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Posted by David in Interesting

The Rule of 6: Principles for Building a Brand Community

Our blog is full of useful tips, tricks and information on how to build a brand community – but today, we’re taking it back to basics.

As the country continues to adapt to ‘the rule of 6’, we thought we’d introduce you to our own rule of 6 by offering up our 6 fundamental principles for building a brand community.

Today’s post isn’t about getting into the nitty gritty. Instead, we’re giving you the key factors that should always be at the forefront of your approach when curating a brand identity that has your customers at its heart.

Group pointing at laptop
Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

Champion authenticity

Authenticity and transparency go hand in hand.

To establish a genuine relationship between customer and brand, look to champion these core values at each and every opportunity. Whether it’s in the content you produce or the way in which you interact with your audience, the way your brand operates within its community should encompass your core values in order to stay true to your brand identity.

Keep your brand voice consistent

If you’re championing authenticity in the way you present your brand to your community, you’ll find that a powerful brand voice begins to emerge.

Keeping this consistent at all times is critical to successful community management. Why? It helps define your brand in a way that’s unique and instantly recognisable. Better yet, it’s one of the most effective ways of communicating your brand’s values in a transparent and authentic way – meaning pinning down your defined brand voice ticks two of these boxes in one fell swoop.

Be persistent with engagement

It should go without saying that regular engagement is important to keeping your community, well, engaged.

With that in mind, look to check in on your brand community regularly. Whether it’s reaching out on your social platforms or getting involved in the conversations on your community engagement platform, knowing where your community congregates online and making sure you’re visible on those platforms will help you to keep your audience more engaged for longer. 

Listen to your community

Engagement isn’t just about interaction. 

On the contrary, if you’re only interacting with generic responses or duplicated ideas, your audience is going to see right through it. As we’ve already touched on, authenticity is key to making your audience feel valued, so ensure you’re listening to what your community has to say.

Of course, listening is all well and good, but this alone won’t cut the mustard. As such, make sure you’re acting on all customer feedback and adding genuine value to any conversations in order to show your audience their opinions matter. This will help you to build a more powerful brand community by better understanding the wants, needs and expectations of your audience.

Appreciate your audience

Your audience is the very essence of your brand community

As such, showing your appreciation for members of your audience is a great way of illustrating their value and keeping them engaged.

This doesn’t have to be a mammoth task, either. Whether it’s welcoming new members or championing your regular contributors, it’s all about making your audience feel valued.

Do this correctly, and you may even see your community members become brand ambassadors

Explore new methods of engagement

To keep your community engaged, there needs to be an element of innovation. 

Fear not – this doesn’t mean wacky experiments and out-the-box inventions. Instead, you can simply look to vary your content types in order to keep social pages and community engagement platforms fresh and interesting.

From videos and how-to guides to news updates and giveaways, there are options galore when it comes to keeping your community on their toes.

While the government’s rule of 6 is hopefully not here to stay, our rule of 6 is sure to help you build a successful brand community now and well into the future. For more information on how our community engagement platform can help you on your way, get in touch to request your free demo today.

Posted by David in Interesting

Six key ingredients for a 360° customer service model

To the 21st century brand, customer service is vital. 

But in today’s digital world, traditional types of customer service just doesn’t cut the mustard. Instead, the modern customer expects an omnichannel customer service model, being able to reach you through the method most convenient to them.

That’s why, today, we’re exploring the key ingredients for a complete 360° customer service model. Offering up six different types of customer service, we’re providing you with some omnichannel customer service tips to ensure your brand continues to build a community of loyal customers.

Headphones with mic
Photo by Petr Macháček on Unsplash

Self-serve support

As a brand, your primary purpose is to provide worthwhile solutions to customer problems – that’s business 101.

While this solution is ultimately the product or service you provide, the modern day brand isn’t driven purely by sales. It also serves as an informational resource and a community hub.

As such, it’s likely you’re already producing engaging and authoritative content full of relevant news, opinions and tips for marketing purposes (and, if not, you can learn why you should be right here). But when done correctly, these resources can also be a super effective customer service tool.

From how-to guides to FAQs, create resource hubs on community platforms where users can find solutions to common customer questions themselves. Not only does this help to produce a seamless customer service experience, but it will also go a long way towards asserting your brand as an authority in your field.

Live chat support

For customers looking for a speedy service, live chat support is your go-to tool. 

In a world of same-day deliveries and knowledge at the touch of a button, the contemporary customer expects rapid turnaround times. Installing a live chat option on your website enables you to provide this, with site visitors able to kick off a conversation instantly by simply typing in their message.

When it comes to the type of live chat tool you implement, you have two main options. 

The first is to have members of your customer service team manually control the live chat service, being on hand to answer customer queries in minutes, if not seconds. This is undoubtedly your best option if your customers tend to have more complex problems that require specific solutions.

Alternatively, if your customer service team find themselves answering the same simple customer questions day in, day out, a live chat bot may be your best bet. This will enable automated responses that can be programmed to identify and solve frequent customer requests in, quite literally, the blink of an eye.

Social media support 

It’s 2020 – every man and his dog is on social media. 

Alright, maybe not every man and his dog – but with 3.96 billion social media users worldwide, the point remains the same (statistics on how many dogs are on social media are currently unavailable).

