Wednesday, September 28, 2016

10/13/16 Lunch & Learn: How to Brand Yourself as the "Go To" Expert

Ever wonder if you are leaving a lasting impression at networking events? Join Westchester Networking for Professionals on Thursday, October 13 from 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm with our Guest Speaker Marty Rolnick as he shares with us his  knowledge and expertise on the key essentials to standing our from the crowd and being recognized as the "Go To" Expert in the age of attention deficit and media addiction. 

Not everyone knows who you are, and since that means they probably have no idea what you do and how good you do it, it’s vital for you to give your skills a bit of recognition. RSVP today and learn how to brand yourself as the "Go To" Expert, while enjoying lunch and networking with local business professionals.  

Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business networking association dedicated to helping small businesses and entrepreneurs develop, expand and grow. We offer affordable opportunities to help create a positive impact and advancement in your business interests and personal quality of life to take you to the next level.
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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Thank You to Those Who Attended WNFP 09/22 Business Lunch, Learn & Networking Event

Thank you to those who attended our September Business Lunch & Learn Networking event with Christopher Salem for sharing his expertise on Authentic Leadership. 

The Smart Talk Business Luncheon program was developed to bring a small group of business professionals (20 - 25 ppl) which include business owners, entrepreneurs, managers and key decision-makers together for a delicious lunch, learning from expert panelists and a great, intimate networking experience. 

We'd love to hear your thoughts, please share your experience here.  Event photos taken by Aaron Kershaw Photography can be found on WNFP Facebook page. I look forward to seeing you in October.

October Business Lunch & Learn Networking Event
Thursday, October 13, 2016 | 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Topic of Discussion: How to Brand Yourself as the "Go To" Expert with Marty Rolnick

To learn more about WNFP events, visit us online at

Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business networking association dedicated to helping small businesses and entrepreneurs develop, expand and grow. We offer affordable opportunities to help create a positive impact and advancement in your business interests and personal quality of life to take you to the next level.
Stay Connected with WNFP!
Join WNFP Communities!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Why Your Email Marketing is Unable to Engage More Customers

We live in a connected world and amongst the many things that bonds brands with its target market, email marketing has emerged as one of the most trusted tools.

Even though it has the ability to give your customers accessibility to more than one service or product, it is not that easy to drive them down the sales funnel. And that’s where customer engagement comes into the picture.

Without great customer engagement, email content or information is of no use. If you are planning to launch your own email marketing campaign, here are some top reasons why brands are failing to engage customers through emails and tips to boost your customer engagement:

#1. Reason: Sending out TOO MANY emails

Bombarding your customers with emails not only deteriorates conversion rates, but affects engagement as well, courtesy increased email fatigue.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Streamline Email Frequency to Improve deliverability

Though it is quite vital to engage email subscribers regularly, there’s a fine line between annoying your subscribers and maintaining acceptable email frequency. A triggered email program must be used for deploying messages based on mobile consumer’s behavior. So, what do you do?

Encourage free trial prospects & compel them to use key features.Entice ‘low engagement’ customers with interesting offers.Notify ‘loyal’ customers about special offers
Implementation of these steps will certainly give subscribers a break from series of automation emails, besides doing away with looming email fatigue syndrome.

#2. Reason: Emails serving more than one purpose

Email newsletters, can most of the times serve more than one purpose. Most brands do not follow target audience or product interest segmentation best practices while sending out email newsletters to a list of subscribers.

As a result, people with least interest in the particular product or service start disengaging with the brand and may even lead to unsubscribes.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Segment your Email Newsletter list

Email personalization has a direct impact on customer engagement. Non-segmenting your email list is like, you filling the medical information with event reminders and end up inviting them for an educational survey. Therefore, it becomes quite vital to differentiate between customers and prospects as they both belong to different levels in the buying cycle. The contacts can be well-divided by brand, industry, targeted message and interest.

