How to Build a B2B Community for Tech Startups?
September 2, 2022 Edwin Kooistra
Building influential communities around your service or product has long been popular marketing strategy by SaaS providers over the last 10 years. Consider the very popular Microsoft community that connects users with other users, while keeping customers close to the Microsoft brand.
Yesterday, the 2022 Community Industry Report was released by CMX and Bevvy. The study found that 87% of organizations agree that community is critical to the company’s mission, but only 10% say they can financially quantify the value of their community and only one-third can connect their community data to their customer data.
SaaS companies in particular are investing in communities. These companies are connecting directly with loyal customers, aligning them behind a common purpose, and giving them a platform to interact with each other.
Today, we take a close look at how to build a loyal SaaS community around your brand, its importance, and how to drive buzz within & around it. The great aspect of online community building around your products is the availability of multiple versatile channels including Reddit, website forums, Facebook, Twitter, and many others.
Community building is usually defined as practices defined to create a community of like-minded individuals sharing the same values, common interests, and goals. Also termed digital community development, marketing teams utilize several best practices to build and maintain communities around their brands.
Why Should Tech Startups Invest In Building Communities?
The SaaS sector is a value-driven and customer-focused industry, where customers are connected through multiple communities. Building a community around your SaaS product can be very lucrative for business growth and content-driven marketing.
Communities Enhance Retention Rates
Jenny Taylor discusses in her article that branded online communities form stronger relationships with customers allowing you to increase retention through engagement. Various types of communities that encourage discussions, networking, asking questions, sharing feedback, and delivering valuable content enhance customer loyalty to your brand.
Providing audiences’ value even before they have purchased from you builds loyalty and belongingness to your community, increasing the chances of them continuing with your products or subscribing if they are leads.
Community Building Instills Trust
Connecting and communicating transparently with your community instills trust within your audiences and future prospects. This trust will encourage them to share their issues in the community before going elsewhere.
Delivering value without asking for payments will build a lasting relationship with your community members increasing the chances of conversions, enhanced retention, and brand exposure to new audiences.
Communities Lower CAC
An online community can also be viewed as a consistent pipeline that convinces and converts ideal customer profiles. Engaging a community of your ideal buyer personas, and your community marketing efforts can considerably decrease the customer acquisition cost.
The ability to provide social proof and value even before conversion displays a positive brand image focused on customer needs. B2B SaaS marketers can use this opportunity to engage different buyer personas and let them self-educate through the buyer journey.
Sharing content and building interesting discussions within the community are tested techniques to secure higher SEO rankings. When audiences engage with user-generated content offers both a recommendation and lower content creation costs, as Hannah Barabakh discusses in her article.
Attracting various target audiences through content marketing, discussions, and promotions can foster a loyal community around your entire brand, not just a product. You can later demonstrate the benefits of products and allow the community to convert over their customer lifetime values. This consistent pipeline reduces the cost of acquiring new customers while identifying critical behavioral aspects of your ideal customer profiles.
SaaS Communities Reduce Churn Rate
A higher churn rate can be devastating to the growth of a SaaS startup. The idea to create a branded SaaS community can sound even more lucrative since it can possibly reduce customer churn.
Luis Cordero Schiffmann discusses, that using SaaS communities to reduce churn is great for both boosting sales, and reducing churn rates. Studies have already identified that engaging communities of users are an essential part of customer acquisition strategy, reported to increase sales by 7 times.
Community Marketing Develops Brand Ambassadors & Advocates
By contributing value within the community you can engage audiences not just as customers but as loyal brand advocates. Offering value, customer service, feedback, and events within the community can develop your subscribing customers to become your brand ambassadors.
This can considerably assist SaaS startups to nurture new audiences through social proof and a value-oriented community. This offers SaaS businesses to develop reward programs, affiliate partners, and referral systems, once again offering optimal value to their most loyal customers.
4 Tips to Build Successful B2B Communities for your Tech Product
Building large engaging communities can take time, therefore it is necessary to comply with certain best practices to ensure you’re on the road to success.
1 – Organize Webinars
Webinars are the most interactive way to promote your community initiative in a live environment. Webinars offer direct engagement with your potential customers, delivering valuable content to them in real time.
Webinars are the ideal platform for SaaS businesses to perform product demos, share insightful content, and offer a live feedback loop. Watchify discuss that the main reason to conduct webinars is to build a community around the SaaS brand.
Conducting webinars within the community allows both your potential customers and existing customers to benefit. Potential customers get an opportunity to experience live demos, solutions through discussions, consume valuable content, and discover the benefits your products.
Existing customers can find webinars highly engaging since these are your ideal customer profiles who share the same values, issues, ideas, and goals. Webinars allows existing customers to learn how to optimize product use, while offering feedback to product development.
2 – Create a Facebook Group
1.8 billion Facebook users claimed they use the Groups feature on the website. Although Facebook engagement is declining, FB users are more comfortable using the gated groups feature that is basically the private & public communities on the platform.
Creating a dedicated Facebook Group can be a great way to kick off your content marketing and event marketing campaigns. With content sharing much easier and live video casting a popular feature on the platform, your can practically broadcast and entire day at work for your community.