This means that your social media channels should play a vital role in your customer service strategy. Given the popularity of these channels, we recommend having a team member dedicated solely to resolving social media queries.

From DMs to comments, reviews to mentions, customers will vary their method of communication on socials. For this reason, we recommend using social media monitoring software to ensure no notifications are missed.

Email support

Email support is one of the most tried and tested customer service types for a reason.

This method is ideal for those customers who need to contact your team without the need for:

  1. An instant report 
  2. Direct human interaction

The advantages here are twofold. 

First, it allows you time to ponder more complex queries, which can be invaluable in particularly difficult situations. More so, though, it also enables you to provide a more thorough and detailed solution by allowing your customer service professional to construct and review their response without the pressure of immediacy.

Of course, in order to do this, you’ll need your customers to be able to email you with ease, so always ensure your email address is easily identifiable on your website, or you have an easy-to-use contact form feature.

Phone support

Taking it ol’ school, you simply can’t overlook the important role phone support plays in your customer service model.

While this isn’t the most efficient or effective way to provide customer service, it nonetheless remains a popular means of contact for many customers. And remember: the ultimate 360° customer service model is one tailored to the customer.

That’s not to say there aren’t benefits to including phone support in your customer service model.

On the contrary, in many ways, the phone is the most versatile customer service solution – everyone has one and everyone knows how to use it.

Interactive voice response

Interactive voice response, or IVR, can get a bad rap. At some point, we’ve all been victim to this often outdated and futile system.

“Please stay on the line. Your call is very important to us.” *Shudders*

But it doesn’t have to be like this.

When used correctly, IVR can be an extremely effective weapon in any customer service arsenal. How? By optimising your phone support channel.

For example, perhaps not every customer service rep is suited to every customer question. By utilising IVR, you can find out about the general topic of each customer’s query before they’ve come into contact with a human rep, allowing you to redirect the call to the most relevant person and provide the most effective solution as a result.

Better yet, IVR typically reduces hold times by minimising the number of times a customer is redirected. The result? A more efficient and more effective phone service that keeps your customers happy.

Omnichannel communication is no longer a customer desire – it’s now a customer expectation. This means that, if you’re not covering all channels, you’re not providing your customers with the optimal service experience, which could very well hinder you in the long run.

Luckily, here at Six Circles, we know a thing or two about making customers happy. To learn more about how we can help you keep customers engaged, why not get in touch with us today?

Posted by David in Interesting

Six ways millennials have changed how we think about brand identity

Millennials account for 25% of the total population, yet carry such consumer influence that businesses tailor their strategies and operations primarily to target this audience. Why?

Today, we’re taking a closer look at how and why millennials (defined here as those born between 1981-2000, though the debate rages on) have reshaped the very concept of brand identity, and what businesses have done to adapt to these new customer expectations and demands.

Millennials at laptops in coffee house
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

You’re more than a brand

The millennial market is driven by the heart, not the brain.

What does this mean? It means that millennial consumers are keen to identify with your brand on a far more personal level than a traditional exchange of goods for money.

Instead, they expect your brand to practise customer-centric thinking, putting the customer’s needs at the very heart of your operation. As a brand, your goal is no longer simply to sell your product. Instead, it’s to identify and solve the common problems of your target market.

Adopt this customer-first way of thinking and you’ll begin to form a brand community of like-minded consumers who are keen to align themselves with your brand identity.

Your values matter more than ever

With millennials reinforcing the importance of brand identity in the modern market, how do you encourage consumers to align with your brand? Values.

Almost 7 in 10 American millennials consider a brand’s values before making a purchase. Let that sink in for a second.

It’s clear, then, that to appeal to the millennial market, your brand must embrace its moral and ethical duties as the core values of your brand’s identity.

Whether it’s an increased focus on sustainability or a transparent, ethical manufacturing process, don’t be afraid to shout about your moral and ethical wins. While this may mean a larger investment in the short-term, the long-term pay-off is a loyal and engaged brand community of users who are invested in your brand to the core.

You need a digital identity

Millennials are a generation of digital natives.

At the risk of sounding like the old man in the pub corner talking about the good ol’ days, it’s safe to say millennials and the internet go hand in hand. Whether it’s browsing from their laptop or smartphone, the ability to be online anywhere, anytime is one not lost on this market.

This tells us that a digital identity is key for your brand. How do you expect to build a brand community if that community can’t find you?

The numbers don’t lie, either. With 92% of millennials owning a smartphone, the US millennial market makes 60% of their purchases online. The value of having a digital presence to affirm your brand identity really speaks for itself.

Social media is king

Speaking of digital outlets, social media and millennials go together like PB & J. So much so, in fact, that a mammoth 90% of the demographic are social media users.

What does this tell us? That social media is king. Undoubtedly the most valuable tool in any brand’s arsenal, a dynamic social media presence is key to affirming your brand identity and building a solid brand community in the process.

Be sure not to use your social channels as a traditional marketing tactic. Instead, millennials expect transparency and engagement from your social presence.

Your communications matter

On that note, millennials have altered the way in which brands communicate with their audience, both in terms of what they communicate and the ways in which they do it.