Some marketers are also designing personalized emails with entirely innovative features. And the same can be enhanced with dynamic content display that keeps changing on the basis of consumer behavior.

#3. Reason: Neglecting ‘weather’ factor for more email engagement

Weather do have a significant impact on email engagement depending upon location’s environmental factors. Unfortunately, most of the companies nowadays neglect the impact it could create on email engagement.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Weather-weapon for uplifting customer email engagement

When hurricane Charlie hit America, Walmart experienced a sudden increase in marketing activity for Pop-Tarts. That resulted into a boost in sales by 15%. But, at the same time, it even affected email engagement rates significantly.

While studies have noted a noteworthy increase in customer engagement during hot weather, besides user-marked spam rate; trends depicted completely opposite results during colder weather.

In France, rainy and warmer weather both displayed increases in response rates of marketing emails from restaurants. However, higher rainfall in UK showed a negative impact. Hence, Walmart designed a weather feed and created email content in the context of current weather – witnessing noticeable uplift in email engagement henceforth.

#4. Reason: Increase in Mobile Marketplace

The use of mobile has witnessed a continuous shift mainly when it comes to research, online shopping and even accessing emails. According to a Marketing Land report, mobile clicks for email increased by 10% in 2015.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Create responsive design to align email marketing campaigns

Email marketers must adjust their marketing strategies according to the changing consumer preferences and encourage active subscribers for constant engagement – responsive email designs being one of them.

At the same time, email content and design must be contextually relevant to customers as subscribers respond to email messages that are relevant and matter to them. Moreover, contextual relevancy is much more vital for mobile ‘on-the-go’ customers as they are considered to be less patient compared to desktop users.

However, irrespective of whatever your customers’ preferred platform of communication is (e.g. Mobile, desktop), email marketers can acquire noteworthy improvement in customer engagement by delivering personalized or relevant offers.

#5. Reason: Your brand is not a social media butterfly

Is your brand refraining itself from building a community over different social media platforms along with email marketing? Several brands are found to have restrained social media marketing to status update and image posting. However, social media can be used to create enhanced user experience and valuable content so as to keep both sides active & connected.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Flutter your Social Media wings along with Email Marketing

According to a Business2Community report, 90% adults between the age of 18-29 use social media to learn about recent updates from their favorite brands. It is no longer just a phenomenon or trend; but an opportunity to bridge the gap between your audience and community.

American cereal connoisseur, Cap’n Crunch used their Twitter handle as a medium to bring more engagement with men between the age of 20-30, who often have cereal as their meal.

In order to communicate directly with their target, Cap’n Crunch replied to all the brand mentions on Twitter in a jocular and unique way that amused mainstream media as well as the brand fans. In addition to this, the topic was quite trending on Twitter with #ThreeWordsSheWantsToHear for long span of time.

Synopsis: Small steps go a long way …

Get started with few of the above-mentioned customer engagement practices. Once your customers start experiencing the strategies you have employed; maintain consistency in the amendments you have made so far. Then, try enhancing it to give your customers end-to-end experience from the very first communication to all the stages customer will be going through.

Your customers will surely appreciate the exceptional experience you create for them and reward you with more engagement from their side. Have some spices to add to this discussion? We’d love to hear from you.

Start your Constant Contact free trial to experience our easy-to-use email marketing tools and more. You'll also have access to personal coaching and resources to get you real business results.

Image Credit: Kevin George

Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business networking association dedicated to helping small businesses and entrepreneurs develop, expand and grow. We offer affordable opportunities to help create a positive impact and advancement in your business interests and personal quality of life to take you to the next level.
Stay Connected with WNFP!
Join WNFP Communities!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Tips For Marketing To LGBTQ Consumers

Jenn T. Grace, the self-proclaimed ‘Professional Lesbian,’ is a speaker, author, podcaster, coach and entrepreneur who specializes in teaching straight people how to market to gay people and gay people how to market to themselves.

