Thursday, September 29, 2016

Don't Call It Networking: The Secret To Making Real Connections


Shelley Zalis can’t stand the term “networking.” For the Los Angeles-based CEO, the word conjures up an image of a bland name-tag along with the transactional, often inauthentic manner in which many of us were groomed to make professional contacts. But Zalis, the founder of  The Girls’ Lounge, the posh gathering spaces popping up at male-dominated tech and business conferences around the globe, says the feminine craving for meaningful relationships is a powerful tool for women to help each other get ahead.  She’s creating relaxed venues for women to meet and get to know each other at events that typically attract a sea of men. The pioneer in online market research (she founded OTX which sold to Ipsos in 2010) first came up with her big idea at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2013, when she plugged into the angst she heard from girlfriends about attending the huge, mostly male trade show alone.  She went on to create a spa-like oasis where women can gather to hang out on comfy couches while listening to inspiring and informative speakers, including the CTO  of the United States, Megan Smith; to connect with mentors; and to unselfconsciously indulge in a little pampering, too, like shopping and getting their hair and make-up done.

Over the last year, The Girls’ Lounge has become a fixture at high profile events including the  2016 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland (where just 18% of the attendees were female) and SXSW.  On the heels of getting our own inside peek at The Girls’ Lounge at this week’s Dmexco, Digital Marketing Exposition and Conference, in Cologne, Germany, we spoke with Zalis about her philosophy for cultivating her own network. In this latest “Master Class,” she offers six of her own personal tips for forging lasting connections.


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1. Forget “Networking.” Work on Relationships.

Shelley Zalis: “A network is not something you pick up and put down. I think it’s about relationships that you create and stay with. So it’s sort of like girlfriends. It’s not like you pick them up and put them down. You don’t have to call them and talk to them all the time, but they always know you’re there, and when you need something you can pick up the phone in two minutes and it’s like you never missed a beat.

2. Friendships Can Lead to Partnerships.

Zalis: “Some of my best friends today I met through work and it’s because you spend a lot of time together and we know each other. We have fun together too. I think when women do business with other women (and I’m not saying you shouldn’t network with men, too) but I have personal relationships with them where making them the best they can be in business makes me feel really happy. Networking doesn’t happen through the phone and it’s not about a handshake. Networking is not about a handshake. It’s beyond the handshake.

3. Skip the Cocktail Party. Go to Lunch.

Zalis: “The problem with just going (to a cocktail party), if you’re new in the industry and you want to get ahead, is if you just go to a cocktail party and you don’t know anyone, most people are already talking to people that they know. So my best tip is if you’re going to go into a networking event where you don’t know anyone, I would say don’t go to the cocktail party because no one is going to talk to you because it’s too a short period of time to get to know someone. Go to a lunch or go to a event where you have more time and go get a seat at a table where you don’t know anyone and by the end of the night you’ll know ten new people.”

4. Tweet and Meet.

Zalis: “I think there’s always an ask. So if you do develop a relationship through social (media), then the ask should be, ‘When can we get together in person? I would love to get to know you better.’  It can start on social media. But you then need to really create a connection. You can create awareness that ‘this is who I am on social media.’ But to really get to know someone, there is nothing more important than in-person relationships.”

5. Make Better Use of Business Cards.

Zalis:  “If you get a business card, write something on that business card about the person that you want to follow up with so that you can personalize it. If you give your business card to someone, put a little note on it about who you are so when they go through their business cards at the end of the conference and they have a hundred of them, yours will stand out.”

6. Say Thank You

Zalis: “A handwritten personal note is always beautiful, but an e-mail can get you where you need to go if it’s a personal e-mail.  And do not have typos. You can make smart mistakes, but not dumb ones.”



Source: http://www.forbes.com/
Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Girls’ Lounge






ABOUT WNFP
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!

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.


http://wnfpevents.webs.com/apps/calendar/showEvent?calID=2065588&eventID=266664246 

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.  



ABOUT WNFP
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!

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 http://www.wnfp.org.

ABOUT WNFP
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.