Returning to the importance of customer-centric thinking when it comes to creating an appealing brand image, the millennial consumer holds little trust in traditional methods of advertising and marketing. The expectation is no longer simply to be sold a product or service – millennials want to be sold on your brand.

To achieve this, a transparent brand image is key. Communicate more than ever before – whether that’s internal news blog posts, reposting user-generated content or simply starting open conversations with your audience online.

The key takeaway is that millennials expect a customer experience within which your communications play a key part. Do so correctly and you’ll begin to grow an active and engage brand community in the process.

The people have the power

When it comes to forming the modern brand identity, the people have the power.

How? Reviews and recommendations.

Rejecting traditional advertising methods in favour of transparency (the word just keeps popping up, doesn’t it?), 8 in 10 millennials never buy anything without reading a review first.

The value in harnessing a brand community becomes glaringly obvious at this point. Through reviews, your customers’ experiences begin to have a significant impact on how your brand image takes shape.

In short, the old saying of ‘going above and beyond’ has never been more important.

Here at Six Circles, we know a thing or two about building a brand community that strikes a chord with millennials and beyond. To learn how our brand community platform can help you shape a winning brand image, get in touch with our team and request your free online demo today.

Posted by David in Interesting

Six reasons unhappy customers are your most important customers

Happy customers are the lifeblood of your business. They’re the ones who buy your products, the ones who shout about your brand and the ones who, ultimately, keep your business growing.

But what about the unhappy customers?

Well, while the happy customers certainly give you something to sing and dance about, it’s the unhappy customers who are the most important to your business – and today, we’re showing you why.

Thumbs up and thumbs down
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

They provide honest feedback

We all know the score. Unhappy customers are, well, unhappy – and more often than not, this means they want their voice to be heard.

Whether they’re leaving reviews, filing complaints or giving negative customer feedback via polls, unhappy customers understandably want you to know about it.

Don’t duck and cover – instead, listen and learn from what these customers have to say. Why? Because it’s likely they’re giving the most honest feedback.

Next time you analyse the data from your customer feedback, hone in on the negatives rather than the positives. Sure, it’s always nice to see and hear all the wonderful things your customers say about you, but it’s the negative feedback that’s often the most honest, specific and (hopefully) constructive.

They help you find solutions

Honest feedback is great feedback. Why? Because it helps you find solutions – often to problems you didn’t even know you had!

Look to leverage negative feedback to better understand the types of problems your customers are facing and, more importantly, what you can do about it.

Essentially, to take on board negative customer feedback is to remove yourself from the internal perspective of your brand and adopt the customer perspective. This helps you provide your customers with a more targeted and optimised experience.

They give you first-hand customer service experience

There are plenty of customer service training exercises to help you get your team up to speed on best practices, but nothing beats first-hand experience dealing with a real-life problem.

In this sense, unhappy customers are the golden ticket to a competent and confident customer service team.

This is perhaps the most important customer service tip at your disposal. Putting their training into practice, look to evaluate how your team deals with these (often difficult) customers, taking the opportunity as a learning experience that can strengthen your customer service moving forward.

They help you improve customer retention

If your customer service team is firing on all cylinders, unhappy customers who want you to know about it are far more valuable than the unhappy customers who don’t.

Now we know what you’re thinking – you’d rather not have a disgruntled customer tarnish your reputation online with negative reviews or public complaints. Sure, we get that.

But if you deal with these kinds of situations correctly, this can actually be a profitable avenue for your business. Yep, that’s right – unhappy customers aren’t necessarily lost customers.

The secret? By going the extra mile for unhappy customers, whether by providing them with actionable solutions or compensating them appropriately, you’re likely to surprise and, more importantly, impress them.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll retain their business, but one thing’s for sure: retaining this customer is far more likely than if you did nothing about your customer’s negative experience.

The numbers are on your side, too. 32% of customers stop doing business with a brand they love after just one bad experience, while 52% of consumers say they’ve made an additional purchase from a brand after a positive experience.

So, while going the distance to appease that problematic customer might feel like a drain on resources (and patience), with the right customer service approach, it can actually be a very profitable practice in the long run.

They help you appear transparent online

In today’s digital age, online user reviews have become a source of judgment for potential customers. With that in mind, it’s understandable that you’d want to show off your good reviews while sweeping the bad ones under the carpet.

We’re telling you different, though. Instead, take the time to reply honestly and transparently to this negative feedback.

This may very well help you to improve the experience of the customer in question, as well as reflecting positively on your brand by making you appear more transparent online.

If potential customers can see you responding to reviews both good and bad, they can see that you’re actively involved in your customer community, creating a more transparent and authentic digital presence that’s likely to drive engagement as a result.

They give you a reality check

If business is booming and your brand keeps on growing, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of it all.

Unhappy customers are a great way of keeping your head out of the clouds. They remind you that, no matter how great your product or service might be, there’s always more to be done.

Of course, customer preferences and expectations are forever changing (and never as quickly as in these unprecedented times), meaning what was working once may not be working now.

With that in mind, unhappy customers ensure your drive to be better is never lost amidst all the positives.

Rest assured that, by following our actionable customer service tips, unhappy customers can be a far more valuable asset to your brand than you may have initially realised.

