In today's fast-paced digital world, SaaS companies are discovering the magic of community-led growth. It's all about building a buzzing community around your product or service that not only delights customers but also opens doors to exciting partnerships and opportunities.

So, relax – maybe grab your favorite beverage –  and join us on this journey to explore the key steps of a community-led approach that can skyrocket your SaaS business!

Why SaaS companies are embracing community-led growth

We used to think of marketing as a funnel, where customers were pushed through each step from awareness to conversion. But guess what? Things have gotten way more interesting!

The way people interact with brands has evolved, and the old funnel metaphor just doesn't cut it anymore. There's no longer a clear endpoint to the relationship between brands and customers. Now, brands understand the importance of nurturing leads even after they've made a purchase, because that's how you build loyalty and keep customers coming back for more.

So, enter the community-led growth flywheel! It's made up of four stages

Step one: Awareness, where customers start noticing the brand.

Step two: Consideration and sales, where the brand goes the extra mile to stand out from the competition.

Step three: Post-sales care, where the brand keeps nurturing the customer by creating networking opportunities and showing off its value.

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Step four: Advocacy. This is really the icing on the cake, when customers become advocates and start recommending the brand to their friends and peers, it kickstarts the whole cycle again.

See, the beauty of a community is that it doesn't force people into a one-way path. Instead, it creates an irresistible environment that naturally attracts people towards it. They convert into customers, and then they become advocates who sing the brand's praises to others.

It's all about creating a continuous loop of communication that consolidates a good relationship between existing customers and establishes a glowing first impression with new customers. This flywheel approach lowers acquisition costs and puts the community right at the heart of everything. It’s a win-win.

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Step 1: Find your go-to-market mojo!

Picture this: you're not just selling products but providing value that blows minds. Your community becomes an advocacy powerhouse, spreading the word about your awesomeness, leading to upsells and collaborations galore!

Building your reputation? That's just a very valuable bonus. Remember: it's all about showing people the return on their investment is sky-high and then watching the magic happen.

The main purpose of this is to build a solid foundational relationship with your customers that’s based on trust.

Modern SaaS consumers are very savvy to traditional sales and marketing tactics, so it’s essential that you’re able to make a valuable first impression with customers, which distinguishes you from the competition.

Your org isn’t just a cynical cash-grabber, you’re a problem solver that invests time and energy in solving customer pain points.

Step 2: Spotting the gap and seizing the opportunity

Now, let's dive into finding that sweet spot in the market. You want to identify the pain points and needs of your audience. Think about how your SaaS solution can solve their problems like a superhero. By focusing on a specific niche, you'll attract passionate individuals who share your enthusiasm.

The key here is that you want to find an area that can generate enough discussion to build a community. An industry like SaaS, for example, encompasses multiple functions, roles, and departments, and each of those areas is going to come with a whole plethora of potential problems.

This is why it lends itself well to community-led growth. You can create multiple slack channels so that potential customers can find the specific discussions that solve their unique challenges.

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Step 3: Prepping for blast-off!

Before launching your community to the world, let's get the internal party started! Your team needs to be in the groove, introducing themselves and actively engaging in conversations. That way, when you invite external members, they'll step into a buzzing hub rather than a ghost town.

Enthusiasm is contagious, and if your external team is able to set a passionate precedent for discussion, those that join the community will follow suit, and pretty soon, you’ll have a community that seems appealing to those who have only just joined.

The next important step is onboarding! Show newbies the ropes, share guidelines, and create a warm and welcoming environment. It's all about setting the stage for an epic community experience.

Consistency is really key here. Your internal team really can’t afford to take their foot off the gas in these early stages of community building. They should be putting questions to the team and answering questions on a daily basis.

Think of it like lighting a log fire for the first time. The most challenging part is getting it started, it needs to be poked and stoked regularly, but once it’s started, it spreads organically.

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Step 4: Growth - watch the fire spread!

As your community blossoms, keep your finger on the pulse! The community managers (aka CMs) become your superstars. They'll keep an eye on what the community craves, what's trending, and how to make the community even more amazing.

Remember, while following standardized processes, each community has its own unique needs. So, partner up with other teams like events and content to create excitement and expand your community beyond the digital realm. Let's take this party offline, too!

With these processes in place, your community – and, by association, your organization – stays relevant and is able to continually attract new customers with the evolving landscape, as well as retain loyal customers.

Step 5: Maturing like fine wine

As your community grows and matures, it becomes a self-sustaining powerhouse. Members turn to it as their go-to resource, seeking advice and sharing their experiences. You've built a reputation. But here's the secret sauce: keep contributing value regularly.

Be community-led, even in the mature stage. Your internal team needs to keep the fire alive, offering insights and keeping the community thriving. Remember, value is the key ingredient to maintaining that stellar reputation.

Your community might not need tending to quite as much as it does in the early stages, but the industry is rapidly evolving, so you need to ensure that the changing needs of customers are being met at all times. If there’s a new pain point that isn’t being addressed in your community, make it a priority to make it a discussion.

The final result

Congratulations, you community-building maestro! By adopting a community-led approach, you've unlocked the potential to skyrocket your SaaS business. The power of a vibrant, engaged community is undeniable.

So, put on your cape and embrace the magic of community-led growth. Delight your customers, build lifelong partnerships, and watch your SaaS business soar to new heights. Cheers to a community that slays. 😎

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