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Posted by David in Interesting

Six secrets to maximising attendance at your next event

A report from last year revealed that most marketers believe event marketing is the single most effective marketing channel for achieving business goals. So, the question is: are you taking advantage of the power of experiential marketing when it comes to driving your brand forward?

For newcomers, now’s the time to dip your toe into the world of events for the first time. If, however, you’re already well-versed on the basics and benefits of experiential marketing, this handy guide should give you all the know-how you need to boost event attendance the next time you get back in the proverbial saddle.

At Six Circles, our integrated community engagement platform gives you the power to create custom events for your members. Coupled with these secrets to maximising your event’s attendance, you’ll have the perfect recipe for a busy event filled with engaged attendees who’ll leave hungry for the next instalment.

People in busy room at event
Photo by Jakob Dalbjörn on Unsplash

Create a dedicated landing page

Every successful event begins with a dedicated page illustrating the details of the event and, crucially, the advantages of attending. Whether this landing page is hosted on your own website or via a third-party platform, it needs to be clean, user-friendly, persuasive and overwhelmingly geared towards driving signups – with no other distracting calls-to-action reducing the likelihood of users securing their space. Maximising event attendance starts with maximising attendee signups, after all.

Promote liberally on social media

Promoting events is essential to increasing attendance numbers, and leading social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and LinkedIn can all play a role in this promotion depending on where your event’s intended audience spend their time online. With catchy hashtags, irresistible imagery and an engaged following at the ready, you’ll have all the basic tools you need to achieve organic reach – with the potential for paid event advertising via many of these platforms if your event needs an extra time-sensitive boost.

Make signing up simple

We’ve stressed the importance of a clutter-free event landing page, but don’t stop there. Once users arrive at the heart of your landing page – the signup form itself – they’ll need to be given as few hoops to jump through as physically possible, so as to avoid a situation wherein users are deterred at the final hurdle. Take a ‘less is more’ approach to the user data you gather at this stage, asking only for the essentials needed to make pre-event and follow-up contact easy and effective. This way, users won’t be repelled by an exhaustive signup form that requires too much time and effort to satisfy.

Confirm attendee bookings by email

The moment a user books their place at your event, they should have their registration confirmed by an email triggered immediately upon signup. Using email workflows, you can streamline this elegant follow-up process – creating a template email that’s sent automatically to registrants, confirming their place. This can and should be the first in a series of emails ensuring your event remains on prospective attendees’ radars – helping you to maximise event attendance simply by remaining at the forefront of their minds.

Facilitate attendee networking

The main draw for many regular event attendees is the chance to network with like-minded people – and as we’re in the business of community building, we relish any opportunity to bring people together based on shared needs, passions and interests. By prompting conversation among prospective event attendees – be it in social media or blog comments, through the use of your event-specific hashtags or within company forum threads – you can give your audience a means of making connections prior to the event, giving them one more reason to make event attendance a priority.

Remember your reminder emails

As part of your email workflow, which begins the moment a user first signs up for your event, there should, of course, be a number of reminder emails – being sent, say, a month, a week and a day before the date of the event. This way, registrants can remain aware of the event throughout the long countdown to the big day, and you can boost event attendance on the day by making it as easy as possible for users to plan their schedule around the event – with regular updates on time, location and other essential logistical details.

Whatever your next event is shaping up to be – from an industry trade show to a hands-on practical workshop – these golden rules for maximising attendance will serve you well. When the big day’s over, with a successful event behind you, you’ll have the pulling power you need to continue building on that experiential success.

Ready to get started? Explore the benefits of being part of the Six Circles community when it comes to growing a community of your own, and kick your next event marketing campaign off with a landing page primed for signups.

Posted by David in Interesting

Six prime opportunities to share a company press release

No business exists in a vacuum. Every company across all geographic markets and global sectors is surrounded by key groups of people: customers, competitors, shareholders and interested parties galore beyond those.

As your business grows and evolves, these people will likely follow you on your journey – and press releases offer the perfect medium for making sure loyal members of your customer base and curious rivals alike are fully up-to-date on your professional progress.

If you’re wondering what exactly a press release is and how you can harness this content format to boost brand awareness and credibility, look no further. In this post, we’re sharing some primary examples of PR-worthy occasions and exploring how you can take advantage of these company milestones in the name of coveted coverage.

Men having meeting around an office table
Photo by Dylan Gillis on Unsplash

Your team is expanding

New hires are an exciting prospect for any business, from the opportunity to welcome a new member into your professional family to the chance to expand your company’s offering with the right new talent. Whatever your reasons for recruiting, there’s ample material for a press release in any story about team expansion.

Consider what you hope to achieve as a company by introducing this new team member: will they offer a valuable new perspective on your industry, take your business offering to the next level or even revolutionise the way you do business? Regardless of the narrative, the press release writes itself.

You’re moving to a new office

Whether your growing team means you need to upsize your office or you’re ready to make the move and take on an exciting new territory, office moves are a natural part of life as an entrepreneur – and a newsworthy one at that.

Local news publications will always be interested in a story of an ambitious team moving to a new location where they can serve their area and achieve their company aspirations – and if your office move is a strategic move designed to help you take on big players in your market, your story could even be of interest to trade publications (generating some flattering and highly relevant coverage for your brand).

