A detailed guide on launching your community landing page

A detailed guide on launching your community landing page

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Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

In this current moment in my life, I’m truly feeling like my community landing page is everything.

This is especially true for people like me, who are not internet thought leaders/don’t have a strong following or large audience built around themselves.

If you are just a small girl* in a big world trying to scale your community beyond yourself, this article is for you!

*This is a mindset thing; not a gender or size thing. I assume that sometimes we ALL feel like small girls in a big world; but what do I know. That is my sole identity. sry

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • Why your community landing page is everything
  • What you need to do before planning a website (re-)launch & best practices on your landing page
  • Common mistakes (and yes, I’ve made them)

I’ve also included a video tour further down. It’s a bit disorganized and rambly but for those of you visual learners out there, it might help you understand where I’ve pulled some of these concepts from.

One more freebie for you if you ever want to come back to this article without wading through my loquaciousness:

Special thanks to Gesche from Dreamers & Doers and the team at WomenWork Network for asking me to work on landing page strategy & helping me articulate + build on these learnings!

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Why you need an amazing community landing page

Your landing page can be a make-or-break factor for your community, especially if the community is your main product. If it’s not, this article may be less relevant for you.

Your community landing page is a powerful signal to attract the right people to your community.

Yes, this may seem really obvious. It was obvious to me too, for the last two years of running the Soapbox Project community, but for some reason, I still had a wack website. Most of us know the things we “should” do — making time for it is a whole separate headache.

Your community landing page:

  • Clearly articulates what your product/service/offering is. If you’re not a celebrity thought leader internet boi with a zillion followers, you need to be really clear on why people should pay you or give you their time to hang out in the community you’re facilitating. I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve had 1:1 calls with potential members for Soapbox Project where they finally understood what it is we were doing. If it takes a 1:1 call to give people the answer of “so, what exactly happens in the community?”, that’s a signal that you need to update your landing page.
  • Shows the value of your community. There are so many online communities (I count Soapbox as one of them) that are MAGICAL places to hang out on the internet. They may even be life-changing! You might experience a strong period of early growth when the people in your direct network understand this, but if you don’t have a strong landing page, it’s really hard to communicate the magic to the outside world.
  • Demonstrates the transformation that people can make through their investment. Everyone wants the same thing: to live their best life and to enable living-best-life vibes for their loved ones. And every successful community is a path to getting there. Got a community for magicians to help them launch virtual magic shows? That’s great! But although the goal might be “make more money” or “learn Zoom” or “find new friends”, the true transformation is financial security, job safety, and being cared for. Your landing page should show how people are going to live their truest, most beautiful lives, thanks to investment in this community!

What do you need to launch launching your community landing page?

A quick detour into the life of your internet tour guide, Nivi Achanta: Before unleashing full Party Sorceress / Online Community Enthusiast mode, I spent a lot of time in Soulsucking Corporate Consulting mode.

The Soulsucking Era is paying off now, because I simply “get” the business and technology foundations that need to be in place for any successful online community. I learned that being a “good” online community builder is very different than being a skilled community organizer, in-person event planner, etc.

I have:

  • Built the entire Soapbox Project website myself*
  • Done hours of user interviews and synthesized findings
  • Set up all our tooling and tech stack, which includes our email provider, online community, and all automations that we need to run successfully

I say this because I have firsthand experience in all the things you need to have in place for a good community landing page. There’s A LOT I can still improve on, but these are some best practices.

*Major shoutouts to Malena Hansen, Sanya Khan, and Bella Zhang and ESPECIALLY Malena for allllllll the design contributions that went into the website

For a strong hero section, you need user research

In your hero section, you need to answer: Who is the community for? What do they get when they join? What is the transformation that is unlocked? And then you need to turn it into a heading + subheading.

Here’s a format you could use:

We help [identity] become [goal], so that they [transformation]. This is taken from Learn Grant Writing, and their heading before this is “Write grants. Get paid”. Followed by this tagline:

We help those ready for a career change become paid grant writers, so they have the flexibility to build a life they love.

Whether or not you’ve talked to users/members/potential members, you probably have an idea of your heading + subheading. That’s great! Take a moment to do a happy dance! 👯👯‍♂️

Buuuuut… user research could be the difference between a stagnant business and a 7-figure organization.

Meredith (of Learn Grant Writing) talks about how her team spent hours interviewing users, synthesizing findings, and using the EXACT LANGUAGE people used on their website.

Your new friends and community members should see themselves reflected on your landing page.

