So you’re ready to launch a community in the B2B space. You might be creating this B2B community as an add-on to a profitable business with existing customers or including it with a brand you’re building from scratch. Either way, the most daunting part is getting people to show up and making sure both you and your members get all the value your community can offer.
At Mighty Pro, we work with hundreds of B2B communities that are thriving and growing. Many have come to be a significant source of revenue for their Hosts, while also providing opportunities to develop deeper relationships with customers that offer a feedback loop, testing ground and ideas for new products, not to mention fierce advocates who will champion your brand with word of mouth.
But if you’re launching, you need to know how to build this. Here are 6 ways you can get your first 1000 paying members for your B2B community.
1. Have a clear ideal member
This is background work, but it's important. Before you actually start selling your community, make sure you have a really clear sense of who it's for and what benefits your ideal member will get out of it.
If you can envision this clear ideal member, it will be much easier to sell your community to them. You’ll understand their pain points and the problems they face, and you’ll know exactly how your B2B community helps solve them. On the flip side, the fuzzier your vision of your ideal member is, the harder it will be.
If someone asks you who your community is for and you reply, “Anyone,” you’ve still got some work to do.
We use a process we call Community Design™ to clarify an idea member, and once you go through it you create a statement that we call a big purpose statement. It looks like this:
2. Plan a launch event
One of the best ways to build excitement for your B2B community is to plan a launch event. A launch event cements the existence of your community in the minds of your customers, and you can use the channels we’ll talk about below to publicize it.
Remember, your customers won't be excited about the existence of your community unless they know how it adds value to them and their businesses. This means that your launch event should accomplish this, and give a preview of the type of value that membership in your community will give. It shouldn’t just be a ceremonial ribbon-cutting. Here are a few things you could include:
- Industry expert guest speakers
- Webinars or special training
- Networking opportunities
- Product giveaways or bonuses
3. Reach your email list
If you have an existing email list, it's one of the best places to start filling up your potential B2B community. Presumably, your email list is full of either leads or current customers who would benefit from it. Since these are all people who are familiar with your brand already and have already bought from you, this is a great place to start.
Use your email list to build hype for a community launch, and consider a special offer for people who join early.
4. Social media
It's totally possible to find community members through your existing social media channels. The first place to start, as you promote your new community, is by identifying the problem your ideal member has and how being in the community helps solve it. This can be worked into your social messaging.
For example: It's hard to launch a gym on your own. That's why we're building a community, where you'll get accountability; pre-made, proven business and marketing plans; and meet gym owners on the same journey.
As your community gets established, you can also repurpose content from your community into your social media channels to help keep it growing. This means you can keep advertising the community on social media just by talking about what's happening inside.
- Social proof: "join 230+ members on their way to small business mastery."
- Testimonials: "Nadir used what he learned in the BooksPlus Community to build a $20k/mo bookkeeping business."
- Sneak peeks: "Here's a sneak peek of our training session on mindset mastery (+ short video)."
- Content summaries: "this week in our community, we learned 5 ways to increase your product development process. Here's what they are…"
By giving people a taste of what’s happening inside, you can often trigger some FOMO and encourage them to join.
5. Link with products
One of the best ways to get your first 1000 paying members into a B2B community is to integrate the community into your existing product line. If you’re already making sales, a community might be a simple add-on to your existing product line.
While there's no one way to do this, here are a few ideas:
Include a community membership with tiered pricing.
If you already have pricing tiers, it should be fairly easy to add membership in your B2B community as a bonus for the higher tiers. So, for example, if your business was social media scheduling software, it could look something like this:
- Bronze plan: 2 accounts, 500 posts/mo
- Silver plan: 5 accounts, 1000 posts/mo, + access to our learning community
- Gold plan: 10 accounts, unlimited posts, + access for up to 3 team members to our learning community
Add community as an upsell
As an alternative to including your community with your product, especially if you don't have a membership model, you might consider having your community as an upsell.
So, for example, a company that sells a physical product might offer an upsell like this: "Do you want to join our customer community and learn to get the most out of your X? It's only $95 for the year if you join today. Get ongoing support, training, and first access to new products."
Make sure to think about how the community will actually add value to your product user though. Think about common pain points businesses have when they purchase a product and see how a customer community can help solve these.
Common pain points include:
- Training staff on the new product
- Getting help when they get stuck
- Using the product to its greatest potential
- Ongoing learning and help with product upgrades and updates
6. Reward your members for inviting others
One final way you can grow a B2B community is through a rewards or referral program. You probably know that word of mouth is the very best marketing out there. Setting up a referral program just gives this word-of-mouth a boost, and rewards your loyal members who want to tell others about your community. It could offer incentives for community members who tell others, but you might be surprised that even just letting people know that they can refer a friend can have powerful results.
If you’ve taken these steps, you’ll be well on your way to taking your B2B community membership from 0 - 1000. Always make sure you know who you’re serving, what their pain points are, and how the community helps them solve it. If you can communicate that to them, and they believe your brand is the one that can help them fix it, your community will grow.