You’ve won an industry award

Industry awards and accolades are a coveted prize in many sectors, where this sort of acclaim amounts to a sought-after brand. If you’ve been so fortunate as to have your years of hard work and industry innovation recognised by an awarding body, we daresay this will already have generated some natural coverage of its own – but it’d be a shame to let your fame fizzle out before its time.

With a dedicated press release, you can be loud and proud about your recent award win – sharing this content with customers, stakeholders and sector influencers to make sure all of the above are well aware of your stand-out status.

You’ve secured a new client or partnership

In the B2B world, there are coveted clients with whom a mere association can elevate a business to the ranks of the major players. Likewise, in the B2C sphere, there are magnetic brands with whom any small business would kill to be involved in cross-promotional activity.

As your company grows, you’re sure to reach the important company milestone that is bagging the sort of enviable client or partnership you’ve always dreamed of – and when the time comes, there’s no better way to shout your news from the rooftops than by putting together a timely press release making this news common knowledge.

You’re rebranding

There are many reasons a company may choose to undergo a rebrand – including but not limited to a fresh start without past professional baggage, a repositioning within your market or a desire to remain relevant in a fast-moving sector. Whatever you’re hoping to get out of your clean slate, your brand transformation will make for interesting reading in the form of an exclusive press release.

In this case, your press release may actually turn out to be as educational as it is promotional, with customers, shareholders and industry influencers alike all benefiting from getting to know the new and improved you.

You’re innovating your sector

True innovation isn’t easy – and if you’ve managed to offer a truly unique product or service to your customers, or elegantly solve an age-old problem your industry has worked for years to overcome, your stroke of genius deserves its time in the sun.

With an informational press release highlighting exactly what makes your achievement an innovation, you can leave all concerned parties in no doubt of your trailblazing credentials. Just remember to back up your big idea with genuine testimonials from members of your community (who can attest to its success) for maximum credibility.

At Six Circles, we’re in the business of community building. With our holistic engagement platform, you can give your brand’s community all of the tools they need to keep their finger on the pulse of your business – whether you’re sharing industry knowledge, a hot new discussion topic or shiny new press release of your own.

Posted by David in Interesting

Six ways to engage and empower customers through email marketing

Email marketing has steadily become a powerful arm of the modern digital marketing arsenal, having generated a reported 32x ROI in 2017 – and in 2020, this highly effective channel is still going from strength to strength.

With a sizeable mailing list under your belt (which you can build with little to no effort by introducing a simple signup form to your website) and one of the many easy-to-use email marketing software solutions at your disposal, you can harness this mighty marketing tool for the first time in 2020.

Computer screen showing Gmail inbox
Photo by Krsto Jevtic on Unsplash

Whether you have a growing ecommerce website or B2B enterprise, there are applications and rewards galore when it comes to email marketing. At Six Circles, we believe in community building and this, like so many other lucrative marketing channels, is an important part of that process.

In this post, we’re exploring how to do email marketing right, and the benefits of email marketing activity for those businesses who succeed in their quest to engage and empower their customers.

Newsletters

The humble newsletter is a staple of any email marketing strategy, serving as a regular (be it weekly, monthly or quarterly) update from you to your mailing list on the inner workings of your company – including any notable recent and upcoming developments (think award wins, product releases or exciting brand partnerships). To start making the newsletter format work for your business, simply begin compiling a roundup of what’s new in your world – keeping the focus on the information and insights you believe your customers deserve to know as valued members of your community.

Content sharing

Whether you’ve just published a shiny new informational blog post or pushed a detailed new white paper live, you’d be doing your content marketing efforts a disservice by failing to broadcast your latest and greatest uploads via email.

Engage your subscribers by offering irresistible blog teasers in your monthly newsletter, and empower them by arming them with the informational content they need to read in order to shop with confidence and extract as much value as possible from your product or service.

Offers and discounts

Needless to say, financial savings are and will always be a safe bet when it comes to incentivising customers. From giving loyal customers a heads-up on limited time sales to offering tempting discounts to qualifying subscribers, email marketing is a prime channel for sending exclusive perks direct to customer inboxes.

Maximise your open rate by being up-front and explicit in your subject line before getting into the details and any relevant small print once users have opened your email and therefore demonstrated their interest.

Cart abandonment emails

From time to time, there’s no doubt some of your customers will add an item to their cart only to have second thoughts before making it to the checkout. This is natural for any ecommerce business, but it shouldn’t stop you from doing what you can to convert hesitant shoppers into paying customers.

Cart abandonment emails can be triggered when a user adds a product to their cart on your website and doesn’t go on to buy – with your triggered email providing a friendly prompt to complete their purchase. You’ll need email addresses for the users in question, but, done right, these delayed nudges have the power to drive transactions where they could have been lost.

Product and service launch announcements

The launch of a brand-new product or an expansion of your core services is an exciting time for any business – but to kick things off with a bang, you’ll need to make sure anyone and everyone knows exactly where they can get their hands on this new offering from your brand. Email marketing is the key to spreading the word among your community, with launches like these presenting an ideal time for a shiny new email announcement.

Send word of new products or services direct to your customers’ inboxes, along with high-resolution imagery showing them being used and succinct, persuasive copy highlighting features and benefits to give recipients all the incentive they need to convert.