Her podcast, Personal Branding for the LGBTQ Professional, features strategies for marketing to the LGBTQ community in a meaningful way, as well as insightful interviews from LGBTQ entrepreneurs and leaders like author and Duke Professor Dorie Clark, Lesbians Who Tech founder Leanne Pittsford and Liz Cooper, the Associate Director of Corporate Equality Programs at the Human Rights Campaign.

I spoke with Grace about what suggestions she had for marketers and brands alike when advertising to the LGBTQ consumer based off her experience.

Brian Honigman: What are the first steps an organization can take to make a campaign resonate with the LGBTQ demographic?

Jenn T. Grace: The very first step any organization can take in marketing to the LGBTQ community is knowing your audience – do the market research and identify if your product or service resonates with the community.

The bottom line is that the LGBTQ community is not one monolithic mass of people that have the same beliefs, ideals and values. Most organizations get this wrong by believing the entire LGBTQ community looks the same, acts the same and buys the same – this is the biggest misconception that can derail an LGBTQ specific marketing strategy.

You must first know who within the LGBTQ community is in your existing customer base. If your product or service is designed with women in mind, marketing to the LGBTQ community with imagery and advertisements with men is going to put you at an immediate disadvantage.

I personally receive a lot of LGBTQ specific marketing in both my virtual inbox as well as my physical mailbox – something that lands in front of me that features shirtless single gay millennial men is not going to resonate with me as a consumer when I am married to a woman and raising children. Go back to basics. Understand who your existing customer base is and apply the LGBTQ lens on top of it.

Honigman: What about a product or service makes it more marketable to the LGBTQ community?

Grace: Nearly all organizations (there may be a few exceptions, such as churches or other religious organizations) have a product or service that can be marketed to the LGBTQ community. It is less about the product or service and more about what the organization stands for in relation to the LGBTQ community itself.

Any product or service can be positioned as something beneficial to the LGBTQ audience, however, it goes back to question one about knowing who you are marketing to. The added complexity with this is that when you are marketing to the LGBTQ community it is expected that this effort is not just external but also internal. Internal in the sense that you have top down support, employee buy-in and are actively engaging within the community itself.

Many organizations fail when they begin marketing their product or service to the LGBTQ community without doing their homework and seeing how they are perceived in the LGBTQ community from the onset. It is a very simple process to obtain information via focus groups or other types of surveys within an audience to see how to best approach the community in a way that will resonate with their needs.

Honigman: How does a brand best determine what aspects of the LGBTQ lifestyle they should focus on?

Grace: A brand must first know how it is perceived in the marketplace with the added layer of how LGBTQ people view it in the marketplace. The LGBTQ community is truly a microcosm of every community. LGBTQ people come in all shapes, sizes, races, religions, socioeconomic backgrounds, etc.

For example, if you have a product or service related to Spring Break travel, your audience is likely 25 and under and attending college. You could translate this focus into identifying LGBTQ individuals on college campuses, who are likely to travel.

These LGBTQ individuals may be part of a campus pride organization either on campus or online. If you were to begin advertising toward this segment but marketing this to a local LGBTQ chamber of commerce or advertising in an LGBTQ publication with a readership that is 45+ over – then you are missing the mark.

Honigman: What are your favorite LGBTQ targeted marketing campaigns and why did you think they were impactful?

Grace: There are many marketing campaigns that have included LGBTQ individuals that have really done a wonderful job. A few from the last couple of years include Coca-Cola KO -0.80%’s “America the Beautiful” and Honey Maid’s “This is Wholesome.” I use these both as good quality examples for a very specific reason.

Both of these marketing campaigns did not focus on LGBTQ individuals specifically but rather they incorporated LGBTQ people as part of their larger message of inclusion. The America the Beautiful campaign included Americans from all walks of life in their commercial – from different ages – to different races – to different speaking languages – to a LGBTQ couple.

