Promotions and Discounts to Attract Online Community Members - dummies

Promotions and Discounts to Attract Online Community Members

By Deborah Ng

Many of the people who join a brand’s online community do so to receive some sort of perk, such as free promotional items like logo T-shirts and caps, printable coupons, or discount codes. The more perks you offer, the bigger your community will grow.

In fact, many of your community members may be there more for the freebies and discounts than for the conversation. This fact isn’t a bad thing if you work for a sales-oriented brand.

If your members are telling their friends and neighbors that they saved $10 on your brand’s shoes because they’re members of your Facebook page or Twitter community, those people may want to join too. If they find out that you use your blog to give out fun stuff and target a “commenter of the day,” they may want to participate too.

People don’t always share the conversations they have online, but they’re extremely likely to share discounts and perks. If you offer higher levels of discounts to members who refer people to your various communities, they’re going to want to get even more involved. Done right, these campaigns have a way of going viral.

Don’t think of offering perks as losing money. Ideally, the opposite will happen. An established community with lots of members can bring in so many sales through a promotional campaign that it becomes extremely profitable. If your community is new, offering discounts and freebies may be a way to bring in members quickly.

Getting a promotion going does take some work, though. If your community is large enough, most of the work is done for you as your members engage in a word-of-mouth campaign. However, you can’t count on your members to do all your evangelizing for you.

Here are a few ways to spread the word about your promotion:

  • Write about your promotion on your blog.

  • Talk about your promotion on Twitter.

  • Share your promotion on Facebook.

  • Ask blogging friends to help promote your contest or promotion.

Don’t be a spammer. Talk about your promotion now and then, but don’t make every single conversation a pitch. Ideally, when members and potential members see what you’re sharing, they’ll help spread the word.