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Customer acquisition is expensive. Yes, it costs a lot of money, but also time and effort. You’ve got to identify your target audience that might be interested in your brand’s product or service, then convince them to make a purchase, then hope they come back and do it again. The web has made some of this easier, less expensive, and less time consuming. But among a massive sea of websites, new obstacles arise. Luckily, many brands have realized the benefits of enhancing search engine optimization (SEO) and customer support through building online communities.
Online community building is an excellent way to capture traffic, as it also allows brands to deliver more authentic, fresh content that customers can engage with and trust more. Plus, for brands, it’s efficient and inexpensive, as development and maintenance of content is fairly hands-off. If done correctly, it requires minimal effort to bolster your search rankings.
Does your brand’s site have an embedded online community? Are its members active and helping to enhance your SEO as well as advocate for your brand? Read below to discover three key methods to optimize your online community to reach its full potential as an acquisition channel.
According to Forbes, "84 percent of consumers trust online peer reviews as much as recommendations from friends — and well above company rhetoric." The data shows it is vital for your members to create content about your products, but how do you incentivize the supply side of the online community? The users putting in the work to review products, answer questions, solve problems, and also boost your SEO rankings?
One surefire way is to reward superusers within your community. If their contributions are valued and praised, it will encourage them to create even more content, while also giving on-the-fence browsers the motivation they need to start contributing. On top of establishing authority in the Q&A and Help realm, the more content contained in your online community, the higher your site’s SEO ranking.
This isn’t just lip service: Integrating a Khoros-powered community into your site can help boost rankings. As an example, Autodesk, the company that produces AutoCAD, utilized Khoros Community to leverage peer-to-peer support by categorizing their superusers as “Expert Elites.” This acknowledgment of their most-valued community members fostered about 25,000 annual accepted solutions from the user group, leading to a 44-percent increase in forum visits.
Incentivizing your community’s problem-solvers is great, but you’ve got to ensure that all members also feel included. Engagement is a litmus test for the health of any online community. Little-to-no interaction in the community, and you can watch your search rankings tank. 75 percent of customers who engage successfully with a brand’s community find the experience very valuable. It goes without saying, getting users to engage is important. The key is to get people to interact by adding likes, verifying solutions, commenting, or answering questions.
One prime example of community engagement comes from cosmetic retailer Sephora’s online community: Beauty Insider. A user created a topic challenging other users to try the “100 Shades of Eyeshadow Challenge”, which has been loved 116 times and replied to over 7,500 times. This is just one example of the robust engagement within their community.
Khoros enables these engagement methods, even in syndicated content. Think about it, if you’re invited to a party and no one’s there, how long are you staying? What if there are people there, but they’re all staring at the patterns on the floor? Interaction is necessary. Users are more likely to contribute to an active community — contributing helpful content and seeing the likes roll in is addictive.
If you’d like to brush up on encouraging engagement in your online community, take a look out our whitepaper, How Online Communities Improve Every Stage of the Customer Journey.
Just because you’ve incentivized and encouraged engagement doesn’t mean the shop is going to run itself. Another best practice for every customer touchpoint is to add value to their interactions. Offer the customer somewhere else to go, that is both valuable and intuitive. Embedding a Khoros-powered community into your brand’s website makes this easy because it shows reactions of peers and also that there is more information available just a click away.
If implemented and maintained correctly, there’s not much of a downside to utilizing an online community on your site. The “worst” outcome is that someone discovers a community of people who have vetted your solution and have made a commitment to it, and that many continue to do so. The best outcome is that they join and then become a customer after interacting with their own peers. It truly is a win-win for your brand, and the online community it fosters.
In order to increase customer acquisition through an online community, you need to incentivize your community members to contribute content, encourage engagement within that community, as well as add value to every interaction. Done correctly, your brand can leverage its website’s online community to bolster SEO, and with it, customer acquisition.
To learn more about increasing your brand’s customer acquisition through the use of an online community, download our whitepaper: How Online Communities Improve Every Stage of the Customer Journey.