Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Importance of Having a Rich Online Presence



How much time do your customers actually spend online these days?

The amount is staggering. According to Google, 97 percent of consumers search for local businesses online. Your customers are online and you should be too.

First, you must be visible

A business that maintains a website is more likely to receive traffic just by simply being there. And according to Google and Nielsen, 73 percent of mobile searches trigger additional action and conversion while 55 percent of purchase-related conversions occur within one hour of an initial mobile search. Make sure your website is mobile friendly.

Aside from having a mobile-friendly website, there are a few other things you can do on your own to improve your visibility and online presence. These include improving your search engine rankings, creating great content that people want to link to, and curating content. The higher your website ranks in the search results the better. According to Gravitate Online, a sample of over 8 million clicks shows that over 94 percent of users clicked on a first page result and less than 6 percent actually clicked to the second page and selected a result displayed there. If you ever need a little help, check out one of our Constant Contact Partners in your area.

Other places you can become visible include sites like Google Places, Yelp, Foursquare, Yellow Pages, etc. You just want to make sure your listings are updated. Many of these sites also have mobile applications that allow customers to discover new businesses while they’re on the go. Be sure to claim your business today!

You must also be social

As a small business, one of the best tools you have in your back pocket is the ability to grow your business on social platforms. First, you need to educate yourself on everything there is about social. SocialQuickStarter.com is a great resource to help you get started.

After you have a good working knowledge, you need to decide which platforms will work best for your business. As a small business owner thriving in a socially-connected world, it is important that you not only have an online presence on social media, but that you also engage with your customers. When a customer “likes” your Facebook Page, that like becomes an endorsement for future growth. Learning how to engage properly is important because according to Syncapse, about 49 percent of individuals like a page because they support that brand. There are several ways to engage, but in the beginning, the most important thing you can do is not give up. Persistence always pays off. Make it fun for your customers to connect with you!

There’s more than one reason why a small business might avoid social media, but one of the most common excuses is that it is too time consuming. I couldn’t agree more. That’s why there are several tools you can use to help simplify and manage your social media. My personal favorite is Hootsuite. Hootsuite is a social media dashboard that lets me effortlessly manage all of my social media content, schedule future posts, and even track my Constant Contact Email reporting. And, if I manage 5 or less social media platforms, it is completely free!

New to email marketing? You can try out Constant Contact free for 60 days. Sign up for a free trial here.

Reach people where they are every day — their inbox and beyond

This is where email marketing comes into play. While varying studies suggest a business needs to dip their toes into several marketing channels to be effective, as a small business, email marketing is the one piece that really ties everything together. A powerful email campaign not only keeps the interest of your current customers, but it can inspire them to share your email socially and forward it to their friends and family. This increases your reach and garners new attention online.

How does that help your online presence?

A successful email campaign has several key components, many of which are going to vary based on industry. One of the most important things to consider when creating your email campaigns is to give your customers what they want, not what you think they want. In the end, they are the ones who help you grow online.

How can you truly measure the return on investment (ROI) of maintaining a rich online presence?


When a new customer finds you on Google Places, when engagement on your Facebook Page is seen by others, when someone subscribes to your email list from an archived email they found in their search results, or when someone simply finds out about you through online word of mouth, you know you’re doing something right online. Maintaining a rich online presence is worth the effort because it pays off in many measurable, attainable ways.






Source: https://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!

How Video Can Help You Build Relationships and Trust With Your Customers

Trust is your biggest asset when it comes to driving conversions.



Taking a leap into your own entrepreneurial endeavor is hard. Bringing a legitimately great idea to life when no one knows who you are or why he or she should believe your claims about what you're offering can be even harder.

If it's any consolation, I've dealt with this issue myself; even serial entrepreneurs face this same dilemma each time they strike out on new ventures. Today, I make a living helping people take their businesses from unknown to renowned using well-crafted videos as a catalyst.