Hootsuite identified 3 core benefits of using Facebook Groups to build a community around your SaaS brand:
- Develops lasting relationships with your ideal customer profiles
- Increases the organic reach of your SaaS brand
- Gather valuable and highly insightful marketing research data
3 – Create a Slack Group
Being a SaaS product itself, Slack is a brilliant communication framework that fosters communities through its core features including activity feeds, profiles, moderation, gamification, and advanced customization.
Apart from the Slack having a free subscription, it remains a very easy tool to collaborate with your B2B audiences in real time. Slack offers B2B SaaS marketers the opportunity to not only connect with their target buyer personas, but also potential partners and affiliates.
Building a slack community for your SaaS has great potential considering all the great advantages it is already offering to B2B businesses:
- SaaS businesses can reach a wide target audience and customers
- Slack fosters engaged long term business relationships
- Building slack communities delivers value beyond the product
- Engaging with slack communities reduces churn rate
4 – Introduce Certification Based Programs
A certification based program is a superb idea to foster a community of experts and trained professionals. Certifications are not just meant for employees and students, but a great way to develop potential brand partnerships.
Consider the HubSpot digital certification program that allows professionals to train themselves with popular digital marketing, branding, and analytics tools. Certifications programs are a effective means to create a loyal community of trained experts while nurturing brand loyalty in the group.
EduBrite offers three reasons SaaS businesses should have a certification program:
- Engage & Empower your customers with the right knowledge
- Develop an alternative revenue stream
- To become an industry benchmark brand and ideal leader
7 Creative Tips to Gain Traction to your B2B Tech Community
- Be Exclusive
- Address Customer Point Points
- Create a Customer Engagement Team
- Create a Dedicated Landing Page
- Talk All about Your Product
- Send Invitations through Newsletter
- Run Targeted Advertising
Building and nurturing a community around your SaaS brand is a continuous process. Growing as a community over time requires devoted strategy and value provision to ensure members are consistently interacting with the brand and other members.
1 – Be Exclusive
Being exclusive and unique creates a mystique around the value that your community offers. Closed exclusive online communities build both curiosity and interest, especially amongst B2B audiences.
Gating your community with a sign up form and collecting as much data as possible about community members can be great for prospecting later on too. Using invite codes allows members to invite likeminded audiences who share the same core values as the community itself.
2 – Address Customer Point Points
One of the most essential tips to grow your SaaS community is by consistently providing value by solving customer pain points. Researching new buyer personas taking their feedback and identifying use cases for your products should remain a constant activity.
Delivering valuable content that helps audiences solve their pain points, or even identify the relevant solutions is one of the most popular way SaaS businesses engage their communities. Conducting webinars, writing white papers, creating video guides, and sending out personalized emails are other popular ways to provide solutions to your community members.
3 – Create a Customer Engagement Team
Having multi-functional customer engagement teams is a great way to keep your content marketing active, while assisting both customers and prospect leads in your community. A multi-functional team offers versatility providing your customers diverse insights and hands on support for their issues.
This significantly enhances the customer services process. Community members can interact with each other, not just your team, to help each other. Customer engagement teams can be especially helpful as the community grows. These teams can develop guidelines, create discussions, conduct webinars & events, in addition to helping out community members personally.
4 – Create a Dedicated Landing Page
Landings pages are a common practice that enhances the reach of SaaS communities. One of the most important aspect is having a central website page that markets the community to a vast global audience.
Landing pages can be used to distribute content magnets like eBooks, infographics, and videos enriching the content marketing pipeline. In addition, forms and surveys are popular ways to research your ideal customer profiles, understand their pain points, and collect buyer behavior data.
Landing pages can be used to sign members in to community, they can also be used with CTAs to highlight product benefits to B2B customers with social proof.
5 – Talk All about Your Product
A great idea to rapidly grow your community is by having interesting discussions & debates around your products. By connecting pain points to the product you can create content, webinars, live discussions, and email sequences that discuss the unique advantages of your SaaS product.
6 – Send Invitations through Newsletter
A popular way to invite new members to your community is through a dedicated weekly, fortnightly, or monthly newsletter. Still considered a popular marketing tool, newsletters have wide audience reach, with the ability to disseminate multiple pieces of content.
Inviting newsletter subscribers provides your brand a larger target audience to filter through the marketing funnel. This can have considerable benefits when talking about CAC and ROI from your marketing campaigns.
7 – Run Targeted Advertising
Budgeting for a Google PPC, Facebook ads, and other online advertising campaigns is a good idea to reach target prospects quickly. Ads can be a quick interaction with audiences who are already in the consideration stage and looking for a viable solutions for their organizational needs.
It’s always a great idea to use targeted advertising with content, landing pages, video channels, and obviously the community. Target audiences can learn more and filter through to the community sign up process to eventually begin their buyer’s journey with your brand.
Building a loyal community around your SaaS brand is now a necessity given the unique customer dynamics. Audiences who collaborate based on ideas, values, and business needs are bound to create harmonious communities that work on solving pain points.
At Chasm we provide struggling SaaS businesses the ideal community building framework that attracts loyal target audiences. Our brilliant B2B product marketing toolkit is designed to give you a centralized marketing solution while you concentrate on product development. Get in touch with our team to learn more about building loyal communities around your product.