Tuesday, February 28, 2017

How to Design Emails to Drive More Action

If you’re like most small business owners, you’re not marketing because you love marketing.

You’re marketing because you know that your business or nonprofit depends on email marketing to drive subscribers and customers back to your organization time and time again.

But what if your emails aren’t producing the results you’re looking for?

How can you design emails that are impossible to ignore and drive real action from your subscribers?

First, how do you know that you’re not already getting great results? It helps to have a benchmark to work with, so keep our Average Industry Rates chart handy to give you an idea of what kinds of open rates you should be shooting for.

Next, let’s talk about how to design emails that spur readers to action.

What isn’t working and how to fix it 

1. You’re talking at your subscribers

Just like in conversation, no one likes being talked at.

You want to talk with someone who is in tune with your interests and appreciates your input.
Similarly, when you write content for your emails, you want to align your message with the interests expressed by your subscribers.

Take Action:
Include a poll in your next email to ask subscribers what topics interest them. Your report will show you the results of the poll and help you tailor your email content according to your readers’ interests.

2. You’re overwhelming them with text

Your subscribers don’t hate to read, they just hate to read a wall of text every time you send an email.

According to a Constant Contact study of over 2.1 million emails, emails with 20 lines of text or less result in the highest engagement.

Don’t make your readers endlessly scroll. Instead, keep your content concise and link off to any longform content.

Take Action: Encourage readers to take action and read what interests them outside of your email. By adding a Read More block, subscribers can click a button to read an entire article.

You can tease the first sentence or two of an article, and then ask your subscribers to click to read more of it. You’ll reduce frustration and increase your open and click-through rates as people get used to skimming then selecting the information they want most.  

3. You’re not making it easy to take action

Think about how you format your emails. Do you pepper links to articles, videos, or landing pages throughout the email?

If you do, you could be confusing your readers with too many options.
Instead, select a link that is the most important for subscribers to respond to and feature it prominently near the top of the email.

Take Action: Use a button or create white space around a link to make your link pop with a clear and compelling call-to-action. Always make it obvious what you want your readers to do and use a button to make links easy to click, even on small screens

4. Your email design is inconsistent

A little variety is good, but if you tend to select a different template each time you sit down to write an email, you could be turning your subscribers off with an inconsistent look and feel.

Keep it simple for you and for your subscribers by following the key elements of email design.

Take Action: Design a reusable template using the seven elements of email design featured below. Your look will be professional, consistent, and will inspire subscribers to take action.

Email design that drives your message home

Once you start to master these design best practices your emails will inspire more action from your subscribers.

Your subscribers will appreciate your consideration for their time and respond to your clear and well-designed messages.

You’ll also start to create emails — like the one below — with less time and effort, too

Source: https://blogs.constantcontact.com

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, February 27, 2017

7 Ways to Better Networking

Many people (including me) offer advice on what it takes to be better at networking. One thing often is left out of that equation, however: Networking involves interacting with others, so it's worth asking what the average person believes it takes to become great. If we want to make the kind of impression that works to build a powerful personal network, we must be cognizant of others' expectations and adjust our behavior accordingly.

I recently gathered nearly 3,400 survey responses from business people around the world. I listed roughly 20 different characteristics and asked respondents to pick the behaviors they’d most like to see in a great networker. From this sample, I've identified the seven top characteristics and ranked them in order, according to survey answers.

1. Be a good listener.  

At the top of the list is being a good listener. Our success in networking depends on how well we can listen and learn. The faster you and your networking partner learn what you need to know about each other, the faster you’ll establish a valuable relationship.

A good networker has two ears and one mouth -- and should use them proportionately. When you're engaged in conversation, listen to the other person's needs and concerns so you can find opportunities to help him or her. In many ways, networking is about connecting the dots. Listening will enable you to help people make the connections they seek.

2. Develop a positive attitude.

Your attitude, or how you take things in general, is the first thing people see from you. A consistently negative attitude makes people dislike you and drives away referrals. By contrast, a positive attitude makes people want to cooperate and associate with you. This is why positive business professionals are like magnets. Others want to be around them and will send their friends and family to them, too.

3. Collaborate to serve others.

People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Helping people puts that care into action so others can see it at work. One survey respondent said “people want to network with individuals who have a collaborative attitude.” You can help others in a variety of ways, from e-mailing a relevant article to putting them in touch with someone who has the knowledge or access to assist them with a specific challenge.

Several respondents commented they didn't want to network with people who are "in it for themselves." A willingness to collaborate is essential to building trust and establishing strong relationships.

4. Be sincere and authentic.

You can offer the help, the thanks and the listening ear, but if you aren't sincerely interested in another person, she or he will know it! People who've developed successful networking skills convey sincerity at every turn. One respondent said "it's all about the authenticity" that someone shows you. We've all seen people who are seemingly good at networking but lack sincerity. Faking it isn’t sustainable.

5. Follow up.

If you offer opportunities to someone who consistently fails to follow up, you'll soon stop wasting your time with this person. It doesn't matter if your call to action is a simple piece of information, a special contact or a qualified business referral. One respondent said that when it comes to networking, “the fortune lies in the follow up” and many people just “don’t follow up anymore.”

6. Prove your trustworthiness.

One respondent said it best: “It doesn’t matter how successful the person is, if I don’t trust them, I don’t work with them.” When you give a personal reference, you're putting your reputation on the line. You must be able to trust your referral partner and be trusted in return. Neither you nor anyone else will refer a contact to someone who can’t be trusted to handle it well.

7. Be approachable.

One respondent said people “will forget what you said and what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel." Effective networking starts with approachability -- and while this characteristic appears last on the list, everything flows from this manner of thought and action.
Each of the characteristics in this article ties into the notion of “farming,” not “hunting.” It's about building mutually beneficial business relationships. Only then will you succeed in creating a powerful, personal network.

As a young man, I studied under Warren Bennis. At the time, he was the world's foremost expert on leadership. He taught me that understanding the characteristics of a great leader is important, but it's even more important to understand how to apply those characteristics. "Know what you are good at and work to enhance those skills," he told me. "Know what you’re not good at and surround yourself with people who can help you improve those skills."

