5 Tips For Starting A Community That Turns Into A Business: Be Consistent, ID Your Strengths, Create Understandable Information
Dan Murray-Serter is nine years an entrepreneur, with multiple failures under his belt as well as a few successes.
Like everyone else, he’d had his share of ups and downs in life, including bouts of depression, but it was not until a spell with severe insomnia three years ago that he ever gave a thought to the health of his brain.
Murray-Serter found a solution to his insomnia through high-powered supplements aimed at brain health. He also found a business that started not with a product but with a newsletter. He primed the market for his product by growing his newsletter’s subscription base, and he created a massive following for it in a relatively short period of time not with short-term boosts from marketing, but instead by thinking about long-term growth.
Murray-Serter grew his business not by creating a product, but by creating a community.
The business he created, Heights, was operating as a bridge between two domains that he admittedly knew nothing about: nutrition and brain care.
Both fields are marked by plenty of high-level scientific discourse that the average person desperately needs to know about, but which is too complex to easily digest. At the same time, there was an opportunity to market and sell concentrated brain supplements geared toward people who want to optimize their mental performance but don’t have the time or inclination to. But first, they needed to know that their brain health was not optimised — and that they could optimise it.
“You can kill it in sales by doing a lot of ads on Facebook and plowing money into that,” he told me for a recent episode of my podcast, Back Yourself, “or you can go for long gains by creating content and community.”
Murray-Serter built his company by creating a community and building trust for his solutions within it.
The key to building trust, he said, was presenting the newsletter as an avenue to selling the brain supplement products. He grew the newsletter’s subscription base by doing something no one had done before: condensing high-level scientific findings into easily digestible three-minute reads.
“We tried so hard to break things down into ways that people could do actionable things rather than cater to the extreme,” he said.
Murray-Serter has usable intelligence to pass on for those trying to sell something people don’t know they need, don’t know exists, or have heard of before but think is too complicated to pertain to their lives.
- Even if your product is based on complex science, create information that anyone can understand. Break the learning modules down into easily digestible chunks of information. In Murray-Serter’s case, it was getting people to try breathing exercises for just a minute or two a day.
- Be consistent in the timing and delivery of your message. Murray-Serter created a community by sending a newsletter every Sunday, and people came to count on that Sunday delivery. “It’s all about turning up when you can’t just be bothered,” he said. He continued to put out the newsletter even in the early days when the mailing list was shrinking, not growing.
- Identify your key strengths and play to those. Murray-Serter was bad at social media but good at writing, so that’s where he focused his efforts. With the newsletter, he knew he had an engaged audience — with Facebook, he was relying on likes and an algorithm to deliver his message. “I focused on results and optimising for my own skillset,” he said.
- Once you have a community, you can build trust. Those community members will turn into advocates, and when your product has advocates your funnel fills with prospects
- Demand feedback. You have to know what was good and what wasn’t if you want to improve your product.
The core of Murray-Serter’s success is his self-awareness about what he was good at and what he was not good at. Knowing that allowed him to focus his efforts in ways that would facilitate his growth.
Curious about those brain supplements? Your brain’s health needs care and attention just like your heart and lungs do.
- There’s a big difference between a marketing claim that a supplement maker can put on the side of a box and scientifically proven benefits. Don’t rely on cheap supplements for brain health — what you need is high-grade solutions.
- Your brain has specific needs that demand precise care. For example, since it’s mostly fat, omega 3 cares for it and Vitamin B can help regulate energy supply.
- It’s not easy to feed your brain a good diet, and nutrients in our normal food supply are limited. Premium supplements can step in and solve these problems.
When it comes to brain care, nutrition is the low-hanging fruit. For those who are short on time, a highly concentrated brain supplement is the perfect solution. Murray-Serter knew what to sell because he knew what he wanted to buy. “It helps to be the customer,” he said, “but it also helps massively to be able to identify the problem that exists and talk about how to make it better.”
You can grow a product from nothing, selling people something they not only did not realize they needed, but something they did not even know existed. Dan Murray-Serter did that by creating a community, and he created a community by being consistent, by making very difficult subjects quite easy to understand, and by focusing his efforts in arenas where he was capable.