Sequential campaigns

The big daddy of email marketing activity, a sequential campaign (otherwise known as an email workflow) consists of a series of automated emails which are sent based on set time intervals or, alternatively, custom triggers defined by you. The applications of email workflows are practically limitless, but these email series are generally used to strategically and efficiently nurture subscribers from cold leads into paying customers or clients.

Start by pinning down the primary actions you’d like customers to take, and consider the various paths taken towards these actions. With these journeys laid out, map out the numerous touch points along the way and build your sequential email marketing campaigns around these conversion funnel milestones. This way, you can be there every step of the way, demonstrating your value to prospective customers and remaining present in the forefront of their minds.

Now you know how to do email marketing like the pros, it’s time to find a digital software suite worthy of your upcoming email campaign. There are options galore available to aspiring email marketers, including the exceptionally easy-to-use Mailchimp – and when you become a Six Circles member, you can integrate with Mailchimp for simple, stress-free access to campaign performance monitoring.

Get started with your very first campaign and reap the benefits of email marketing from the word go.

Posted by David in Interesting

Six reasons every brand should be blogging

Whether you’re a long-time business owner branching out into online marketing for the first time or a newbie dipping your toe into these unfamiliar waters, it shouldn’t be news to you that blogging is an essential regular activity for any brand looking to make its mark digitally.

A natural extension of any company website, a dedicated blog is the ultimate platform for an expert content hub – whatever your business’s specialist subject may be.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re able to make time once a week, once a month or once a quarter – the bottom line is every brand should be making a concerted effort to blog, and we’re exploring why in this pocket guide to the primary benefits of blogging.

Man blogging on laptop
Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Define your brand voice

If you’ve ever participated in a branding workshop of any kind in the past, you’ll likely have a fairly tight grip on your company’s brand voice – but the truth is that so many elegantly thought-out brand identities gather dust once they’re pinned down, rather than being put to their intended use. Making the decision to begin blogging as a brand gives you a prime opportunity to showcase your unique brand voice, illustrating the multifaceted personality behind your surface-level brand image.

Share opinions

As an individual or a brand entity, you may well have some passionate opinions on your sector as a whole that you’d like to share with anyone who’ll listen. Perhaps you want to praise innovation in your industry, or bust some common myths associated with your sector, or share your market trend predictions for the year ahead. Whatever your intentions, one of the ultimate benefits of blogging is creating a home where you can these opinions – meaning you can become more of an active participant in your sector, rather than a mere spectator.

Impart knowledge

As well as making your opinions heard via your company blog, you’ll also want to demonstrate your authority and expertise in order to earn the trust of current and potential customers. With your website’s landing pages likely dedicated to promoting your products or services, your blog can serve as a powerful platform for educating your customers on topics associated with these products or services. From delivering practical how-tos to providing the theory behind any complex industry concepts, the world’s your oyster when it comes to knowledge-sharing.

Join the conversation

Whatever your sector, we’re willing to bet there’s the occasional heated debate surrounding, say, a particular market player, a new piece of relevant government legislation or emerging shopping behaviours in your industry. To remain relevant in the long term, use your brand blog to offer your two cents on these hot topics, sharing genuine insights to show your readership you’re committed to keeping your finger on the pulse.

Build a community

Done right, blogging can be your key to amassing a large and engaged readership of users who’ll make a point of returning to your site without being prompted. This is the mother of online marketing success: a genuine brand community. By ensuring the topics you cover (and the approaches you take to these topics) are always timely, engaging and unique, you can lead users to rely on your blog for a high-quality take on your sector and keep them coming back for more.

Refine your conversion funnel

Last but certainly not least, one of the greatest benefits of blogging as a business is the ability to use your blog content as a path towards conversions. By drawing in users via top-of-the-funnel topics (think informational or lifestyle-related pieces that educate or engage without being outwardly promotional), you can begin to bring interested readers into your inner circle who can, ultimately, be nurtured into becoming paying customers or clients.

At Six Circles, our community engagement platform features practical brand-building assets galore, including the potential for your own news and resource area, where you can take the first step towards a living, breathing brand blog. Reap the benefits of blogging by getting in touch today to discuss your options with a community engagement expert.

Posted by David in Interesting

Six types of corporate events to try for the first time in 2020

Corporate events are all the rage in the modern day professional world, with businesses hosting or sponsoring a variety of event types for employees, clients and leads alike. Of course, different types of corporate events work best for different businesses – it all depends on your brand, whether you’re a B2B or B2C company and the size of your enterprise.

With these events only continuing to grow in both popularity and scale, today, we’re running through six types of corporate events you should try for the first time this coming year – detailing how and why these types of events work and what you can do to make a success of your own.

Trade show
Photo by Product School on Unsplash

Product launch

There are few bigger days on a business’s event calendar than the debut of a new product or range, making a product launch the perfect event for creating the necessary media buzz about both your brand and product.

Most commonly hosted by B2C companies, businesses big and small can look to utilise this type of event as a clever marketing strategy – receiving notable publicity for the product in question while also presenting your brand as engaging and contemporary. Focus on capturing the imagination of potential consumers and spark anticipation surrounding your brand by really putting on a show – including a flashy entrance, renowned guest speakers, food and even entertainment where possible.

