August 11, 2021

Benefits of Building an Insights Community Platform

How do you know when it’s time to change directions in your business?
Every business owner knows that they occasionally update their inventory, branding, and services to keep their customers engaged. However, it isn’t always obvious what changes should be made.
Many entrepreneurs simply make changes and updates based on what they think will complement their existing business. Others take it a step further by researching what the market seems to want at the time.
But neither of those strategies can tell you what your audience wants. For that, you need an insights community platform.
What is an insights community, exactly?
We’ve all experienced online community platforms — they’re places where people interested in the same things spend time online. Subreddits and online forums are perfect examples. These are often places where you can find expert advice for free.
An insights community works similarly; instead of getting random advice from community members, you get insights to help you run your business. If you can get your existing customers to become members, they can help you understand what your audience wants.
To discover more benefits of insights communities, keep reading.

Bring people and ideas together in one place

Think about some of the ways there are to gather ideas from large groups of people.
Going door-to-door to ask people questions directly would take an overwhelming amount of time and money. Online surveys are more efficient, but you need to have a sizable email list or social following. And even then, you’re limited to specific questions people can answer.
Aside from these options, you’re left with trying to organize random information that you gathered from various sources around the internet in an attempt to figure out what your market wants.
What you need is an option that lets you gather ideas from large numbers of people at once. Ideally, this will work in a way that lets you control the type of people you’re getting data from.
Then you can not only publish surveys but gather entirely new ideas directly from your audience that you would never have thought to ask about.
That’s exactly what an insights community lets you do. A community platform will deliver customers who want to contribute ideas and insights directly to you. Best of all, members in insights communities are actively involved in the brand and niche they’re contributing data for.

Get a clear idea of what your customer experience is like

What is it like to go through your business’s sales funnel or buying process as a customer?
Hopefully, you’ve tested your website enough to know exactly what happens for your customers on their way through checking out. But the customer experience goes far beyond simply placing an order. Every step in the journey, from first discovering your brand to experiencing your product in the real world, should be taken into account.
If you aren’t sure how your customers feel about their experience with you, that could be a bad sign. There may be problems lingering under the surface that you need to pay attention to.
Cultivating an insights community won’t just allow you to gather ideas for future changes to your business. It will also give you a clear picture of what it’s like to be your customer. But be warned — the information you learn may not be what you want to hear! If a lot of your customers have been mildly disappointed by your brand and are only halfhearted supporters, they’ll be sure to let you know when you ask them.
The good news is, once you know what parts of the buyer’s journey stand out to your customers, you can take steps to make them better. After a few weeks of gathering and applying feedback, you could make enough substantial improvements to dramatically increase your sales. It all starts with building your community and getting their insights.
If you aren’t sure how your customers feel about their experience with you, that could be a bad sign. There may be problems lingering under the surface that you need to pay attention to.

Foster connections through social interaction

The main benefit of having an insights community is that you get direct access to valuable information. It can tell you what your target audience wants and needs. But some of the secondary benefits of an insights community are nearly as exciting. Most significantly, you can cultivate meaningful relationships with your audience through social interaction.
Most of the time, how people feel about the brands they interact with depends on whether they like the brand’s products or not. That’s because most brands don’t go out of their way to make their audience feel noticed or important. But brands that prioritize fostering connections with their tribe easily cultivate loyal followings, not only because of their products but because they’re friendly.
If you can make people believe that your brand values and cares about them, they will be very likely to choose your product over a competitor’s offer. Purchasing decisions become less a matter of what product the customer wants to buy and more a matter of what brand they want to associate with.
While the purpose of an insights community is to gather information, to do that consistently, you’ll need to make it fun for people to stick around and interact. There are many ways to do that, from giving active members special roles to applying gamification. But as a result, you’ll get the added benefit of cultivating good relationships with the people most important for your brand’s success.