Source: http://tweakyourbiz.com/
Image Credit: Kevin George

ABOUT WNFP
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!


Source: http://www.forbes.com/
Image Credit: Jenn T. Grace

ABOUT WNFP
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.

Conclusion

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.


Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com
Image Credit: Shutterstock

ABOUT WNFP
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.


Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com
Image Credit: Sincerely

ABOUT WNFP
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!

Monday, September 12, 2016

How to Stay One Step Ahead With Your Marketing Campaigns


In the last few years, small businesses have invested larger and larger portions of their revenue into marketing, a crucial, yet notoriously delicate part of any business’ growth and longevity. A successful marketing campaign can increase sales, raise your prestige, and allow you to compete with larger companies, but for small businesses there’s not much room for error. It’s too easy to pour valuable resources into undercooked marketing campaigns with limited ROI.

But how can one know what campaigns are designed to triumph? Marketing is all about maximizing conversions. Maximizing conversions is all about A/B testing. A/B testing, or split testing, is a simple experimental design that, when applied to marketing campaigns, helps you understand what’s converting best. For a small business, this might mean creating two versions of a piece of your marketing content, like a Facebook post, and testing Post A and Post B on your audience. Then, whichever post leads to the most measurable positive results, such as shares or likes, wins.

A/B testing is an easy, fast, and relatively cheap way to incrementally improve your marketing campaigns. And incremental change for the better will result in substantial growth in the long-term. In the end, A/B testing will bring you closer, step-by-step, to creating artful marketing campaigns that hook and delight consumers.
To illustrate how A/B testing might work for a small business, let’s look at how a go-to marketing email campaign can be optimized for conversions …

Split Testing Your Email Campaigns

A cheap and incredibly effective way to help the consumer along every part of the conversion funnel, email marketing’s ROI is 3800 percent, with businesses making $38 on every $1 spent. For small businesses with big needs and an average digital marketing budget of $400 per month, that makes email marketing a no-brainer.

Even though email seems like a straightforward way to retain customers and inspire them to return — after all, these people signed up! — there are a considerable number of ways to optimize email campaigns. First off, as with any marketing campaign, there are a lot of variables that are important to your subscribers: the subject line, send time, content, design, message preview, from name, frequency, and list segmentation, just to name a few. All together they can be confounding but these can all be optimized cheaply, and easily via A/B testing.


Email Campaign Split Testing Case Studies

Subject Line – One larger retailer optimized the subject line of their Holiday email encouraging subscribers to browse their offerings just days before Christmas. They A/B tested “Merry Christmas” vs “Happy Holidays,” sending each to 33,500 subscribers. The more specific “Merry Christmas” won by a wide margin with an open rate almost 5 percent greater and a Click-Through Rate 2.57 percent higher.

Content – Mammal Marine Center, a hospital for injured seals, uses email to get funding by asking for donations and offering items from their gift shop. For Valentine’s Day, they A/B tested two approaches to email content: one that focused on storytelling about the cause, the other that focused on gift store products. The results? The product-oriented email content earned almost doubled the amount of purchases.  

Design – Microsoft wanted to increase click-through rates on their email marketing so they looked into using a different color scheme and layout. Email A featured a large, full image of the product and a purple CTA button over a white background. Email B had an orange background, a cropped close-up shot of the product, and a pink CTA button, which matches Microsoft’s overall online marketing design scheme. Still, the simpler Email, A, increased click-through rates by 325 percent.

Frequency – In 2012, as Obama was running for reelection, he tested his email campaign relentlessly, focusing especially on frequency in an effort to understand how much is too much. The campaign ran many A/B tests, sending different amounts of emails to segmented parts of their subscriber list, and found there were no negative consequences to sending more emails. In the end, Obama’s marketing efforts were some of the most successful political fundraising efforts ever, having raised $500 million with the help of A/B test optimization.

There it is. A/B testing is a cost-effective and essential means by which businesses can maximize the ROI of their marketing campaigns. This does not only apply to email campaigns either, but any aspect of marketing from social media and newsletters, to planned events and beyond.


