Our thanks to Circle for sponsoring this blog post.  My team and I use Circle on a daily basis for the Online Business Liftoff community and all opinions in this post are our own.

As a community owner, you will be hyper aware that a seamless experience and member engagement is really important to reducing churn and keeping people in your community for longer.

So finding ways to provide personalised member experiences, increase member engagement and reduce churn … without adding in a lot of time-eating (and costly) tasks and resources … is going to be top of the list of priorities for you and your team.

So in this article, we’re going to look at some of the issues around community management practices and functionality. I’ll share with you three ways that Circle’s new AI features can help you increase member engagement and unlock the full potential of your business. And, as a result, you’ll also decrease member churn and get valuable time back for you and your team.

1. Streamlined Content Accessibility

One of the more effective ways of increasing engagement is to ensure that you’re using inclusive content delivery. In other words, your posts are accessible to everyone. That means providing well thought out (and written) content, as well as transcripts whenever the post is a video or audio file.

Why transcripts? Because being able to search for specific content inside your community can save a lot of time and frustration, not just for your members, but also for your team. And it can mean that valuable content doesn’t get lost in the mix.

Ahh, transcripts. The bane of many a community manager’s life. In order to be fully accessible, every audio and video file needs a transcript. But getting those transcripts done can be challenging.

Paying For Transcripts

You can pay to get your transcripts done. You can do them yourself. Or you can get your team to do them.

These days it’s not really necessary to pay to get those pesky transcripts done. There are tools out there like Descript which make creating your own transcript so much easier. I use Descript (affiliate link) on a regular basis for my Online Business Launchpad podcast, but I can tell you that there is still work involved.

A lot of work

It doesn’t matter whether it’s you or your team doing it, but it takes time to go through and clean up the transcript so that it’s both accurate AND easy to read.
So Circle’s AI features (affiliate link) could save you and your team a lot of time, sweat and tears. One of the things it does, right inside the community, is create transcripts directly from the videos files you post. And they promise that those transcripts will be 100% accurate.

Circle's AI Features - Automated Transcripts

As I mentioned earlier, making the transcript easily available could make the user experience for your community members a lot better, especially if they have issues with accessibility.

Something that course creators and community managers (and coaches) sometimes forget about is that people who prefer text-based content (for accessibility purposes or any other reason) can be inadvertently excluded.

And surprise, surprise!

Excluded people tend to engage less, increasing the chance that they will eventually leave the community. Definitely not what you want to happen.

So the brilliant thing about Circle’s AI transcript creation feature is that you will automatically be catering for people who prefer text-based content.

AND there’s a hidden bonus here. Having a video or audio file PLUS a searchable transcript is going to make it a lot easier for you to cater for different learning styles.

So to summarise, the benefits we’ve highlighted so far are:

  • Quickly create high quality transcripts (saving you and your team time)
  • Ensure you don’t exclude people who prefer text-based content
  • Cater for multiple learning styles
  • Reap the rewards through reduced churn rates for your community

What’s not to like about that!

Circle's AI Features - Activity Score

2. Spot Trends And Stay Ahead Of The Churn Curve

Trend analysis for community growth plus proactive member retention strategies are techniques that not every community owner or manager use at the beginning of their community management journey.

But the more effective community managers (and seasoned community owners) use data-driven community insights to provide direction and focus for how they work with their community members.

Circle’s AI-powered Activity Score feature make it possible for you to measure what matters and identify trends that you quite possibly might have missed otherwise. For example, if your community numbers are climbing, you can scale community growth with more confidence.

And if your community numbers are dropping, Circle’s AI can identify and analyse the common behaviours exhibited by members who are consciously (or even subconsciously) thinking of leaving.

The first clue might be a drop off in engagement, or longer and longer gaps between times when members log onto the community platform. Knowing this, you can do quite a few things to do re engage members and get them to stay.


Proactive Steps For Personalised Experiences (and Member Retention)

So once Circle’s AI feature has helped you identify a trend, you’ll want to do something about it as quickly as possible. Here are three examples of actions you can take that will require a bit of effort, but pay off handsomely in the long run.


Proactively Reach Out

Reach out to less engaged members directly to see how things are going for them. Sometimes, people just get busy or overwhelmed with serving their clients. If you reach out, they will welcome a “how are you” message and feel that you really care.

And if their lack of engagement isn’t just because they are busy, you’ll be finding out why … which means you can take steps to help them re engage in ways that don’t feel forced or desperate on your part.

My community manager and I regularly reach out to all our members to see how they are going. And we do it via email instead of through our community platform (see our blog post on why we think Circle is the best community management tool around). Sending a very personalised email sends a strong signal that you’re interested in them. And it also helps short circuit situations where the automated emails from the community end up lost somewhere in the ether … or end up in their junk mail file.