Company milestones

A successful company nurtures a sense of community amongst its employees and, with businesses with a highly engaged workforce being 21% more profitable, the importance of instilling this into your own workforce really speaks for itself.

A tried and tested way of doing this is celebrating company milestones. Whether it’s a company anniversary, a record-breaking sale or a big new addition to upper management, this type of corporate event is a sure-fire way to improve team morale and promote your company as a fun place to work. Hire out a function room or even host it in your own office – limiting attendees to company employees to emphasise the employee appreciation factor, or expanding to clients and even the local community if your public presence demands it.

Trade show

Trade shows are a valuable type of corporate event that can serve as an effective means of lead generation activity.

These events are highly popular across a wide range of industries and sectors, so keep your ear to the ground to ensure you’re aware of any relevant local and national trade show events. Alternatively, if your business is big enough, you can host your own trade show to reinforce your status amongst attendees as an industry leader.

Either way, you’ll need to negotiate sponsorship rates for stall space, advertising, promo material and, where necessary, speaking slots – although with attendees largely being relevant personnel within your industry, this is almost always worth the initial investment.

Fundraiser

Fundraisers are an incredibly effective way of bolstering public image, improving team spirit and, most importantly, doing something good for someone else.

Think carefully about the type of event that best suits your brand and workforce in order to encourage the most participation. From golf to auctions, there’s a whole range of suitable activities to choose from. When it comes to picking your charity, consider the size of your business and how much you’re likely to raise. For example, smaller companies should look at giving back to the local community – this is not only a nice gesture, but also a great way of improving your local public profile.

Team building event

If you’re looking to improve team morale, productivity and bonds, a team building event is the most effective type of corporate event for you. Providing a great opportunity for employees to spend some quality time outside of a working environment, prioritise fun when choosing your team building activity.

When choosing a location, outdoor physical activities really capture the corporate team building spirit, so look to explore this avenue where possible. Host the event in-house or look to outsource to a company that specialises in putting on fun and effective team building days.

Networking

Networking is page one of the business handbook and, as such, deserves a place on any list of must-try corporate events.

Networking events entail hosting a large gathering of various parties from a specific industry to encourage new business relationships. The atmosphere should be relaxed and welcoming, so be sure to carefully consider the function space in relation to the number of attendees. Be sure to include food, drinks and perhaps even entertainment to ensure the conversation keeps flowing between all parties and that your networking event is, ultimately, a success.

With a whole range of new corporate events to explore in 2020, make sure you’re taking a practical and efficient approach from the off by utilising a community engagement platform, like ours.

Enabling you to create bespoke events and sub-events in minutes, provide instant email booking confirmations and e-tickets, and generate an exportable attendee list, we’ll give you the tools to guarantee your next corporate event is a raging success.

Posted by David in Interesting

Six kinds of social proof (and why they’re worth the chase)

In pursuit of industry dominance, social proof is one of the most valuable currencies you’ll come across, with the power to create brands from mere businesses and turn a company vision into a mission complete.

If you’re wondering what on earth social proof is and how you can enjoy your fair share, your search for answers is over. Six Circles was founded to give brands the tools they need to manage, engage and grow communities. This puts us in an ideal place to help you use social proof as a catalyst for creating a thriving community of your own – and it’s time to find out how.

Man holding up trophy
Photo by Fauzan Saari on Unsplash

What is social proof?

Social proof is defined as “a psychological and social phenomenon wherein people copy the actions of others in an attempt to undertake behavior in a given situation”. It’s a term coined by Robert Cialdini in the seminal book, Influence, released in 1984. Otherwise known as ‘informational social influence’, social proof is, essentially, any verbal or non-verbal endorsement of a person or thing that evidences the merits of said person or thing.

For you, this means any endorsements you can earn or generate that substantiate the quality of your product or service offering, customer service or brand as a whole – illustrating to others that your brand is worth investing in, whatever form that investment may take.

The good news is that generating social proof is well within your control (as long as your product or service offering, customer service and brand as a whole are deserving of praise, of course). The even better news is that social proof comes in all shapes and sizes, making it possible for any business under the sun to amass its fair share.

Customer reviews

Whether on Google, your own website or a third-party platform like Trustpilot, Yelp or TripAdvisor (depending on your line of work), customer reviews can be found in all kinds of places. Regardless of the format, though, these honest, often detailed accounts of the service you’ve provided to past customers serve as reliable evidence of the value you’re delivering.

If you stand by the quality of your products, the standard of your customer service and the overall experience of engaging with your brand, make it an active mission of yours to prompt reviews from recent customers to ensure a steady stream of new, positive feedback for public consumption.

Testimonials

Testimonials are similar to customer reviews in terms of their content, but generally find their home on the websites of businesses keen to broadcast their achievements and, in doing so, bolster their online reputation.

When it comes to formats, a testimonial can take the form of a written quote, video or audio file, interview or blog post – meaning the world’s your oyster when it comes to creating a dynamic, multimedia testimonials page or content hub. The one disclaimer is to seek out and publicise the opinions of your most articulate and discerning customers, as well as respected peers and, ideally, coveted influencers.

Social media endorsements

From Facebook and Twitter to LinkedIn and Instagram, without even really scratching the surface of the many, many social media platforms at your disposal, you’ll find opportunities galore for driving and identifying online endorsements from satisfied customers.

