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Posted by David in Uncategorized

6 Tips For Creating Valuable Community Content

Group pointing at laptop

Online communities are becoming more and more common, especially in a COVID-19 world. Because of this, helping your brand’s community stand out in an increasingly busy crowd is becoming harder to achieve – however, it’s certainly not impossible. 

Community building can be made easier and more effective by creating content that is valuable to that community. But to do this, you need to ensure you properly understand your audience and produce content you know will engage users. How? Let’s take a closer look…

Outline your goals

Brand communities are all the rage right now, but what’s the purpose of yours? While online communities are set up for differing reasons, the main purpose is often to establish an informational and conversational hub around your brand, products and services. This is where your content comes in.

One thing is for sure, however – community building will be a whole lot harder if you only write sales content around your product/service. This is where having a clearly defined goal for your community is important. Without this, your content will quickly become unstructured and ill-informed, leading to low community engagement as a result.

So, define your community goals early to better inform the types of content you produce. From striking up audience conversations with user generated content to keepings users up to date with the latest in industry news, establish purpose and goals to ensure you’re producing the content that drives the results you want to see.

Know your audience

Of course, engaging content relies on your community being, well, engaged! To do this successfully, you’ll need to first ensure you know your audience. Now is the time to ask yourself: do I really know my community?

If you found yourself answering no, then you’ll need to spend time getting to know the ins and outs of your audience before creating any community content. An effective way of doing this is to look at your current content and who is participating within the community. Is there a common theme? Do the same people start conversations on a daily/weekly basis?

From this, you should be able to obtain a list of ‘super fans’ – these are highly active users within the community and people you know you can rely on. Quiz and poll these now trusted sources for insights into what keeps them active within the community (our handy market research feature enables you to do exactly that), seeking first-hand advice on how the community could better serve the audience’s needs, wants and expectations.

Of course, content differs depending on your target audience – you can have one piece that works for audience X, but not audience Y. All the content you produce should be captivating for the audience you’re targeting, meaning it’s useful to ask yourself these 3 simple questions before putting the proverbial pen to paper:

  • Does this content reflect the brand’s personality?
  • Does it provide the authority you want your community to be driven by?
  • Does it speak to your audience and drive them to participate?

A community shouldn’t only be about selling products or services, but more a hub for brands and consumers to share knowledge and experiences with one another. Of course, it should still complement your business by driving sales and traffic, but this should never be your primary aim.

Re-imagine your content

At the time of writing, there are over 500 million blog posts online. 500 million and 1 once this is live.

With this in mind, bringing innovative and never-before-seen content to the table is by no means easy. However, this doesn’t mean your content on topics covered by someone else won’t be interesting or engaging to your audience.

On the contrary, you can bring a fresh lease of life to old topics and ideas through the re-imagination of your content. By this we mean, rather than recycling content that already exists elsewhere, how can you bring a new and unique perspective that adds genuine value? Whether it be expert knowledge, first-hand accounts or breaking news, there’s plenty of ways you can get creative to avoid your content being stale, outdated and lost in the crowd.

Utilise storytelling

One of the best ways to write valuable and engaging community content is to tell a story.

Curating a compelling story isn’t the easiest thing to do, but by using the audience knowledge you obtained from tip 2, you should be able to identify general customer personas. Look to utilise these as a way of aligning your stories with the typical problem points and interests of your users, ensuring captivating storytelling by tailoring your narrative specifically to them.

The application of this narrative depends on what you are writing and the audience you are speaking to. Whatever and whoever that might be, it’s always recommended that your narrative is felled by a desire to spark a response, build a connection and establish an authentic meaning.