On our main website (https://soapboxproject.org/) , our heading reads: Overwhelmed by climate change?

Followed by this subheading:

Join a friendly community of busy people like you where we combine personal responsibility, collective action, and FUN!

The transformation is a bit implicit: you go from overwhelmed → having fun; it could be better but I’m happy with the starting point.

On our community landing page (https://www.soapboxproject.org/community/join), we say Goodbye, climate anxiety. Hello, solutions. Our subheading is:

The most fun place for busy people like you to learn about climate justice solutions, create a personal action plan, and build accountability with new friends. Join for the 6-week live cohort; stay for the lighthearted lifelong community.

In summary, do user research, use your members’ language around their problems and solutions, and understand what they really want out of this one life we live. There are a bazillion guides on user research on the internet and I may write one later to be community-builder specific.

You have to have basic community design in place

I’m not going to spend time on this because you probably know this already. Here’s a checklist. Please note that these can be different for your community and your main website/company depending on your approach. E.g. you might have different brand values and community values.

Mission statement
Vision statement
Voice, personality, and tone
Colors and fonts

You’ll also want some sort of email capture/ways people can stay in touch with you if they don’t want to join your community right away.

You’ll want social proof

The point of a landing page is to scale yourself. Complete strangers on the internet should be able to trust you and throw down the big bux to join your community. Or small bucks, but you get the point.

Why We Buy is my favorite newsletter on buyer psychology, and the author, Katelyn, has an excellent article on social proof.

Here are some ways you can demonstrate social proof:

  • Real, raw feedback (like screenshots of tweets or customer reviews)
  • Specific numbers (like how many people are in your community, if that matters to you)
  • Collaborations with experts (Marie Poulin’s notionmastery.com course has a testimonial from the founder of Notion — talk about the ultimate social proof)
  • News articles and PR
  • Testimonials (bonus for video!)

For Soapbox, that’s currently a mix of news articles and member testimonials. We’ve had a LOT of cool experts speak on exclusive fireside chats in our community but I haven’t highlighted them yet on our website, which I must do soon!!

You’ll need powerful sections that demonstrates what happens in your community

Here’s a checklist:

About the instructor/facilitator/team
Emotional appeals (e.g. “you’re in the right place if you…)
Clear community description section
Breakdown of material
Tangible perks and benefits of joining your community
Is it right for you/whom it’s for and not for
Pricing, including a risk-free guarantee if you have one

Here’s a video on which communities I looked like and how I set up my own community landing page:

Common mistakes & pitfalls to look out for

Building an amazing landing page is hard. I’m really proud of how mine turned out, AND I know there’s still a lot of improvements I can make to it.

Here are some mistakes I’ve seen and made myself when building a landing page:

  1. Over-indexing on design at the cost of accessibility. When I first started out, I wanted all the fun interactions on Webflow, my website provider. I wanted the coolest testimonial slider and fun colors. It turned out to be an accessibility nightmare and it wasn’t always mobile responsive. And it took away my brain space on making a clear landing page. Accessibility is a must-have, not a nice-to-have, and I’m still undoing my past mistakes.
  2. Copying others without understanding what they’re doing. I looooove copying smart people. And I’ve gotten SO much better at it. It’s easy to just take someone else’s template/framework and personalize it… but it doesn’t work if you don’t have your own methodology. You still have to figure out YOUR unique approach, what your members are really looking for, and the actual words they’re saying.
  3. Optimizing for cleverness over clarity. I wanted to be soooo fun that it wasn’t clear what the heck Soapbox Project even WAS. There are SO many websites out there where it’s not clear what the offer even is.
  4. Underestimating the effort a website takes. Lol I’m pretty sure we’ve all made this mistake.
  5. Outsourcing your website to the wrong org. So I have NOT done this, and I’m sure people would tell me I wasted too much time doing all of it myself. However, I feel very strongly about wanting to make updates whenever I want to make them, and having control over the website and landing page. I’ve heard some nightmare stories on website outsourcing.
  6. Aiming for perfection to launch. I can’t speak to this personally because I’m on the other mistake end of this — launching stuff that’s “too raw” and sometimes even has the wrong links in place (yikes) but most people I know wait TOO long to launch or relaunch their landing page. It’s better to have a minimalist but updated landing page than one that has wrong info because you’re waiting 6 months for the perfect mix of words and colors.

Don’t forget your checklist!

➡️ Here’s your checklist to launch or relaunch your community landing page!

This post has a LOTTTTTTTTT of info so I made you a checklist that you can duplicate/bookmark.

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