Whether your brand is being messaged directly with the good news, mentioned to other users in a public post or even tagged in a dedicated product review, gathering these social media endorsements and sharing them liberally will give all those who rub shoulders with your brand (and all those who rub shoulders with them) the incentive they need to shop with confidence.

Awards, accolades and memberships

Although easier said than done, accruing relevant awards and similar industry accolades will stand you in great stead when it comes to illustrating the quality of what you’re offering. From general business awards – of which there are many – to more targeted awards given by major blogs in your space, you’ll typically find you’re able to nominate your own business rather than waiting for some kind soul to do the honours on your behalf. Should you win, giving any award-related badges pride of place on your website is a no-brainer.

Memberships are another worthwhile route to explore, with membership options available for all kinds of niche organisations – allowing you to elevate how your brand is perceived, if you’re able to demonstrate some admirable shared values. This is particularly easily done by ethical and environmental businesses, for whom there are associations and initiatives galore to become a part of – but from industry bodies to trade associations, there are options for everyone. Again, just remember to ensure any flattering membership badges are shown front and centre on your website.

Case studies

While they may have evolved a little in terms of format in recent years, case studies are still alive and well as a medium for B2B lead generation – especially when it comes to social proof. Unlike customer reviews and testimonials, though, case studies are all on you. Whatever structure you may choose for yours, the message should remain the same: there was a problem, but you solved it in a way only you could.

By all means, incorporate multimedia content into your case studies. In order to appeal to all kinds of digital users – including those with shorter attention spans or a passion for visual stimuli – it’s best to have all bases covered. Done right, case studies can nurture ‘window shoppers’ into paying customers or clients, making this timeless format well worth the long-term investment.

Persuasive data

Finally, it’s important never to underestimate the power of data – particularly data that shows your brand is an objectively good investment.

From ‘X% of customers enjoyed a greater quality of life after buying this product’ to ‘Y% of clients saw a 200% return on their investment’, market research tools like polls can generate these kinds of persuasive data, which you can then shout from the rooftops (by which we mean plaster all over your website, in your monthly newsletter and across your social media accounts).

Our suite of community engagement tools were developed to help business owners build their own following that’s engaged and, as such, primed for positive feedback. Find out more about the Six Circles platform today to prosper with the help of social proof.

Posted by David in Interesting

Six powerful mantras for mindful business owners

The experience of being a business owner is typically a whirlwind of responsibilities – from day-to-day operational concerns to meetings galore, financial forecasts and much more. In the eye of the entrepreneurial tornado, it can be all too easy to lose sight of your greater vision, your business’s overall ethos and even your belief in your abilities as a business owner.

The comforting truth is you’re not alone and, thankfully, with the help of a handful of reliable mantras for business success, you can always take a moment to recalibrate and recover your motivation. At Six Circles, our community-building software suite is your fast pass to a loyal and supportive base of customers who, in many ways, can see you through these entrepreneurial crises. When all else fails, though, memorise these business mantras to remain mindful and on track.

Man meditating by a lake
Photo by Simon Migaj on Unsplash

I believe in my abilities.

In times of professional struggle, it’s entirely natural to question your abilities. From general business acumen and financial savvy to tech literacy and people management skills, the early stages of business ownership involve spinning more than a few different plates – so it shouldn’t be surprising to experience moments of doubt in the face of so many diverse challenges.

At moments like these, take a minute to remind yourself how much you’ve already managed to achieve in your time as an entrepreneur, reflect on your past triumphs, ponder the hurdles you’ve overcome and reaffirm your belief in your abilities. No doubt your skill set will have expanded many times over since starting out, and we daresay it will continue to grow as you become more experienced.

Focus on the task at hand.

In the process of spinning your many plates, you may find that the sheer heft of your workload becomes something you dwell on rather than choosing to tackle. If you feel your focus drifting from the next job on your immediate agenda to the abstract pile of jobs on the horizon, you’ve gone off course.

Multitasking is, in many ways, the enemy of the productive business owner – as dividing your time and attention between multiple things simultaneously will generally lead to stagnance on all fronts. Instead, make laser focus your mission – staying committed to a single task through to completion, comforted by the knowledge that this is the only route to a lighter, more manageable workload.

Do a few things well.

By doing a few things well (by which we mean focusing on mastering a few key aspects of your role), you can avoid overstretching yourself and doing many things poorly. Again, multitasking is best avoided – especially when it comes to high-stakes aspects of business management. Refuse to spread yourself thin and start by identifying your greatest strengths as an entrepreneur and aligning those with the responsibilities you’re best placed to fulfil yourself.

Knowing when to delegate internally – and, beyond that, when to outsource – will serve you well in your quest to become a master of your trade. Letting go of certain key responsibilities can be daunting (especially if you’re a self-confessed control freak!), but the satisfaction that comes with knowing you’ve found the right person for each and every job will make this challenge completely worthwhile.

I’m grateful for the team I have around me.

No business owner is an island, as they say! To achieve true, sustainable success as an entrepreneur, you’ll need to surround yourself with a reliable, devoted and competent team – whether they’re helping you with the accounts, the business development, the management of your staff or the day-to-day toil that makes the wheels of your company go round.