SEO Friendly

You’ve got top-class content and your community is engaging regularly with it. What more could you want? Well, you need to ensure you have every piece of engaging content you create primed for SEO.On-page SEO best practice is ever-changing and incorporates a whole host of important considerations. The following factors should be considered potential SEO quick wins for any piece of content, ensuring you have the fundamentals set in stone to enable your content to perform well in SERPs:

  • Meta description
  • Meta title
  • Page headings
  • SEO friendly URL
  • Keyword choices and placement
  • Internal/ external links
  • Loading speed
  • Page Content
  • Image alt text

Properly search optimising your content, whatever form it takes, is a super effective community building technique by helping you reach a wider audience and, in turn, grow your community members.

Encourage feedback

Gathering feedback on the content you’re producing is vital in ensuring your content is always hitting the mark.

So, reach out and encourage your community to give their opinions on what’s working and what’s not. This can be through polling and questionnaires, or by encouraging your readers to send in their thoughts and opinions in your CTAs.

Of course, some readers will provide negative feedback. Should this be put to one side and ignored? Absolutely not. If anything, this critique is more valuable than the positive feedback, as this will help you adapt your content topics and styles to better meet the needs and desires of your customers.

Whatever your brand, the above 6 tips are sure-fire ways to help build engaging content for any community. Why not get in touch to request your free demo of our community engagement platform and see how 6 Circles can help you along the way?

Posted by David in Interesting

October 2020 Bulletin

Greetings from Six Circles HQ!

Welcome to our new monthly bulletin, where we’ll be providing updates on all of the exciting developments happening both internally and across our community engagement platform.

From what’s new to what’s to come, think of this as your roadmap for all things Six Circles.

Company News

In October, we were excited to welcome a new member to the Six Circles family. Meet Will Cook

Will Cook headshot

Getting to know you

Will is our new Business Development Executive (USA), coming on board this month to support our US pilot launch.

Fuelled by tea (with a splash of milk) and Nando’s chicken thighs and spicy rice, Will is an avid lover of musicals. Having dreamed of performing as a child, Will enjoys travelling to the West End to see shows in his spare time.

While we may not have his name up in lights in the office, he’s certainly our new star of the show!

 

map

Future Roadmap

There are some exciting new developments in the works at Six Circles basecamp. Here’s a sneak peak at some upcoming changes and improvements we’re launching across the next quarter to make sure our platform keeps driving the regular engagement we all want to see:

Newly structured email notification centre

Our new notification centre gives you the tools to select the notifications that are most important to your community.

Email digest improvements

We’re improving our email digest to be better tailored to your unique needs.

Giving you more customisation options than ever before, you’ll have the tools to control which features are added (and where), as well as the ability to add your own content to the beginning of each digest.

Private groups within the forum area

We’re developing a new function to allow users to create private discussion areas within your forums, with admins able to invite any member of their choice.

Euro payments

We’re integrating the ability to convert GBP to euros, allowing users to collect members’ payments generated from paid events, subscriptions and packages in euros.

Annual subscription system

After the successful launch of our monthly subscription feature earlier this year, our team is hard at work constructing an annual subscription system. This will make it easier than ever for your community to sign up, and for you to manage subscriptions within the Six Circles platform.

Got a suggestion on how we can improve the Six Circles community engagement platform? Send your ideas to support@sixcircles.co.uk – we always love to hear from you.

spotlight

Feature spotlight

Each month, we’re shining the spotlight on a different feature of the Six Circles platform to ensure you’re always getting the most out of what we have to offer. This month, we’re focusing on the Events area.

Did you know?

As well as handling free or paid events, you can also add an external URL link to our ‘get tickets’ button.

How to use this feature

With face-to-face meetings quickly becoming a thing of the past amidst the ongoing pandemic and local lockdown restrictions, the way brands are conducting business and interacting with their communities is, naturally, changing. From Zoom to Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts to GoToWebinar, we’re seeing a sharp rise in the use of online video calls as a means of hosting virtual events.

Thanks to our handy external URL function within the Events area, we’re seeing a growing number of communities promote their own online events within our platform. Linking to the relevant meeting room, members are able to navigate straight to the event via the Six Circles community platform.

