If you’re here, then you probably know how impactful building an online community can be. Now more than ever, creators are using software platforms to build websites to house their growing member base.
But when you’re ready to take your brand to the next level, it can be hard to know what moves to make. If you’re looking for ideas on how you can, we believe a great way to further grow your brand is to build your own community app.
Ahead, we’ll explore why online communities are so powerful, and how a community app builder can bring your brand to the next level.
What is a community app?
A community app is a mobile app that gives you the native features you would expect to find in an online community: things like discussion forums, member profiles, chat & messaging, courses, and virtual events–all under YOUR brand.
A good community app should let you create a business around your community AND should appear in the App Store and Google Play store among the big dogs like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. And on top of that, it will have your own personal branding.
Why you should build a community app
Building a community app will completely transform your business. We’ve seen it work again and again. Here’s why YOU NEED to build a community app.
1. Cut the software mess
We’ve seen the same story again and again. Brands and creators are devoting time and energy as they create their best stuff on a NIGHTMARE collection of software that’s duct-taped together with code they bought online and a few Zapier integrations.
If you’re relying on a hodge-podge of solutions like G-Cal for scheduling, Facebook for community, Kajabi for courses, Teams for live events, ClickFunnel for landing pages, and God-knows-what-else to collect payments and keep it all afloat, it’s time to end the madness.
Building a community app eliminates the mess and gives you ONE solution for running your business… yes, all your business.
2. Launching your flywheel
When you build a community around your brand, you’re cultivating a group of like-minded people on a journey together. If you have a product, it's a group of people who will vouch for the quality of your product. Word-of-mouth is powerful.
But more than this, we've realized that people LOVE community. Again and again, our Mighty Hosts tell us that people will come for a course or an event, but stick around because of the relationships they build in a community they can't find anywhere else.
Here’s what happens. Your community ends up thriving on user-generated content, you get a demand for products, and sales happen so effortlessly that you feel like you’re cheating.
It’s called a community flywheel. And last year McKinsey identified it as the business model to watch.
Unlike a funnel, a flywheel keeps all your members in the same place. You keep providing them value. And–unlike a funnel–if they don’t buy something, they don’t disappear into the ether. They stick around, growing their goodwill and waiting to buy when they’re ready.
When you create a community app for your members, you’re building a place for them to convene and interact without any distractions.
We've seen community apps yield powerful results. When Cristy “Code Red” Nickel built a community app for her $10 million coaching business, she watched her engagement and sales skyrocket. Listen to Cristy talk about why she ditched Facebook groups for a community app:
Creators like Cristy know this works. That's why they're moving to community apps, eliminating distractions, and giving their members something truly unique. This includes people like Drew Binsky, YouTube's top yoga instructor Adriene Mishler, and author and speaker Sadie Robertson Huff.
3. More profits
We see it every day. When brands launch their own community app, they see more success… and more profits… quickly!
Here are some of the amazing results we’ve seen from community apps in the past year.
- A podcaster and author sold 5,000 seats to a $997 course in 10 days.
- An entrepreneurship org. launched to 5,000 members
- A faith-based community expanded to 470 leaders in 67 countries
- A YouTuber launched a live challenge and 4,000+ members joined.
- An author & speaker launched a 4-week promotion and saw an additional $30,000 in revenue.
- One community launched a 13-week add-on course and generated an additional $100k in revenue in 2 months.
These aren’t unusual stories. They show how quickly you can recoup the value of a community app.
4. More customization, more control
We are big believers that you should have a robust and powerful set of tools to build your online community. When you choose an online community platform to build your community app, you and your members will have access to these features no matter where they are.
Your flywheel needs to be in one place. And when you create a community app, it’s YOUR brand that’s being built each day as users log on. You own the access to your members–unlike building on third-party platforms.
And since we’re on the subject…
5. Your own social network
When you’re choosing a community app builder to house your members, you’re creating your own social network.
Remember what we said earlier? An online community is a group of like-minded people brought together around a Big Purpose. That means each time a new member joins your community, they’re adding additional value to the network of people you’re cultivating.
A branded community app will give your members the most seamless experience for interacting with your content. The more clicks that it takes to get to your community, the more likely it is that people will end up going somewhere else.
The network that you’re building when you choose a community app builder also has a less obvious advantage too. For example, as your community grows your members will start fueling interactions between each other. They will ask questions on discussion boards, respond to each other in comments, and share their experiences with the community.
- Competing with an algorithm
- Asking members to “Come find us on Facebook”
- Having your competitors bid to advertise to your followers
- Having your members get distracted by cat videos
Do you know what is a sure-fire way to grow your brand? Getting your brand in front of as many eyes as possible. It shouldn’t matter if your potential members are browsing the web at home, swiping away on the subway, or lounging outside with their tablet.
A community app makes your brand legitimate. You can charge more AND offer more. High-ticket items become WAY more possible than in your Facebook group.
