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How To Use Website Forms To Build A Tribe


Tribes are a marketing phenomenon that mark the move from in-your-face philosophies toward more gentle, personalised marketing. Companies, online or otherwise, are becoming more and more aware of the crossover point between old fashioned service, which is becoming considered unprofitable in a modern world. The new generation of business owners realise that, used effectively website forms can help build a tribe and still provide a personalised experience for people.

Online tribes are one result of this realisation. Rather than simply trying to sell as many units as possible, companies now build a community around their tribe. This is driven largely by social media. Tribes enable companies to create excitement and hype surrounding their product, making it feel less like something they sell and more like something they enrich the community with. Purchasing their product stops feeling like a cost and starts feeling like an honour. Before long, the tribe starts marketing the product or service for the company without any prompting.

There has been much discussion online regarding the integration of tribes and website design. There are the obvious points for consideration, such as social media visibility and producing good copy that’s targeted appropriately toward the kind of customer a company wants in its tribe. Here I’ll focus specifically on the use of website forms in the establishment of your tribe.

What is a tribe?

One of the things mankind has been doing since time began is forming tribes. Tribes used to be made up by necessity, people formed villages to make survival, hunting, raising families and growing crops easier. In the modern world, where we don’t need to hunt for our own food, tribes have taken on a new meaning but are still a way for people to form a community. The difference in formation is that instead of necessity, tribes are formed out of common interest.

People want to connect with others who have similar goals, views, values and interests. Since we are all connected to the web 24/7 it makes forming and joining a tribe so much easier. Look at the queues outside any Apple store before the latest iPhone launches and you will see members of a tribe waiting for the thing that connects them. Apple really know who their customer is and what they care about. To be as effective you need to build a solid picture of who your ideal customer is and what they value most.

The Social Media Myth

Building a tribe might seem simple enough. Just set up a social media page for your company and wait for the follows and likes to start rolling in, right? Wrong for 2 reasons.

  1. The more Facebook pages that launch, combined with the increasing user base of a social network, means more overall likes and follows. This has the effect of diluting the currency of user interaction as a once off such as like or follow. Social media companies already know this which is why they are more interested in overall interaction and whether people are passionate about your brand on a more frequent level.
  2. There are so many pages now on social media and most people are using their account for a long time now. This leads people to become more selective about who they like or follow as they have less and less room in their news feed for stuff they are not interested.

In short, for someone to like your social media account, they have to want to be associated with your product or brand. Therefore, you have to find a way to inspire them as such. The easiest way to do this, you may think, is to advertise on social media. Possibly, but advertising gives you little control over who sees your ad. It also limits what you can display. And worse still, it’s impersonal.

Website Forms: Work Smarter, Not Harder

Capturing potential members for your tribe is best done on your website. A person interested in your product or service may click through to your website from your social media account. Maybe they haven’t liked or followed you yet – but they’re curious at least. On your site, they’re treated to all the best things about your company and your product. Their interest is cultivated into belief in the product.

Ultimately, obviously, you want them to purchase your product or engage your services. In either of these circumstances, you are presented with an opportunity to capture their information. And here is where the rubber really hits the road with tribes. Once you have their information, and permission to use it to contact them, the growth of your tribe can begin. Follow up communication via email is essential if you want this person to become a repeat customer. These emails become like gold for the establishment of your tribe if you do them right.

But remember, it all started with the little form which they entered their information into. And if that customer goes on to be someone who spreads the word and begins generating members of the tribe for you, it was because they followed through in completing the form.

Why should they join your website newsletter?

Don’t think just because you put ‘Join our newsletter’ website forms on your blog that every single visitor will give you their email address. People already have busy enough lives without adding another email to their inbox to sort through. They have to see the benefits for signing up to another weekly/monthly email from someone.

The best thing to do to encourage people to join your newsletter is to produce helpful and informative content that people can apply to their own business. If what you give for free is useful then people will not want to miss out, so now your newsletter becomes something of use to them and saves them effort. They have effectively asked to join your tribe.

Give more, get more

One of the aims of our automated email course, The Brand Bootcamp, is to help potential clients get an idea of the type of branding we deliver and how we look at things. Our email course helps people see our thought process and get a feel for the kind of people we are. This allows them to see if they fit into our tribe.

A breakdown of our email course

  • Content created once
  • Email sending and schedule automated using Honest Bear
  • Runs over 5 consecutive days from day person signs up
  • Different area of branding is covered each day
  • A take away tip is included with all emails so people can apply the advice to their business instantly
  • A sixth email is sent out a number of days after the course ends to ask readers if they have any feedback. This has generated email replies, phone calls and lead onto projects

So, Make The Form Count

The stats on abandoned website forms are stunning. Let’s face it, they’re mostly a pain. But if you’re excited enough about what you’re filling it out for, you’ll do it. And, if the process is made easy for you, you’re far less likely to give up.

Here are the essential points when creating web form:

  • Keep it short – people despise forms as long as their arms. Only ask people for essential information.
  • Guide them through – providing help text when users hover over fields will help people through the process.
  • Incentivise – show the user clearly why it’s going to be worth their time to fill in the form. Use discounts, gifts and trials. If the form is the stick, these are the carrot.

The leads that these website forms provide are essential for the establishment of your tribe. For more advice on how and where to use these forms on your website, contact Hidden Depth today.

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