How To Launch An Online Community And Reach Critical Mass

Last month I had the privilege of explaining how to build an online community to 1500 inbound marketers at MozCon.

It was one of my favourite talks yet.

You can click here or play the video below.

If you want a course that takes you through this entire process, click here.


  1. DavidDiGiovanni says:

    Great talk, learning so much here. Thanks Richard!

  2. Richard Millington says:

    thanks david. It was a pleasure to give.

  3. DavidDiGiovanni says:

    So you talk about the “big launch” strategy that most companies use that almost always fails. Then you advocate the friends/founding members approach. Seems to me that at some point it makes to do a big launch after you have your founding members and the community is on solid footing. Is this correct? Or do you typically just leave a community to grow organically and not try to push it on the entire customer-base?

  4. Richard Millington says:

    I can’t think of many communities that did a big launch at all and succeeded. Sure there have been a few. If you have a million+ customers it will probably work to get a few thousand participants.

    Otherwise, I’d grow organically.

  5. DavidDiGiovanni says:

    I understand the “big launch” strategy does not work for 99.99% of communities. Instead, businesses should focus on acquiring founding members. But is there a point where you do fire off a mass email to your list or start tweeting the community? It seems like if I have 100 founding members participating in the community on a regular basis, it wouldn’t hurt to share the community with a larger audience. I guess I don’t see why these two strategies are mutually exclusive and if they aren’t, how to gauge when to start doing mass promotions?

  6. Richard Millington says:

    I’d always suggest doing it in stages. This lets you optimise the
    conversion rate and test different approaches.

  7. Sarah Hawk says:

    We actually did a big launch at UXMastery which was successful. (When I say big, we emailed 5k people and got around 50 signups). Many of those people became the founding group and are still with us.

    I guess the caveat here is that those people had strong relationships with the brand already, and were the main driver behind creating the community in the first place.

  8. Darren McKay says:

    Another ‘thanks!’ Richard - it was a very good talk. In some regards I might be an ‘old dog’ but I picked up a few new tricks!

  9. Bo McGuffee says:

    Excellent presentation!

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