Trust me, it happens. Emails do sometimes get sent, but never arrive (or arrive in the wrong folder). Even when you think everything has been set up correctly to stop that sort of thing happening.


Follow Up With Ex-Members

This one can be a little painful, but the rewards are definitely worth it.

Reach out to ex-members with a survey. You can make it long or short, but I highly recommend that you only ask them two questions …

  • what were they expecting to gain by joining your community and
  • what was it that made them leave

Their responses may be intense and uncomfortable, but the insights you will gain will be invaluable. Even if you only implement 1 thing for each response you get, you are going to see a strong, cumulative effect over time that will help reduce the number of people who leave.


Make Use Of Existing Data

If part of your process getting potential members to apply to join your community, you can use the data from your intake application forms to match against your exit survey data.

I recently worked with a well-known course creator to do exactly that. They were wanting to provide a better member experience (and reduce churn). So we put together a strategy that involved them developing a short exit survey for people who had recently left or had signalled that they are leaving.

Once that exit intent survey was in place they could take the exit data and match it against their intake data. And that means that they can now:

  • Discover ways to look after their members better and
  • Tighten up their intake application process so that people who aren’t the right fit never join in the first place

That might seem like a negative, but I disagree. It’s far better to lose out on a bit of monthly revenue. Because the alternative is that they pay their monthly subs for a month or two, then leave in frustration because they had unreal expectations or didn’t get what they needed from the community.

And an unhappy ex-community member does not leave good testimonials. But if anyone asks them what they think about your community, they will tell everyone all about why they shouldn’t join.

Circle's AI Features - Content Co-Pilot

 3. Circle's Content Co-Pilot Feature

If you could get even one hour a week back for you and/or your team, what would that mean for you? And how would you use the extra time?

Well, with Circle’s AI Content Co-Pilot feature, you will be able to access some great, time-saving automation tools, particularly around content creation and generating ideas for new content. Wouldn’t it be great to never have to worry about writer’s block again?

I create a lot of content in my business and in my community and I’m always runing out of ideas for writing posts or starting discussions. And what about headlines and titles? A lot of people I talk to say they find those the peskiest things of all to try to come up with on a regular basis.

Circle’s Content Co-Pilot feature makes it really easy to take existing content and create summaries. Wouldn’t that be amazing if you could easily summarise course lessons and posts? And what about creating awesome event recaps for your community? You could be providing event recaps to your members and using them in your marketing to attract more potential members.

There's An Added Bonus …

Once again, a bonus of the way Circle have set up their editing features means that your workflow can be simplified. Which gives you a chance to save time for yourself and your team.

Taking advantage of Circle’s AI features (particularly around time-saving), goes beyond just content creation. It can help you save time in other areas when it comes to managing your community. So I’m going to go a little contrarian here. Let’s assume you’ve saved an hour a week by using some of Circle’s AI-informed automation capability.

What if you took that hour you saved PLUS the patterns and trends that Circle’s AI has helped you see … and spent MORE time on your members … in ways that matter to them.

You’ll be rewarded by happier, more engaged members. Which means they are much more likely to stay longer. Which means that your community churn rate will drop.

Which is something to celebrate.

Pro Tip

If you’ve never done an assessment of how much time you spend managing your community versus your total customer lifetime value, it’s worth doing. You may find that particular metric thought provoking, if not highly enlightening.

Churn Over Hours

Or you can think of it as being revenue lost per month from member churn versus the value of the time you’ve saved plus the extra revenue coming in from new members. 

Revenue Lost Versus Time and Revenue Gained

In Summary

Circle’s AI features offer you a potentially transformative way to streamline your community management AND provide a better experience for your members.

Automating tasks like creating transcripts (and by definition, captions) is going to save you time. It might also save you money if you’ve been paying for a transcription service. And those transcripts make your valuable content more searchable, as well as cater to people who prefer text-based content that suits their accessibility needs and/or learning style.

Being able to spot patterns and trends that allow you to predict intent to exit means you can proactively take steps to address issues and build engagement, all of which makes for better retention.

With Circle’s AI features, you’ll be able to unlock your community’s growth potential, create more personalised experiences for your members and optimise your community management efforts.

Would Your Community Benefit?

If that sounds like something you’d love to have for your community, then sign up for Circle’s free 14-day trial (affiliate link) and have a look at Circle’s Business or Enterprise plan. And if you’re wondering if it’s worth it, then do what I suggested above and compare the cost of your (or your team’s) time with how long your community members stick around. Then decide whether the increase in customer lifetime value is worth the functionality that Circle’s AI features will give you.

I hope that’s been useful for you as someone who cares about intelligent community management and positive member experience.

More Bonus Material

Here are some articles and videos that might be helpful for you in your journey as a community manager.

Enjoy! And all the best with building an amazing community that makes a difference for your community members.