6 Essential Tips for Building a Profitable Online Community

Curious how successful group leaders establish strong communities that seem to grow on their own? Wondering how to get started leading your own online community? You’re not alone! 

In 2019, a full 76% of internet users engaged in an online community. And in 2020and beyond, that number has only grown! That means today’s group leaders have a huge opportunity to build their own online communities that provide real value, if they know how to maximize it. 

 In this article, we’re covering six essential tips for building a profitable online community— and positioning yourself for viral growth. 

Let’s begin!

1. Pick a niche— and stick to it

The best communities are hyper-focused on a single topic or audience. That focus on a niche set of commonalities is what brings members together— and improves your group retention.

When you start a broad interest group that targets an entire market of people, it’s difficult to prove to each potential member how this group is specifically beneficial to them and their unique situation. That’s why it’s important to understand submarkets.

Every broad interest group you can think of, from yoga and politics to business and parenting, can be further divided into targeted submarkets. A submarket is a smaller group of people (within a broad group, like yoga enthusiasts) that have a distinct set of unique characteristics, behaviors, interests, needs, problems, and desires. 

Let’s take the yoga topic as an example. How can you turn your passion for yoga into a niche group with a distinct submarket? Start by describing the exact type of member you want to attract. Are they new to yoga, or experienced? Are they yoga teachers or participants? Do you want to target a specific demographic of people, like women, men, new parents, busy people, or outdoor enthusiasts? Once you’ve narrowed down your audience, you have a niche group positioned for targeted growth!

Now that you understand how niche groups and submarkets work, take a look at these examples of niche group types that work really well, compared to those that struggle to get traction:

Examples of niche groups:

  • Blockchain technology group for investors
  • Fitness group for new moms
  • Networking community for medical professionals in NYC
  • Startup group for first-time entrepreneurs 

Examples of unfocused, generic groups:

  • Real estate professionals group     (too broad)
  • Parents community (too vague)
  • Networking group for job seekers (too general)
  • Community for yoga enthusiasts (too wide)

While it takes more than a niche focus to make your group successful, these topic ideas can inspire you to start thinking about the type of group you want to lead. 

These are just a few examples of niche groups and overly broad groups. You may want to start a group just like one of the niche examples listed above, or you may have your own unique idea. As a group leader, you have the freedom to lead your own unique group, your way! However, we strongly encourage you to narrow your topic down to target a specific submarket. 

Studying the examples above, can you see how highly specialized groups will attract a more invested audience? And how that like-minded audience will be more interested and invested in your group because the topic is so targeted? When you know exactly what you’ll learn— and can offer— to your community, you experience an enhanced sense of belonging there. And that belonging translates to powerful growth and retention potential.



2. Target a valuable need

The best groups with the fastest growth and best member retention solve an important problem for their members. People gravitate towards solutions that meet their needs. And your valuable solution is what will make your group “sticky”— helping you to attract new prospects and keep your existing members engaged.

While your group can target any need, the biggest problems most people face fall into one (or more) of three categories: Wealth, health, and relationships. 

Let’s dig into each of these categories:

Wealth

There are hundreds (maybe thousands!) of groups that can fall into this wealth category. That’s because every single person has needs related to wealth— and wants to solve them as quickly and simply as possible. 

Here are some examples of groups that meet a need related to wealth:

·       Networking and job search communities

·       Groups for money management tips

·       Investor communities

·       Business incubator groups

·       Professional development communities

Groups that fall into the wealth category are popular because people are always seeking ways to enhance their wealth, career, financial stability, or business growth. 

Health

The second major community category that tends to attract a lot of members is health. Groups in this category address a variety of health needs, like physical fitness, mental wellness, spiritual wellness, self-help needs, and life coaching. 

Health is universally valuable. Every person in the world wants good health, a strong body, and a clear mind. Groups that address a niche need within the health category are seen as particularly valuable by their members. And that value, coupled with the sense of belonging that comes with community, positions them for growth!

Relationships

The third group category that solves a significant need in your members’ lives is related to relationships. Humans are relational. Yet, we struggle to develop healthy relationships in every sphere of life— from work and family, to marriage and friendships. 

Communities that address this valuable need, like parenting communities, marriage tip groups, and groups that help you develop stronger social and networking skills, tend to attract members more easily than groups that don’t address a deep need.  

When you’re considering what kind of group to establish, consider how your group can solve a problem your members face in one of these three key areas listed above. Your group may talk about how to improve your relationships at work and become a stronger networker. Or your group may focus on easy fitness routines that integrate with your busy lifestyle. Your group could even be about ways to save money while traveling, or earn more from aside hustle.