Establish a two-way conversation wIth your audience

Too often, customers feel like they’re being “talked at” by brands without being included in the conversation. Besides being mildly off-putting, this can lead to people feeling victimized by the businesses they rely on for goods and services.
Social media has helped to change this norm. Nowadays, it’s common for large brands to interact with members of their audience on platforms like Twitter. But even then, these interactions tend to feel forced or disingenuous — not like a true conversation.
Everyone wants to feel included in the conversations that happen around them, and that includes your customers. By asking for their input and genuinely listening to their ideas, you’ll be giving them a voice in something that matters to them. It’s the kind of thing that turns casual buyers into lifelong fans.

Make calculated and meaningful decisions for your business

Online community PeerBoard
As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, too many businesses make decisions without meaningful data to base them on. This often leaves them with the feeling of stumbling around in the dark. Trying different ideas becomes a matter of blindly throwing darts and a board and hoping something sticks.
It’s not hard to see why that kind of approach won’t work for very long. You may get lucky by implementing a good idea once in a while, but you’ll waste a lot of time and effort in between.
While there are lots of ways to conduct market research, building your own community around your brand is the single most reliable method there is. That’s because you’re not forced to rely on general information, like broad statistics that apply to entire markets. Instead, you’re relying on the same group of people you count on to buy from you in the first place.
Once you’ve begun gathering meaningful data from your community, it will be up to you to figure out how to apply it. You may use the suggestions from your audience to design a new product. Or you might update your branding and marketing strategy based on what they say they like.
The important thing is that you won’t be trying new things without good evidence to support them. Instead of theorizing about what might work, you’ll be taking action with the very best information available.

Get exciting ideas for innovative products and services

Many people in business are on the lookout for “the next big thing”. They want to be responsible for creating something exciting and exceptional. They often idolize people like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk and hope to someday be remembered for having a similar impact.
Your own business aspirations may not be that grand, and that’s okay. But you would probably be interested to know how you could innovate on your existing products and make them truly great.
One of the best places to go for innovative ideas is your audience. Everyone sometimes has ideas for how a product or service they use could be made better. Sometimes those ideas are truly innovative and inspiring.
One of the best places to go for innovative ideas is your audience. Everyone sometimes has ideas for how a product or service they use could be made better.
The problem is, most people don’t feel equipped to take action on these ideas. And even when they do, often they don’t have enough really great ideas to continue producing innovative offers.
But with an insights community, you can transform your business into a hub for innovation just by leveraging the ideas your existing users already have. And because you’ll be bringing so many people together into one place, you’ll be that much more likely to locate truly remarkable ideas.
Whether you want to revolutionize a certain industry or experience, or you only want to serve your customers better, and insights community is one of the best ways to make it happen. Instead of relying only on your own mind to come up with great ideas, you’ll be relying on the collective imagination of your entire community. And by taking in ideas from so many sources, you’ll be equipped to recognize the ones that have true potential.

Improve customer satisfaction and loyalty

When it comes to your customers, showing a little attention goes a long way. Most people are used to being ignored by the brands they buy from. Because of this, when a business goes out of its way to show them appreciation, it means a lot to them.
When you have a successful insights community, your customer satisfaction and loyalty are increased for two reasons. First of all, showing your audience that you respect their ideas and opinions makes them want to buy from you even more. Second, by actually implementing those ideas, you’ll be tailoring your entire business to be well suited to the people you want to target.
This dual aspect of online insight communities is probably the biggest reason why it’s such a good idea to have one. On one hand, the information you can gather from your biggest fans and supporters is invaluable. And on the other hand, going through the process of building your community and gathering that information will make your brand that much more appealing to your audience.
And in return for their participation, your audience not only gets the recognition their insights deserve but a better customer experience, too. It’s a win-win.

Start building your insights community platform today

As you can see, there are dozens of reasons why you should create an insights community for your brand. If you can successfully sell a product or service, that means that some people are passionate enough about your industry to spend some time talking about it. From there, getting valuable ideas for taking your business to new places becomes a matter of bringing them together.
Of course, to build the best insights community, you need the best online community platform software. That’s where PeerBoard can help. Find out how you can get started building your awesome community right away.

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