Start your 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.



Source: http://smallbiztrends.com/
Image Credit: Shutterstock

ABOUT WNFP
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!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

It Pays To Maintain Trusted Relationships In Business


Based on my years of experience in both startups and large companies, trusted relationships are more the key to success than a great business model, how smart you are, or how much money you have. Aspiring entrepreneurs who struggle in a corporate environment often can’t wait to start their own company, only to find that relationships are even more critical and volatile there.

Many pundits will point to great entrepreneurs, including Steve Jobs at Apple, and Larry Ellison at Oracle, as examples of opinionated and egotistical leaders who succeeded without consideration for relationships. Yet insiders will tell you that both studied and valued the people interactions of prior leaders, and built very loyal relationships with many people who were key to their success.

The message here is not to use the public personas of leaders and entrepreneurs as the model for building and maintaining your business relationships. I’m convinced that the following personal strategies are required and practiced by every successful business leader, regardless of Silicon Valley myths to the contrary:

  1. Lead with business and technical acumen for people who count. As an angel investor, I’ve seen aspiring entrepreneurs who seem to be convinced that bravado and passion are a good substitute for real information and a plan. You only get once chance for a great first impression, so don’t forget that content wins in relationships over style.
  2. Building the right relationships requires proactive efforts. Don’t wait for the right people in business to find you – developers, investors, partners, or key customers. Part of the challenge in every business is to first recognize who can help you, and secondly take the initiative to build a productive relationship with that person or team.
  3. Avoid naysayers and downers. Smart business people learn to quickly recognize negative personality types, and avoid them at all costs. Innovative businesses are tough and unpredictable, so relationships with procrastinators, people handy with excuses and all the reasons something can’t be done, are not helpful and will drag you down as well.
  4. Maintain competitor relationships and seek alternate views. Good entrepreneurs recognize that strong competitors are smart people as well, and it pays to learn from competitors. Some of the best business partnerships come from “coopetition,” or finding ways to build win-win relationships rather than win-lose transactions with competitors.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from people who are ahead of you. These include other business leaders, mentors, visionaries, and influencers. Bill Gates still relishes his relationship and advice from Warren Buffett. Maintaining these relationships will require you to push your limits, think outside the box, and carry your own weight with them.
  6. Incent others to contribute to your success. This can be as simple as giving back as much time and emotional effort as you absorb from others, or it can be offering real business payback or equity for contributions. Smart business people understand their own agenda, and they figure out the agenda of others, to build win-win relationships.
  7. Don’t back away from conflicts that can be constructive. Some conflict is inevitable. Strong leaders learn how to manage conflict to make it productive, bring out alternate views, and strengthen relationships. If you surround yourself with “yes” people, you may feel good for a while, but the unmentioned problems no one surfaces will hurt later.
  8. Actively and positively end relationships that are not productive. We all have limited bandwidth, and it’s not possible to maintain relationships with everyone. Sometimes it’s better to move on, without burning bridges for the future. Smart entrepreneurs recognize when relationships have been outgrown, or need to be limited do to conflict of interest.


Today’s business world more than ever is a networked economy, requiring collaboration, and is most productive with trusted relationships, rather than a reliance only on legal contracts. Building relationships is not rocket science, and can be learned by anyone. It is the common ground between corporate professionals and entrepreneurs. Start practicing it today wherever you are.


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 the Growth of Your Business, Today!


Source: http://www.forbes.com/
Image Credit: Google Images



ABOUT WNFP
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!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Business Lunch & Learn Series Begins September 2016

Westchester Networking for Professionals brings back their Smart Talk Business Lunch & Learn Networking Event Series.

This event series is an opportunity for a small group of local business owners and entrepreneurs to come together in an informal setting during the afternoon for 2 hour (12:00pm - 2:00pm) to engage in networking and forming business relationships while enjoying lunch and getting educated from local experts sharing their knowledge and expertise on business related topics for business development and growth.

It's a chance for business professionals to get out of the office during the day, meet new people, make new business connections and opportunities to better their business.