The same holds true with networking. Working to better your skills and learning how to use them effectively is what really counts.

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com
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!

Friday, February 24, 2017

How to Make It Easier to Read Your Emails

Has this ever happened to you?

You send out an email with information about a program or sale.

You’ve made sure to answer all the relevant questions, but you still get replies asking about the very thing you answered in the email.

Why don’t people just read the email?!?

Before you give up and cry, “People just don’t read anymore!,” let’s make sure you’re doing all you can to make it easy for them.

After all, you want people to read and take action rather than ignore and delete. And when it comes to reading online, it’s a lot different from reading a book, magazine, or newspaper.

Use the following tips to make your emails easy to read and act on.

First, answer: “What action do you want the reader to take?” 

Many times the reason people ignore emails is because there’s just too much information in them.

Think about how often you check your email while in line at the grocery store or in between meetings. Not a lot of time to dig into tons of information.

By asking the question, “What action do you want the reader to take?,” you focus yourself, so you only include information that supports the reader taking that action.

When something sneaks in that doesn’t help with your goal, you know to exclude it from your email. Less is more.

Keep your content concise and scannable.

Now that your email content is focused and driving toward one particular goal, you still need to present it in a way that’s easy for the reader to consume.

People typically see the email before they read it. If the content of the email looks intimidating to them…DELETE.

Keep the content concise and put the most important information up top. Make your email text scannable by using short sentences and break up large blocks of text into short paragraphs. Be sure to use bullet points when listing items. 

How long should your email be?

A good rule of thumb: picture, paragraph, and call to action.
  • Relate your image to the topic of your email. Choose an image that shows what the reader may expect, feel, or experience if they take the action you want them to take.
  • Use a headline to grab the reader’s attention. Headline text should be larger than body copy to pull them into your email. Use 22-point font.
  • Make sure your call to action stands out. Use a button or white space around your link.
Use a mobile-responsive email template.

If it’s not easy for your reader to see your email, especially on a mobile device, you’re in trouble.

A mobile-responsive email template responds to the device it’s being read on. Whether it’s on a mobile phone, tablet, or desktop computer, you can be sure your email looks great and is easy to read.

Constant Contact has a full selection of mobile-responsive templates, so you don’t have to worry about your message looking great — on any device.


    •    Keep your email focused on one goal
    •    Use a picture that supports your content
    •    Make your text scannable
    •    Use short sentences
    •    Break up paragraphs
    •    Use bullets
    •    Make sure your call to action stands out 

Try out these tips to see what impact it has on your overall results. And maybe, just maybe, you can spend a little less time wondering why people won’t just read your email. 

Source: https://blogs.constantcontact.com

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, February 23, 2017

How To Shift Your Perception Of 'Networking' To 'Relationship Building'

I remember the first time I heard this phrase. As I replayed the words in my head, I thought about the journey that led to the creation of our first South American office. I thought about the business relationships my partner and I formed and the friendships we made along the way. I thought about how so much of our work in Brazil doesn’t feel like work, but rather like building bonds.

In the U.S., “networking” has a mixed connotation (at least to me it does). Indeed, for many, the word conjures images of large, impersonal conference centers, unwieldy client management software and pesky emails. However, as my experience in Brazil taught me, networking — when viewed as relationship building — can be an incredibly valuable personal and business skill. We just need to change the way we think about it.

It all starts with education.

As the co-founder of an education company, I urge families to consider their alumni network when selecting a university for their child. What you learn in your classes certainly matters, but it’s as important to think about what happens beyond the classroom. I encourage families to look at post-graduation employment rates and even where students are working after graduation. More importantly, families should consider how students are getting these jobs and to what extent alumni are involved in helping new graduates.

Reframing the conversation about college admissions this way develops students who are better prepared for the workforce; they recognize that the school they attend is not just a place to acquire knowledge, but to build relationships. The same holds true for working professionals: When selecting a graduate school or any other form of higher education, it’s essential to ask yourself not only what you will learn, but who you will meet there.

Seek opportunities to reach out.

There are few things that bother me more than emails that feel templated or forced after an initial interaction. Whether you meet someone at a conference or in a one-on-one setting, always be sure to follow up with a note that references specific points from the conversation, and continue to keep your exchanges personalized from there on out.

Networking is not a one-size-fits-all activity, so your approach shouldn’t be, either. When you think of networking as the opportunity to make friends, it’s only natural that you’ll feel compelled to share information and exchange knowledge. Think of what would pique the interest of each one of your contacts. This way, when you stumble across an interesting article or learn something new, you’ll know just who to share it with. If you keep your contacts at the top of mind, they’ll feel the same way.

Stay organized. 

Years ago, my company attempted to implement Salesforce, but given the personalized, customized nature of our interactions, we found we needed a system that was (you guessed it) more personalized and customizable. So, we made one of our own.

For my co-founder and me, it’s important that the platforms we use offer maximum flexibility and accessibility on the go. With this in mind, we created a Trello board — which we designed according to our own needs — to track our interactions with our clients and prospects: who they are, how we met them and when we were last in touch. Most importantly, the very exercise of creating such a system forces you to be thoughtful about how you’re building relationships. No matter what system you use, it’s essential to keep your contacts organized; just be sure to choose one that works for you.

Reframing my sense of how networking works has transformed me from a skeptic into an enthusiast, albeit perhaps a little late. I truly believe that starting a conversation about networking and its value in college (and even high school) will change the culture that surrounds it, and in the process, create more thoughtful future business leaders.

Just think of all the new friendships waiting to be made.

Source: http://www.forbes.com

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!

5 Huge Mistakes That Salespeople Make in Cold Emails

Email marketing campaigns should start with a clear, no-nonsense, straightforward message.

 As I pointed out in yesterday's column on sales mega-trends, email marketing is the only form of outbound marketing that still works for B2B products. Unfortunately, most companies aren't very good at writing emails that people read and answer.

For the past five years, I've published a free weekly newsletter where provide links to my latest columns and critique sales emails that readers send me. In my experience, cold emails tend to suffer from the following problems:

1. False Friendliness

While it's true that most people, all things being equal (and even when they're not equal) prefer to buy from their friends. However, any attempt to force friendship causes people to raise their emotional barriers.

