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Testing The Community Concept

Richard Millington
Richard Millington

Founder of FeverBee

Unless you’re building a customer support community, you want a unique, powerful, concept.

For example, a community for authors isn’t a unique concept. A community exclusively for authors of bestselling books is more interesting. As is a community for qualified authors to connect with verified book agents. Or a community for authors of detective novels etc…

Member research can help you come up with good ideas for concepts, but until you test them out you never know if it will really catch on and excite your audience.

There are good and bad ways to test out a concept.

The bad ways take a lot of time, money, and incur a lot of public exposure. Launching a new community on a premium platform and promoting it to your entire mailing list is the worst way to test your concept. Once you’re publicly locked into the idea, it’s very hard to change it (yet it’s also the most common for most brands).

Better ways tend to include:

  • Launching a blog on the topic first and promoting it to your mailing list to gauge the reaction.
  • Publishing a manifesto or whitepaper on the topic and promoting it within related groups
  • Hosting a webinar (or series of webinars) on the topic (if the number of attendees rises, you’re in luck).
  • Hosting a meetup about the topic.
  • Starting a private Facebook group and asking people to put themselves forward to join.

You can quickly see if:

a) There is a small group of people really passionate about the topic. If the people in the group really love the group, you’re in luck.

b) If the topic is interesting enough to sustain discussions beyond that initial interest. If you’re getting 5+ new discussions a day, that’s a good sign.

Don’t launch a community until you’ve tested and confirmed your exciting concept. It’s a lot easier to change your community before you’ve launched it.

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