The “This is Wholesome” campaign did the same thing – including couples and families with varying backgrounds and diversities – from the biracial family to the gothic family to the two dad family.

These organizations caught a lot of slack for featuring LGBTQ individuals within these commercials but the messages landed loud and clear within the LGBTQ community itself – the message being, we see you – we hear you – we know you are part of our consumer base and we want our marketing to reflect that.

Honigman: How can a marketer ensure they are targeting LGBTQ customers for the right reasons?

Grace: This is probably the trickiest part of marketing to the LGBTQ community. The term “the right reasons” could have many different meanings – to the Fortune 500 company the right reason might be to increase LGBTQ market share because it is a known part of their customer base and their employees have been championing the case – to the local financial firm the right reason might be that that they believe the LGBTQ community needs more targeted guidance than their straight counterparts – to the soloprenuer the right reason might be that they are serving many LGBTQ customers already without intentionally trying and now they are looking to streamline the process.

Everyone has a different version of the ‘right reason,’ however, the bottom line is you must put the people first before the profits. This is not to say that your LGBTQ marketing campaign shouldn’t be profitable – it absolutely should be – or else don’t waste your time.

But this does mean that the LGBTQ community will be skeptical of you at first, when you first enter the scene and start saying that you are serving the LGBTQ community. They will ask tough questions and demand concrete answers. You must know what those questions and answers are prior to going all in.

Honigman: Any suggestions on how a brand should react to backlash to their pro LGBTQ messaging?

Grace: Marketing to the LGBTQ community can still be risky, depending on your product, service, industry or the marketplace, I won’t lie to you. However, if you are truly coming from a place of good intention that intention will always win out over any backlash received.

The previous example of Honey Maid’s “This is Wholesome” campaign is a shining example of how to handle the backlash. When their campaign came out they received quite a number of hateful comments on their social media platforms condemning the brand for supporting the LGBTQ community.

However, the number of their customers who supported this far outweighed the negative. They used the negative and positive comments in a beautiful display of creativity and art and created a video that stopped the haters in their tracks – the primary message being – we hear you haters, but we are not backing down in our support and commitment to our LGBTQ customer base. Deal with backlash of LGBTQ advertising by not backing down in your support or commitment to the community.

Westchester Networking for Professionals is organizing a Growth Partners Excel Program - Mastermind Group starting in September 2016 for small businesses and entrepreneurs to help grow their business.  Click the link for more information.
Take Actions for Your Small Business Growth, Today!

Image Credit: Jenn T. Grace

Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business networking association dedicated to helping small businesses and entrepreneurs develop, expand and grow. We offer affordable opportunities to help create a positive impact and advancement in your business interests and personal quality of life to take you to the next level.
Stay Connected with WNFP!
Join WNFP Communities!

The Simple 3-Step Process to Converting Paid Traffic Through Email Marketing

Most entrepreneurs who invest in paid traffic make one very critical error: They don’t know how to convert that paid traffic into profit!

If this is you, then pay attention: You cannot expect a positive ROI or a sustainable advertising campaign unless you learn how to master the art of converting paid traffic. While there are dozens of ways to convert paid traffic into profit, I'm going to focus in on just one: email autoresponders, meaning a computer program that immediately provides information to prospective customers, then follows up with them at preset time intervals.

If you put in the work on the front end and create a high-quality email autoresponder sequence, you will be able to convert paid traffic with almost no effort at all. While this may sound like an impossible task (if you have never created an autoresponder sequence before), it is actually a lot easier than you think.

So, here are three simple steps to creating an epic autoresponder series that will allow you to generate massive amounts of income . . . while you sleep. Sound like something you are interested in? Here are the steps.

1. Make customers an offer they can’t refuse.

The first step to converting paid traffic through your email autoresponder sequence is to make your audience members an offer they cannot refuse. Specifically, offer a high-quality, free giveaway. You want the giveaway to be a no-brainer. You want it to be irresistible.