Trial our holistic customer engagement platform to gain invaluable customer feedback on how your audience really feels and use that knowledge for good.

Posted by David in Interesting

Six ways to build a brand community in a socially distanced age

In an age of social distancing, how do you stop consumers from distancing from your brand? After all, as the business world continues to evolve in these unprecedented times, so too do the desires and expectations of your audience. The answer? Brand community.

But in times of great instability and uncertainty, knowing how to build a brand community effectively is far easier said than done. Luckily for you, we’re here to help.

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

Start internally

Your team should be the embodiment of your brand identity – that’s brand marketing 101. You can’t expect your customers to be brand ambassadors if you’re not starting from within.

With many businesses operating remotely in light of the ongoing pandemic, though, this poses a new challenge. Without the buzz of a shared workspace, it can be easy for team members to lose sight of your core values and brand identity, so look to maintain a team mentality as much as possible if and when your employees are working from home.

Whether it’s regular check-ins over video chat or a team training exercise to refresh employees on what you’re all about, find the method that works best for your team and stick to it.

Promote user-generated content

Across many industries, resources are short right now. Of course, this often has a knock-on effect on many different aspects of your business, and your brand community is no exception.

Whether you’ve been forced to cut back on your content creation or delay your customer response time, this won’t go unnoticed by your audience and may lead to them turning their back on your brand. Consumers want reassurance and stability right now – don’t give them the opposite.

But how do you avoid this if resources are thin? User-generated content! From reposting customer product pictures on your Instagram story to encouraging them to partake in your own viral trend, adapt your user-generated content strategy to best suit the habits of your audience.

Doing so presents two great advantages. Firstly, it fixes your brand firmly in the minds of your customers by ensuring your digital presence hasn’t slipped – win. Secondly, it helps you build a brand community through authenticity and transparency – even bigger win. When utilised correctly, user-generated content removes the ‘us’ and ‘them’ mentality of brand vs consumer, instead projecting a collective sense of, well, community.

Evaluate your brand’s ethics

Perhaps the most notable shift in consumer expectations throughout the pandemic so far is an increased focus on social responsibility. With one study revealing that 53% of consumers believe ‘purpose-driven’ brands have fared better throughout COVID-19, and a further 81% stating that a brand’s social responsibility can make or break their decision to purchase, the impact this has on your brand image really speaks for itself.

What does this mean for your brand community? Well, you should be looking to align your brand’s ethical and moral standpoints with those of your audience. Ensure all marketing strategies are in good taste, understanding the difference between an authentic show of support and hijacking a social cause for your own gain.

Of course, the old saying still rings true here: actions speak louder than words. So, whether you’re taking steps to become more sustainable or making donations to ethical movements, practise what you preach to show your community that you’re genuinely invested in the social responsibility of your brand.

For a prime example of how to do this successfully, look no further than Ben & Jerry’s (is anyone else really craving a tub of Cookie Dough right now?!).

Adapt your social presence

As we’ve already mentioned, customer habits have changed drastically over the past few months – is your social presence reflecting this?

Social media is all about being in the here and now, and, if you’re not adapting your strategy in line with evolving audience demands, you’re likely being left behind. What worked before is unlikely to work now, so delve deeper into how your audience has changed and adapt your social plans accordingly.

Whether it’s a shift in focus from sales to brand exposure or a shift in brand voice to one that’s more nurturing and considerate, the key is to remain relevant and sensitive to your audience in these ever-changing times. Doing so will help build your brand community by keeping your brand relatable and well-informed.

Rejig your content plan

Similarly, if you’re one for mapping out your content plans months in advance, it’s likely you’ll need to re-evaluate this, too.

Remember, good content is all about providing the user with the most value – and to do this effectively, you need to understand (and offer a solution to) common user problems. With so much having changed over the past few months, it’s likely your customers are facing new problems, many unique to this unparalleled period in time.

Once again championing relevancy and sensitivity, identify these audience problems and look to address them with your content. Whether it’s a complete overhaul of your blog content topics or subtler changes like new call-to-action (CTA) destinations, strengthen your brand community by keeping your audience at the heart of all of your decisions.

Encourage and embrace feedback

Labelled the ‘new norm’, the social and economic upheaval of recent months is a new world for us all. With this in mind, it’s only natural that you’re not going to get everything right the first time around.

Of course, what you’re doing right and what you’re getting wrong are ultimately dictated by your audience, so why not encourage and embrace feedback to ensure you’re building your brand community in the most strategic and effective way possible?

To do this, you can utilise our community engagement platform to interact with your audience. From polls to questionnaires, prompt customers to give you honest and constructive feedback that you can use to not only create more targeted strategies, but also make your customers feel heard and valued.

Understanding how to build a brand community in these times is no easy feat, but, by actioning our tips above, you’ll be well on your way – it’s all about adapting these techniques to suit the unique needs of your audience.

Need a helping hand getting started? We can help! Get in touch with us today to book your free online demo of our community engagement platform, and begin building a stronger brand community today.

Posted by David in Interesting

Six secrets to driving referral sales for your business

Referrals (AKA word of mouth marketing) are one of the most proven ways to drive your business’s sales. Did you know, for example, that a customer is four times more likely to carry out a transaction when referred to that product or service by a friend?

