All weary online travelers are welcomed on Discord! That’s one of the ways this platform markets itself. Whether you’re a media or fashion brand, tech unicorn, or software start-up, you should start to be all eyes and ears on Discord (if you haven’t done so already).

Yes, Discord’s primary target audience included video gamers who needed a private digital corner to talk about any topic related to their passion for gaming.  But Discord quickly transformed into an ideal community space where people could freely hang out and chat about everything under the sun. 

Naturally, this situation rang the alarm to marketers, and they started to include it in their communication strategies.  

We made no exception. Read below to find out more about Discord and how we use this platform in B2C marketing, particularly for subscription-based apps.

Discord’s Path from An Online Gaming Community to Everyone’s Chit-Chat Place

If you want a clear view of what Discord is, think of it as a combination between Reddit and Slack. It’s a forum-style platform where you can combine simple text communication with voice and video.  

Around 70% of today’s Discord users are still avid gamers, but more non-gaming users have started to migrate and the user base seems to grow constantly.

purple pyramid graphic shows growing number users Discord

Source: Backlinko

Discord simply offers a more private way to hang out and talk than any other social media channel – a perfect solution for many mobile apps that want to shape strong community engagement. That’s why we decided Discord would be the right fit for some of our clients.

How We Use Discord for B2C Marketing for Subscription Apps

At first, we heard about Discord and the fact that it became a mainstream community platform. We also knew it was more appropriate for B2C clients, which was perfect for the subscription apps we have in our portfolio. 

One example for the first client with whom we started our Discord strategy was a combination of nice to have and must-have, and here’s why.

The Nice-to-Have

This client is a reading tracker app we’ve been partnering with for quite some time. The feedback we received from this app’s users was actually the trigger. Many were telling us they felt the need to be more involved socially. 

At the same time, few of them used or had social media accounts. Basically, they needed to share a common place where they could talk, share thoughts, and interact with each other. 

The Must-Have

We run many customer development interviews for our client, and two insights pointed us in this direction:

  • many users mentioned that it’s extremely important for them to feel like they’re part of a community when they use a product 
  • others said they’re members of offline and online book clubs (some of them even mentioned Discord briefly).

We were already on a path of building a strong, engaged community for our client, but these takeaways made us explore more the idea of building a community on Discord.

That was the point where it became clear to us that Discord could perfectly blend both nice-to-have and must-have.

And so, our journey to building a Discord account and community from scratch began.

Setting Up a Discord Community for Our Client

Research other Discord accounts to see how they look, and what seemed to work was the outset. In our case, we checked Discord servers on various book clubs and even joined them to get insights.

And we didn’t stop there. We closely analyzed high-profile engineering or gaming communities to acknowledge the game rules and see exactly how a well-established Discord community should look and feel. 

That’s how we got to see:

  • How to create and what to include in a welcome message
  • That we need to have a ‘rules’ channel and inspire what rules we could enforce too
  • That you can build up more channels on different topics
  • That you can integrate bots that can help you automate various features

The next phase was convincing users to come to Discord. Those who already knew or even used the platform were, of course, happy with the idea. The rest of them were a bit hesitant.

Still, bit by bit, we managed to grow our number of Discord members, and today we count a little over 500 members. It doesn’t sound like much, but we’ve only started this a few months ago. Plus, our goal was to build an engaged community, not just another inactive reading group.

All app members joined the Discord community willingly; we didn’t spam our database trying to convince or pull them aggressively.

Our Activity on Discord

Our daily routine with Discord is, first of all, to have a general overview of the platform and spend around 30 minutes just replying to questions and comments. That may seem like we don’t spend enough time for this activity, but our client is still an early stage company. We might have to dedicate more time and resources in the future; for now, though, it seems to be just what our Discord community needs.

We created a dedicated support channel so we could quickly fix the app’s minor support service issue. Instead of using the somewhat faulty support service directly from the app, customers went on Discord to make a support request, and we made sure we replied promptly. 

We always requested our client to give us precise information for advanced technical issues. 

As for the fun and engaging part, we do the same as everyone else, which is: 

  • post chit-chat questions
  • share memes
  • host events like competitions and giveaways; the latest one was a Readathon challenge. 

Two or three times a week, we come up with intriguing questions that will spark users’ desire to talk and share ideas. From simple questions like: “what was your favorite book as a growing kid?” to “which book author do you believe doesn’t deserve his/her fame?”, we try to keep the users active on our Discord server.

Here’s one example:

screenshot discord channel ask question

We keep and update a calendar of important upcoming events just to get inspired and pose new and interesting questions or challenges. We also look for trending topics, hashtags, or popular books or writers on Goodreads, Twitter, and Instagram to further nurture our inspiration.

Additionally, we offered the possibility to connect Goodreads accounts to Discord. This was a nice tactic that encouraged passionate readers to grow and flourish by discussing reviews, hyping upcoming releases, and sharing quotes. 

Tudor Iancu, founder at Bookly, shared his view on how Discord helped in communicating better with customers:

Discord helps Bookly in creating an engaging community around our product. It allows us to communicate new features, upcoming events, and anything related to our app in a very efficient way. By creating a different channel for various aspects of the app, we were able to structure our information and improve users’ experience. Discord also helped us bring together people who share the same values and interests – quite essential for communities of book lovers who like to discuss reading habits or look for book recommendations.

Discord Special Tips – Beginner’s Guide

What’s important to know from the start is that Discord isn’t a place for advertising. Literally, this platform doesn’t offer any direct advertising features. However, it provides a natural and organic way to advertise your brand.

Discord’s nice element is the fact that users don’t feel they have to put up with fake engagement. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Customers or users feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts and their concerns too.

Top tip: as we speak, most Discord users are teens and younger adults. So, Discord should definitely be on your list of marketing tactics if your target audience includes Millennials and Gen Z.

Here are additional helpful tips you should know to nurture and grow your Discord community successfully:

  • Once you’ve created your channels, make sure to advertise them to your customers, partners, and influencers 
  • Establish a set of rules and post them in each server (just to set some safe boundaries and guidelines on how users should treat each other)
  • Set a precise frequency of your chat room posts (news, updates, announcements, etc.)
  • Invite users from other social media platforms to join your Discord server
  • Choose and assign moderators or administrators to handle issues (e.g.technical problems with Discord platform or features); this is particularly useful for large communities
  • Take advantage of Discord bots

*We only use one called Carl that helps us with an automatic welcome message for new users and with assigning community roles. 

There are plenty of other helpful bots, including one (e.g., Statbot) that tells you the timeframes when most Discord members are online and active. It’s a helpful hint to leverage those peak hours and engage in live conversations, tournaments, or giveaways.

Conclusion: Strategic Patience is The Key to Success on Discord

Building and growing an engaging community on Discord takes a lot of time, practice, and perseverance. We know since we’ve started our Discord marketing strategy for a subscription app from the ground up, having little to zero knowledge about it and how to use this platform. 

As with any novel marketing tactic, it can be tough and overwhelming. But we didn’t give up, and we advise you to do the same, especially if you believe it could be a suitable marketing tactic for your client or brand.

Discord doesn’t offer a fast path to success, but you’ll get to see excellent results after a medium to long-time extended effort.