I’ve been playing with DIYMarketers for over a year and now it’s time to finally start building an online community. I’ve read lots of articles and gotten lots of tips. But it’s been hard to move from just reading and learning to actually doing.

As luck would have it, I had the opportunity to interview Victoria Ransom, the CEO behind the terrific new app “Wildfire” an online application that will help you build and grow your Facebook fan base or blog community by engaging them through contests, sweepstakes, coupons and more.

Follow me as I go through the process of strategizing and putting together a campaign. I’m sure that I’m going to make a ton of mistakes in the process. But that’s ok because the plan is to run lots of these campaigns and learn from them.

So let’s get started.

1. The Objective. Like anything else, it’s important to set a goal and an objective.
My goal is to create two communities: first a DIYMarketer community of experts and contributors who can help me weed out the clutter of resources and tools for my second audience — the small business CEO – who is overwhelmed by the information overload out there about marketing.

My objective is to build a list of at least 50,000 DIYMarketers.

2. The Strategy. What vehicle will I use to build my list and community?

I’ve already decided to use “Wildfire” so that’s half the battle. Within Wildfire, I get to choose if I’m going to use any of the following:

  • Build a fans, followers and subscribers with a sweepstakes or sign-up form. Here you get to manage a broad-based sweepstakes give-a-way of a really cool item or event where the winners are randomly selected. The sign-up form options allows consumers to fill out a form where you get to collect information.
  • Drive Sales. Now if you’ve already got a product or service to offer and sell and not enough customers. This would be a good option. You can offer a group deal (where consumers buy your product at a discount if others buy it too) or a coupon voucher or give away that consumers can print or redeem electronically.
  • Engage Consumers. You can also engage consumers by running a variety of contests. Wildfire lets you offer photo, essay or video contests where your community can contribute and vote for their favorites. Another option is trivia where consumers can measure their knowledge or a quiz where they can share their results with others as well as promotions or favorite picks with their friends.

Well, I thought I was going to run a contest – but I hadn’t seen all these other options. There’s also a link that will help me choose — let’s see what that’s all about.

I clicked over the the “can’t decide” page and there I found some helpful strategic hints as to which type of promotion might be the best.

As of now – I’m interested in creating user-generated content because I’m looking for a very targeted and specific group of folks and I would like to give them the opportunity to contribute to the site.

What about you?

In the comment section below, tell me about what you’ve done to build your list that was successful and if you haven’t gotten a list — take a peek and Wildfire and let me know what you think.

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