Online Community

8 Strategies to Monetize Your Online Community

June 28, 2023
table of Content
Mohammad Shoaib
Sr. Accounts Manager @AtomChat
4 Minutes

Most brands view online communities as a marketing strategy complementary to their main products. But really, they can be so much more. Your online community can significantly contribute to your brand's growth. It pays to monetize your online community rather than think of it as just a marketing expense. 

Now, there are several ways to monetize a community. The exact route will depend on your community’s unique needs and goals. This is where community collaboration platforms like AtomChat include many features that ease the realization of these objectives.

Strategies to monetize your online community

When it comes to community monetization, first understand your audience, size, niche, and goals. This way, you can identify the right monetization strategy and customize it for your users’ preferences. 

Here are eight proven ways to monetize your community.

BLOG UPDATE: AtomChat has now payment integration. Pay-Per-Minute helps you earn better.

1. Earn from paid memberships and virtual events:

Offer paid subscriptions to your community members for access to premium content or services. These possibilities include additional exclusive content like forums, courses, webinars, and resources that users may be willing to spend on. Or these can be benefits like extra features, profile upgrades, avatars, customization options, events, branded merchandise, and tech support available for a monthly (or annual) fee. You can even host virtual events such as webinars, summits, conferences, workshops, or meetups that are available only to paid members. However, it takes considerable effort from you (the brand) to ensure that paid members receive high-quality, unique content worth the fee. Tiered Access features in AtomChat can be useful for such requirements.

2. Sell an online course or personalized coaching:

You can create and run online courses on a topic of interest to your community. Sell these courses to teach new skills or help members achieve their goals. If you have expertise in a particular area, you can start one-on-one or group coaching sessions that assist members pick up new skills under your direct guidance. Consulting services related to your community topic to members is another option worth exploring. Group sessions can also include recreational activities, community discourses, or therapy. 

3. Sell products and merchandise:

In this option, you can consider paid access digital products such as e-books, audiobooks, podcasts, artworks, and other resources (like physical products or services). These products can also include branded merchandise such as T-shirts, mugs, and other items that might have practical or sentimental value for the community members. 

4. Leverage affiliate marketing:

Set up affiliate links to promote products and services relevant or appealing to your community. When a user buys through such a link, you'll get a commission on each sale. Promote these products seamlessly to increase natural appeal for your community members. AtomChat’s capabilities can be used for such promotions.

5. Market data:

To utilize this monetization option, first ensure you have an updated database of your audience's information. You can consider the use of digital tools and APIs to set this up. Approach market research companies and other relevant firms to determine how you can monetize your database. For example, if you have an extensive database that contains information such as user behavior, demographics, or preferences. In this case, such information might be helpful to market research companies or brands looking to target that specific type of audience. 

6. Earn via advertising:

You can sell advertising space on your website or social media channels to earn revenue. Common advertising options include the promotion of products or services relevant to your community through banner ads, sponsored posts, or sponsored content. AtomChat has a rich set of capabilities to run ads for monetization, with features like integration of ads to chat windows.

7. Seek donations and crowdfunding:

Request ask members for contributions or start a crowdfunding campaign to support your community. Help your audience understand that these donations will enhance the resources available to provide high quality content and services.

8. Start content curation services:

You can create content curation services that offer high-quality content to your community members. This saves them time even as it delivers top notch content from reliable, relevant, and up-to-date sources.

The ideal mix of community monetization strategies creates a sustainable model that supports your community in the long haul. Measure, analyze, and tweak these strategies over time for the best results.

Why must you monetize your community?

Monetization of your community demonstrates confidence in your efforts. It is a clear declaration about the value of your brand, products, and services. 

You gain a competitive advantage over the competition for free as people value what they pay for. This takes time, but you'll gradually increase control over your community's trust. It increases customers’ belief in your brand’s legitimacy. 

Monetization can be a major challenge. It takes time to figure out what works for your community. Yet, it's worth the effort. The revenue earned during this journey also translates to self-sustainable and profitable campaigns. 

The many benefits of monetizing an online community include:

  • Clear identification of high value members
  • Lesser reliance and separation from third-party social platforms like Facebook
  • Enhanced security from community outsiders with ill intentions
  • Creation of a sustainable and scalable income stream from your community platform that covers operational costs and maintenance
  • Lesser dependence on a single platform or channel for earnings
  • Increased revenues to reinvest in the community
  • Reward for the efforts put into creation and management of your community
  • Newer skills and experience due to experimentations with different monetization methods and strategies
  • Capabilities to reach out to more people who share your passion or interests
  • Establishes you as a thought leader or authority in a specific niche, as you offer high-quality and high-value content to your members
  • Boosts member engagement as well as retention with incentives and rewards for participation

The Final Thought

Community monetization can significantly contribute to your company, brand, or entrepreneurship growth. It provides an additional and multi-faceted revenue stream. 

The ideal route is to employ a mix of monetization strategies that creates a sustainable model. This strategy supports your community in the long run. Content or services provided to your community members should also be high-quality and enjoyable enough to retain them on a long-term basis. 

Mohammad Shoaib

Shoaib is an Experienced, Senior Account Manager with a zeal for the IT and services industry. Currently, he’s working on Auditing, Analytics, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and making sure we Skyrocket off the charts.

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