Only sell INSIDE the community?

(Dave Charbonneau) #1

I’m wondering if others in this community have had experience in focusing their outside marketing on JUST their community; THEN offering their products or services only to their community members?

If so, is this an option you recommend to others?

Why?/Why not?

(Bo McGuffee) #2

Fwiw, I can’t say that I’ve ever considered this. In fact, I’m trying to wrap my brain around it. Are you proposing a situation where one does not do any “outside” marketing beyond the community? It’s a difficult concept for me since I tend to think of marketing as being directed to the outside by default. Can you clarify, or give an example?

(Dave Charbonneau) #3

Sure, Bo. Here’s an example: My fee-based product is a service: An action and accountability system. The service is built upon a platform that my company has licensed – it tracks daily tasks and allows for smaller groups to communicate with each other in an intimate manner during each monthly session.

Perhaps this particular service is easier to imagine selling exclusively within the community than some others since it’s really a more intimate version of the community. In fact, I’ve recently thought to package it as the PREMIUM version of the community rather than a free-standing product.

However, I could certainly see selling webinars or seminars within a community. I’ve seen another person do this, but I don’t know if she also markets her education packages outside her community.

Outside of communities, I’ve seen a model that plays out like this: An event is held where individuals can attend for free. They are upsold into a paid event, and that event into a more expensive event. And, perhaps, on up to a private consultancy that is quite expensive. I don’t love the model – not as I’ve seen it played out, anyhow. Maybe I just didn’t like the presenter’s style or offerings. Anyhow, I can imagine communities acting like this funnel.

It was after I wrote the original post (the one that started this thread) that I changed to offering my fee-based product as a premium version of the same community.

Here’s another model that I really liked:
A paid community is promoted on a blog around the same niche ($25/mo in the model I saw). It could be open for, say, two months. The third month you cannot enroll, but if you pay for the webinar or online event (I’ll guess it’s $70), access to the closed enrollment group is yours for three months! Some time after the webinar, enrollment is opened again, and enrollment includes all previous webinars – including the most recent one. The person I knew who was running this had a waiting list of 300 people, and enrollment only allowed so many in at a time (I think 100 or so). I think by buying the webinar, people could bypass the waiting list, too.

From a marketing standpoint, I love it. There’s always a sense of urgency to act, and an exclusivity that encourages people to keep their membership paid up.

Tagging: @HAWK

(Bo McGuffee) #4

Interesting stuff here, @Dave_Charbonneau. I’ll have to think a bit about this.

(Sarah Hawk) #5

I am NOT a marketing guru (or anything close) but I’m happy to offer some thoughts from my personal experiences.

@richard_millington and I have played around with a few different models (paid/unpaid community, different pricing tiers, entry to the paid community via events or training purchases). I’m not sure we’ve landed on the perfect solution yet (and even if we had, it would likely change as fast as internet behaviour does), but the value of community as a marketing tool is becoming more clear.

I think the primary benefit for people selling services is targeting. You can really get to know your audience at an individual level (at least in smaller communities), and therefore offer them a tailored solution. You don’t have to market across an anonymous group.

I also like that model, but ultimately the success comes down to the value that the audience sees in the product. What do they get in the paid community that they don’t get in the free one? I’d love to know what their stats are with regard to retention/re-engagement after the 3 month period. If those are good, then it sounds like they’ve nailed it.

I think the key here is to try things. You are never locked into a model just because you start with it.