PLus, not everyone has a computer, many people use phones and tablets as their main way to interact with online communities. When you build a community app you’re making it easier for these people to join your brand ecosystem. Plus, you’re able to provide a unified vision and experience for what your brand is all about.
Examples of community apps
Here are some of our favorite examples of community apps. You can find more on the Case Studies page.
- Code Red (Coaching and fitness)
- Kula by Yoga With Adriene (Yoga)
- Oiselle Volée (Running & apparel)
- Mindbody One (Customer Community)
- Wealth Builders Community (Personal finance)
- Slow AF Run Club (“Back of the pack” runners)
How to build a community app
1. Define your ideal user
Every community app will have an ideal user–someone it’s built for. As you begin this process, start with the question of who your app will reach and what they will get out of your app. Why will they choose your community app over a competitor’s?
Try interviewing some ideal users! For example, if you’re a coach building a fitness app, you could sit down with some potential users and ask:
- What apps are you currently using?
- What would you be willing to pay for?
- What type of apps help you reach your goals?
- What features do you love to see in an app?
- How much would you use the app?
These questions can help you find the ideal user and create an avatar around them.
2. Choose your features
You’ll need to figure out the features you want for a community app. Here are some of the common ones to watch for:
- Live streaming
- Member profiles
- AI assist features
- Chat & messaging
- Live courses
- Pre-recorded courses
- Live events (+ RSVP)
- Event chats & forums
Operations & business features
- Sell memberships, courses, events, etc.
- Create plans and bundles
- Collect payments
- Sell in multiple currencies
- App Store & Google submissions
- Proactive updates & support
As you look at these features, figure out which match most with the business you want to run. This will help you choose your app solution.
3. Pick your build approach
There are basically three ways to build a community app:
DIY builders: Choosing one of the app-builders online that lets you build your own. It takes a lot of work, but if you know what you’re doing you might get a decent product. You’d also need to handle app submissions & tech support yourself.
White-label builders: Choosing a white-label community solution means you get proven software that’s constantly updated and improving at a much lower price than native development–all deployed under your brand.
Custom app development: Hiring developers or an app development company to build your app for you. You get the highest control over customization, but it’s also the highest cost.
4. Choose your build software
Once you’ve chosen your build approach, the next step is to find the right software to build with. You’ll probably look at different options online and read reviews. Look for:
Experience: Has the company or software worked well for other users? Has it been used to create apps like the ones you want?
Testimonials: How has the build software worked for others? What do they have to save about it?
Development style: Do you like the way they work?
5. Go through the building process
The next step to building a community app will be to go through the building process, whatever that looks like. Each different app-builder will have different processes, but here’s what this looks like with Mighty Pro:
Your app is ready to launch! YAY! Hopefully, you’ve made a launch and marketing plan and you’re ready to bring it to the world.
Invite your first users and watch your community app start to work.
7. Learn and grow
Launching your app is just the first step. You’ll need to keep learning and growing as you go, figuring out how to serve your ideal users and keep them around for the long term.
This is the fun, really. It’s figuring out your flywheel, and it’s the secret to making your business thrive. Don’t forget, a great app builder should come with some detailed analytics to help you understand what’s working and what isn’t.
Why should you use a white-label community app builder
When you choose to build a community app on a software platform, you’re able to skip a lot of the usual headaches in the process.
One of the main reasons that creators hesitate to build a community app is that app development is really expensive and time-consuming. Most companies that invest in designing their own app are looking at over $200,000 in costs and a 6-12 month lead time. That’s…a lot of time to be twiddling your fingers in anticipation if you ask us!
The answer is to build a white-label community app instead. You get a proven product with all development efforts going to improve it! AND it’s at half the cost of custom native development.
Ready to build?
If you’re ready to create a community app, come build with Mighty Pro! An app built on Mighty’s community platform has a ton of tools to create a thriving community, offer paid memberships, and design online courses. And Mighty’s Spaces let you mix in live streaming, video content, events, member profiles, chat & messaging, Q&As, etc.
Mighty Pro gives you a powerful platform to build your flywheel on, and you can sell memberships and bundles in 135 different currencies. We’ve built white-label community apps for brands and creators like Adriene Mishler, Drew Binsky, Sadie Robertson Huff, TED, Fortune, and Lifebook. It’s your app on your brand icon, and it can deliver branded push notifications, events, and more.
When you choose Mighty Pro, you’ll be able to offer all of these pieces together under your own brand, instantly available on web, iOS, and Android. And you’ll get access to our team of Account Executives and Community Strategists who have scaled 7-figure creator brands and 8+-figure subscription businesses.
With Mighty Co-Host™, you also get community AI features that make it RADICALLY easier to run your community, think automatic course outlines, the “make it better” text editor, and the Infinite Question Generator so you’re never out of things to say. Many of our clients run thriving communities on as little as a few hours a week.
Schedule a call and we’ll show you what we could build together.