In face-to-face meetings, this tendency among salespeople to be too friendly manifests itself in handshakes that last too long, compliments that are too fulsome and too frequent use of the other person's first name, etc. Ugh.

In sales emails, the "too friendly" tendency manifests itself in phony inquiries about the other person's health or vacation, over-enthusiastic praise for trivial matters and (again) too frequent use of the other person's name.

Effective sales emails are polite and professional rather than effusive and emotional.


Dear Jill:
I hope you're having a wonderful week! I noticed that Acme released a new product last month. Good work! I hope it sells well. Jill, the reason I'm writing is to find out if you're the person responsible for purchasing software for Acme.


Are you the person responsible at Acme for software purchases?

2. Self-Centered Enthusiasm

Many salespeople (and indeed many people in the culture at large) wrongly believe that expressing your own emotions will draw a positive emotional response from others.

While that may be true inside a relationship, it's not true when dealing with people who don't know you and have no reason to want to know you.

Unfortunately, many sales emails are chockablock with unnecessary and distracting emotional commentary on the sender's emotions, beliefs, motives and opinions.

Effective sales emails are about the customer rather the salesperson.


I believe that everybody wants to find the best value for their money which is why I am a writing to you. I'm certain that when you'll be delighted when you look at our products and prices and I would like to meet with you to discuss this.


My company can probably provide this product to you at a lower cost than your current vendors. Does this interest you?

3. Spray and Pray

Many salespeople weirdly believe that customers want to buy the products that provide the most features for the lowest price. But that's only true if customers have no better way to evaluate value.

Customer pick feature-rich products only when they're not clear which features have specific value to their specific situation. They want to know "what in it for me" and if they can't figure it out, they go for the feature-rich option.

To make matters worse, many customers are turned off when they're confronted with too much information and put decision-making on hold until they have time to sort everything out, which may never happen.

Effective sales email present a single, meaningful, unique benefit rather than a "spray and pray" list.


Even though our price is low, our widgets have the following features:
    1.    Double, redundant framistats.
    2.    Fifth-generation vebblefetzers.


Our widgets can reduce your inventory costs by reducing missing stock items by 20%.

4. Generic Benefits

Salespeople who "get" the idea that customers aren't interested in product features often make the mistake of replacing them with benefits that are too generic to be meaningful.

Every B2B product in the world either increases sales or decreases costs (aka saves time and money). Any product that didn't do these things wouldn't exist because nobody would buy it.

When customers see generic benefits, they shrug them off as just so much noise. What's worse, they're likely to feel that since you couldn't be specific you must not have thought things through.

Effective sales emails identify one or two specific unique benefits.


Our widgets will increase your sales allowing you to profitably grow your company. They will also save you time and hassle so that you can spend more time doing things that you enjoy.


Our widgets can reduce your inventory costs by reducing missing stock items by 20%.

5. Self-Praising Opinions

Some salespeople seem to think that they live in a world where customers believe something just because somebody tells them it's true. Customers, however, are exceedingly skeptical of any claim that a company makes about itself.

Repeatedly claiming that you have the "best service" or the "best product" or that your company is "industry-leading" or "innovative" convinces nobody. People just skip over that kind of marketing mush. If anything, people think you're lying or exaggerating.

Effective sales emails offer credible proof (or the potential of credible proof) for any claim.


Our industry-leading company has state-of-the-art products and the best customer service in the business!


An independent survey showed that our customers on average are happier with our products and services than with those of other vendors.

Source: http://www.inc.com
Image credit: Getty Images

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!

03-09 Business Lunch & Learn: How to Build Effective Business Relationship

Do you have any plans for lunch on Thursday, March 9, 2017? 

Westchester Networking for Professionals will be hosting our next series of Smart Talk Business Lunch & Learn Networking Event open to all business owners and entrepreneurs seeking informative information to help grow and develop their business.

This event will feature Mr. Timothy Stewart, our Guest Speaker sharing his knowledge and expertise on the discussion of building effective business relationships. This would be a great opportunity for local business professionals to introduce their business to others while enjoying a fabulous lunch.

Join Westchester Networking for Professionals at Rini's Restaurant in Elmsford, NY at 12:00 pm. Online tickets are being sold on www.wnfp.org at discount. Admission will be accepted at the door, but a slightly higher price. For event details and registration information visit Westchester Networking for Professionals website.

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, February 22, 2017

How To Decide If A Networking Opportunity Is Worthwhile Or A Waste Of Time

To go or not to go? That is the question to ask yourself in deciding whether to attend a networking session. Will it be a productive opportunity or waste of time? Answer these four questions to decide if a networking event will be time well spent.

1. Do you like who you see?

Who is attending the event? Look online at the list of attendees. If this information is not posted on the Internet, inquire with the event organizer. Do you see listed individuals who you have heard of or organizations that inspire you? Networking is the opportunity to meet people. If you do not see people that interest you, you may want to pass on a particular opportunity.

2. Is there down time or designated time to network?

Beware of events that center around meals or are jam-packed with sessions one after another. Networking is a one-on-one sport. You cannot network if you and everyone else are listening to a keynote speaker or panel. There must be down time or designated free time to have individual exchanges.

If the schedule does not include down time or time to network and you still want to attend the event, carve out time to network. Get to the event early, before the first session starts, to meet and greet others near the registration table or at breakfast. Stay after the last session to talk with individuals. Ask if the person has time for a drink later that day to continue the discussion.

3. Do you feel nervous or slightly uncomfortable?

If you feel comfortable attending networking events, this may be a sign that you are meeting with the same type of people you have been networking with in the past. To start expanding opportunities for yourself, consider networking events where you can meet individuals of different experience levels or backgrounds. It helps you to stand out, in a good way. You can make an impact just by placing yourself in a situation that you are not usually in. Being different makes it easy for people to remember you and you to add unique value.

For example, you are an attorney in a room full of management consultants and strategists. Your training to anticipate and counter an opponent’s argument is a skill that can help strategists stay a step ahead of the competition. Or, you are a young professional at an event focused on leadership development of more experienced professionals. If you are invited or are able to obtain a ticket, go to the event and take advantage of the opportunity to meet individuals with more authority and influence. Embrace being outside of your comfort zone to position yourself for new opportunities.

