Part Three: Marketing, Audience and Incentives
Connecting with the right people or networks
When you consider building a community site with Joomla CMS or any other technology for that matter, you have to make sure you understand what social or professional need you are filling and where your members will be coming from. What are the average or common demographic profile elements? You will need to make sure your community “type” or “model” is right for the audience that you want to serve and that you configure your tools and presentation accordingly.
- Is the group or industry mostly male or female, younger or older and what special interests do they all have in common?
- What will be the glue that holds them together in a community and attracts new members to join?
- How will you capture and keep their attention?
- What information will you need to push to them or gather from them?
- What key benefits make your community save them time, money or frustration, or give them a sense of pride to participate in?
Once you have a clear demographic profile of your intended community you will be able to create incentive programs and key selling propositions for marketing your community to the world, even if this world is a small niche market or private membership for an organization.
Tell a friend, referrals and opportunities to win
If your community is going to grow on its own you will need to make sure it is worthy and interesting enough that members are going to get excited about this and want to invite their friends. You can have things like job opportunities or topical conversations or content collections that spark interest. Perhaps content with a call to action or giveaways will be of interest. All-n-all you need to have an offering that entices your users to participate independently and when appropriate offer them meaningful incentives for doing so.
Partnerships and relationship building
Often folks join clubs, communities or organizations for a variety of reasons. Some offer discount programs or insider information or are just important for image and integrity. Evaluate what motivates your community first. Then you can build partnerships with companies or organizations that would be willing to provide you with insider information or discounts for their products or added integrity if your user profile is of interest to their marketing strategy. It is all about creating win win relationships and understanding how everyone can benefit from participating in your community. Then associating marketing programs to match them.
Advertising, Promotion and SEO
There are a lot of options for advertising and promoting your community online. The trick is deciding which will give you the most bang for the buck. Do your research when it comes to the options that best fit your community model and work within your budget. You will also need to monitor the programs of choice to identify what works and what does not. SEO optimization for much of your featured or most evolving content can have a significant impact on getting your site found naturally by search engines. It is well worth taking the time to define a specific strategy around key word research that blends online and offline initiatives for promoting your community.
News Releases and current events
Keeping your community news worthy is a very effective strategy. Staggered news releases can build excitement and offer you the chance to increase your “google juice” and search results related to your community. Remember though, not everyone you want to reach, attract or that ads value to your community will be online with the same enthusiasm or frequency so you should consider a blended strategy of online and offline marketing. Faxed or mailed press releases to some of your favorite news outlets will help reinforce your campaigns. Simple things like postcards and traditional media around targeted initiatives may also offer a significant benefit to growing your community. Connecting with local events that are relevant to your community can help you attract users that will appreciate what you are offering. Defining right level of involvement or combination of supplemental marketing materials can also help you connect with targeted groups in a meaningful way.
For more information on Building Communities with Joomla CMS see other related articles in this series.
Part One: Starting with a plan
Part Two: The right tools and user experience
Part Four: Building Revenue Streams
Christopher Nielsen is the CEO/General Manager for http://www.cnpintegrations.com and will be a featured speaker at the Joomla Day Chicago event August 10th 2012.
For more information on the myPugetSound.net Case Study presentation about building communities with Joomla! CMS visit: http://joomladaychicago.com