As long as your group solves a problem and meets a real need your members face, and is niche enough to offer targeted value, you have the potential to lead a successful, profitable community. And while you can start a group on any topic, groups that focus on one of these key needs tend to perform better because they offer obvious value. Every person wants financial security, good health, and happy relationships. And communities that offer a solution in one of these areas can attract, and retain, their members. 

3. Inspire member-generated content

A lot of potential group leaders never start their own community because they’re afraid they’ll run out of things to say. But in reality, the majority of your content should be from your members! 

As a leader, you have the opportunity to encourage your members to share their own resources, ask and answer questions, host events, post their products and services, and chat with other members. Your community has great things to say— all you have to do is give them a platform to say it on!

When you launch a group with TAGFI, you’ll see this member contribution model in action.

Our community platforms allow group members to post their own events and invite other members, promote their own businesses, and share content. Not only does that create a collaborative environment where engagement happens naturally, it enhances the value of your group. 

To support your members, and encourage engagement within your community, check out our guide to creating valuable community engagement here. 



4. Don’t be afraid to charge 

You may be tempted to “test the waters” by running a free group for a while. But group leaders who don’t charge for their group’s helpful content and engagement software struggle to grow, retain their members, and build that meaningful sense of community. 

People want to be a part of something that feels valuable and exclusive. When you charge for membership, even just a few dollars a month, your members understand how beneficial your group is. In turn, they engage more, share more, and stay longer. 

When you activate a group or launch a platform with TAGFI, you can set your own membership rate

How you choose to charge for your exclusive group is up to you. Some of our successful groups are open to the public, but require a fee for members to engage with the content, join events, and promote their own products and services to the niche membership community. Other groups on TAGFI’s platforms choose to keep their group totally private— requiring the membership fee even to view the latest posts, videos, and events within the community. 

Groups that launch with TAGFI also have the opportunity to host a marketplace within their community. In this dedicated space, members can promote their business, share their products and services, and offer special discounts to other members. That exclusive benefit encourages group visitors to upgrade their membership so they can unlock the valuable promotional opportunities— generating revenue for both group leaders and group members. 

In addition to setting your own membership rate and offering an exclusive marketplace, TAGFI group leaders have the opportunity to earn additional revenue through advertising. By adding an ad banner to your group’s page, you can diversify your revenue and earn more without increasing your membership rate.



5. Continue marketing

While TAGFI’s community engagement platform simplifies viral growth, marketing your group is still important. Here are a few ways to get the word out about your online membership community: 

  • Post about and feature your new group on your social media channels
  • Personally invite your connections, network, and  friends to join your new community
  • Email your existing members about your new digital space 
  • Migrate your current members to your new group, automatically (more on that below!)
  • Add a link to your new digital space to your current website
  • Add a link to your new digital space to your email signature and social media profiles
  • Record a few videos talking about your new membership opportunity, and the best benefits of joining, then post that video on YouTube and social media
  • At your next networking or community event, invite your connections to join your new group

These are just a few ideas to inspire your marketing initiatives and build momentum for your new group. 

Not confident in your marketing efforts? TAGFI’s marketing experts can help!

When you launch a group with TAGFI, our team of marketing experts can help you migrate your current members to your new group. We’ll capture their email addresses, write a high-impact email campaign that encourages your network to join, and even market directly to your members, while you enjoy the benefits. When you partner with TAGFI, you gain instant access to our knowledgeable team— and serious growth potential.



6. Get a community manager

The most successful groups are led by an engaged, experienced community manager. What does a good community manager do?

  • Welcome new members quickly and warmly
  • Create positive conversations about relevant topics by asking questions, engaging members, posting content, reposting user content, and sharing ideas
  • Host events and help every member connect
  • Help members find like-minded mentors, friends, and connections
  • Provide relative resources and answer industry-related questions
  • Connect with members to help them feel noticed and valued

Every group needs an active community manager dedicated to the group’s growth and success. It’s a skill! But luckily, you don’t have to do it all yourself. 

At TAGFI, our industry experts partner with you to make community management simple

A skilled community manager knows how to lead a group, facilitate events, keep members engaged, post industry-specific content, and connect with every member. That’s why we offer every group leader the option to partner with one of our specialized industry experts to grow your interactions and build a meaningful community.


Key takeaways

With the right strategy, platform, and resources in place, you can turn your group idea into a profitable, growing online community. By choosing a specific niche, focusing on solving a real problem for your members, and encouraging member-generated content, you can build a collaborative group that offers true value. And by charging for membership, marketing your group, and leveraging a community manager, that group can be positioned for viral growth. 

Curious how TAGFI can help you build a profitable, growing online community? Jump on a demo call to see our powerful software in action here!