4. Are you ready to tell people what you want?

Do you know what you want out of your career? Do you know the next step you want to take? For networking events to be worth your time, you must be ready to articulate what you want out of your career.

Do not mistake this for asking for a job. This is your opportunity to share with people your goals, what you are looking to do next and the values you are looking for in an organization. If you don’t know what you want to do with your career, you can’t tell them. And if you cannot tell them what you want, they can’t help you. Sharing with others what you want is not a magic bullet to securing your next opportunity, but it helps to speed things up. When others know what you want, they will think of you when they come across opportunities.

The next time you are confronted with an opportunity to network, ask yourself these four questions. Not all networking events are helpful. You need to decide whether they are worth your while. Ask for the information you need to evaluate the playing field, embrace the opportunity to get outside your comfort zone and expand your opportunities.

How do you decide whether to attend a networking event?

Image credit: Shutter shock

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, February 21, 2017

10 Tips for Maintaining Customer Relationships Online

To grow a successful business, you need to be able to market to customers online and then communicate with them effectively. There are plenty of methods you can use to improve your online customer relationships. Here are some top tips from members of our small business community.

Keep These CRM Influencers on Your Radar

If you want to improve your relationships with customers, then you need to have the best information at your disposal. That means you can benefit from following the CRM influencers listed in this Salesflare post. Small Business Trends CEO Anita Campbell is honored to be included.

Use Social Media Emoji to Humanize Your Business

When attempting to really connect with customers online, it helps if you can humanize your business. And using emoji on social media can help, as this post by Aleh Barysevich at the Social Media Examiner explains. You can also see commentary on the post over on BizSugar.

Get These Marketing Tools for Local Business Owners

Marketing a local business can require a unique set of skills different from those needed to market other kinds of businesses. But there are plenty of tools out there to help you market your local business to the right customers. In this Mobile Marketing Helper blog post, Kevin Cortez shares some essential tools for local marketers.

Go Online to Benefit Your Brick and Mortar Business

Even if you have a store or business that only sells to customers in person, you can still benefit from getting online. You can find some potential benefits for brick and mortar businesses going online in this Revel post by Caitlin Stanley.

Learn About the Cost of Google AdWords

Google AdWords can be a really helpful tool for businesses looking to expand their online reach. But you need to learn about the pricing structure if you’re going to take advantage of it. Gary Shouldis of 3Bug Media discusses more here. And BizSugar members chime in with their own thoughts too.

Amp Up Your SMB’s Performance and Productivity

If you want to connect with more customers, increase sales or otherwise improve the chances of your small business succeeding, you need to find ways to improve your business’s performance and productivity. Itai Elizur details some tips for doing just that in this post on Smallbiztechnology.com.

Build Links Without Creating Content

Content marketing can be a powerful tool for businesses. But it’s not the only way to increase your reach online. This Marketing Land post by Andrew Dennis explains how you can build links without creating your own content.

Define and Create Your Brand Voice

You need to have a consistent brand voice in order to effectively communicate with your customers over time. And you can define and create the right voice for your brand using the tips in this post by Jomer Gregorio on the CJG Digital Marketing blog. You can also see input on the post from the BizSugar community here.

Take These Steps for SEO Strategy Success

To get your business found online, you need an SEO strategy. But some business owners might not know where to start when creating that strategy. For five steps to a successful SEO strategy, check out this Search Engine Journal post by Sergey Grybniak.

Grow a Site to 10,000+ Visitors a Month

If you want to reach more customers for your small business, you need to get them to your site first. In this post from Basic Blog Tips, Anil Agarwal details how you can quickly grow your site in terms of visitors each month.

Source: https://smallbiztrends.com
Image credit: Shuttershock

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, February 17, 2017

10 Facts You Didn't Know About Facebook Advertising

What works today may not work tomorrow.

Facebook ads are one of the trendiest online advertising tools because of their wide reach and relatively low cost. However, right when people believe they have figured it out, Facebook is going to surprise them with something they didn’t know and that might change their strategic approach.

Let’s have a look at 10 facts about Facebook advertising:

1. Facebook bids are extremely sensitive to seasonality.

The whole Facebook algorithm is built on a bidding system that determines a price of an impression based on multiple variable factors. The amount of accounts bidding on a specific target is one of the factors that influences the price the most. The more people bid on a specific target, the more expensive an impression will be. This is why Christmas, Black Friday and other busy days usually have a higher cost per click.

2. Facebook offers a click to chat ad option.
 This is not something new, but it certainly is one of the least used functions on Facebook. Click to chat campaigns can be great for customer service, and they can be set up using the click to website campaign type. Click to chat campaigns work very well with users who have already visited a website because they are familiar with a product or service and might have questions before committing to a purchase.

3. Facebook placements need different ad strategies.

Facebook currently offers an ad platform that encourages you to create ad sets that advertise across multiple devices automatically. However, different devices have different ad requirements and customer behaviors. I recommend you breakdown your campaigns and ad set by device to maximize performance.

4. The amount of text in the image influences delivery.

The more text you have in an image, the lower your delivery will be. Facebook prefers posts with images with little or no text. This will be rewarded with a higher distribution and a lower cost per impression. Facebook is currently classifying the image text ratio as ok, low, medium and high, which are explanatory units of measure.

5. Refreshing ad creatives is extremely important.

Most Facebook campaign types don’t give advertisers control over the frequency of ad delivery to the same user. This can easily create some discomfort in potential customers and drive them away from a potential purchase. Facebook advertisers need to change the content and creative of the ads quite often to avoid this issue.

6. Audience insights are a great source of targeting methods.

Using audience insights with conversion data can be a great source of information for any campaign. It provides additional ways to target users based on their online behaviors, purchase habits, housing situation, income and much more. Finding additional ways to communicate to targeted users will likely help expand the reach of a campaign and generate better performance.

