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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.

Posted by David in Interesting

Six tried and tested ways to build brand loyalty online

Sales are the name of the game for any business operating online, or anywhere else for that matter – and while acquiring new customers is a vital part of the revenue generation process, building enduring brand loyalty is where there’s real money to be made.

Driving referral sales, amplifying brand recognition and transforming would-be one-off customers into devoted brand advocates, loyalty marketing delivers numerous benefits for brands looking to find and nurture their tribe.

Woman using laptop and holding credit card
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Loyalty is a hard-won reward that’s essential to growing your own engaged brand community. Today, we’re taking some of the toil out of this pursuit by showing you how and where to start when it comes to building lasting brand loyalty online.

Invest in a memorable brand image

Your brand’s identity should be as multifaceted as your own personal identity, and your brand image (which includes but is by no means limited to your logo) should strive to express this complex identity in a largely visual way. History’s most iconic brands are recognisable from a hundred yards away, having permeated the public consciousness to the point that they’ve transcended mere business status.

It’s easier said than done, but do what you can to distance yourself from your brand and ask yourself whether your brand imagery would catch your eye on the street, in a lineup, on a busy supermarket shelf and in a crowded social media feed. If your branding doesn’t pass this test, it’s time to invest in an upgrade.

Ensure brand consistency across all channels

In order for a brand to be memorable, it needs to be consistent. If your brand takes a different shape every time a user is exposed to it, the user may very well not even make the connection. To breed this familiarity, ensure that your brand imagery, voice and wider identity are cohesive across all of your digital platforms – from your website and blog area to your social media accounts, email marketing activity and any other conceivable marketing materials you distribute.

As your audience gets to know you, trust will develop and your chances of securing that all-important first-time sale will skyrocket. Beyond that, though, and more importantly, remaining consistent in your ethos, principles and messaging will allow you to build the trust needed to drive not only one-off sales but long-term customer loyalty, as you demonstrate over time that your brand is trustworthy and dependable.

Align your brand with industry influencers

You’ll be no stranger to the weighty influence celebrities and industry experts can have on consumer buying behaviour. Of course, it’s possible to build a devoted customer base the organic way, but there are also benefits to fast-tracking this brand loyalty with the help of a relevant influencer’s endorsement.

Identify a public figure trusted and adored by members of your potential customer pool and make it your personal mission to align your brand with this almighty influencer. Whether you interview this industry icon for your blog, bag an influencer-made video review of your product or service, or launch a mutually beneficial partnership, anything you can do to earn the seal of approval from your influencer of choice will see your brand benefit from this flattering affiliation.

Make customer service a top priority

Customer service is the faithful sidekick to your product or service, and ever-increasing customer expectations mean that providing 360-degree customer support is now all but a necessity. This omnipresent customer service should begin the moment a user first engages with your brand online and should continue long after they’ve made their first purchase.

To foster loyalty between customers and your brand, your customer service function needs to seamlessly guide them through their shopping experience, which means responding to any and all customer queries in a timely, approachable and comprehensive manner. By continually giving your customers the right answers in the right way at the right time, you can begin to build a reputation for reliability – and reliability breeds loyalty.

Harness honest audience feedback

As recipients of your product and the customer service that accompanies it, your customers are the most qualified to judge where and how this product and service can be improved. A trusted brand encourages any and all feedback and views this feedback as a welcome opportunity to adjust and improve. Done right, this process is a circular one that repeats endlessly in the knowledge that there is and will always be further room for improvement.

Market research tools such as polls provide a simple yet effective means of generating honest customer feedback on various aspects of your product (e.g. quality, cost and efficacy) and service (e.g. response and delivery times, payment options and rep knowledge). By asking the big questions, you can gather valuable data that can be used to shape a better business and, in turn, better customer relations.

Keep your promises to your customers

Value is an inherently intangible concept, but absolutely vital for any brand to be deserving of a loyal customer base. Across your website content, social media communications and wider brand messaging, you make a promise of value to your customers – and in order to amass loyal repeat customers (as opposed to disposable one-offs), your brand must strive to fulfil this promise for each and every customer.

From promising a 24-hour turnaround and all user queries to promising free, 48-hour delivery on all customer orders, businesses make all kinds of promises to their customers – but the brands who enjoy loyal, lucrative and enduring relationships with their customer bases achieve this accolade by only making promises they have no doubt they can keep.

