As freelancers or business owners, we are always looking to “market”, “pitch”, and “advertise”. That’s how it’s been for a long time, and we are afraid it’s going to be like that for a while.
But there have been many smart businesses in the recent years that are worth millions of dollars not because they advertised, but because they a community around their products and services.
Here’s why you should leverage the power of community for your freelancing business:
Embrace the Power of Communities
What’s common between the following companies? CopyBlogger, KissMetrics, Unbounce.com, LeadPages, The New RainMaker, and Studio Press?
Answer: they all focused on building communities.
By building a community, the focus is automatically on “delivering the goods”. The emphasis is on providing value, and there’s barely a pitch or a marketing message anywhere.
Let others do the heavy lifting
In a community, the interactions are all between complete strangers (who’d later get to know each other). With minimal interference or moderation from you, users or members of your community will help each other and keep the conversation going. They generate content all on their own.
Plus, they point to, help others with, or even evangelize your products or services as if they work for you ( but they don’t).
Gain from an Immersive branding experience
Pick any forum or community that a business manages and it’d be easy to see how many people keep talking, discussing, and even sharing tips and ideas on how to use your products and services better.
If you were a real estate attorney, for instance, all those members of your community could be your potential clients and you could be giving away free tips and knowledge to solve their problems.
You might keep your service offer open (and you’ll be contacted soon enough).
Get feedback in real-time
In a moderated community (or not), you’d often have many people discussing your services or products. In course, you’ll also hear plenty of user-generated, unsolicited, and unbiased feedback.
That’s pure gold. If you had your ears to the ground and truly listening, you could improve your products and services just the way your community wants it.
That’s real feedback — the kind you can’t buy.
Line up your buyers
Once you build your community, your followers, audience, or members always look forward to what you do next. Your new services or product release could be lapped up pre-release. Launching something new? Prepare for your servers to be crashed.
The larger and passionate the community is, the bigger impact it has on your marketing (without you actually doing anything directly related to marketing).
Are you focusing on building your community as a freelancer?
About Peer Hustle
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Originally published at peerhustle.com on October 7, 2015.