Combine this with the fact that referral leads cost far less to generate than virtually any of the alternatives and the benefits of driving referral sales for your business really speak for themselves.

But what if you’re unsure how to get referrals for your business? Worry not – we’ve got you covered…

Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash

Implement a referral programme

Referral programmes are popular for a reason: they work. It’s why you’ll see all the big brands, from Uber to PayPal, regularly utilising this strategy to continue growing their audience.

The basics are straightforward: provide an incentive for referring that benefits both you and the customer. Whether that’s an exclusive discount or free delivery with each successful referral, identify an incentive that drives engagement with a cheap overhead cost.

Keep the referral process as simple as possible. Think of an easy-to-remember discount code or create a mobile-friendly link that can be copied and shared with the touch of a button. By doing so, you’re presenting referrals as a real win-win for your customer – maximum reward for minimum effort.

Encourage on all platforms

Your customers don’t only spend time in one place. So, to get the most out of your referral scheme, be sure to encourage its use across all of your social platforms.

Look deeper into the nuances of your audience on each platform – do you reach a different demographic on Facebook than you do on Twitter, for example?

If so, look to tailor the incentive offered based on these findings. After all, the best way to get referrals is to offer value to the referrer – so the more this incentive can be tailored to a consumer’s desires, the more likely they are to refer.

Act on all customer feedback

To get referrals, you’ll need to prove you’re worth referring.

To do this, look to go above and beyond customer expectations. But what do customers expect from your brand? Well, this is where customer feedback comes into play.

With state-of-the-art software available to help you create and distribute customer surveys, you can send these out to existing customers to better gauge what you’re doing right and what you could be doing better.

To make the process worthwhile, ensure you’re acting on this feedback, regardless of whether it’s positive or otherwise. By working with your customers in this way, you’ll begin to align your brand with their values, meaning they’re more likely to refer you to their peers.

Stay in touch with past buyers

Where are your referrals coming from? Past buyers, of course.

So, look to invest in each and every relationship your business builds. This often means establishing contact long after the customer’s initial purchase. This way, you can keep them engaged for longer, meaning they’re more likely to think of your brand when referring a friend or family member.

Create a community around your customer base that shares the core values of your brand. Do this by upping your post-sale communications to nurture one-off sales into longer-term relationships.

It’s important to understand that there’s a fine line between nurturing a customer relationship and being a nuisance. So, make sure you’re always offering some kind of value whenever you reach out to your customer – whether that’s through useful and informative content or special offers, for example.

Keep customers sweet with high-quality content

Speaking of content, when done correctly, your content can be one of the most useful referral marketing tools in your arsenal.

But how do you use content to dive referrals? Well, you want to start by ensuring that it’s high-quality. To drive engagement, you need to provide genuine value to the reader, so build your content around your audience’s needs.

With your high-quality content created and distributed, encourage customers to share it – this is where your referrals will come from. Assuming you’ve hit the nail on the head when it comes to relevance and value, the only thing left to do is nudge your customers in the right direction by making sharing as simple as possible.

Something as simple as an easy referral link will do the trick here, so look to include a ‘share this now’ link on all of your distributed content.

Leverage customer service for referrals

The quality of your customer service plays a major role in your customers’ experience of your brand, meaning one key way to get referrals is by ensuring your customer service is top-notch.

To do this, look to remain responsive and authentic. Address customer queries not only as quickly as possible, but also in a way that’s sympathetic and understanding with regards to their issue. Try to go above and beyond, always emphasising how valued the customer is regardless of how big or small their problem may be.

In short, the recipe for a successful customer service process is simple: be helpful and be respectful. Do this correctly and you’ll find customers are more than willing to make a big song and dance of their buying experience and your brand as a whole.

Driving referral sales for your business is all about creating brand advocates from your existing audience. To do this, look to properly nurture customer relationships to create a community your customers can proudly identify with.

At Six Circles, we know a thing or two about building a thriving community of engaged customers. Get in touch with us today and book a free online demo of our community engagement platform.

Posted by David in Interesting

Six elements of an event signup page primed to convert

So, you’re managing to drive traffic to your event signup page. Great work, but what’s next?

Well, if this traffic is failing to convert into genuine signups, it’s probably time to reassess the optimisation of your event page. After all, it can take a lot of time, effort and money to drive users to your site – so losing conversion opportunities due to a poorly constructed landing page is the ultimate cardinal sin of any event marketer.

Luckily, we’re here to save the day, sharing six key elements of an event signup page that’s primed to convert visitors every time.

Attendees at an event
Image by Headway on Unsplash

Date, time and location details

Sure, this one seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to forget the basics sometimes. With this in mind, start by ensuring the fundamentals – the date, time and location of your event – are clearly presented on your event page.

The user shouldn’t have to work to find this information. On the contrary, they should be able to find these basic details from a single glance at your event page. Look to create a flawless user experience by considering your page design, ensuring fundamental event information is displayed clearly towards the top of your landing page and is readily distinguishable from the rest of your page content.

An eye-catching headline

Once you’ve got users landing on your event page, the next step is to keep visitors on your event page. After all, the longer a user spends on your page, the more likely they are to convert.

