Product Communities: Taking Business beyond Give & Take

A business that just makes money is big fail. Give and take is worst business plan ever. If you are not adding value then this world has no place for you.

End of Information Age, Dawn of Community Age

Information age is so over. We don't need to learn all that crap that everyone is trying to teach. We are not fascinated by information, we want something more (or less) we want a relation or perhaps a community, a tribe. Every dude next door is a guru, but being a guru is not enough anymore. You need to be a guru who connects. It might even involve steeping down from your guru-ness and being a friend. Every good marketer knows that consumer's actions are directed by emotions and last time I checked, it was relation that creates an emotional bond not information. Social media is exactly that.

Products Communities v/s Products

If you create and sell a product then that's it but if you sell a product and turn it into an ongoing relation then it goes on. Don't focus on getting new customers; focus on transforming your current customers in advocates. An e-book that sells and works is fine. But an e-book with community (perhaps a forum, membership site, list etc.) behind it is awesomeness! They all are paying customers, they love what you do - imagine what you can do with such leading edge tribe.

Ideas on Create Product Communities

From Buzz to Community

Every group has sub-groups, right down to individuals. In your following find such sub tribes and give them a remarkable product, a product worth talking about and turn it into a community. That's your niche made nicher. Example: Your blog post on 'Stuff to Eat at Night' got a lot of buzz. You could write an ebook of recipes and ideas and sell it for 10 bucks. Or you can write in ebook sell it at 10 bucks and give them free access to a member's area where you put your latest idea. So no more, "Crap! I should have put it there!" And that community can serve as a base for new line or products.

Existing Product to Community

Do you have a product that can turn into a community? It will involve hard work of gathering as much existing customers as possible in the community but it is worth it. And if it was a remarkable product then it won't take that much effort. Example: You have a DVD of 'How-to' videos that sells well. If you are plugged into social media then you'd know the new questions and ideas floating around your videos. Time to work on next version of DVD and with this you can offer a free forum access - all your customers within your reach.

Beyond Product Communities

This idea is clever then it seems. There is no better audience then your existing customers (not potential customers) to expand your products or create and promote new ones. You can use them to try it before it goes public and do much more.

Some Business Using This Idea (or Similar Ideas)

Thesis Theme for WordPress: When you buy Thesis, you get access to all future updates and more - a rock solid community. They don't need to look elsewhere for improvements - their forum will tell them what there customers are doing most - and next version will make it easier. Blogussion Skin for Thesis: This one is somewhat similar. It's more like a support forum but has potential (and future plan) to develop in something bigger. Steve Pavlina: A popular blog connected to forum. It's clever then you think. It gives chance for readers to talk off-topic therefore they stay there more often and what better place to develop, test or sell new products? Better Blog in 30 Days (Darren Rowse): His popular book has a related forum. What better community can Darren ask for? It's gold-mine.
Photo by pedrosimoes7