Sell More with the Circle

Sell More with the Circle

Conceptual models can help you think in new ways about familiar things. They give you tools to invent marketing ideas and write tremendous copy.“Tremendous” because the writing markets to real people and how they interact with your brand and its product.


Conceptual models are fun, too.

They give you an apparatus to think creatively but in concrete ways, steering your thoughts along skyways that lead to faster and more targeted ideas than simple brainstorming. Really, they’re more like barnstorming. Thought models give you choreography as you fly from one idea to the next.

In my post on the FCB grid at SEMrush, you can learn who will use a product and why based on consumer thoughts and moods. The grid deals with how we feel and think about a product in four ways, from low to high thinking and low to high feeling.

The Learn-Feel-Do Circle shows three ways that customers experience a product.

  • Learning
  • Feeling
  • Doing

It’s a simple model of the buying cycle.

We can learn about a product or a brand through display advertisements, reading websites, reviews, labels or talking to people who have used them.

We can feel for products and brands after trying them, living with them, being influenced by their advertising or having a personal interest in their category.

We can do something with products or brands like buy, use and interact with them.

Here’s the model:

Draw the words learn, feel and do in a circle. Not stacked. Fluidity is essential because you’re going to fly from one word to the next the same way that your customer will.

How to Reach Your Customer

As writers and marketers we usually think of reaching people through learning. We long to educate the consumer; to teach how our product is best. However that should not be the opening salvo or the only way to scratch an itch. If your product or brand is emotional, your advertising might begin with an image that evokes feeling to pull a reader into your sales copy, causing them to learn, which will end with a call to do something, like click a link.

You might see an alluring cover of Ulysses on Amazon and feel drawn-in (ignorant that it’s so brutally hard), which spurs you to learn about it in the descriptive copy that follows and then see the button that tells you to Buy Now, which you do.

According to Bruce Bendinger, author of the Copy Workshop Workbook, there are two rules when using the Learn, Feel, Do Circle:

  1. Begin with any part of the circle – your first encounter with a product or brand can be any experience of learning, feeling or doing.
  2. Fly in whichever direction you choose – if at first you learn, then you can feel and do. Or reverse it all.

Your customers always have one of six options from first contact to last action:

  1. learn feel do
  2. learn do feel
  3. feel learn do
  4. feel do learn
  5. do learn feel
  6. do feel learn

The circle keeps you agile: it lets you know there are different ways that people experience products or your brand. It helps you imagine the varied journeys people may take once they encounter your product.

The Everyday Circle

Not only does every piece of media you produce cause a customer to move through the phases of Learn Feel Do, but so does every interaction you have with anyone. To practice, look at someone and ask yourself if the person is learning, feeling or doing.

Or ask yourself when you’re learning, feeling or doing.

Then ask yourself why…

How Do You Create A Step-By-Step Experience?

Bruce asks:

“What do you want them to learn?
What do you want them to feel?
What do you want them to do?
And in what sequence?”

Feeding a free sample in the store is Do.
The positive reaction is Feel.
Reading the product information afterward is Learn.

Seeing a how-to video is Learn.
Clicking a subsequent “Learn More” button is Do.
Landing on the evocative page about how they can master a subject with more videos is Feel.

How To Strategize with the Circle

Bruce makes an insightful point about the Circle.

Your whole strategic approach might be based in learn. If you hit a slump in sales or need to find a new way to inject nitro into your marketing turbo-prop, you can change the approach while keeping the same strategy. Switch to feel by thinking about what emotional message is related to what you’ve been making customers learn. Switch to do by offering tangible carrots – events, sales, discounts, coupons and offers.

Here’s a real example from Bruce, taken from his Copy Workshop Workbook:

“We’d been on the same campaign for two years. It was a ‘Brand Names for Less’ approach with nice testimonials. But frankly, the work was wearing out. Nice, but enough already. However, the strategy was still right.

What to do?

First, I presented the client with the Learn-Feel-Do Circle and indicated that we were doing Learn. So, let’s go to Feel.

We did a music / fashion approach. It was the same message, ‘Brand Names For Less,’ but now we emphasized the positive emotions associated with getting these great clothes for a great price.

Same strategy. Dramatically different approach.”

By: Joshua Bains
  • Chuniq Inpower

    The feel part of this method is very important to help create and solidify bonds with your customers. People seem to be more loyal to consumer brands and products that make them “feel good” or evoke a positive emotive response during the buying cycle. Very insightful. Thanks for sharing!

    • Joshua Bains

      That’s true, Chuniq. I think additionally that feelings – especially those stoked by information are most likely to lead to a sale.

      • John

        On a related note, there is a really interesting trend in creating sad feels commercials in Southeast Asia. It’s considered a time-honored tradition, and apparently tear-jerkers are most likely to be shared on social media in this area. Cool article about it:

    • Kara Lane

      I agree that a positive feel is an important part of this. Creating customer loyalty is very powerful!

  • Naima

    It is important to research your audience and what they want in order to prepare any marketing strategies. This is a very informative article!​

  • Kara Lane

    This is a very interesting subject! As a consumer, I find myself
    following the circle of Do-Feel-Learn, and Do-Learn-Feel, because I am
    always purchasing products based on specials or deals. I find myself
    happy with the incentives of a special deal, or a great price, and I am
    usually willing to take the risk to find out if the product is good prior to learn.

  • Elizabeth Weaver

    Joshua, I’m loving these models that you’re sharing with us. Very useful tools for better understanding the motivation behind the consumer. I really enjoyed your article about the FCB Grid. This is a great followup! Again, thanks for sharing. I’ll be putting both to good use!

  • Thanks for sharing this, Joshua. The Learn-Feel-Do Circle is an excellent way to conceptualize how consumers move through the brand awareness, affinity and purchase cycle. Many times companies and marketers expect consumers to respond to their messages with a purchase right away. Learn-Feel-Do helps us us experience the customer journey and that is essential to connecting with them.