7. Facebook has a pre-selected similar reach targeting option.

This option allows Facebook to show ads to audiences that are similar to the ones that you have selected and that are likely to generate extra conversions at a lower CPA. This option helps businesses expand their overall reach and visibility. This function works similarly to lookalike targeting, but it differs because it is based on data that comes from Facebook and not from the ad account manager.

8. Facebook allows you to limit the exposure on the audience network.

Many advertisers consider the audience network not a great ad placement because it doesn’t generate quality traffic. Facebook understands these concerns and developed two options to solve this issue. The first issue is to exclude specific website categories from displaying ads such as dating and gambling. The second option is to proactively upload a list of websites to exclude. This is going to boost performance by limiting the amount of clicks from placements that will never turn out to be a conversion.

9. Video ads don’t generate a great direct response.

If the goal of a company is to generate most of its business through video ads, Facebook is not the way to go. Video ads are great to communicate a message, but they aren’t necessarily the best option when it comes to website clicks. Videos are so engaging that the cost per impression needed to generate a click to the site will boost due to people taking other social action on the post, such as commenting and liking it.

10. The same bid won’t work forever.

Considering how Facebook bids are sensitive to changes in the marketplace, one strategy will not always be effective. Something that was working perfectly today might become unprofitable in a few days. This means Facebook bids require much more maintenance and constant tune ups.

In conclusion.

Facebook is a great advertising platform, and there are many changing elements in it. It is very important to always be alert and learn more about its recent changes and to take advantage of them before the competition to gain a first mover advantage.

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com

Image Credit: Getty Images

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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Thursday, February 16, 2017

3 Advertising Trends That Are Revolutionizing Offline Marketing

Advertising tech trends you need to know in 2017.

Technology radically changed advertising. You do not even have to look as far back as the television ads of the 1960s to see the significance of those changes. Advertising technology has raced forward every year for the last decade to become one of the most futuristic industries there is today.

Ten years ago, advertising was just finding its legs on the internet. There were banner ads, pop ups, and endless email distributions. It was an era of blind advertising where companies treated the online space like the real world. Advertising was about as targeted as billboards: if there was a high volume of traffic, that was all that mattered.

But in the last ten years, technology has empowered advertisers to become incredibly specific with how they target potential consumers. They can aggregate search data and social media data to paint incredibly precise pictures of who people are and what they want to buy. Gone are the days of blind advertising online. But while advertising technology raced forward online, it stalled in the real world.

Billboards became digital, but they never became smart. Physical store locations still hang signs in their windows to lure customers in, but have no idea who the customers are. Advertising in the physical world is ready for modern technology, and it may finally be getting it. These are three advertising trends that are revolutionizing offline marketing:

    1.    Targeted Digital Out of Home

Billboards project a static piece of marketing to the crowd of people that can see it. Whether that crowd is Generation Z kids in a mall or Baby Boomers stuck in traffic on a freeway, the ads they see are not customized to them. But new technology is allowing advertisers to aggregate a huge volume of data in real time about the people who are in close proximity to billboards and that is changing everything.

The technology is called targeted Digital Out of Home (DOOH) and it is effective because it can capture smartphone IDs when they ping wifi routers. Those smartphones are then matched to existing advertising IDs that catalogue online search and social media data. The result is an immediate profile of a whole crowd.

"Maybe the crowd is primarily millennials, or spanish speaking soccer moms, or people shopping for a new car of a certain household income; the digital signs can immediately serve an ad that best fits the demographic that is actually looking at it," explains Jonathan Frangakis, co-founder and CEO of DOOH targeting company Mira. "This all happens in near real time. More specifically, aggregation, scoring and ad serving happens in less than a second, so the digital billboard is always adapting to aggregate crowd profiles."

This technology does not mean that billboards will suddenly begin to serve ads based on your specific profile, but it will aggregate your profile with a crowd of others. That is a huge opportunity for marketers who have not been able to target demographics in real time in offline environments until now.

    2.    Online to Offline

As good as online marketing is at targeting customers, it does have a blind spot. A huge percentage of total commerce still takes place "offline", meaning at physical stores. That does not mean that the ads are not effective, just that it is hard to track their actual success.

New advertising platforms in the online to offline (O2O) space are bridging that gap. There are a litany of platforms and none has emerged as the clear leader, but the concept is that users would connect their credit cards to the platform and then continue browsing the internet and shopping like normal. What changes is that when the consumer uses their credit card at an offline store, it can be traced back to an ad that they saw online.

Connecting online ads to offline sales has been called a trillion dollar idea and it makes sense why. If advertisers could only pay for ad impressions that turn into sales, then they would functionally have a guaranteed ROI.

    3.    Offline to Offline

Okay, so connecting a specific sale to an online ad is great for marketers, but what about the $7.3 billion spent on offline marketing? How can advertisers calculate the effectiveness of those marketing expenditures?

New technology is working to unravel that mystery, too. The space is new and is not technically called offline to offline, but the attribution model effectively does just that. Companies offering this service use algorithms and data captured from online searches to calculate the likelihood a consumer saw a TV commercial or billboard prior to making a purchase.

While not as proactive as targeted DOOH or Online to Offline technologies, it is nonetheless a critical piece in connecting offline advertising to actual revenue. Marketing in the modern era requires actionable data, so efforts to retroactively establish what inputs drove a particular purchasing decision are becoming more important. "

The offline world is getting the technology treatment that the online world has had for years now," says Frangakis. "Advertising offline is not becoming obsolete, in fact in the coming years it could see substantial growth as advertisers begin to adopt these new technologies and data strategies."

Source: http://www.inc.com/
Image Credit: Getty Images

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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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Future of Email Marketing Is Already Here: Five Tactics You Can Implement Now

For businesses, the methods and the methodology with which we design consumer interaction is changing. And nowhere is it moving faster than in the digital landscape. The way your business presents itself to consumers is important in building successful customer relations. And how better to interact with consumers than through email?

Email marketing is not dead: Email marketing tactics have simply evolved. Businesses must be willing to change with them or fear getting left to rot in the spam folder. As the owner of a digital marketing company, I have learned many email marketing lessons the hard way, through countless experiments with approach and strategy.

