061: Why is it so important for membership business owners to invest in a community – with Andrew Guttormsen

Andrew Guttormsen, the CEO & Co-founder at Circle.so, the modern community platform for creators, joins us to explain why if you own a membership-based business, creating a community should be your next step.

✍️ Show Notes

📄 Show Transcript

This transcript is computer generated, please excuse any errors 🙂

Ward Sandler: Welcome everybody. Today I’m talking with Andrew Guttormsen. The co-founder of Circle.so, the modern platform for creators! Before that, he spent almost five years at Teachable, where he joined as employee number 7 and led a 15 person Growth & Marketing team as their VP of growth. He has in-depth knowledge of startup growth, Saas and creators needs! Andy, welcome to the Membership Maker podcast.

Andrew Guttormsen: Thanks for having me. I’m excited.

Ward Sandler: Sure thing. In the last couple of years, I think a lot of brands have realized the importance of building a healthy and strong community. But what would you say to entrepreneurs or business owners that are still coming to terms with the idea? Why is it so important for specifically membership business owners to invest in a community?

Andrew Guttormsen: Yeah, well, I think we’ve seen a really big shift taking place, which is that something changes when you go from this relationship where it’s a one to many relationships with all the people in your audience. Like you have a maybe some type of membership experience, it’s content focused, but when you start to go from just you being the one, delivering the value to letting your members get value from each other, it just gives you such an unfair advantage. And if you kind of look around at the most successful membership experiences, they have like raving fans, but a lot of them it’s because they’re connecting with the other folks who are in there, it’s not just this one street like this one-way street. So it’s basically just, it opens up, uh, the world of possibilities and the amount of value that you can offer the people in your membership, and that’s how you kind of differentiate from everybody else.

Ward Sandler: Right, because the alternative, if you don’t have a community, is those people can still maybe communicate with each other, but it’s your it’s outside of your control. It’s out. There’s a lot of other things and noise out there. So they could talk on a Facebook group, they could talk on Twitter. You know, that kind of thing, which is fine too, right? It’s still, also a good place for people to talk about your company and say how great you are and blah, blah, blah. But you’re competing with other things. Like all the other things that Facebook is trying to throw out them, all the other tweets that Twitter is showing them, and etcetera. So if it’s your own community, it’s just, it’s a different context, right?

Andrew Guttormsen:Well, what certainly you have more control, but you can offer this really premium polished experience that it feels premium, and you can guide those interactions rather than just hoping that they happen.

Ward Sandler: Right. Cause you can like prompt people with topics of the day or different discussions. You can kick off a really kind of shape of what you want the community to be talking.

Andrew Guttormsen:A hundred percent! And there are so many different ways to give value inside of these communities. One of my favourite ways to kind of like a cheat, but I’m trying to think through like, okay, like what’s the best way to give value in these communities? Go look at some of the sales pages of the most successful communities that are out there, and if you go through, like, you’ll see all the different things they do, right? They might bring in like experts for live Q&A, and better yet, they might even bring in their own community members to like teach things and share things and accountability groups and all that kind of this stuff. Right? And if you go to some of these sales pages, you can see how they communicate. Like what the value is and when you’re able to offer that versus the membership experience that doesn’t, it’s just a whole other world. And by the way, like the best types of like word of mouth that you get, it comes from those connections that you make in your community, that you make with people, it’s really the word of mouth fire a little bit.

Ward Sandler: Yeah, I think retention’s another thing for folks out there to think about when it comes to a membership business and a community. Anecdotally I’ve spoken to a lot of, you know, pretty successful membership people and founders that are using MemberSpace and one of the through-lines I’ve seen is that a lot of them have a successful, thriving community. And for a lot of members of those sites, the main reason they stick around a lot of times is for the community. Whenever you’re offering, you know, downloads videos, courses, whatever, whatever, as good as that may be, and I’m sure it’s providing a lot of value for some folks. The community is really the hook. That’s why they stick around, you know, generally, the content people are providing, you can get some version of it somewhere else it’s using not the 100% unique. You can never get this information anywhere else in the world. That’s usually not what it is, but the community does take on a life of its own, and is its own little special snowflake. So I think there is something sort of I guess special!

Andrew Guttormsen: It’s hard to replicate! Right?

Ward Sandler: Right. You can’t just copy and paste a community. You can copy and paste a feature, you can copy and paste a PDF, but you can’t copy and paste a community!

Andrew Guttormsen: How many of us will create a membership experience? Like are just swamped. Like you have a content calendar, you always feel like you’re on this hamster wheel of having to put out new content and things like that. Well, when you have an actual community, the community can help you create those things!

Ward Sandler: Right! Andy, thanks for taking the time to talk with us. We really appreciate it. Would you like to share any resources or recommendations for folks that are trying to learn more about Circle?

Andrew Guttormsen: Yeah, well, I mean, you know, if you ever want to run a community and, and kick the tires and see just what the experience can be like, uh, recommend you grab a, a trial circle and play around, um, or to say hi on Twitter it’s @aguttormsen on Twitter! You don’t have to search pretty hard to find that, but if you can be great to connect there,

Ward Sandler: Awesome. All right, Andy. Thanks again!