How in this world are we going to make money from a community?!

Written by Julia T. on 2019.10.30.

How in this world are we going to make money from a community?!

When Facebook went public in 2012, the question on everyone’s mind was: How will Facebook make any money? For years, the social network was working without earning a cent. They concentrated almost exclusively online community building and online community management. But it is possible to start generating revenue from digital communities? Depending on where you stand right now, there are two options:

Option 1: You want to build a community, but know for sure you need to be cash-flow positive with it, otherwise your investment case diminishes. Then: Build your community as a business model

Building a digital community that generates revenue in a short space of time, requires a business plan or model, to be executed successfully. You need to lay out a revenue model that drives your community and will make money. Typical revenue models for a community as a business model are:

  • Marketplaces
  • Matching platforms
  • Service and Sharing platforms
  • Communication platforms
  • Advertising platforms

Your digital community needs to exist solely as this business model, and needs to be managed alongside this business plan.

Option 2: You’ve already built your community, you’re getting engagement but now you actually want to start making some money.

Then: Turn your existing community into a revenue model

In order to turn your existing community into a revenue model, you need to review what is and isn't working within your existing community. Are you creating a place that like minded people want to keep coming back to? Are you supplying your community members with valuable content that builds credibility and trust amongst the community. Keep in mind that, communities only live as long as they manage to provide relevant and attractive information and services to their members. 

When you have found the value and you know why people come back to your community, you can find a revenue model with a low entry point. 

REMEMBER, turn the value into features, that will turn into new revenue streams.

Good for starters: 

  • Membership models (single, startup. business, enterprise etc.. you name it)
  • Premium feature options (use 70% of your community stuff for free - typical freemium, and then fence premium features such as articles, whitepapers, or even interactions options etc)
  • Product payment options (e.g. pay for this webinar,access our one-on-one consultations, or apply for this program)

Whether you are creating a digital community as a business model, or turning an existing one into a revenue model, you have the potential to be profitable.

Want to talk more about how to make money with digital communities get in touch!