Our loyal clients choose our platform for the luxury of having state-of-the-art community-building tools at their fingertips. This is our promise to brands in search of their own devoted tribe. To get started growing your community today, simply request a free online demo of the Six Circles platform now.

Posted by David in Uncategorized

European Regional Development Fund

The GX Project is led by NewcastleGateshead Initiative, and supported by the Innovation Super Network. GX provides a range of opportunities to North-East SMEs and scaleups before, during and after the Great Exhibition of the North. GX supported Six Circles to develop a white labelled community platform with a grant of £2,800. GX is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Posted by David in Interesting

Six cardinal customer service sins

Customer service is an essential aspect of running a retail business – a key ingredient with the power to make or break the flavour of your brand. An innovative, high-quality, competitively priced product can be completely undermined by a subpar customer service function – and if it’s your mission to bring such a product to the masses, one non-negotiable item on the agenda is ensuring your customer experience is up to scratch.

Customer service rep on headset call
Photo by Proxyclick Visitor Management System on Unsplash

At Six Circles, we’ve developed a cutting-edge community engagement platform that’s designed to effortlessly complement your customer service function – with tools galore to manage, engage and grow your brand’s audience online.

First, though, it’s time to master the foundations of customer relationship management, as we share a handful of unforgivable sins committed by companies in various sectors across the globe.

Setting a negative tone

The laws of communication with customers are highly nuanced, and it’s all too easy to slip into a visibly negative tone when countering negative feedback or frustrated comments from your customer base. Negative language – which covers anything defensive, dismissive or condescending – paints a picture of a brand unwilling to hear the likely constructive feedback being offered by those best qualified to comment.

Don’t think of these exchanges as a battle – think of them as an opportunity to court and persuade your customers. Simply reframing the experience will make it infinitely easier to strike the right chord with members of your community.

Neglecting basic etiquette

Manners cost nothing but are worth everything, as they say. This is undeniably true of customer service, as poor etiquette has the potential to end previously profitable relationships – while first-class customer service is the key to loyal, enduring custom. There’s more to this than the obvious hellos, thank-yous and goodbyes, but it goes without saying that these basics should be a firm fixture of your customer service script.

Use your customer’s name in every exchange to make it abundantly clear that they’re a valued customer rather than a box to be checked. Express gratitude when a customer provides useful insights into how your product or service could be further improved. Ask if there’s anything else you can help with. Go the extra mile with each customer encounter.

Refusing to say sorry

There’s a natural aversion to apologies among customer and client-facing businesses, fuelled by a fear that apologising means admitting failure and relinquishing all power. We’re not suggesting assuming blame for every minute hiccup a customer has experienced as part of shopping with you – we’re merely urging you to own up to genuine mistakes and approach conversations about these mistakes in a polite and transparent way.

Acknowledging a frustrated customer’s feelings (rather than dismissing or belittling them) is a crucial first step towards smoothing over situations where your business is undeniably at fault. A defective product or problematic shipping process can leave a customer relationship on the rocks – and an unsatisfying response from customer service could well be the final straw. Maintain some perspective and hold your hands up when the situation calls for humility.

Keeping it impersonal

No customer wants to feel as though they’re communicating with a mindless bot. Every customer service experience should feel genuine and personal and tailored to the given customer’s unique query or complaint. This means every response you provide should be relevant and useful, rather than feeling as though it’s been ripped right out of the catch-all customer service handbook.

Get customers on side right away by mirroring their tone to communicate that you’re on the same page – ensuring your language and energy are appropriate for the nature of the exchange. By all means, follow a basic customer service script structure in terms of carefully and politely guiding the customer to an acceptable resolution – but if the customer ever feels like you’re phoning it in, you’ve done something wrong.

Regurgitating industry jargon

Many customers feel alienated by industry jargon – not least because it has the potential to read as patronising by customers who aren’t in the loop. As well as unnecessary shop talk, though, there’s also the customer service jargon that, when overused, will convince customers you’re less than invested in their query. Don’t “apologise for the inconvenience” when a simple “sorry” will do.

Speak plainly. Time is of the essence from both parties’ perspectives, and resolving a customer’s query quickly involves getting straight to the point and leaving the industry noise in the company boardroom where it belongs.