These are the people who have helped to transform your idea into a fully functioning business, and the act of expressing your gratitude to these people will help you to remain grounded and maintain a sense of the bigger picture. When you’re feeling frustrated or overwhelmed, take a moment to feel thankful for your team and the contributions they make to your company each day – knowing that, whatever challenges you face, you have this valuable support system behind you.

I start every day as I mean to go on.

A mindful approach to mornings is key to ensuring a productive day, as it sets the tone for everything that follows. As a business owner, this means using the first hour or so of your day for positivity and motivation – settling on a couple of manageable goals for the day ahead and, crucially, putting any coming challenges into perspective.

If you’re not a morning person, it can be very easy to slip into a pessimistic outlook in your first, tired moments of the day – but once the tone is set, it becomes more and more difficult to shift your perspective, and this can lead you to believe that an uneventful day was, in fact, one fraught with drama and disappointment. So, beat the negativity before it takes hold and start each day feeling open-minded and primed for productivity.

I remember why I’m doing this.

Perhaps most importantly of all, when faced with what feels like an insurmountable obstacle, cast your mind back to when you first decided to launch your business in an aim to recapture that moment of inspiration and drive. This is the moment you chose to take the leap into entrepreneurship – your professional origin story.

Being intimately acquainted with your business’s mission statement will make it far easier to return to this state of mind, as you’ll have a powerful mantra of your own that you can return to on demand. The reason you started this adventure in the first place should be the motivation that carries you through your professional challenges – keeping you fixed on your destination whatever the trappings of entrepreneurship throw your way.

With these business mantras for success on standby, you can tap into this secret stash of motivation whenever you need to. Beyond that, it pays to have a faithful and engaged audience around your brand to illustrate everything you’ve achieved as a business owner – and that’s where we come in. Check out our community engagement platform and take the first important step towards a community of your own today.

Posted by David in Interesting

Six content formats and the secrets to making them work for your brand

Content marketing can be a complex and challenging undertaking, with a diverse range of content formats at your disposal – from on-page and blog content to videos, infographics and more. A holistic content marketing strategy that draws on the strengths of each of these powerful formats is all but guaranteed to build an engaged following – but knowing where to start with content isn’t easy when faced with a proverbial blank canvas.

Our community engagement platform includes custom content-sharing functionality in the form of your own bespoke resource centre. Here, you can share your latest and greatest content and keep all eyes on your brand – but first, let’s dive into a handful of the most popular types of digital content and explore how you can make each of them work for your business.

Content mockups on paper
Photo by Hal Gatewood on Unsplash

Blog content

A staple of any content marketing strategy, blog content is the digitally inclined business owner’s bread and butter. Giving you a platform where you can share everything from hot-off-the-press industry insights to practical how-tos, buying guides and opinion-based thought leadership pieces, a company blog is the beating heart of a brand.

When it comes to creating blog content for your brand website, it’s crucial to find a balance between the ideas you want to share and the knowledge your customers want to gain – so make sure to avoid ‘echo chamber’ syndrome by using your blog content as a means of encouraging discussion and imparting genuine value, rather than aimlessly shouting into the void.

Video content

With a staggering 5 billion videos watched each day on YouTube alone, it’s safe to say video is a thriving content format with boundless potential for brands of all shapes and sizes. In a sea of competitive content, with brands galore vying for users’ attention, utilising creative formats such as this can help your content stand out instantly. With video marketers proven to achieve a 54% increase in brand awareness, the rewards of this dynamic format are undeniable.

As users’ attention spans continue to dwindle, catering to increasing demand for instant information is sure to pay dividends. After all, why should a user spend 15 minutes reading long-form content when they can obtain the same information from a 2-minute video? If your brand has a story to tell, focus on creating informational or instructional video content to allow your audience to digest this value-adding content in an engaging, multi-sensory format.

Infographics

While the debate rages on around the longevity of infographics as a viable content format, with infographics continuing to account for 37% of all visual content, it’s clear this type of digital content is still alive and well – and with good reason.

Infographics allow content to be presented in a more accessible, highly visual format compared with long-form written content – making it far easier for users to process large volumes of data-driven content. While stock images, gifs and memes can all be utilised to break up text and improve the aesthetic value of any given page or post, 40% of marketers find that original graphics drive more engagement than other types of content – making this a safe bet for any brand with unique data in their locker and design expertise at their disposal.

Email marketing

If you’ve got a mailing list at the ready, there’s no reason not to make your first foray into the rewarding world of email marketing. With everything from seasonal sales campaigns to sequential lead-nurturing emails and monthly newsletters on the table, there are options galore when it comes to email – not only as an engaging content format, but also as a legitimate conversion channel for your business.

With an irresistible subject line, an explicit opener and some engaging, value-adding body content, you can piece together email copy that’s destined to drive conversions (whatever they may constitute for your business). Timing is also key here – with optimum time windows for generating as many opens and clicks as possible – but with timing and content quality on your side, this could prove an effective and, indeed, lucrative type of content marketing for your brand.

On-page content

Creating optimised on-page content is one of the fundamentals of any successful content marketing strategy. From your website’s homepage to your product or service category pages, ensuring all content is in line with the latest industry best practices will leave your website in the best possible position to deliver a fulfilling user experience and perform competitively in organic search for related keywords.

