Being A Good Community Member

Normally these emails are not intended to be “tactical” in nature, they are more observational, strategic, thought provoking and a bit of “infotainment” as my mate Ben Settle calls it.

This one though, this is very tactical.

I’m going to share with you one of my most closely guarded secrets that I’ve used to build my business online for the last five years or so.

A big part of our online services business is doing content creation and SEO for end customers and wholesaling to digital marketing agencies who want to provide these services white labelled to their customers.  With that you’d think that we would be absolutely crushing it in the content marketing area or smashing Google rankings.

Nothing could be further from the truth.  I don’t think I’ve written anything for our services business for nearly two years.  In that same period we’ve done absolutely zero SEO for ourselves.

Say what now?

In my book, (which Casual Marketing Monthly Newsletter Subscribers will be getting shortly as part of their membership for free) there are two rules I talk about that should help you understand how I think about building my businesses.  One rule is all about the value of referrals and another is that you own your community and everyone else is a guest there.

When combined, those things are the topic of today’s post.

Let me explain.

Building Authority Through Community Marketing

Participating in well run, targeted forums and communities are my single biggest source of leads and revenue for our services business.  I go out of my way to be a solid member of other people’s communities, add value and become a trusted source of information to the members.  I also try to entertain people because as I keep saying, people go online now to be entertained as well as educated.

Without doubt, this strategy contributes six figures per year to my personal income and has done so for the past five years.

It’s easy, I don’t spend hours per day doing it and most importantly, I almost never offer tangible, hard advice.  That might seem incongruent, but it’s very strategic – it does me no good to go and do coaching and advisory services to people for free on someone else’s forum where often times members are paying the community owner to be there.

I’m not in the charity business.

Shameless Self Promotion Doesn’t Work

I point out when people aren’t doing things correctly, I highlight interesting things I see in the market and I’ll make introductions for people.  One thing you will never see from me is going to someone else’s community and educating their users for free or blatantly pitching my services.

It actually doesn’t work when you try.  The goal is to build up authority to the point where people seek you out to work with you or they refer people to you who they know could use what you offer.  When you give the milk away for free, you shouldn’t be surprised when people are unwilling to buy the cow.

Here’s a good social experiment to prove my point.

Go to a FB Group or a forum and observe what happens when people ask for help.  It becomes a feeding frenzy.  People come out of the woodwork offering themselves up as someone that can provide a service to help the person.  The best operators never put their hand up and they are ALWAYS recommended by other group members to the person requesting it.  Other members notice this and then the next time the question gets raised, those members refer the good operator too and it snowballs.

That’s why you never see me pitching in a forum or community, I let everyone else do it for me.

Being A Good House Guest

There’s a second part to this which is vitally important and again, most people never think about this way – you’re a guest in someone else’s community, try to be on your best behaviour.  Don’t take a crap on the carpet in the middle of their living room during a dinner party, that’s not how good guests behave.

One thing you’ll almost never see me do in someone else’s forum or online community is get into a “flame war” with another user.  There’s no value in it for me and those things actually damage communities.  If I’m there and engaged to try and build authority, it makes no sense at all to polarize people unnecessarily to score points on another user.

That’s bad for business and it makes you a bad house guest.

So that’s the secret – find communities in your area of expertise that have your ideal clients in there, become a good contributor, help make the environment better for the other members and create a bit of a mystique so that people are curious and attracted to you naturally.  Make them want to work with you themselves and to refer other people to you!

Like I said, this is a significant financial contributor for me personally and numerous other people I know who are clever enough to pull it off.  I encourage you to think about how you can make this work for you because it’s the best way I know to generate warm, qualified traffic by only spending your time.

I’ve had a few people ask me about my coaching program in the last week or so and some others asking about our content creation and SEO services – if you’re interested in those, please feel free to fill out the contact form on the site, let me know what you’re looking for and we can setup a time to talk via Skype.

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