Leaving them hanging

While we’re on the subject of time, we don’t want to miss an opportunity to stress the importance of acknowledging questions and complaints in a timely manner. ‘Ghosting’ your community is a recipe for dead-end customer relationships – and the truth is that, in many cases, all a customer needs to feel heard in the immediate sense is an initial holding message letting them know their query is being looked into.

If you need to buy the time to investigate their issue in more depth, by all means buy that time. After your initial contact, calendar reminders will serve you well when it comes to touching base and providing updates. As long as a customer knows their query is a priority for you, you’ll find they’re happy to wait patiently for the resolution they need.

With your customer service function on point, you’re ready to use these newfound skills to build a thriving community of happy and engaged customers. Get in touch now to book your free online demo of our community engagement platform.

Posted by David in Interesting

Six simple rules for writing your brand origin story

Businesses sell products or services – brands sell stories. Sure, they sell products or services, too, but every sale a fully fledged brand makes is built on an authentic, believable brand narrative that compels their customers to invest in them.

Whether you know it or not, your brand already has an origin story – the sequence of events and series of critical decisions that needed to happen to get you and your business where you are today. To truly embrace this origin story, it helps to get it down on paper, so to speak.

Typewriter on a desk
Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

At Six Circles, our origin story is a tale of helping businesses and organisations of all shapes and sizes access the tools they need to manage, engage and grow. Now, let’s turn the tables and break down some golden rules for writing your own brand origin story so that you can wear this badge with pride.

Tell the truth

If honesty wasn’t already on your agenda, rest assured the benefits of being up-front are numerous.

Besides the fact that users can spot an overbaked origin story a mile off, it’s also true that consumers place a great deal of value on straight-talking brands who are honest about the hard road they’ve travelled to get to where they are now, and don’t retroactively construct an ethos that paints a prettier picture than the unadulterated truth.

Embrace past failures

As part of accepting the authentic beginnings of your brand comes embracing the aspects of your origin story you might prefer to forget – the failures that paved the way for success.

Whether that involves reflecting on regretful decisions at pivotal moments in your brand’s timeline or missed opportunities you wish you’d seized when you had the chance, taking stock of any setbacks and repackaging them as learning experiences is a crucial part of writing an endearing origin story.

Get personal

Relatability is essential to writing a brand origin story that resonates with your community. To make sure yours is relatable in all the right ways, kick the corporate spiel to the curb and focus on the message you want to convey (as opposed to becoming overly wrapped up in the polished language you use to convey that message).

Speak directly, informally (if appropriate) and in the first person to communicate the personal journey that led you to build your brand, rather than treating your brand origin story like yet another piece of purely commercial content.

Speak your customer’s language

Having built a brand, you’ll be more than familiar with the nuances of your typical customer when it comes to their likes, dislikes, buying motivations, communication preferences and more. These aspects of your existing user persona will serve you well as you nail down the language you’ll need to use to charm and entice them.

If your customers abhor being talked down to above all else, communicate your story in a respectful way. Similarly, if you know their environmental values influence their buying behaviour, make it abundantly clear the part that your own environmental values played in your brand’s journey.

Keep it simple

Just as you might find it impossible to persevere with books that are overly complex and convoluted, so too will your customers struggle to wade through a brand origin story that’s all self-important rhetoric and no substance.

While remembering to tailor your messaging to your customer persona, keep your language clear and straightforward and avoid gilding the lily in any way. Your brand’s origin story is sufficient in itself and needs no distracting embellishments that might take away from the spirit of your company manifesto.

Find common ground

Let’s loop back to the idea of relatability before we wrap this up. As well as speaking to your audience in a relatable way that acknowledges their personality and communication preferences, it’s also crucial to ensure the content of your origin story is likely to resonate with them.

If your brand was conceived to solve an age-old consumer problem, tie this sense of purpose into your origin story to let customers know their convenience is your primary concern. If your professional mission is to innovate your marketplace, make an essential daily routine that little bit quicker or easier, or turn a passion project into an income stream, be as transparent about these motivations as possible to establish common ground with your community and earn their emotional investment in your brand.

Communities are built on powerful brand stories. It all starts with your origins – but after that, it’s over to our state-of-the-art community engagement platform to help you convert loyal customers into committed community members. Request your free online demo of our platform today to take the first step towards a brand community to call your own.