Creating a giveaway like this is actually much simpler than you think.

The key is, first, to know your market, figure out what one problem they want solved more than anything else, then create a giveaway that solves that problem. There are dozens of places where you can find the information you need to create your offer. Browse through books in the Kindle store related to your niche. Check out Reddit or Quora to see what questions people in your target market are asking.

For example, if you are in the health and fitness industry for men, you may find some of the biggest problems your market is asking to be:
  • How do I lose weight without losing muscle?
  • How can I gain muscle without spending thousands on a crazy diet?
  • I don’t have time for the gym; how can I stay healthy?

The list goes on and on. Based off these problems, you could create any one of the following giveaways.
  • A free video series titled How to Shred Belly Fat without Losing Muscle
  • An ebook titled Bodybuilding on a Budget: How to Gain Muscle, Get Huge and Turn Heads without Expensive Diets
  • A pre-recorded webinar titled Shredded in No Time: How to Get and Stay Lean for the Man on the Go

Pretty simple, right? Like anything in business, creating your irresistible offer is about identifying a problem and providing an effective solution.

Start your Constant Contact free trial to experience our easy-to-use email marketing tools and more. You'll also have access to personal coaching and resources to get you real business results.

2. Craft compelling headlines.

Once you have successfully created a giveaway that people want and need, the next step is to create compelling headlines that actually generate a high open rate.

It doesn’t matter how good your giveaway is. If people sign up for your autoresponder series and then receive emails with poorly crafted headlines, they will take their free resource and promptly run for the hills. 

While writing amazing headlines is a skill that can take years to master, you can get started today by keeping a few things in mind. First, you want to make sure that your headline is neither too long nor too short. Six to ten words seems to perform best.

It is important to realize that you only have a few words to pique your reader’s attention, get your message across and earn the open. Make sure that you utilize one or all of these six tips (in no particular order) to maximize open rates.

  1. Your headlines are specific and useful: People know what the email is about and what to expect.
  2. You clearly identify yourself: Make sure that in the first couple of emails the audience is very clear who is emailing them.
  3. Your headlines stand out: Use numbers, symbols and capitalization to grab the reader’s attention.
  4. Your headline is timely: Relate your headline to a recent event or issue pressing on your audience members' minds.
  5. Your headline has a call to action: For some reason, people respond well when they're told to do something. Use your next headline to bark out orders.
  6. Your headline is tested: Always split-test headlines to see what clicks (no pun intended) with your audience.

3. Ask for the sale.

The final piece to the puzzle is to master the art of offering value and know when to ask for the sale. You want to make sure that (at least) the first week or so of your email series is dedicated 100 percent to giving value without asking for anything in return.

This will build trust with your audience members, increase the open rate on future emails and make them more likely to purchase from you whenever you actually do ask for the sale.

Providing value in your emails is pretty simple. Just continue to help your audience solve problems related to the problem that you solved in the giveaway. I recommend that you send at least four emails that are 100 percent value-based before you ask for the sale.

And when you do ask for the sale, it is important that the product you offer solve a problem similar to those you have been solving in the email series. If your series is all about how your audience members can grow their business through content marketing, but you then offer an online course devoted 100 percent to Facebook Advertising, you are going to lose sales.

Keep your emails congruent, and offer as much value as possible.


Converting paid traffic through an email autoresponder sequence is not easy. But it is one of the best ways to start generating passive/residual income while building your brand and creating customer loyalty. If you can master these three steps, your business, and your marketing will never be the same.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business networking association dedicated to helping small businesses and entrepreneurs develop, expand and grow. We offer affordable opportunities to help create a positive impact and advancement in your business interests and personal quality of life to take you to the next level.
Stay Connected with WNFP!
Join WNFP Communities!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The 6 Musts of a Successful Holiday Marketing Campaign

Fall is upon us, with the holidays waiting right around the corner. Holidays are a perfect time to connect with your prospects and celebrate those feelings of camaraderie, gratitude and interconnectedness. Marketers can leverage these feelings to deeply engage with their customers on an emotional level and build trust and credibility.

