Continue to Part II: User Engagement in Marketing Activities»
IntroductionCommunity marketing is a form which seeks to market to customers which are already using a company's products by creating and building online communities where users, employees, and fans of the company can get together and exchange ideas and discuss the company and its products. Companies can tell customers plenty through advertising, but what really is powerful is feedback and opinions of other customers. Community marketing can be done a number of ways, but what is important is to give customers the tools to make their voices heard, to build trust between them and the company, and to foster communication between all parties.
CostsThe costs can vary for this form of marketing, depending on what tools you employ, but one simple and effective way to create a community is to add a forum to your website. Forums are easy to install and monitor, and cost almost nothing to put together.
TimeframeCommunity marketing doesn't happen overnight and should be looked at as a long-term solution. Time has to be given to allow the discussion to begin and flow, and monitoring and moderating forums can be a time consuming process.
What You Must Know
Community marketing is more than just a forum where issues can be discussed, it allows a company to become a resource to their clients, and to help guide the conversation. For whatever industry your company is involved in, there is almost certainly a discussion going on somewhere, but if you don't know about, then your company is just a passive subject. Community marketing hopes to help shape and guide the conversation and to influence it in a positive way for both the company and the customers.
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