Posted by David in Interesting

Six persuasive special offer ideas for your customers

It won’t always be peak season. Your business’s sales function won’t always be a perpetual motion machine. Your product or service offering won’t always be an easy sell. Understanding the peaks and troughs that come with owning a business is key to knowing how to capitalise on the upward spikes and prepare for the leaner months.

At Six Circles, we’re champions of community building and the sustainable business benefits that come with it – and today’s post is all about sustainable sales tactics.

Man using laptop and holding credit card
Photo by rupixen.com on Unsplash

Special offers are a simple yet highly effective tool to have in your marketing arsenal ahead of off-peak periods for your business. Serving as an irresistible incentive for on-the-fence prospective customers and would-be repeat customers alike, the right offer can seal the deal any month of the year. Here, we’re laying out your options to help you find the right offer for your brand.

New customer offers

During proactive sales drives, onboarding new customers is generally priority number one. Incentivising prospective customers who are as yet unconvinced of the benefits of your product or service isn’t always an easy sell, though. The key is to create a sense of urgency, illustrating that, of all the times they could choose to invest their money in your brand, now is the most opportune time imaginable.

Try introducing an offer aimed exclusively at sweetening the deal when it comes to becoming a first-time customer. Whether it’s a percentage discount off their first order, a welcome freebie that comes with their first purchase or a one-time offer of free delivery regardless of their basket value, find a lure that leaves them in no doubt now is the time to join your customer base.

Customer retention offers

Every business will inevitably face its fair share of customer churn – but that’s not to say you should go down without a fight. Businesses offering pay-monthly services or subscriptions will be more than familiar with customer cancellations, but many of these attempts to break away from your business can be quashed with the help of the right customer retention offer.

Persuading a disenchanted customer of yours to stay won’t always be possible, especially if problems relating to your product or customer service are the cause of this disenchantment. However, if their reasons for leaving are financially motivated, it’s well worth offering a single-use voucher or limited-time product or service discount in the hopes that this show of good faith is reciprocated.

Email subscriber offers

A large and engaged mailing list is an extremely valuable asset for any business, particularly ecommerce brands whose customers often convert directly via monthly email marketing campaigns. As such, anything you can do to grow your subscriber base over time is a highly worthwhile endeavour – but potential subscribers sometimes need a little buttering up before they’re willing to hand over their all-important email address.

Wherever your email signup form appears across your company website, you can preface this form with a snippet of persuasive copy explaining the benefits of being a subscriber. Beyond this, though, you can further boost signup rates with a tailored offer that only comes as a reward for signing on the dotted line, so to speak.

Consider an exclusive voucher code that’ll be sent to their email address immediately upon subscribing – entitling them to free shipping, or 10% off their next order, or a limited edition add-on product, to name just a few of the possible options. Whatever the offer, the key is to make joining your mailing list the barrier to entry.

Limited-time offers

Whether it’s your summer sale extravaganza, Black Friday through Cyber Monday or the pre-Christmas rush, there’s nothing like a seasonal sale to get carts filled and orders made. There’s an undeniable sense of urgency that surrounds limited-time customer offers – and you can reap the benefits of a timely promotion at any time of year with an offer that’s tailored to the needs and interests of your audience.

Aside from the aforementioned peak seasons experienced by ecommerce businesses across the globe, there are countless other opportunities for you to make sure time is on your side, commercially speaking. You may want to build a limited-time discount or sitewide sale around an upcoming national holiday, current event or company anniversary, for example. The secret to success is giving your valued customers a timely heads-up and taking a liberal approach to sending countdown emails ahead of the big day.

Referral offers

The ultimate goal for virtually any business is to reach a point where new customers are constantly onboarding themselves and your outbound sales function is effective but ultimately unnecessary. Your best chance of reaching this coveted state of self-perpetuating sales is to launch a referral offer wherein existing customers benefit from converting their friends, family and acquaintances into new customers.

Particularly effective for businesses using a pay-monthly product or service model, referral programmes generally take the form of a discount or freebie offered to brand advocates who are sufficiently happy with your product or service that they’ll extol its virtues to their inner circle. Often, the new customer is also rewarded for climbing aboard – making offers like these a win-win-win situation, with all parties benefiting from this successful word of mouth advertising.

Loyalty offers

Loyalty is a virtue that businesses should be rewarding, particularly when it comes to long-standing customer relationships the likes of which your company couldn’t do without. Loyalty offers take various forms but can be reduced to the same sentiment: here’s a token of thanks for your continued custom.

