6 Benefits of Branded Forums and Online Communities
This week, we released a major update of our email newsletter plugin for WordPress. One of the elements we struggled with was dealing with all the different ways customers were attempting to contact us with feature requests, implementation questions, or problems. WordPress plugins have their own support forums, we had website contact form submissions, and we had tested a helpdesk. With all of that – we missed a couple folks that needed help… ugh!
We’ve been working on a new site with an embedded knowledge base and forum so that we can centralize the communications. Since it’s a low cost service, we want the community to step forward and help one another as much as we’re helping… a branded forum is exactly the direction we’re going.
The attached infographic from Inversoft shows the dramatic benefits that companies realize by building and growing branded online communities. For those that have invested in social marketing the data speaks for itself but thousands of companies are on the fence, either unconvinced of the benefits or unsure of how to get started.
This simple infographic brings the benefits clearly into focus and highlights the competitive necessity of building branded online communities. Here are just a few of the benefits:
- Reduced support costs – by direct contact via this channel and the network effect of the community you will invest far less in call centers and support staff.
- Customer retention and engagement – online communities have been proven to build trust and familiarity among customers. Reducing customer churn has a major positive impact on the bottom line.
- Simple, cost effective marketing channel – these communities are an effective channel to present information on current and pending products and services to customer and prospects.
- Customer feedback on product direction – get direct feedback: the customer knows best. Focus groups are expensive and brainstorming is often slow and ineffective.
- Cross promote and market – increased trust and deeper engagement earns permission to sell without selling.
- Build a stronger brand – strong brand = strong customer relationships. There is no more valuable outcome.
Inversoft is a technology company that provides the products and services companies need to effectively, safely and securely engage their users through online communities. Inversoft’s team works with clients to define the scope of their project and will provide the products, design, custom development and consultation necessary to facilitate the launch of the online community.
This article is by Douglas Karr from marketingtechblog.com.