How to Monetize Your Community

Experts predict that purchases made through online communities will reach USD $2.9 trillion by 2026. And while many companies understand the benefits of monetizing an online community, it can be difficult to figure out how to do so. Here are some of the challenges people face when trying to monetize their online communities and how you can effectively navigate these obstacles.

What does it mean to monetize your community?

Monetizing an online community means finding ways to use it to earn income for your business. In other words, instead of merely using it as a digital space for users to interact, you turn your community into a money-generating tool.

An online community can be an effective source of income, primarily because it scratches the most daunting marketing challenge off your checklist by default; knowing where your target audience’s attention lives. An online community is like your very own stadium. You can have many members in a central location and then customize how and when you advertise or sell products or services to them.

Challenge #1: Ethical Monetization

Often, when it comes to marketing, the easiest way is actually the hardest. The easy way to monetize an online community is to sell member data. But even though many companies would be willing to pay top dollar for insights into your members, selling to them would involve an unethical breach of member trust.

To stay within ethical boundaries, you need to find a way to monetize your online community without peddling user info. This can be very difficult if you don’t have ownership of the customer experience or engagement insights.

Challenge #2: Lack of Data for Paid Content Placement Campaigns

If you pay a public platform for content placement, you may have insufficient access to data about how the content is performing. For example, you may not be able to see detailed information regarding:

  • People who liked your content, such as geolocations, timestamps, and other types of related content they are interested in
  • Those who comment on your content and the aggregated themes of the comments.
  • Engagement data, such as how often people engage with your content

This can severely limit your ability to make money with your community engagement strategy and content, at the same rate as social media platforms where you advertise. For example, suppose a piece of content you’re promoting in a social media platform has been underperforming. Without accurate data and spending more resources, it may be impossible to figure out why. For instance, it’s helpful to know how many times social media users have engaged with your content, so you can determine the kind of impact it’s having.

Without this kind of data, figuring out why your content is underperforming may be a frustrating guessing game. On the other hand, if you own the platform,  as you do when partnering with Cloud Community, you have access to all of the user insights that Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms have.

How can you work around these challenges to successfully monetize and build your community?

There are a few different ways to get around these challenges. With the right customized platform, you have the ability to:

  • Build a community around a service and charge a membership fee.
  • Set up your own private marketplace you can use to sell your product to your audience.
  • Sell event tickets to members.
  • Promote workshops and accept payment and bookings on your platform.

Get Started with a Cloud Community

With a Cloud Community, you can manage workshops, product offerings, payments, events, tickets, meetings and more all within your very own community. This makes it easy to set up a customized marketplace for your business. You can also set up a business directory that enables you to collect advertising revenue from other companies. Book a demo today to see how it works.