Whether you give long-term customers an exclusive discount the next time they shop with you, give them access to a beta test of your new online feature, send a free gift to their shipping address or treat them to an online voucher they can redeem at their convenience, the key is to find a fitting reward they’re guaranteed to appreciate. There’s also the option to launch your own loyalty card scheme so that customers can actively earn loyalty points to spend as they wish (but, crucially, with your business).

It’s our company mission to help businesses connect with their communities. While offers are an undeniably valuable asset when it comes to converting prospective customers and rewarding loyalty, they’re just one piece of the community engagement puzzle. For everything else, there’s our state-of-the-art platform – get your free online demo by contacting our team today.

Posted by David in Interesting

Six key ingredients for your brand’s digital identity

The world’s biggest and best brands have that unmistakable ‘it’ factor that makes them memorable and magnetic. As a more modestly sized business with aspirations of worldly acclaim, it can frustratingly feel like there’s just no way to bottle that je ne sais quoi and harness it within your own sector.

That’s not necessarily true, though.

Red Coca-Cola can spilling red ink
Photo by Monica Silva on Unsplash

While we appreciate that some brands really do just possess that extra, indescribable oomph that elevates a brand to more than a mere business, there are nonetheless a handful of key ingredients that contribute to this commercial staying power.

In this post, we’re breaking that recipe down to help your brand work towards this same memorable and magnetic status.

Logo

Your company logo is your coat of arms – a symbol of your purpose as an enterprise and your position within your sector. The world’s most unforgettable logos are invariably simple and elegant – communicating a business’s ethos and personality in one powerful image.

To rank among the giants of your industry, your logo should ooze character without being overly convoluted. It should echo your identity in its use of form, colour and typography – saying everything there is to say about your brand image in as few proverbial brushstrokes as possible.

Colour palette

Your brand’s colour palette will, of course, be present in your company logo – but its applications extend far beyond that. From your business’s website to its social media accounts and any conceivable marketing materials, online or otherwise, the colour scheme you establish when first branding your business should spill all over every piece of brand messaging that follows.

Understanding colour psychology is the key to harnessing the power of the most appropriate shades in order to convey your company ethos without words. Capitalise on the calming properties of blue, channel the energy of red, communicate luxury with black or showcase your sustainable values with green – whatever your message, there’s a colour primed to share this message.

Typography

Your brand’s use of typography may seem like a matter of personal preference rather than an element that would reveal anything in particular about your brand identity, but the medium is as important as the message when it comes to text formatting.

From settling on a traditional vs modern typeface to deciding whether or not to introduce your own signature flourishes, all typography brings with it a sense of personality – and big brands across the globe have laboured over theirs to find digital handwriting that’s unmistakably their own and instantly recognisable.

Company website

Your company website should be your pride and joy – a platform where you introduce your brand to the world, a hub where your big ideas are shared, and a verbal and non-verbal expression of your one-of-a-kind brand personality. Needless to say, there are design decisions galore to make when it comes to creating this all-important brand environment.

From your homepage where those all-important first impressions are formed to your About page where your company manifesto is laid bare, this hub of commercial content should succeed in a few key objectives: showcasing who you are, sharing what you do, and compelling users to become a part of your brand’s tribe.

Company blog

Your company blog is a natural extension of your brand’s website, but achieves the same key objectives in an altogether different way. This is a place where opinions, ideas and expertise are shared for the benefit of your customer base. While internal news has its place here, what separates the wheat from the chaff is a blog that reads more like a passion project than a series of self-serving press releases.

The first item on the agenda is establishing what value you have to offer your audience, whether it’s entertainment value, informational value, inspirational value or, better yet, a complementary blend of the lot. After that, your mission is to commit the time and effort your blog deserves to creating unique, memorable, shareable content that will enrich the lives of your loyal customers in some small way.

Social media presence

The last ingredient on our list – the secret sauce, if you like – is a charismatic social media presence. This is easier said than done – but the good news is that, with a fully formed and authentic brand identity behind you, putting your best foot forward on social media should come fairly naturally.

It’s crucial to remember that social media should never be treated as an echo chamber. ‘Social’ is right there in the name, and the brands we know and love use platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as the interactive tools they’re designed to be.

Answer customer queries, spark debate, offer opinions and make yourself heard – but participate in meaningful dialogues. Don’t shout into the void. This is the secret to growing a sustainable brand community and transcending mere business status.