Subscribers are unlikely to open an email from a business unless there is a clear benefit in doing so, such as a 50% off coupon, a promise of knowledge or insight, etc. If your email doesn't have a captivating title communicating the benefit of opening the email, then you could severely hinder your open rates. Here are a few ways email marketing strategies have shifted, and some examples of how you can leverage this knowledge to improve your customer outreach:

Tailored Email Campaigns  

The days when you could drum up a boilerplate email and blast them off to your subscribers are quickly diminishing.

So, what’s the alternative? We looked to one of the most innovative and exciting social media networks: Pinterest. Pinterest did away with batch-and-blast emails earlier this year and replaced them with emails that are 100% tailored to the user. Pinterest uses all of the customer data it is given (and, with its model, there is plenty of data) to personalize the customer experience and create emotional connections with its users.

By analyzing its customer's interests, Pinterest sparks their curiosity, leading to more clicks and opens. Pinterest also allows each user to personally customize their email settings, determining the frequency and type of emails they receive. This type of customization is key in that the users dictate how they are marketed to, making them more receptive and less inclined to mark emails as "spam." Whereas it's normally the marketer's job to determine how best to perform outreach to different demographics, under the Pinterest model, the customer tells them directly, "I want to be marketed to this way."

Real-Time Email Outreach

Real-time email triggers, which are already in use but not altogether effective yet, are going to be a game changer for email marketing. Essentially, a campaign like this is based on what the consumer is currently reading or searching for in their various social media feeds. For example, if a customer is reading reviews of a new movie, the movie times and methods for buying tickets online would arrive in their inbox in real time.

Yesmail is one of the leading companies for this kind of marketing: its platform allows businesses to set these triggers. For now, these triggers are fairly rudimentary, mostly relegated to the world of weather, location, sports and local events. Ideally, this will grow to include more triggered events based on habits, both online and locally.

While the types of trigger emails you should use are relative and determined by your business's niche, the general idea is to leverage awareness about your customer's situation so you can ignite a real-time dialogue with them via email and achieve greater influence.

Modular Email Templates

If you haven’t been using modular email templates, you’re not alone. It’s a wonder they haven’t become more prevalent as many businesses continue to choose the time-consuming process of coding all of their emails from scratch.

Think of modular email templates as a sort of digital collage: Drag and drop the content you want to use and build it, much like you would use web-building services like Weebly or Squarespace. Currently, only a few companies offer this kind of customizability. But no doubt, as personalized email becomes increasingly more common, so too will these kinds of email templates.

Cross-Channel Marketing 

The future of email marketing is inextricably wrapped up in the future of social media. Brands can build their email lists through the use of carefully-placed social media campaigns, garnering more ROI than a simple social media “like” and using those emails to bounce the consumer back to their social media landing page, website or mobile app. Anytime you offer the customer a clear benefit (through competitions, surveys, quizzes or free giveaways), they will likely share their email address in order to receive it.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

If you’ve used Google Inbox, you’ve already seen how your phone reads your emails and learns to respond. It’s still pretty basic (an algorithm that creates three short replies based on the email content you’ve received), but it’s gotten smarter in the last few years and will likely continue until we’re all just auto-replying through Smart Reply.

These types of AIs are becoming more common for marketers and consumers alike. Take Shopify’s Kit or Conversica: AI chatbots are being used as personal assistants for businesses to generate custom advertisements, social media posts and, yes, even email campaigns. This kind of AI and advanced algorithms will help make processes like the aforementioned personalized email campaigns that much easier to execute.

The future of email marketing is already in place, but is certainly far from perfect. By 2020, businesses and marketers should already be using all of the avenues currently available and, beyond that, be on the cutting edge of advancing marketing strategies for the years to come.

Source: http://www.forbes.com

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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Should You A-B Test Email Marketing Campaigns?

If you’re struggling to get your emails read by potential customers, you might need to try a different tactic to ensure that you’re properly targeting your audience. You also need to make sure you are giving them content they need to not only read your emails but to also click the links in them to take action. You also want to examine the language you are using to build rapport and make a connection.

A/B testing is one way you can determine exactly what your email subscribers want rather than guessing. Here’s how to use it.

First, What is A-B Testing?

It may sound complicated, but A/B testing is nothing more than sending two versions of the same email, with one variable. You want to see which version gets more opens and clicks.

There are a few things you can test out, including:
      • The email copy
      • Your subject line
      • Call to action copy
      • Color or placement of call to action button
      • Images
      • Offer

Ultimately, you want to see what small tweaks you can make to boost whatever number you’re focusing on: the number of people who open your emails, click a link, or make a purchase.

How NOT to Do A/B Testing

The really crucial thing with A/B testing your emails is only changing one component at a time. If you, for example, change the subject line, the copy, and the color of the button in the email, and you see better success with that email, you won’t know which single factor was the contributor to that success.

So, to summarize: change one thing for each test. You might end up testing all of these potential variables, but only change at a time.

Decide What Your Goals Are

Before you send your first email test, you need to have at least an idea of what you’re trying to accomplish. Maybe your open rates have been abysmal, and you want to increase those. Or maybe you want to boost sales from your emails by 5%. These are goals you can measure against once you have the test results.

Who to Send Your Test Emails To

Let’s say you have an email database of 5,000 contacts. You don’t want to send the entire group Email A or B, otherwise, what good will the information you get from the test do you? Instead, choose a percent of your total contact list, like 20-30%, to be your test group. Send half of them one email, and the other half the other email.

Once you have the “winning email” — the one that gets you more opens, clicks, or sales — you’ll send it to the remainder of your entire email list. You’ll have some assurance that the winning email is one that will do well with your larger subscriber list.

Using Your Test Results

Once you have data on each email you sent, it’s time to evaluate it and use it to your benefit.

Let’s say Email B was identical to Email A, except instead of a green call to action button, it was red. You saw 10% more people click the button. That’s good news! So for this specific email campaign, you absolutely should use a red button.

But you can also use this information for future email campaigns. Every time you need a button, make it red.

And here’s another place you need to measure results to ensure you’re doing a good job of converting email subscribers to customers on your website: your web analytics. Your email analytics may tell you that 25% of the people who opened your email clicked the link to your product. But what did those people do once they got there?