So, how do you keep your visitor’s attention? An eye-catching headline, of course! For best results, take the time to get to know your audience: what demographic do they fall into, what are their interests, and why are they considering your event?

This allows you to become more direct in your headline and, in turn, increases your likelihood of capturing the user’s attention. Use second-person pronouns to speak directly to the visitor, taking time to carefully consider your headline style and language choices based on your audience research.

A comprehensive event summary

Remember that the purpose of your event page is to drive conversions, meaning every piece of content on your page should provide real value that encourages signups.

Try to avoid the use of filler content wherever possible. Remain sharp and to-the-point, asking yourself if each line is providing the user with new and important information about your event. If it isn’t, consider whether you’re using your word count to maximum effect.

This event summary should also look to tie your brand and event together. After all, you want attendees to associate your event with your brand in order to expand your customer base and better establish your brand as a key name in your sector. Ensure all content is in line with your brand voice as well as your visual branding across your on-page content and page design.

A clear incentive to convert

What makes your event so special? Why should anyone care? How will attendees benefit from signing up?

These are all questions that should be answered when presenting the user with a clear incentive to convert. If you’ve carried out your audience research, this should be a whole lot easier – as it’s likely you already have a solid understanding of what your attendees are looking to get from your event.

Either way, make sure you’re making a big ol’ song and dance out of any unique selling point (USP) your event boasts. Whether it’s a noteworthy guest speaker or access to exclusive material, make it crystal clear that your event is not one to be missed.

An irresistible call-to-action

With your visitor hooked, it’s now time to reel them in – and no bait works better than an irresistible call-to-action (CTA).

The recipe for a killer CTA is simple: keep it short and effective. To do this, communicate clearly and directly with the user, using strong imperatives such as ‘sign up now’ or ‘register today’. Of course, clicking this button should take the user to the most logical conversion point – whether that’s an event registration form or ticket purchasing platform.

Be sure to consider your page layout and design here, too. As the final driving force pushing the user towards a conversion, a CTA button should stand out against the rest of your content and should be positioned in a strategic place on the page.

A user-friendly signup form

After all that hard work, it’d be a real shame for your conversion to fall through at the last crucial moment.

So, be sure to create an event registration form that’s quick and easy to use. Look to collect the bare necessities when it comes to user info (think name, address and contact details). The reasoning here is simple – the quicker the form is to complete, the more likely the user is to complete it.

Make sure you haven’t forgotten about mobile users here, either. Forms should be adapted to function and display seamlessly on both desktop and mobile to guarantee a smooth user experience.

By optimising your event page with these key elements, you can engage users at each stage of the sales funnel. Those in the informational stage will be able to quickly acquire basic event info, while those closer to converting will be spurred on by your comprehensive, targeted content and strong CTAs.

Integrating these elements into your landing page is a sure-fire way to bolster conversion rates and see more signups than ever before. To learn more about how Six Circles can help you streamline your event marketing, get in touch with us today to book your free online demo of our community engagement platform.

Posted by David in Interesting

Six easy steps to your brand’s customer persona

Understanding your brand’s audience is business 101. After all, your customers are the ultimate driving force behind your success – so knowing how best to engage them is paramount to the sustainable growth of your business.

With this in mind, more and more brands are turning to the creation of customer personas to better understand their customers’ behaviours and interests. By doing so, businesses are able to ensure they communicate more effectively with their audience, improving consumer-brand relations while driving engagement and, ultimately, conversions.

Man brainstorming ideas with sticky notes
Photo by You X Ventures on Unsplash

But how do you create a buyer persona for your brand? It may sound like a daunting task, but it’s not as hard as you might think – with the right know-how and some simple yet smart application, a deeper understanding of your customer base is just six steps away.

Look at the data

To ensure an accurate and effective consumer persona, your profile needs to be based on hard data.

Remember that your persona won’t necessarily be the same as your target audience, and it’s important to be able to differentiate between the two from the off. To put it simply, your target audience are the customers you’d like to engage, while your consumer persona represents the customers who are already engaging with your brand.

While, in an ideal world, these two might perfectly align (and in these instances, you should pat yourself on the back for a super-focused marketing strategy!), this won’t always be the case. As such, ensure you don’t let your target audience influence the way in which your buyer persona is constructed – instead, let the data do the talking.

Start with the basics

Begin by gathering the basic data on your typical user – age and gender are good places to start here.

Of course, it’s highly unlikely that your audience will exclusively fall into one demographic, so look to build the foundations of your persona on the most dominant user or customer type. This doesn’t mean the others should be ignored – on the contrary, this data can form the basis of a new consumer persona further down the line.

Dig a little deeper

With the basic information collected, look to dig deeper into your data to build a more comprehensive profile – think bounce rates, user interests, new vs returning users, landing pages and average pages per session here.

By doing this, you’ll begin to better understand your customers’ behaviour patterns, helping your persona to evolve from one based purely on objective characteristics. This will come together to create an overview of your typical user based on how they interact with your site and, as we’ll explore now, what they’re looking to achieve.

Identify the goal

Use the data you’ve collected to inform common customer goals – what is the user’s intent when browsing your site?

