Community Building June 18, 2020

The future of community monetisation?!?!

Tom Hunt @tomhuntio

I've spent the last twelve months building the SaaS Marketer community.

During this time I've experimented with the following monetisation strategies:

  • Service (approx. $13k per month right now)
  • Coaching/Info (approx. $1k per month right now)
  • Sponsorship (approx. $500 per month right now)
  • Affiliate (approx. $300 per month right now)

I'm generally happy with all of these, but not ecstatic.

  • Service is a lot of work
  • Coaching/Info is hard to sell
  • Sponsorship is sometimes annoying and also can be hard to sell
  • And I hadn't really got affiliate to work reliably until...


I had a brainwave: why not let community members sell something relatively inexpensive to each-other and in exchange for exposure to the audience, I take a cut.

Like an affiliate model, but deals are only sourced from within the community.

The sellers win as they get quick customers with little work. The community wins as they can pick up a bargain whilst supporting a community member and we win as we help a community member and generate a little revenue.

So on Monday I reach out to the community to see if anyone is interested in this...

I get a few responses, and one stands out.

We agree terms (40:60 split) and also negotiate a discount for the community:

The deal will be up for 5 days or 25 units, depending on which ends first.

Fortunately Kacper is already set up on Gumroad, which makes the process super simple.

I write up a little sales email and we go live to the email list, Facebook Group and I recorded a little audio advert and inserted it into the start of every previous podcast episode.

At 10am this morning it went live...

You can see the offer and sales copy here:

Seven hours later we have sold 16 (the offer was lifetime access to a growth tactics database Kacper built), including one to Ryan Deiss of Digital Marketer:

This nets us close to $500...

And of course a little more for our man Kacper, but that's all good as he is in the community and also built the product!

And what about the community reception?

This surprised me... I was expecting backlash for the pure sales email, but actually our stats were better than the email we sent on Tuesday that simply drove traffic to a podcast episode and a sponsor:

It seems like people prefer deal emails to podcast emails...

Overall, it was a little bit of organisation to find and negotiate the deal (now automated with this page and form) and then also to sell... but overall it seems like a scalable affiliate model that we will now execute on a weekly basis.

So in summary, if you have an email list, Facebook Group or Slack community and are unsure of how to monetise... and people in your community could possible buy from each other, maybe consider running similar deals?

Thanks and I hope that helps... if anyone has experimented with this I would to hear your results in the comments :)

  1. 3

    You forgot to mention that Scrapbook set a new daily sales record ;)

    Guys, if you run a product for marketers and need some early traction, Tom's community is where you need to be!

    1. 3

      who's tom? do they have a landing page?

      1. 2

        The guy who wrote this post ;) Check out his brilliant case studies and FB community.

    2. 1

      Haha yep of course, thanks for that man :)

  2. 2

    This is a really useful experiment and insight, Tom. Thanks for sharing!

    Do you mind elaborating on what the "service" is that brings in the 13k a month? It wasn't immediately obvious from the site.

    1. 1

      Sure, we run podcasts for SaaS businesses, full done for you service :)

      1. 2

        Ah, nice. A growing industry, i'm sure!

  3. 2

    Error 522 Ray ID: 5a7936343c6ec9e2 • 2020-06-22 21:55:08 UTC
    Connection timed out

    Your site issue.

      1. 1

        Thanks for checking man!

  4. 2

    Peer to Peer is the way to go.

    1. 1

      I feel you Matthew, also great surname ;)

  5. 2

    This is very smart. Can see how it can get annoying as a member, but if you curate and approach it well as the mod, I think this is a brilliant idea.

    1. 1

      Thanks man, and yep totally agree, the only way this works is if the deals are actually great. Unsubscribe rate on the first email is promising tho!

  6. 2

    I have a community of community builders on my platform. One of them actually did something like this. He was in a group of entrepreneurs on WhatsApp, and ppl in it was selling stuff to each other. quickly it ppl are no longer helping each other like we do here on IH. The deals are also very limited to your group size and quality. It is as scalable as your group and scale.

    Personally I think it's a fun thing to play with, but it's not as scalable since a big portion of the members might actually don't like that and they will quit.

    But I could be wrong, it's a marketer community. :)

    1. 1

      Haha great insight... going to limit it to one email per week and so far unsubscribe rate during the first week was lower than our normal content email so let's see!

      1. 2

        yeah definitely make it a feature instead of the core

  7. 2

    super interesting! i'm kinda in a similar mind space with community monetization. would love keep watching how this idea matures 🙌

    1. 1

      Sure, what is your community? ;)

      1. 2

        Building! Around Notion and productivity.

        1. 1

          Awesome will check it out!

  8. 2

    I'll be very pleased to show you RoleUp my project . It might be interesting for you and your community to add a job board.

      1. 2

        The landing is at this address

        I can walk you through the demo or some already live job boards whenever you want.

        1. 1

          Sure will check it out!

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