges and monetize their online community.
Monetization & Online Communities: The Meaning
Compared to free online communities, paid communities tend to have more restricted circles where potential users are vetted before becoming members.
This enables community managers to provide high-level interaction with your most engaged customers and supporters. Because if users are required to pay a certain amount to join your community, they will definitely participate and engage themselves in everything you have to say. Moreover, paid online communities are a good source of earning ongoing income as a creator.
Building a subscription-based online community results in
1. High engagement
2. Stellar content quality
3. Reduced spam rate
4. Recurring stream of revenue
Challenges of Executing Paid Online Communities
Learning how to monetize your online community can be challenging. It goes beyond simply asking your members for money to monetize a community.
1. Churn of content is a painful process, since not only does it reduce your Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR), but it also affects your community’s culture. People and relationships are what keep you in a community. It changes your relationship with the community when they leave.
2. You have little control over the value of your ‘product’. Community value is often dependent on the attitudes, behaviors, and ideas of members, and these are hard to control. Human effort is what gives a community its value when someone joins. Volatility makes it difficult to predict.
Therefore, subscriptions must prove their value month after month. A paid membership community must continually prove its worth every month.
A paid membership community requires perseverance, consistency, and tactical handling of paid sign-ups, whether they are for products or services. The rewards are yours to reap if you do it right.
Ways to Monetize Your Online Community
1. Launch With at Least 50 Participants: No one would be tempted to visit a community that has no activity. Providing people with a reason to join and stay in your community is imperative.
Pro tip: Create a waiting list and launch your site when you’ve hit the right number.
2. Invest Quality Time Upfront: Active participation by the community manager is essential in the initial days, especially because the community members have a connection with you but not among themselves. Second, an active moderator fosters civil and creative discussion in a group.
Pro tip: Hire competent community managers and moderators who will enable you to foster relationships in the early stages.
3. Don’t Let Your Site Become a Dull Playground: Community cohesion can go wrong if not managed properly. For example, old members might get dismissive towards new ones with ‘rookie’ questions, or respond warmly to their friends’ posts and ignore the others.
Pro Tip: Avoid this by hiring a community membership advocate for a few members to promote community cohesion.
4. Get an Optimal Sales Balance: Having an active online community enables you to survey your customers every day. Ask them directly what challenges they’re facing or what products or services they believe would be most beneficial to them. Building a strong paid community begins with the right sales call.
Value Additions From a Paid Membership Community
1. Ideas Generated Can Save or Earn You Thousands: You can get a lot of innovative ideas from analyzing member interactions within your online community. You can easily match the cost of attending a conference for these unique insights.
2. Provides a Sense of Motivation: Paid membership communities provide you with intangible benefits.
3. Receiving Immediate Assistance From Subject-Matter Experts: If you have questions about a product or service, experts in the field can assist you quickly.
Many businesses today are launching membership communities that bring people together around shared interests. Creating an engaging user experience that encourages participants to pay overtime seems challenging. It takes skills and persistence to build a dynamic community with enough participants. And with the right strategy, you can monetize your community, all while delivering value to your users.
Wish to Create Cutting-Edge Online Communities That Boost ROI? Let’s Talk!
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