Building an online community has several benefits for your business. It can help you get more engagement, produce user-generated content, and build brand loyalty.

You can also create an online income with your community membership platform.

Members of your community are more likely to make repeat purchases and they will also buy from you more frequently. When you have an online community, you can reduce your marketing expenses since it won’t be necessary to invest too much in customer acquisition.

Building a profitable community from scratch comes down to setting up the right platform and building great content. Let’s look at how you can do that.

Choose the Right Platform

There are several options available to you to build your online community. You can use social media sites or create your own membership website to host your audience interactions.

Here are three major platforms where you can build your audience and develop a community.

Facebook

Facebook already has excellent features for building a community. Your Facebook profile and group pages are already community platforms where users engage with your brand.

You can share content, get responses, and drive traffic to your business site. A major plus point is that social media platforms like Facebook are available for free.

Slack

Facebook is free and interactive, but it also has limitations. For a more customized and focused platform with the feel of social media, you can try Slack.

Slack lets you create channels for very specific topics. Your audience will be able to get information and share content in each channel.

You can create threads so that users’ replies go under the parent comment and do not spam the remaining thread. Sending direct messages is also easy to do.

The most appealing feature is that with Slack, you’re not side-tracked by other content or users outside of the community.

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A Custom WordPress Membership Site

For comprehensive control, exclusivity, and privacy, you can build a membership site.

Membership sites allow you to feature your brand throughout your website. You can automate processes such as payment collection, user registration, and subscription changes.

It’s easy to build a membership site on WordPress. All you need to do is install a membership plugin and set it up to offer the features you need. You’ll easily restrict access, provide drip content, and add all the integrations you need – such as email marketing, forum-building, and lots more.

Building a membership site offers you the greatest flexibility and scalability. You can opt for this to ensure that you’re able to cater to a growing audience and support them with helpful features.

Build Informative Content

Before inviting people to join your membership site or monetizing your online community, you need to have content in place. You can always add more content later, but the information that users will receive in exchange for payment needs to be set up at the very beginning.

It’s evident that a membership site is the most useful platform for you to make a profitable online community, You cannot create automatic payment processes, drip content, or offer other features on Slack or Facebook. However, you can give access to such groups as part of your entire product offering as a way for your customers to interact with their peers.

Here are a few ways that you can leverage content to earn an income from your community using a membership site.

Create subscription levels: Provide restricted access to content based on different subscription levels. This gives users the ability to test your product at a more affordable level before upgrading to a higher one.

Build a recurring membership: In this structure, you provide all your users access unlimited access to content. They pay a monthly subscription that they can stop at any time.

Limited-time memberships: You may want to cycle customers through a specific timeframe based on the nature of your product. In this format, your customers work with you for a specific time period, and you’ll need to maintain marketing efforts to get new customers. This type of membership works well for online coaching in any field.

It’s helpful to offer a variety of content on your membership site. Audio files, video tutorials, transcripts, and blog posts are a few examples of helpful content. You can also continue to add new content in the future to create more sales.

Create Income by Building Online Communities

The key to building a profitable online community is to provide your audience with value. You do this by creating helpful content that answers a need. In turn, your members subscribe to your site.

You can start building a community from scratch by setting up the right platform and providing helpful content.

Even though using a membership platform is likely the most useful option for you, you can still make use of social media and Slack.

It’s a common practice for businesses to offer exclusive access to social media groups to paying members. These spaces offer a place for people to interact and discuss the same topics. They’ll offer support and act as a source of information.

Offer your online community helpful content and a place for interactions that’s exclusively available to them. Creating an exclusive space builds a sense of importance and enhances the value of your offering.

We’ve looked at how you can set up your online community and create an income. Go ahead and build your online community from scratch.

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