Research valuable keywords that not only relate to your chosen sector, but are also searched in large volumes each month (illustrating ample demand from potential customers). With your keyword research complete, naturally optimise your on-page content for these search queries – subtly and logically integrating them into the body of your written content, and semantically optimising all surrounding content for maximum relevance.

Remember to stay on topic while providing as much detail as necessary to establish your page content as authoritative and informational – two characteristics championed by Google’s almighty algorithm. Be sure to include plenty of calls to action, too. This will not only help to create a powerful, conclusive user journey throughout your site, but also drive engagement by keeping the right kinds of users on your site for longer.

Case studies

Last but by no means least, case studies are one of the most powerful types of content available to B2B businesses, due to their ability to directly influence purchasing decisions. With all of your other content formats nailed, stories of your previous successes – particularly those backed by the right data – can give users the final nudge they need to take the leap and get in touch about their needs and how you might be able to meet them.

As with customer reviews and testimonials, data-driven case studies that evidence your success within your sector can contribute to your business’s perceived expertise, authority and trustworthiness (EAT) signals – all-important signals which are now among key criteria used by search engine raters to assess the overall strength of a website. By providing any and all content you can that reinforces your own expertise, authority and trustworthiness, you can make your brand a prime candidate for competitive search performance.

As you take that all-important first step towards content marketing supremacy, we’d love to join you on your journey. Our bespoke suite of community engagement software is able to perfectly complement any content marketing strategy – helping you begin to build a loyal and engaged following around your brand.

Posted by David in Interesting

Six business decisions simplified by market research

Some business decisions, regardless of the amount of planning, risk assessment and due diligence that go into them, are big enough that they’ll always feel like taking a leap of faith.

Whenever you’re making a dramatic change to your business’s offering, identity or plans for the future, there will always be some element of uncertainty – but with the help of market research, particularly in the form of genuine customer feedback, you can make these daunting decisions as informed as possible.

As part of our suite of customer engagement software, we give brands access to market research tools such as polls and questionnaires – and in this post, we’re exploring the features, uses and benefits of market research to open your eyes to the vast potential of this business multi-tool.

Team having an office brainstorming meeting
Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Expanding your product or service offering

Over time, every thriving business will make the decision to build on their success by expanding their range of products or services – but with ideas galore when it comes to expansion, choosing which of those ideas to prioritise can be a challenge. To avoid going in blind, why not put some of the control in the hands of your customer base? After all, you’ve only gotten this far by keeping them on side.

If you’re toying with a few different potential products or services that would expand on your core offering, serving your customers a poll where vote for whichever of these options they’d most like to see from you next will not only make them feel heard and valued, but also give you confidence that the path you take will be the one most likely to prove profitable.

Customer persona modelling

This may not seem like the biggest business decision in the world, but, in truth, this vital business decision has a direct impact on all of your marketing activity that follows. Whether you’re putting together customer personas for the first time or refining existing personas for more targeted brand messaging in the future, knowing who your typical customer is – from their age, gender and location to interests and shopping behaviour – helps you know how to communicate with them and how to encourage them to convert.

With market research tools at your disposal, you can use polling features to gather key information on your customer base – allowing them to identify their own needs, priorities, interests and more to supplement existing user personas pieced together from data sources such as Google Analytics. Combined, this will make for well-rounded customer personas informed by both genuine user behaviour and genuine user feedback.

Rebranding your business

A rebrand is a serious undertaking for any company, not least due to the balancing act of working to retain loyal customers through a period of change while also inspiring new ones to climb aboard for the first time. Of course, a rebrand can range from something as minor as a refresh of your brand imagery to the far more meaningful transition from one brand identity to another entirely different one. Regardless of your aims, though, the benefits of market research certainly apply to this consequential business decision.

Whether it’s a questionnaire sent out to existing and potential customers or a poll presented to your brand community in the early stages of planning your rebrand, find a way to seize this golden opportunity. Use market research to your advantage, gaining valuable feedback on what is and isn’t resonating about your existing brand image, and prompting valuable input on how your company could better appeal to those most qualified to make that decision.

Sales and revenue projections

When the time comes to forecast how you expect your business to perform in the financial year ahead, this high-stakes activity will benefit greatly from market research support. Naturally, you’ll need to give due consideration to emerging and evolving consumer trends, factoring changing user needs into your projections. On top of that, though, by conducting your own independent customer research, you can complement this industry data to drive more informed decisions.

By profiling your different types of customer and aligning these customer types with industry trends, you’ll be able to better predict how your own customers’ needs and behaviours may evolve in the short, medium and long term. So, put together whatever polls, questionnaires and other fact-finding resources you feel are necessary to gather the information you need. This way, you can back your projections with authentic feedback from your engaged community.

Allocating marketing budgets

The all-important decision of how to distribute marketing budgets among the various channels at your disposal isn’t one to be taken lightly. Needless to say, a deep understanding of the ROIs these different channels deliver should fuel your decision-making, with lower-cost, higher-return channels being an undeniably safe bet. Where these truths are less self-evident, the importance of market research becomes crystal clear.

Asking your audience which channels of communication they find most effective or engaging is a great supportive exercise for deciding where the lion’s share of your marketing budget should be spent.