Your website analytics will tell you if they immediately left (bad), looked around a while, or bought that specific product. The results will be a good indicator of whether what you’re communicating in your emails matches up with people’s expectations of what they then find on your site.

A/B testing takes the guesswork out of email marketing. And since email is still one of the best ways to connect with your past and future customers, it’s worth your time to figure out what your audience best responds to. Most email marketing platforms have a testing feature built in, which make it simple to use. For your next campaign, try testing two versions of the same email and see if you can’t improve the results you’ve been getting.


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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Monday, February 13, 2017

Choosing the Right Email Marketing Software

If you aren't using email marketing as a way to connect with current and potential customers, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to build brand awareness and loyalty.

In addition to being an effective communication tool, email marketing also offers a tremendous return on investment. Research shows that for every $1 your business spends on email marketing, you earn $38 back.

If you plan to start taking advantage of email marketing in 2017, the first question you have to ask is whether you want to do it yourself, or hire a marketing firm to do the work for you?

To better answer that question, it is important to have a clear understanding of exactly what email marketing is, how you can use it to your advantage and the pros and cons of doing to yourself or having someone else do it for you. Here's what you need to know:

Understanding Email Marketing

  • Email marketing is essentially the online version of direct mail. Instead of sending fliers and coupons to a customer's home, email marketing sends those same items digitally to a customer's inbox.
  • Whereas the impact of direct mail can be difficult to track, email marketing lets businesses see exactly who is opening their mail and which emails are leading to sales.
  • Businesses can use email marketing in a variety of ways, from building brand loyalty and finding new customers to encouraging loyalty and repeat business.
  • With email marketing, you have a choice of do-it-yourself software or full service agencies that do all of the work for you. You can read more about the differences between the two below.

What the experts say: "Email marketing is one of the most effective methods of direct communication between a brand and its customers," said Seamas Egan, manager of revenue operations for Campaigner. "It is the leading generator of ROI over any other type of direct marketing and can be used for multiple use cases, including promotions, informational content, social sharing, relationship management and more."

Editor's Note: looking for information about email marketing software? Use the questionnaire below and our vendor partner will contact you to provide you with the information you need:

Pros and Cons of Email Marketing

  • Email marketing offers businesses several advantages over other types of marketing strategies. Cost is a key differentiator, as email marketing doesn't require any printing or postage fees. Using email marketing software, it typically only costs businesses several pennies to send out an email, as opposed to at least 15 cents per piece of direct mail.
  • With email marketing, businesses can see which emails were received, which ones went to addresses that were no longer active, which ones were opened, which ones were deleted before they were read and which ones enticed clients to click through to the website and make a purchase.
  • The main drawback to email marketing is that some consumers may consider the emails to be spam and hold it against a brand's reputation. If customers feel they are being bombarded by unwanted emails from a business, they will be less likely to become new or repeat customers.

What the experts say: "Email marketing is a cost-effective solution that gives a business the power to reach customers in a meaningful way in a place where people spend a lot of time — their inbox," said Ron Cates, director of digital marketing education for email marketing software firm Constant Contact. "Small businesses typically don't have vast marketing expertise or big budgets, making email the perfect marketing solution."

Types of Email Marketing

Businesses can go in a variety of different directions when using email marketing. The various types of messages businesses can send out via email marketing include:

  • Newsletters: A quick way to regularly keep customers informed on any business news or upcoming promotions. Newsletters are typically sent on a recurring basis, such as every week or month.
  • Promotional campaigns: These emails let customers know about upcoming sales. These emails can be sent in the days leading up to the sale, as well during the sale, as a reminder for customers.
  • Invitation emails: This kind of message keeps clients up to date on upcoming special events. Invitation emails can be sent weeks or days before an event occurs as a way to encourage a customer to attend.
  • Catalog emails: Sent as a way to highlight products or services.
  • Lead-nurturing emails: Designed to keep brands at the top of mind for prospective clients. These emails are sent out regularly until a potential customer is converted into a paying customer.
  • Survey emails: Sent as a way to find out more about customers' needs and wants.
  • Transactional emails: Sent after a purchase is made, as a way to confirm the transaction, say thank you and encourage the customer to shop with you again.

Now that you have a better idea of what email marketing entails and how it might benefit your business, the next question you need to answer is if you want to handle the process on your own, or hire a dedicated agency to do all of the work for you.

Email Marketing Software

  • Email marketing is offered as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) from a variety of vendors.
  • Email-marketing software provides businesses with all of the tools needed to create and execute email-marketing campaigns. This includes templates to get started, design tools to develop eye-catching messages and contact-management solutions to collect and store customer email addresses.
  • Once you create the message and decide whom you want it sent to, the software provider then sends out the emails for you from its own servers.
  • The software features a variety of analytics that monitor what happens with your emails to help determine the success of each campaign and how you can improve your campaigns in the future.

Cost: While some providers have a pay-as-you-go option, the majority offer monthly plans that are typically based on the number of contacts you are sending emails to and how many campaigns you plan to run each month. Costs can range anywhere from $10 to $15 to send emails to 500 contacts a couple times a month, to $4,000 to send out 4 million emails a month. You can see our email marketing best picks here.

Pros and cons: The largest advantages of email-marketing software are that you can do it all on your own for a relatively low cost. The tools make it easy for those without any type of HTML or design experience to create and execute a variety of email-marketing campaigns. You are also provided with an assortment of data to determine if the campaign was a success. The downside of email marketing software is that you are, for the most part, on your own with it. While most vendors provide support options, getting it designed and sent out in a timely manner ends up falling on your shoulders.

Best for: Small businesses that don't want to spend a ton of money on marketing but that have the personnel to complete the work when needed.

Email Marketing Firms

  • These are fully staffed marketing agencies that work with you to create an email-marketing strategy that best suits your business's needs.
  • The agency's staff then works to create email campaigns that align with your overall strategy. The firms take care of all the design work and deployment.
  • The agency also handles all contact-management needs, which includes building your distribution list and making sure it's always current.

Cost: The cost of these services is typically dependent on how in-depth your strategy is and how many campaigns you want to run each month. The monthly cost can run anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars.

