Case Study

How GoDaddy Used Community to Build a New Reputation as a Champion for Small Business Owners

GoDaddy powers the world's largest cloud platform dedicated to small, independent ventures. With nearly 17 million customers worldwide and over 71 million domain names under management, GoDaddy is the place people come to name their idea, build a professional website, attract customers and manage their work. Their mission is to give customers the tools, insights and the people to transform ideas and personal initiative into success.

  • Goal

    Known as “the place you go to buy website domains,” GoDaddy wanted to go beyond that and build a new reputation as a true champion for small business owners. Their goals were to bring core customer groups together, promote learning, initiate brainstorming and provide information and support that would help small business owners succeed.

  • Solution

    A Lithium-powered online customer community that achieves their goals to build relationships with and between customers, crowdsource ideas, and provide useful information and support to customers.

“Building our community was an opportunity for us to show our customers just how much we care about them and their business’s success.”

— Rachel Makool, Sr. Community Manager, GoDaddy

Why did you choose to build a community?

Without a community in place, we knew we were missing out on an opportunity to connect with our customers in a more meaningful way. We cater specifically to two core customers: 1) small business owners who are looking to build a website to promote their business; and 2) what we call “GoDaddy Pros,” (people who are hired by small business owners to build websites for them). They go hand in hand. In fact, we always had a community at our fingertips; we just needed to build a platform where our customers could get to know each other and potentially work together. That is the true spirit of any community, after all.

What is your vision for the community?

As a business, we’re constantly trying to come up with new ways to help small business owners grow and promote their businesses. Our community is a core component of that strategy. First, we see it as a place where our customers can learn from each other, brainstorm together, and even go into business together (it has happened before!). Second, it’s where we can play an important role by providing our customers with information and support that can help their businesses succeed. Being a small business owner involves a learning curve; our goal is to help minimize that learning curve as much as possible. One way of achieving this is by making our community much more personalized. We are already listening to what our customers want to know more about and delivering content and information to address those needs.

You used a unique strategy to populate your community with content before you went live. Can you tell us about that?

In order to kick off our new community, we wanted to seed a lot of content. So, we decided to recruit customers that we named “Community Founders” to help us create content before going live. We recruited select customers through multiple methods like emails, phone calls, and an article in our ‘Help’ section. We had 300 customers express interest and 50 percent of them (150 customers) registered and signed into the community to help us. Then we spent five weeks working closely with them to create compelling content to launch the site. As a thank you, they all earned a “Community Founder” badge and rank and were named leaders in the GoDaddy Community. With a solid amount of engaging content in place when we went live, we received ~70,000 page views during the first month.

How do you measure success?

Success looks like a lot of things. If you look squarely at the numbers alone, we have grown our community tenfold in a year and one-half since launch – and we’re dedicated to making those numbers grow in the coming months and years ahead. As our community has grown, so has our revenue; our community has directly contributed to a 65% revenue growth for GoDaddy over the last year.

“We plan to continue to add new features to our community and increase our revenue contribution by 18% year over year.”

— Eric Stieg, Head of Community at GoDaddy

How important has it been to have buy-in from your executive team?

It’s been critical to receive internal support from the top down. Fortunately, we’ve got that support. We work with a number of key stakeholder groups internally to ensure that our community is not only a success for us, but also, and more importantly, a valuable resource for our customers. This kind of support is just as much a measure of success as are our community growth and engagement metrics.

Do you have a unique customer story you can share with us?

Before we launched the GoDaddy Community, we identified a handful of GoDaddy Community Founders who could help us create something truly relevant and useful for our customers. During this pre-launch phase, two of our founding members – one in the U.S. and the other in Canada – found themselves being in contact quite a bit and, over time, realized how much they enjoyed working together. Fast forward to today, and they now run a business together – all thanks to our community. This is a great example of why our community matters.