Having hard data to hand is all well and good, but, without an understanding of how this data translates to user objectives, you’re barely scratching the surface when it comes to getting to know your audience. So, spend time thinking about what this data actually represents, and build a more detailed persona around your findings.

For example, let’s say a business owner runs a popular interior design company with a website that ranks well organically. Following her basic data gathering, she has concluded that her audience is predominantly female and in the 25-34-year-old age bracket. After delving into the browsing activity of these users, she can see they average around 6 pages per session and generally browse on mobile rather than desktop. So what?

Well, this actually tells us a whole lot about user intent. From the data above, we can build a persona built on assumptions but rooted in evidence. The fact that the user is browsing multiple pages per session, for example, may suggest the user doesn’t yet have a clear indication of the product they want and they’re in the navigational rather than transactional stage of the sales funnel.

This can be taken further still when looking at landing pages and user interests. By studying where your users are finding your site and even utilising Google Analytics’ handy user interests tool to see where else they’re browsing, you’ll be able to better gauge your user’s intent. In this way, you can come to understand why your users are here and what they’re looking for.

Personify the persona

Get creative and personify your buyer persona by assigning characteristics and attributes based on the data gathered.

To do this successfully, think outside the box to build a fictional character around your data. By adding this human element to your data, you’re reminded that your audience consists of real life buyers as opposed to numbers on a screen. This helps you to better tailor your strategies for maximum engagement.

Returning to the data collected by our interior design business owner, for example, we could create a persona we’ll call Susie. As Susie is aged between 25 and 34 and browsing interior design related topics, we can conclude that Susie is likely a first-time home owner. Since she’s browsing on her phone for an average of 6 pages per session, it’s likely she’s looking for interior inspiration rather than a specific product – and perhaps pushed for time as a result of being a first-time mother. Already, you can begin to see how a little creative interpretation of data can go a long way.

Apply to your strategy

With your consumer persona complete, it’s time to start tailoring your marketing strategies accordingly.

Remember: the point of creating a buyer persona is to better understand your audience, helping you adapt your marketing strategies to meet their unique needs. So, use your persona to highlight what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong, adapting as necessary.

Ask yourself what problems your fictional persona is likely to face and create content that resolves these problems. Alternatively, consider whether your fictional persona would positively engage with your existing brand voice and content style. If not, your brand voice might need some more work.

Creating a buyer persona is a fun and creative way to understand your customers in a new light. With the right application, this persona can help you build an authentic and focused brand identity that meets the wants and needs of your audience. With this weapon in your marketing arsenal, engagement is a done deal.

Now you know your audience that little bit better, it’s time to build a thriving community of engaged customers. Get in touch with us today to book your free online demo of our community engagement platform.

Posted by David in Interesting

Six irresistible lead magnet ideas for your brand’s website

Whatever lead generation means to your business, this meaningful micro conversion is a universal stepping stone to success.

B2C brands categorise leads as would-be customers who’ve joined their mailing list or added products to their cart but haven’t yet converted. B2B businesses, on the other hand, might count theirs in the form of users who’ve requested a free trial of their service or made an initial enquiry but not yet signed on the proverbial dotted line.

We know leads are crucial for any business, but driving them isn’t always a breeze. Today, we’re helping commercially minded brands on the hunt for hot leads to find their winning lead magnet.

Woman holding lightbulb in her hand
Photo by fotografierende on Unsplash

What is a lead magnet?

First things first: a lead magnet is an incentive offered to users of your website who have the potential to become customers of your brand. This lead magnet generally takes the form of a reward (or bait) given in exchange for the lead’s contact information.

With these all-important contact details secured, the lead can be added to your mailing list and thus enter the conversion funnel.

The lead magnet or bait can take many shapes – and the right bait to use will depend entirely on the nature and expertise of your business. To help you find an irresistible lure that makes sense for your brand, we’re sharing a selection of the most popular lead magnet examples used by businesses all over the world across all sectors.

Content bait

The promise of ‘free’ content is an enticing offer indeed, as long as the inherent value of this content is made clear to users at the point when it’s offered. From informational how-to guides, white papers and infographics to persuasive case studies and time-saving checklists and cheat sheets, the possibilities are virtually endless when using content as your lead magnet.

Just make sure to emphasise exactly how your content will add value for prospective leads so they’re able to hand over their contact details in exchange for content they can be confident will deliver tangible results.

Tool bait

As far as lead magnets go, there are few incentives more powerful than a custom interactive tool that will solve a real-world problem or streamline an everyday process. Offering leads access to tools you’ve either built yourself or commissioned will create that feeling of exclusivity that so often converts users into leads.

Wondering what custom tools you could create for your brand? Popular ideas include online calculators for finance websites, outfit planners for fashion brands and interactive maps for travel companies. Consider what value you have to offer your customers and contemplate how that value can be distilled into a nifty digital tool.

Trial bait

For businesses offering software as a service or gaming brands looking to lure in players for their latest release, trials and demos offer the perfect tasting menu ahead of the main course that is your product or service.

As such, so-called trial bait serves as an effective lead magnet that offers clear value to users as well as giving them a teaser of your full product or service, increasing the likelihood of a conversion in the long run.