Pros and cons: The biggest benefit of email-marketing agencies is the experience they bring to the table. While using email-marketing software typically requires a trial-by-fire approach to determine what works and what doesn't, email-marketing agencies already have that knowledge. They can craft messages with proven records of success. The biggest downside is the cost. These agencies typically cost at least 10 times the price of email-marketing software.

Best for: Large businesses that have the money to pay for these firms, but don't have the time to take care of it all on theirown.

Now that you know the basics, you might be ready to make some decisions. If so, check out our best picks for email marketing software.

Email Marketing FAQ

Still not sure if email-marketing software is right for you? No problem. Here are same questions and answers that may help you come to a decision.

Q. Is it really feasible for someone without any marketing experience to become competent at email marketing?

A. While you might not hit a home run your first time out, email marketing software provides you with everything you need to eventually become successful. The software offers a wide range of design tools, such as templates and samples, to help you create emails, contact-management solutions to help manage and grow your distribution list, and the analytics to determine if what you're doing is working.

"Most small business owners wear multiple hats within their company, such as founders, marketers, accountants, recruiters and more," Egan said. "Email marketing offers them a way to build brand awareness and foster valuable customer relationships without having to invest significant resources in outside marketing activities."

Q. How does the software help you grow and maintain your contact lists?

A. Email-marketing software provides a variety of tools to help you obtain and manage email addresses from your customers. Most software options integrate with your current email address book to get your list started and offer the ability to embed sign-up forms into your website and social media accounts as a way to grow your contacts.

Once you run a campaign, most software solutions have automatic tools that keep your list up to date by removing inactive addresses, as well as those customers who chose to unsubscribe from your emails.

Q. What types of analytics does email-marketing software provide?

A. One of the biggest reasons email marketing is so popular with businesses is that you can track its success. The details that are typically provided include which emails are opened, which are immediately deleted, which are forwarded to others and which lead to actual sales.

You can also drill down into the data even more by looking at the days and times emails are being opened, and the types of customers — male, female, old, young, etc. — who engage with your emails most.

All of this information helps increase the success of future campaigns.

"Email marketing software helps [businesses] understand their audience's response, enabling them to plan their next marketing move," Cates said.

Q. Can you use email marketing in conjunction with social media?

A. Yes, almost all email-marketing software allows you to take advantage of the social media following you've built. Most of the providers give you the ability to connect your campaigns with your Facebook page and Twitter feeds, so your emails are automatically posted to those sites. In addition, the software lets you collect email addresses for your contact list via Facebook with pre-built sign-up pages.

You can also get data on whether or not email campaigns are resonating on social media by looking which messages are being liked and shared on Facebook or re-tweeted on Twitter.

Q. Besides the design tools, analytics and social media integration, what are some of the other features that email-marketing software offers?

A. Email marketing software provides a wide range of valuable tools and features, including:

  • Automation: This allows you to create workflows for when certain events occur. Examples include messages that are automatically sent each time a new email address is added to your distribution list or when a shopping cart is abandoned.
  • Personalization tools: This gives you the ability to send out different emails to different types of customers. For example, a retailer might create a campaign to highlight its new men's and women's clothing line. However instead of sending the same message to everyone, the retailer can send women emails that feature dresses, blouses and skirts, and men emails that highlight slacks, polo shirts and socks.
  • A/B testing: This tool allows you to test out alternate emails to see which ones are more popular with your customers. Whether it's different subject lines, photos or messages, this feature helps you create campaigns that have the best chance to succeed.
  • Inbox preview: Many services let you see exactly how an email looks within various emails clients, such as Outlook or Gmail, as well as on different mobile devices. This allows you to make sure your designs look the same regardless of where they're being viewed.
  • Spam filters: This helps ensure your emails actually make into your customer's inbox and don't get stuck in a spam folder. This tool examines each email's subject line, links, images, etc. If a certain aspect of an email is causing it to be sent to spam folders, you will know ahead of time and be able to change it before launching your campaign.
  • Mobility: Most providers offer mobile apps that allow you to create and monitor campaigns all from your smartphone. Some apps also give you the ability to keep tabs on your distribution list.

Q. Does the software integrate with any programs I am already using, such as Salesforce?

A. Yes. Nearly all email-marketing software integrates with at least some popular business applications. The most common integrations are with Salesforce, WordPress, Shopify and Magento.

These integrations save you time and resources by automatically transferring content between your programs and email marketing software.

In addition, some providers also let you to tap into their application programming interface (API) to build your own custom integrations.

Q. What if I'm having trouble with the software? What kind of help is available?

A. Whether it happens when you're designing an email, managing your contact list or deciphering the analytics, inevitably there will come a time — since you're basically handling everything on your own — when you'll need some help. When those times arise, most software providers give you the ability to speak or live-chat with an expert directly. Rather than having to send an email and wait hours or days to get your questions answered, you can call the service provider or use an online live-chat tool to immediately talk through the problems you're experiencing.

"Given that most small business owners are time starved, the availability of free support, both on the phone and online, is a real bonus," Cates said.

Additionally, most providers have an extensive knowledge base of user guides, videos and white papers that provide the ins and outs of the software and how each feature is used.

Q. What should I be looking for in an email-marketing software services provider?

A. Making sure the software is going to actually get your email delivered is one of the most critical aspects of any service. It's important to take note of a provider's deliverability rate and its process to avoid spam traps, said Jess Knight, a senior communications manager for iContact.

"Sending the best-looking email in the world doesn't matter if it never reaches the inbox," Knight said.

Personalization and automation are also critical features small businesses should be looking for.

"Based on their specific needs, most small businesses should seek a platform that delivers an easy interface for personalized, one-to-one customer communications, including advanced personalization and segmentation features like A/B split testing, engagement scoring, dynamic content and triggered messaging," Egan said.

Now that you know more about email-marketing software, you have to determine which provider is best for you. To help you narrow down your choices, we encourage you to check out our best picks for various types of businesses, as well as our complete vendor list if those suggestions don't fit your needs. A roundup of our best picks, our reasoning for picking each and our thorough email-marketing software services provider list can be found on our best picks page.

Source: http://www.businessnewsdaily.com

Image Credit:  Shuttershock

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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