The holidays are a popular time to market, so it’s important to put a lot of thought into your holiday marketing campaign. You want to appeal to everyday emotions while also standing out from the crowd. There’s a lot of spending that occurs during the holidays -- the trick is to get your customers to spend with you and not your competitors. Here are six musts of a successful holiday marketing campaign:

1. Plan a personalized campaign.

Instead of hoping your customers will be seen with your products and spread the word, why not take the next step and let them physically insert themselves into your ad? OfficeMax saw an enormous boon using this strategy with the “Elf Yourself” social-media campaign. The site drew 193 million visits and continues to evolve with new characters, dances and animated graphics.

Personalize your own ad campaign by allowing customers to get involved and put themselves in the mix. The more innovative and fun the experience is, the more likely they are to share it on social media and beyond.

2. Get your staff involved.

Studies show there is only a 2 to 8 percent overlap between employee and company social networks. In other words, getting your staff involved can exponentially boost your marketing campaign’s effectiveness. Some companies feature their staffs directly in commercials, while others simply encourage their employees to participate and share the personalized campaign. However you choose to do it, you can’t afford to ignore your employees when planning your holiday marketing strategy.

3. Hit key emotions with your campaign.

People tend to think their decision-making is purely rational, but the truth is all people make decisions emotionally before justifying them rationally. As a result, a successful holiday marketing campaign should be an emotional one. Focus on the feelings that fit the season, including friendship, “home for the holidays,” good will, giving back and gratitude.

TD Bank’s #MakeTodayMatter campaign featured these emotions, and as a result generated 3.5 million hits and gained media coverage around the world.

Start your free Constant Contact trial to experience our easy-to-use email marketing tools and more. You'll also have access to personal coaching and resources to get you real business results.

4. Create an easy-to-share campaign.

While it’s hard to predict what will go viral, it’s possible to maximize your chances. One important element is that the campaign is easy to share. Consider that 74 percent of consumers rely on word of mouth as the top influencer of their purchasing decisions. When someone receives your campaign from a friend, it means so much more than seeing it in a commercial or Facebook ad. 

Some ways to make content shareable include adding social icons to emails, allowing recipients to share with a single click and creating engaging tweets that are begging to be shared.

5. Include online deals.

People like to make a big deal out of Cyber Monday, but millions of Americans shop online on Black Friday. In 2014, $1.5 billion was spent online on Black Friday alone. Online networks make it easy to feature deals with fun campaigns such as countdowns, contests and games. Don’t discount the power of email when reaching out to customers and advertising your deals both online and off for tempting in-store deals.

6. Create a consistent experience across all channels.

Multi-channel marketing is the norm for professionals from retailers to insurance agents. However, it’s crucial to create a consistent user experience regardless of which channels your customers are using. But there’s more to it than recreating your branding and color scheme on social media. The deals you’re offering should also stay consistent. Train your staff to fluently understand your individual deals, online-only offers and any restrictions that apply.

The holidays are the perfect time to build an emotional bond with your customers. The positive feelings of family, giving and gratitude are already at the forefront of the season and your marketing campaign can piggyback on those emotions. In addition, personalize your campaign to your customers and get your staff involved. With a sharable campaign, hot online deals and a consistent multi-channel experience, you’ll be positioned for maximum holiday-season success.

How do you plan to market this holiday season? Share your thoughts in the comments comments section below.

Image Credit: Sincerely

Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business networking association dedicated to helping small businesses and entrepreneurs develop, expand and grow. We offer affordable opportunities to help create a positive impact and advancement in your business interests and personal quality of life to take you to the next level.
Stay Connected with WNFP!
Join WNFP Communities!