Webinar bait

The value of knowledge-sharing can’t be overestimated. Beyond value-adding written content (such as the white papers and case studies mentioned above), there’s also the ever popular webinar which gives your business an opportunity to impart wisdom through the medium of video – ideal for users who prefer to consume their content in visual formats.

With an original concept for your webinar, combined with a sincere promise of tangible benefits for viewers, your webinar will serve as a powerful piece of laid bait sure to see users signing up in exchange for newfound knowledge on a relevant topic.

Competition bait

There’s nothing quite like a competition to get the blood pumping among your brand community. The chance of winning a coveted prize should be more than sufficient when it comes to incentivising users to provide their email addresses in exchange for the prospect of the prize in question.

Better yet, with an increased likelihood of virality (with entrants often sharing competition details with friends and family, particularly if this is among the criteria for entry), choosing a competition for your lead magnet can mean a big boost to brand exposure.

Special offer bait

From percentage discounts and coupons to exclusive freebies for subscribers, there are special offers galore you can use to tempt your audience into joining your all-important mailing list – after which you’ll have their consent to share countless other limited-time offers in a bid to drive sales.

Taking advantage of the sense of urgency is key here – so make sure to stress the limited time window for which your offer will be available, and ensure your call-to-action uses suitably urgent language (such as ‘here’ and ‘now’). With the right offer, the right positioning and the right call-to-action, you’ll have a lead magnet that’s near impossible to ignore.

With these lead magnet ideas in your marketing arsenal, you can help your brand become an irresistible prospect in the eyes of would-be customers or clients.

This is made infinitely easier with the help of our purpose-built community engagement platform, complete with all the essential tools you’ll need to attract leads. Get your free online demo today right here.

Posted by David in Interesting

Six reasons to try automated email marketing for your business

Email marketing is a powerful tool in the digital marketer’s arsenal, promising a raft of commercial benefits for brands able to commit the time and effort necessary to make this data-driven art form work – and even those who aren’t. Thanks to the advent of email marketing automation, you can reap the benefits without having to invest the resources you previously would’ve done. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

Apple Mail app with email notifications
Photo by Torsten Dettlaff from Pexels

Our brand is built on a mission to help other brands find and nurture an engaged community of customers and advocates – and email marketing is primed for supporting this kind of community-building activity.

We’re making a case for automation in today’s post, as we explore just a handful of the numerous perks that come with taking an automated approach to your email marketing activity.

Time savings

Rather than having to scramble each month to find time between meetings and before weekends to pull together short-notice email marketing campaigns, adopting an automated approach gives you the power to plan, create and launch a single email workflow that will run seamlessly in the background – triggering sequential emails as and when predetermined conditions are met. This way, you can protect your time while also ensuring consistent levels of care and quality across each of your emails.

Audience segmentation

Your mailing list is a valuable asset that can be used to drive engagement and, ultimately, conversions – whatever they may mean to your brand. It shouldn’t, however, be treated as a static list of identical users – especially considering the raw power of audience segmentation. By launching an automated email campaign, you can gradually segment your mailing list based on browsing and buying behaviours – among countless other criteria – to slowly but surely build a multifaceted database of users and really come to know the people you call customers.

Tailored messaging

With this superior audience segmentation, you can sculpt the messaging used in your email marketing campaigns to treat each and every lead in a tailored way. Whether you’re trying to convert newsletter signups into product sales or engage unresponsive contacts, the data provided as a result of your audience segmentation will make truly personalised lead-warming possible.

Customer re-engagement

One of many examples of this tailored messaging is the opportunity to re-engage customers who haven’t purchased in a given period of time. With a campaign focused solely on persuading past customers to convert again, such as a cart abandonment email triggered at the moment a user leaves your site without buying, you can minimise customer drop-off and do everything in your power to see customer journeys through to completion.

Increased customer lifetime value

By encouraging inactive and first-time customers to convert again, you can steadily improve your business’s customer lifetime value – i.e. the amount each customer is worth to your business over their entire relationship with your brand. Many businesses inadvertently treat their customers as disposable once they’ve secured that all-important first sale from a new lead. With automated email marketing, you can nurture every first-time customer into a loyal repeat customer who will be worth significantly more to your brand in the long term.

Data measurement and implementation

Last but by no means least, the data measurement benefits of automating your email marketing campaigns simply can’t be overlooked. Every marketing channel available to you should be considered an opportunity to gather and review data, with resulting actions informed by these data insights. With each automated campaign you launch comes a fresh batch of customer behaviour data ready to be analysed – and from this analysis comes your next great campaign. Rinse and repeat.

With so many reasons to launch your first automated email marketing campaign, now’s the time to start. Our state-of-the-art community engagement platform is the perfect companion to your email marketing activity, with the ability to integrate with user-friendly email marketing software favourite, Mailchimp. Get your free online demo of our platform today to take your community building to the next level.

Testimonials

“Since incorporating the Six Circles software to further grow our network, we have seen a vast increase in new members and interaction and we are attributing both to the ease of the site’s functionality.

For us, our marketing is now tailored more specifically and effectively due to the inclusion of useful analytics which allow us to form a better understanding of what our members really want.

We would wholly recommend Six Circles to organisations wanting to offer their consumers a platform to meet others, voice their opinions, publish industry news and receive an inclusive and enjoyable customer experience.”

The Mussel Club