Imagine this scenario: you've spent months, perhaps years with your team building a product to launch and launch day has finally arrived.
What do you do?
Send out an email to friends and family?
Post on Facebook?
Perhaps list it on Amazon?
This is a scenario that, many business owners go through and most of them can agree on one thing: product launches are challenging.
But, what if there is a better way? What if you already had a list of people who trusted you? Some savvy entrepreneurs seem to have found it and it lies in the building of a community before your product ever launches. In fact, this is exactly what Lewis Howes, Neil Patel, Sujan Patel and other successful entrepreneur do.
Community building has become a hot trend these days and it's all centered around the idea that if you can build a community, establish trust, thought leadership and prove you can help them, you can have a nearly guaranteed customer base when launch day rolls around.
Push vs. Pull Marketing
The reason that community building is becoming so popular is because it follows a much different dynamic of selling then companies have done in the past to market their product. Before marketing was about eyeballs. Newspaper ads, TV ads, and radio which were used in the past follow the push method of advertising. According to data, however, consumers have grown numb to this style of marketing and now pull marketing is where marketers are turning their attention to.
Instead of blasting your message in front of people that don't know you, this new style of marketing involves pulling the customer in and establishing a relationship with them then at a later date, selling them a product or service. This process of relationship-first selling is the reason why marketers are buzzing about communities.
One of the most well-known experts in community building on the internet is Drew Canole who runs fitlife.tv. Just a few years ago, Drew Canole was in Florida working in the world of finance, earning a six figure salary, and driving around in luxury cars. But despite the success, or perhaps because of it, his personal health was not a priority and it began to suffer.
The Back Story
On a particularly stressful afternoon spent at the office, a friend offered him a green juice. The drink was packed with nutrients that he rarely got elsewhere and he immediately noticed a difference. He had more energy, his mind cleared, and his mood improved.
That one glass of juice kick-started one of the largest online health communities on the internet, Fitlife.tv, a health, nutrition, and mindset community that combined has over 3 million active members.
The community is thriving today, but it began from humble beginnings like most success stories do. Drew left the finance industry and set out for San Diego. Overweight by 35 pounds and dissatisfied with his health, Drew began juicing and transforming himself. Along the way, he documented his own changes and published YouTube videos to help inspire others.
The videos took on a life of their own and organically developed a following. Drew saw an opportunity.
Three Million and Growing
Today, across his various social media channels, he has an audience of nearly 3 million people that are engaged with the educational content and videos that he publishes multiple times per day. This community is the foundation for his business, which today sells numerous products, like Organifi Green Juice, Daily Turmeric Boost, and multiple e-books and courses.
To learn more about building a community and how other entrepreneurs can do the same, we sat down with Drew and asked him some questions.
How did you get your first 100 people to join your community?
Drew Canole: I think the biggest thing to do when starting a new business, especially one that attracts millions of people... is to first and foremost know who your avatar is.
Know where they shop, what they eat, where they like to travel, what music they like and become familiar with every quality that they possess. Once you are really clear on who you are talking to, it is a lot easier to produce content for that person. I knew when creating the world's largest online "juicing" community, we had to create content that they would love and share. Don't deviate from the path too much and always give... give... and give some more.
Above all else, once you know WHO that person is, talk directly to them. Every video you watch of ours, you will notice I am only talking to YOU. I want you to feel like you are really in my kitchen with me.
What have been the crucial steps in building your community?
Drew Canole: I think having an indoctrination process is key for our communities rampant and continuously growing community. People want to belong to a cause and for us - our cause is simple.
It's in our E3 method. Empower, Educate, and Elevate.
It often starts by someone watching a video of ours or reading a blog... or when a person buys our organic greens powder, Organifi, the world's best-tasting superfood blend. From there, they join our always evolving, educational site chock-full of resources and tools to inspire radical change in their life. We give them the steps to document the process and share it with those in their life, be it online or off.
We're huge advocates for education. And once they learn how to lose weight in a sustainable way, begin to look and feel younger, have more of a vibrant glow - they become empowered to enroll others to follow suit. When this happens and they truly begin to embody the
How important has passion been in building your community?
Drew Canole: In the beginning, there were years without a paycheck. Without passion, you can't sustain an "I will never give up" attitude. We teach a process called Whydentity that allows people to instantly develop a high-level cause in their own life. It dramatically increases passion and gives the person an opportunity to turn their J.O.B. into their dream life. You MUST have passion. That's non-negotiable.
What advice could you give to other entrepreneurs looking to establish a community?
Drew Canole: Approach it with a different mindset. Most "business people" go after money first. We've done the opposite. We focus on who we are. Really - the business, the lessons, the videos, the content, the products - they are something that is embedded in the very fabric of our team and company's DNA. Every individual has had a transformation in their own lives and they are able to show up in the world as their best self because of their own personal experiences. When the core of your being changes... the people you attract and the community you build become a reflection of this new type of thinking.
The community starts with you. If you commit to becoming congruent in your life and really start to live differently compared to the masses, you will inspire others to do the same. And that makes everything worth it.