5 Ways You Can Use the Power of a Customer Community to Achieve Business Success

November 22, 2023

As a senior marketing professional, you are in a unique position to boost your company’s success. The potential benefits of a fully engaged customer community simply cannot be overstated.

While many businesses use their communities for reference activities to boost sales in the short term, it is worth remembering that your customers can help your business succeed in many more unexpected ways.

For example, a well-nurtured customer community gives you unfiltered access to valuable insights and feedback to improve product development. It can generate content of unrivaled quality and provide multiple networks through which to spread your message. And it can be leveraged to provide valuable extensions to your sales, marketing, customer service, and technical support departments.

Let’s look at five ways you can use your community to add value to your business.

1. Unlimited customer support.

Your brand community not only serves as a communication and collaboration tool but can also function as a reliable user-generated customer support organization. By motivating your community members to donate their time, you can greatly reduce the burden on both your customer service and technical support departments.

Finding appropriate rewards for your community will be an important factor here, but you might be surprised by how many members are happy with the intrinsic reward that comes from helping others. Furthermore, such actions have an important knock-on effect. Those customers who have received help through the community are far more likely to want to assist others and share their own expertise when needed.

2. Product growth.

No one understands the real-world application of your products better than your customers. Your customer community, therefore, represents a pool of innovative ideas and high-quality feedback. Bringing together your most loyal brand fans and customers with the product team enables faster development, increased quality, and shorter time-to-market.

In addition to helping with product development, your customers can also help with product marketing. For example, they may have valuable improvement ideas for your digital communications or website presentation which you could split test.

By gathering member input strategically, you can measure and also track the value of their contributions. Metrics could include the number of product-related ideas generated inside the community, the number of ideas tested, and the number adopted by your organization.

When leveraged to its fullest, your community can considerably revamp both your portfolio and your offering.

3. Quality content.

Quality content is the secret sauce behind the success of your online marketing. It is what ultimately makes the difference for many prospects who are deciding between the various brands and product options out there.

With a solid community engagement strategy and framework in place, customers will create authoritative and authentic user-generated content such as blog post contributions, reviews, and testimonials. Moreover, you can track and assess the quality and impact of this content—and the content you create internally—by distributing it through your community and following the number of shares, likes, discussion replies, and so on.

Therefore, customer communities can play a key role not only in creating high-quality content but in distributing it through their peer networks—which undoubtedly include a high number of potential customers.

5 ways you can use the power of a customer community to achieve business success

4. Customer acquisition.

A wide network of engaged community members acts like an extra sales and marketing team—one that is always ready to advocate for you on social networks, client conferences, or at events. Furthermore, the authenticity of community advocacy is extremely impactful on potential customers and is something that is difficult for sales teams to replicate.

But advocates do not only increase customer acquisition success; they also significantly lower customer acquisition costs. Marketing spend on ad campaigns can be reduced by leveraging high-quality customer advocacy content instead—with the same or better results in terms of brand awareness, number of impressions, and high-quality leads.

5. Increased, continuous buying behavior.

An engaged brand community gives your customers a sense of belonging, which is why it is such a powerful business asset. It helps them better identify with your company’s values and mission and drives brand loyalty. It doesn’t matter what your competition is coming up with marketing-wise, as long as you can establish strong connections with your members. If you expand and reward their knowledge and expertise, they will remain invested in your common growth for a long time.

Not only will community members stay with your brand longer, but they will make increasingly larger and more frequent purchases.

In today’s digital world, a fully engaged customer community—motivated by growth around your brand, products, and services—is worth its weight in gold.

When initiating, cultivating, and managing your community, patience is key. Focus on nurturing a feeling of attachment and identity with your brand, instead of pushing for immediate results. A collaborative approach to your community can often work best, as it strengthens relationships and encourages new ideas about engagement. This in turn can give you a clearer perspective of the best community strategies for delivering the greatest business impacts—often in surprising ways.