Of course, this isn’t an exact science – not all of us are self-aware when it comes to the marketing channels that influence our buying behaviour. Nonetheless, taking the temperature of your brand community when it comes to which forms of marketing they’re most predisposed to engage with is highly worthwhile and, again, demonstrates to your customer base that you’re willing and able to speak their language.

Improving your customer service

Customer service should be subject to continuous refinement – you can always be better, faster, more accommodating and more knowledgeable. What you can’t always do is read customers’ minds – making market research a vital tool for gathering unfiltered yet constructive feedback on how you approach everything from general customer queries to more contentious matters like complaints.

If ever in doubt about how your business could improve its customer relations, ask the people best placed to comment. You may want to pose multiple-choice questions asking which areas of your customer service could be better, or, alternatively, take a more open-ended approach designed to generate any and all feedback on what more your customers would ask of you, if anything. The choice is ultimately yours – and the options are practically endless.

No business can afford to underestimate the importance of market research. An all-in-one company toolkit able to carve a path for everything from product launches to sales projections, this is an often-overlooked asset we love helping brands get to grips with for the first time.

Explore the perks of being a Six Circles member today and request a live demo to dip your toe into the world of custom market research.

Posted by David in Interesting

Six key ingredients for an engaging brand identity

Whether you’re an ecommerce business, an events company or a software as a service (SaaS) provider, a powerful product or service offering will take you so far – but it’s only when coupled with a magnetic brand identity that you can begin to take your sector by storm.

Creating a brand identity unique and powerful enough to cut through the industry noise is no mean feat but, with our winning recipe for an irresistible brand identity, you’ll have all the ingredients you need to keep hungry consumers in your sector satisfied.

Branded cans and bottles of soda including fanta, Sanpellegrino and Coca Cola
Photo by Matt Botsford on Unsplash

An unforgettable image

Brand identity design is, of course, about far more than beautiful imagery alone – but that’s not to say that a slick, elegant aesthetic isn’t a key ingredient in this recipe. From your all-important company logo to your brand’s colour palette, packaging design and website theme, there are interconnected elements galore that make up your brand’s image – and it all starts with identifying the unique traits that encapsulate your brand and finding a way to represent these qualities visually.

An authentic personality

If your brand were a person, how would you define them? Informal and chatty with a great sense of humour? Direct and authoritative? Eccentric and offbeat, with a nonconformist edge? Creating a brand persona is an activity best combined with user persona mapping, as chances are your ideal user has a lot in common with your brand’s personality. Knowing who your brand is will prove invaluable when it comes to deciding how your brand should communicate with your audience, from the channels you use and the nature of your communications to your all-important brand voice.

A distinct voice

It’s not only what you say – it’s how you say it, too. Finding your voice, especially in a crowded market, can be a daunting prospect – but you can simplify this process by first asking yourself whether you’d like to define your brand voice by association or by your point of difference. If there’s an existing brand within or outside of your sector whose voice you aspire to emulate, your next step is to examine their brand messaging – from blog posts and email marketing copy to social media activity and web content – and put your finger on exactly what it is about their tone of voice that inspires you.

Alternatively, if you’d rather be viewed as an antidote to the rest of your industry, your task will be to identify the missing piece of the puzzle – finding out where your competitors are falling short and offering that one, powerful thing that consumers in your sector can’t find elsewhere.

A powerful message

Next on your brand identity design checklist is establishing what you’d like customers to take away from the exchanges they have with your brand (other than paid-for products or services, of course). What’s the message behind your business, and why should your customers buy into this company ethos? You may be an ethical business trying to save the world one sale at a time – but if not, that doesn’t mean your brand doesn’t have a meaningful message worth investing in.

It could be that you want to illustrate to customers that they can enjoy high-quality products without paying extortionate prices, or perhaps that, by shopping with you, they can be part of a thriving community of customers and feel a part of something more than a mere customer base. The choice is yours – but regardless of your reasons for launching your business, we’re confident you’ll be able to articulate a brand message worth believing in.

A promise of value

While mulling over your brand’s central message, it’s important to consider what incentive you’re giving shoppers to choose your product or service over the available alternatives. What are you offering your customers that competitors aren’t? It may be greater affordability, broader choice, higher quality products, superior customer service or something else entirely, but you’ll need to nail down what unique value you’re offering to your customers so that this USP can be at the forefront of your brand messaging in the months and years to come.

A clear-cut community

This is where we come in. With all other bases covered, once you know how to create a brand identity that’ll leave competitors envious, the final ingredient is a thriving, distinctive community your customers will feel privileged to be a part of. The world’s most unique and memorable brands are supported by a following of customers who share their outlook on life and engage with their brand rather than the alternatives because of this shared ethos.

With our community engagement platform, you can begin building a devoted following around your brand – using our diverse suite of features, including everything from a bespoke event management platform to your own dedicated company forum and market research tools.

Testimonials

“Since incorporating the Six Circles software to further grow our network, we have seen a vast increase in new members and interaction and we are attributing both to the ease of the site’s functionality.

For us, our marketing is now tailored more specifically and effectively due to the inclusion of useful analytics which allow us to form a better understanding of what our members really want.

We would wholly recommend Six Circles to organisations wanting to offer their consumers a platform to meet others, voice their opinions, publish industry news and receive an inclusive and enjoyable customer experience.”

The Mussel Club