Six Circles’ community engagement platform is the perfect companion to your online event, giving your community the tools to engage with one another both pre and post event.

 

Posted by David in Interesting

Six Simple Ways To Retain Your Customers (And Keep Them Coming Back For More)

Customer retention is often overlooked by brands. Businesses are embroiled in a never-ending battle with competitors as they fight over that precious initial sale – but the real victory comes in retaining that customer, boosting their lifetime value (LTV) and securing their long-term loyalty.

The value in this really speaks for itself. It costs 16 times more to build a long-term relationship with a new customer than it does to hold on to an existing one, with just a 5% boost in customer retention increasing profits by between 25%-95%

So, how do you ensure your customers keep coming back for more? Join us in exploring six customer retention strategies primed to convert your existing customer base into loyal long-term customers.

Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

Align products and services with customer needs

First things first: how do you expect your customers to keep coming back if you’ve got nothing to offer?

While it may sound simple, make sure you’ve conducted thorough market research to better understand what your audience is searching for and how you can provide the solution. While your customer may like your brand, if your range of goods or services offers no appeal following their initial purchase, what incentive do they have to buy with your brand again?

From polls to Q&As, utilise community engagement platforms like ours to conduct valuable research and source useful data from those who really matter – your customers.

Champion customer service

Never underestimate the power of good customer service as an effective customer retention strategy.

With 65% of consumers revealing that a positive experience is more important than great advertising in influencing their purchasing habits, top-drawer customer service may well be a more effective means of customer retention than any repeat sale marketing campaign.

So, ensure a complete 360°customer service model that accommodates every type of customer at every stage of the sales process – and you can learn how to do that right here.

Action customer feedback

Customers like their voices to be heard.

With this in mind, actively promoting feedback and properly considering relevant customer requests, advice and opinions is a great form of customer retention – after all, it’s a great way of keeping the happy customers happy and turning unhappy customers’ frowns upside down.

To keep customer satisfaction consistently high, be sure to show your appreciation for positive customer feedback and go above and beyond to resolve negative feedback.

While the latter will, of course, depend on the situation at hand, even something as simple as a sincere apology can go a long way in improving customer experience. Going the extra mile, though – through actions such as refunds, freebies or future discounts – could be your golden ticket to turning an unhappy customer into one who comes back for more.

Personalise your marketing

Email marketing is an incredibly effective tool for customer retention.

After the initial conversion, the real perk of customer retention marketing is that the hard work is already done for you – you already have the contact details and customer preference information you need.

Look to utilise this data to better inform your email campaigns, personalising everything from discounts based on purchasing history to email topics based on browsing activity.

The trick is to ensure your customer retention strategy is driven by data. Paired with all of the usual email marketing best practices, a personalised email campaign is sure to turn one-time buyers into loyal, long-term customers.

Acknowledge repeat customers

Of course, sometimes your brand and products do the work for you – meaning some customers will provide recurring business without the need for incentive.

In these instances, don’t just write this off as a ‘quick win’. Instead, ensure you’re nurturing the relationship by showing your appreciation. For B2C businesses, this could come in the form of automated thank you messages, exclusive discounts and more. For B2B, you could offer collaborations on anything from case studies to webinars.

Be the heart of your community

Of all the customer retention strategies, there’s perhaps nothing more effective than building a strong brand community.

While you can learn all about the fundamentals of nurturing a brand community here, the key takeaway is to position yourself at the very heart of your community – the central hub for all things related to your brand and sector.

Perhaps the most powerful way of achieving this is through sharing your knowledge to position your brand as an industry leader in the eyes of your customers. Share relevant testimonials and experiences while creating content that directly addresses customer pain points.

Do this successfully and you’ll see your customers begin to view your brand as the number one provider of your goods or service, meaning they’re far more likely to shop with you again as a result.

Customer retention strategies should be a core part of any brand’s digital marketing plan. To learn more about how the Six Circles community engagement platform can help with your customer retention, get in touch to request your free demo today.

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.

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