Create fertile ground for your offers to flourish by focusing on community building first, before focussing on selling.
The reason many online businesses end up struggling to attract clients is because they've not grown a following of people who are genuinely interested in their work.
The community building stage has been leap frogged and they have focused mainly on talking about their offerings. This is how I started too.
But then it dawned on me that if I did not build some kind of community around my work then I didn't have much of a foundation for my business and I'd always be wondering where my next clients would come from.
Trying to get clients felt hard, but deciding I'd focus on community building felt way more doable, expansive and inspiring.
So where can you even start with community building for your business?
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Publish your own thoughts, ideas and opinions on your Facebook Page without any agenda to sell. Here's an example of one of my most popular 'against the grain' type posts.
- Submit articles to online and print magazines that share that same kind of audience with you. Like this article published on Smallville.
- Co-author blogs and industry guides with kindred spirits like this one.
- Interview clients and peers about specific topics that would be helpful to your audience and share the recordings on Facebook, Soundcloud, YouTube, LinkedIn etc. Here's one of my examples of this.
- Let people know you are available to be interviewed for podcasts, summits and live events. Here's and example of how you could do that.
- Sponsor an event, project or initiative that you and your audience care about. I don't have an example to offer you on this point, yet :-)
- Connect one-on-one with members of group programs for virtual coffee’s, accountability partnering and paid or free sessions. Grow your reach and reputation one person at at time.
In this conversation with George Kao we talk more about community building and I share the worlds simplest no cost launch strategy which I call 'Write, Observe, Invite'.
What other ways can we build community and collaborate? If you have some ideas I'd love to hear them! Let's chat in the comments :-)