What are the reasons that some startup succeed while some fail? Why do products instantly attract a multitude of users while other still lag at user acquisition, even after considerable marketing expenses?
The answer to this can be a variety of reasons such as user interface, design, customer service, utility value and sometimes even price. But very often one feature that gets left out is the impact and support of the community around.
A vibrant community can be a magical marketing and sales tool for a startup. While it is imperative for a startup to have a great product/service, an enthusiastic community around it can aid the company in garnering more attention, providing insights and gaining critical early feedback
While in India, our ecosystem surrounding Startups is still in the nascent stage, there are communities developing in Bangalore and around the Delhi/NCR region. One of the biggest problems facing tech entrepreneurs in India is the relatively small number of early adopters. In an excellent article about the “two speed” state of Indian market adoption, Mukund Mohan writes, “The Innovators (less than 1 % of the population or 12 Million individuals) in India (entrepreneurs mostly) who conceive and develop products for the Indian market and the early adopters (less than 5% of population or approx 60 Million individuals) together make up the entire “early adopter” category. Unfortunately less than 30% of them have both the interest, and the desire to be early adopters of technology.”
If you are a technology company, how do you build a community around your company?
1.Start early; make the community an integral part of your system: Start a blog before you actually launch and let people know what you are doing. Building a community takes time. Be patient.
2.Value your initial customers: Those first few people who sign up for your product are there out of choice, they have found your product and they are sticking by it because they love it. Treat them well. Value their feedback.
3. Let your customers know they are special: Marketing dollars might get you signups but word of mouth will get you user engagement. Don’t just value customer feedback; let your customers know that you are ‘listening’ and that you value their feedback.
4.Establish a mutual relationship: Once your community starts growing, as difficult as it might be, acknowledge contributions and hold events where your customers can interact with you or your team. This can act as a cohesive force and take people beyond just a bunch of people using your product
In a day and age when online customer loyalty isn’t really high, a community around your product can not only be your loyal user-base but also your very own cheering squad.
Do share your thoughts.
- Freshdesk launches Future Fund to help startups provide better customer care (thenextweb.com)
- You can’t skip over early adopters (giffconstable.com)
- Startups and the Value of Vibrant Communities (markevanstech.com)
- Rackspace Startup Program Spotlight: FastCustomer (rackspace.com)
- Give Startups Some Love: Test Out Their Apps (techinasia.com)