For anything and everything else that comes with community building, explore the potential of our state-of-the-art engagement platform. Request a free online demo today to expand your community-building toolkit and give your brand the foundations it needs to thrive.

Posted by David in Interesting

Six virtual event ideas for self-isolating businesses and their communities

The year is 2020 and the month is April, in the midst of the global lockdown affecting businesses and their customers across the globe. For some brands, particularly those with a solely brick-and-mortar presence, this period of quarantine makes it impossible to do business. Thankfully, though, for many of us, the wheels continue to spin – although they need a little rotation during these unprecedented circumstances.

At Six Circles, it’s our mission to bring brands and their communities together – and in times of physical isolation, digital contact is the solution. Whatever your sector, now’s the time to explore the potential of virtual events – and in today’s post, we’re breaking down the options available to you so you can touch base with your community and offer a healthy dose of added value in the process.

Man wearing headphones using laptop
Photo by Wes Hicks on Unsplash

Practical workshops

Regardless of your industry, you’ll have sector-specific expertise you can share with your audience in order to show them how to take matters into their own hands – whatever those matters may be. Practical workshops are suitable for businesses of all shapes and sizes – from ecommerce retailers to B2B software providers and beyond.

To get started with these how-to virtual events, the first crucial step is to establish what informational value you have to offer your customers, and how you can impart this knowledge in a practical, hands-on format.

Market research sessions

We’re all about market research at Six Circles and never miss an opportunity to extol its virtues. It’s quite simply the most efficient, elegant solution to gathering unfiltered audience feedback, and, while distance may separate you from your customers right now, this shouldn’t have to stand in the way of gaining their valuable insights.

Get brainstorming with your team to compile a list of issues you’d love your community to input on and book in a virtual event dedicated to bouncing ideas around with the loyal customers whose feedback can and should help to shape the future of your business.

Influencer interviews

Interviewing a prominent figure in your industry works wonders when it comes to enhancing your authority within your sector as, if the figure in question is influential enough, their mere association with your brand reflects well on your company. The positive brand exposure up for grabs makes influencer interviews a no-brainer – but the benefits don’t end there.

On top of your own engaged community, influencer marketing means you’ll also have access to an industry influencer’s own audience (who won’t pass up an opportunity to see this VIP impart their virtual wisdom). With the combined power of these two audiences, your interview’s online reach will enjoy a very healthy boost.

Q&A sessions

While market research sessions provide a forum for customer feedback that’s still inherently led by you, question-and-answer sessions put the control firmly in the hands of your community – giving them the freedom to ask the difficult, daunting or outside-the-box questions in an open virtual environment.

If your brand prides itself on candid two-way communication, an online AQA (any question answered) session – be it via your dedicated company forum or in a webinar-style video chat setting – could be the key to increased trust, as a result of showing your customers you don’t dodge curveballs.

Product demonstrations

If your business sells a product, tangible or otherwise, a live or even pre-recorded demonstration of this product in use – covering its features, benefits and applications – could provide your customers with a highly useful piece of digital content you can share periodically.

With this product demonstration video in your digital content arsenal, you can minimise product troubleshooting in the long term while also gaining buy-in from prospective customers whose only hesitations around converting relate to product functionality. So, whether you’re unboxing, configuring and using a piece of consumer tech or navigating the interface of your brand’s bespoke B2B software platform, now’s the time to show your customers how it’s done.

Informational webinars

Unlike practical workshops, which are ideal for delivering live, hands-on video content, informational webinars provide the ultimate format for educating your users on the theory surrounding an aspect of your business.

For an accounting startup, such a webinar could explore various tax rules and how to efficiently adhere to them. If you run a fair trade clothing company, your informational webinar might focus on the ethical manufacturing processes your brand swears by. Software as a service (SaaS) providers, on the other hand, might release a new informational webinar every time a new feature becomes available. The options are endless – whatever it is you’re selling, you can always go one step further with added value.

Maintaining contact is crucial to sustaining your relationship with your brand’s community – and the good news is there are innumerable ways to use virtual events to keep these lines of communication open.

The state-of-the-art Six Circles platform is the missing piece of the puzzle for any business looking to nurture its customer base into an engaged community – with event planning and market research functionality built in to help you stay in touch from your self-isolation station to theirs. Get in touch today to request a free demo of our platform before you take the next step.

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