Westchester Networking for Professionals offers an array of event throughout the year dedicated to small businesses and entrepreneurs to help improve business their development. 

The Smart Talk Business Lunch & Learn Networking Event Series kicks off on Thursday, September 22, 2016 at Rini's Restaurant in Elmsford, NY.  This event will feature Chris Salem of ChristopherSalem.com discussing the topic of "Discovering Your Authentic Leadership to Improve Business".  

Chris brings over 22 years of experience as a Global Sales Executive & Team Leader in the B2B and B2C segments to assist Entrepreneurs with mindset techniques, systems, power of branding oneself, and the concept of leveraging to bring their businesses to new heights.

Event registrations are available online at Westchester Networking for Professionals website: http://www.wnfp.org; advance tickets cost $25.00 for Non VIP Members and $20.00 for VIP Members. Advance tickets are available online for a limited time, then the cost increases to the door registration fee of $30.00.

For this event and future Smart Talk Business Lunch & Learn Networking Events, visit http://www.wnfp.org for event details or email rsvpevents@wnfp.org.




ABOUT WNFP
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 Smart Way to Use Promotional Items to Build Client Relationships


A friend of a friend gave his wife a vacuum cleaner for Christmas. Relating this story to me, my friend wondered out loud how it was possible that his buddy was still alive.

This is the classic gift-giving mistake: gifting something that’s supposed to be practical, but comes off as too impersonal and utilitarian.

There’s another — even more common — gift-giving mistake, and that’s giving something that you would want to receive.

I suppose that sometimes our intentions aren’t all that terrible. We think that if it’s something we would want, others should feel the same way.

I also suspect that sometimes we believe that since we are close to the person receiving the gift, that we’ll get to enjoy it or use it as well, so it’s almost like giving the gift to ourselves.

Small business promo gifts

And this brings me around to a common small business gift giving error: Giving important customers or clients gifts that are all about promoting ourselves, and nothing about those who are receiving the gifts.

While promotional giveaways may seem like a great idea, you need to think about the message you’re sending and the results you want to achieve.

I’m not against handing out promotional items or sending them to clients or prospects, like gimme hats (You know, “Gimme one of them hats!”), calendars, magnets or ballpoint pens, but there are times when these kinds of promotional merchandise are not appropriate.

Think about the trade shows that you’ve attended. If you’re like most of us, you occasionally navigate up and down the aisles just looking for the promotional giveaways that are sitting on the counters. You grab a handful, stick them in a tote bag you’ve picked up at one of the booths and continue on your merry way.

The logos on these promotional products will remind you of the companies that offered them, but only in the most minimal of ways. This brings us to the crucial question of how you should weigh the merits of incentive gifts:

Do you only want to remind a client of your business in “the most minimal of ways” or do you want to make a big, lasting impression?


ROI of promotional goods

I suspect that when it comes to important clients, you want to make a big, lasting impressions. If that’s the case — even though we’re talking about promotional merchandise as incentive gifts — you need to go back to rule number one of gift giving: It has to be about the recipient.

In other words, don’t be like people who select gifts according to what they want; your gifts should be items that those people will treasure. In the grand scheme of things they are “promotional giveaways” but only in the sense that you have shown your appreciation for a person by taking the time and expense to select a valuable and lasting gift.

Instead of printing your logo on something, why not print the logo of the recipient’s company? Or the recipient’s name, or initials? Make it about the person receiving the gift, and in the long run you will enjoy more value out of your investments in promotional merchandise.

Finally, if you’re trying to improve your company’s position with some major clients, don’t be a penny pincher. Think for a moment how much you would spend to entertain these clients. Perhaps you occasionally take them to dinner or to sporting events. Those can be costly promotional outings and when they’re over, they’re over.

However, some high-quality products that you can give away as promo gifts will last for years. Over time, your investment has the potential to pay for itself many times over.

Start your 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.


