General Marketing Strategies?

Unsure if this fits perfectly in this category, but, it is relevant to community-building insofar as without folks showing up you won’t really have an effective forum!

I’m not a fan of marketing, in general, but I have lived long enough to know that the Kevin Costner if you build it they will come strategy isn’t a good one… ever.


Consequently, I’ve been thinking about how best to market, especially the things that we can do that cost zero dollars.

Love to start a large thread of what people have done and what they’ve seen work!

(thanks to @HAWK for pushing me this way.)


Here are a whole lot of ideas that may or may not work, depending on your organisation.

  • Build partnerships or symbiotic relationships with other communities (e.g. find related communities and have them send members your way for specialised information)
  • Find guest blogging opportunities (leveraging someone else’s audience). Tools like Followerwonk scan Twitter profiles and can help you to target appropriate people to approach.
  • Build your personal brand and become a thought leader in your niche so that people actively seek you out.
  • Redirect existing traffic from other real estate (examine traffic to the rest of your site and put community CTAs on high traffic yielding pages.
  • Not a huge fan of this one, but leveraging social media (either through posting or ads) is a successful strategy for some brands.
  • Incentivise referrals (limit this to TLs so you don’t get a whole lot of crap and build in retention gates so that people get further incentives if people hit engagement targets).
  • Host online events on popular topics and gate follow up information within the community.
  • Offer partnership badges to organisations that you have close relationships with to put on their site, linking back to yours.
  • Take advantage of reciprocity and link to other blogs in your content (the more influential, the better).
  • Implement an automated onboarding series of emails that go out each week for 4 weeks. This will help to optimise your new – engagement member conversion rate.

And lastly, here is a list of Growth resources that I put together in a past role growth [The Knowledge]

Let me know if you want clarification of any of the above.


This is fantastic and i’m starting to look into applying many of these.

Another question for folks… what have people done to increase sign-ups from organic search?

Folks are coming in from all sides of our community (which is great) but we’re not seeing enough folks signing up as we’d expect from the numbers. Frustrating, but, I believe we can fix the so-called leaks


How granular is your data? Can you see where they’re dropping off? i.e. are they reading a few posts and then leaving? If so, then you could conceivably gate some of your content. If they’re bouncing before they read then they’re not finding what they were expecting and you could consider a one question exit survey to figure out what it is that the do want to find.

Analysing the search terms should tell you a lot. What search terms are bringing in the most traffic? Are the organic searches from people that are literally looking for very basic information and are then freaked out because you ask them what their favourite currency is? There is no point in converting the wrong audience. That’s not a solid strategy.