Source: http://blogs.constantcontact.com/

ABOUT WNFP
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 8, 2016

7 Principles That Will Dramatically Improve Your Relationships


Bela Gandhi is the Founder and President of the Smart Dating Academy, a full service personal consulting firm that provides successful professionals with dating coaching, image consulting, personal shopping, professional photography and online dating consulting.

Bela has been featured in major news outlets around the world, being called "the Fairy Godmother of dating" by Steve Harvey, and a "Cupid for hire" on The Today Show.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Bela, who's now taking what she learned and perfected in the dating world and applying it to businesses.

She discovered that many of the benefits clients were experiencing in dating were translating into performing much better at work, "They were getting bigger bonuses, bigger promotions, bigger jobs, and closing bigger deals." These unexpected outcomes, as she coined them, are the focus of her new venture, called Interpersonal Generosity.

"We date people we like, we marry people that we ultimately like, we hire people we like, we buy from people we like, so while competence and respectability are important in the workplace, something that we don't talk about as much is your likeability, which I believe is 51 percent of the equation," Bela stated.

She emphasized that Interpersonal Generosity is about helping people present themselves in a way that's more effective in the workplace, "We help increase people's awareness to improve their likeability and get bigger promotions."

Bela says that there are seven key principles to Interpersonal Generosity:

1. Focus on others.
"People are very self-centered. When we have a self-focus, we become socially selfish."

When you're focused on yourself in social situations, you feel anxious, forget names, and then stumble in your interactions, but when you change your mindset and start focusing on others, you create more positive energy and lower your anxiety.

2. Understand their real needs.
"What does this other person want? Ultimately, they want to feel good about themselves, they want to be valued, heard, and accepted."

Bela says that we all have those desires in social interactions, so instead of focusing on getting our needs met, when we shift and start trying to help others feel cared for and understood, they start liking us and giving us what we want back.

3. Like them first.
Bela says that you need to genuinely from your gut "focus on what's good about someone so that you can give them what they need. It's the food we all need that we don't get. The best way to get someone to like you is to like them first."

When you approach each interaction looking for the positive in someone else, you create an aura of warmth and positivity that always comes back around.

4. Be positive.
"Whenever you ask people if they're positive, it's like asking them if they're a good driver--everyone says 'yes'." Bela is quick to point out that most people think that they're positive in their interactions, but actually have no idea how they come off, which is typically due to their self focus.

When you're focused on yourself, you tend to dump bad things or feel the need to tell others how awesome you are--both of which push people away. "People only know what you present--so leave your baggage at home."

5. Write kindly.
Since 93 percent of communication is nonverbal, when you're in the digital world the 7 percent of verbal communication, or the words you write, become much more important.

When writing emails, think about how the other person is going to feel while reading your message, and then take an extra second to add a personal greeting or exclamation points.

Bela shared that, "Match.com did a study called Singles in America, and in 2015 they said that singles that used an emoji or two in their communications tended to be happier, tended to be warmer, and had more sex."

6. Know how to speak and listen.
Most people just wait their turn to start talking, but Bela says that a great conversation is like a good tennis match--one person needs to serve and the other needs to return. Invigorating conversations create a liveliness and depth that make people feel understood and interested in learning more about the other person.

7. Use good body language.
Be intentional with your body language. Bela recommends mastering the 93 percent of communication by remembering to SOFTEN UP.

S, stands for smile; O, means open body language; F, is for forward leaning to show interest; T, is remembering to touch someone appropriately to convey emotion; E, stands for eye contact; N, is for gentle nodding; U, means to listen with undivided attention; and P, means staying positive.

Bela is currently using Interpersonal Generosity with individual clients and consulting with corporations, where she does workshops and follow-ups to transform corporate culture and cultivate an environment of success.

Spending time with Bela taught me that establishing genuine relationships with others not only creates personal fulfillment, but can also improve your professional life.

Sometimes we just need to get back to the basics of treating people with love and respect, and being attentive to the needs of others rather than our own.

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 Action for Your Business, Today!

Source: http://www.inc.com/
CREDIT: Courtesy Bela Gandhi, Smart Dating Academy


ABOUT WNFP
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!