Why video? Well, it's everywhere, and people are ravenously consuming it. In fact, by 2019, video will comprise 82 percent of all internet traffic, according to Cisco. What's more, a recently published report by Wyzowl found that 97 percent of businesses that produced explainer videos to draw in customers said those same videos increased users' comprehension of their services or products.

Showing consumers what your business is all about is important, but videos are also critical to building trust and illustrating why potential customers should want to do business with you.

Cultivating Strong Connections


When it comes to driving conversions, trust is your biggest asset. More than any other medium, video helps people empathize with what they see on-screen. Showing them ways to simplify their lives or overcome obstacles proves that you understand their pain points, which engenders trust in you to provide the solutions.

A 2014 video created by Chipotle, for example, centered around a scarecrow that defied conventional fast-food ingredients to create a homegrown alternative. The video helped Chipotle reframe itself as a brand that shuns genetically modified ingredients and conventional agricultural practices in favor of healthier, more sustainable alternatives.

The trust this video created among consumers is undoubtedly one reason the brand was able to weather its recent storm that involved several outbreaks of food-borne illnesses. Simultaneously marketing a new brand and creating trust sometimes feels like walking a tightrope. Here are some tips for your next video to help you balance those two goals:

  1. Don't be confrontational. Think you have a better product or service than your competitors? Most founders do, or they wouldn't have started their businesses. However, it's best to leave all mention of your competition out of your video. If you insult a competitor and it's more established, it might be able to edge you out of the market -- and no one will feel sorry for you if it does.
  2. Remember, authenticity breeds trust. When we first started Lemonlight, almost all of our commercials had voiceovers instead of interviews. Although voiceovers seemed polished and resulted in very refined commercials, we weren't seeing the desired number of conversions when the ads ran online. Shifting to videos styled like mini-documentaries in which we interview founders yielded a dramatic increase in conversion rates. The cinematography tells the story, and the personal story helps viewers relate to Baker's passion for creating culinary experiences.
  3. Embrace ready-made brand advocates. Happy customers can be your best salespeople, so put their enthusiasm to good use in your next video. For this tactic, it's best to skip the scripted, infomercial-type of ad and let your customers speak from the heart. The result might not seem as slick, but the authentic feel will affect the audience in positive ways.
Video is an emotional medium, perfect for connecting with potential customers and standing out in a crowded field of competitors. A well-conceived, high-quality video can maximize conversions and open the door to repeat customers.






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

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

8 Leadership Books to Help You Build Better Business Relationships


There are many skills and traits that form a good leader, some of which I'm admittedly more competent in than others. But lately, I've been hearing less about what makes a good leader and more about what makes a truly great one.

Rather than possess an insatiable drive for greatness or an impressive ability to constantly churn out new ideas, great leaders seem to excel in soft skills. In a world in which half of all U.S. employees have quit their jobs at some point in their career just to get away from their bosses, I've come to find that the secret to great leadership is relationship-building.

But relationships are tough. Wouldn't a simple eight-step guide be helpful? Thankfully, these eight leadership books can help you build, strengthen, and navigate your personal interactions to build better business relationships:

1. 'Give and Take' by Adam Grant


In this The New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller, Adam Grant uses his own research to show how success is increasingly dependent upon how we interact with other people. Grant refers to the way most people operate in the workplace as takers, matchers, or givers. While some givers -- those who help others without expecting help in return -- are susceptible to exploitation and burnout, the rest have the potential to achieve extraordinary results across a wide range of industries.

"Give and Take" explores what effective networking, influence, collaboration, and leadership skills have in common and opens up an approach to success that has the power to transform individuals, organizations, and communities alike.

2. 'Top of Mind' by John Hall


Leaders exist in all industries, and they perform all kinds of responsibilities. In this book, John Hall, CEO of Influence & Co., presents his tried-and-true method for any leader -- whether you're a marketing professional, a sales leader, or the founder of your own company -- to create powerful, lasting relationships built on trust and scaled with effective content marketing.

Through real-life stories that are as relatable as they are direct and tactical, Hall explains how to create opportunity for yourself and your business by focusing on what truly matters: real humans and your authentic, personal relationships with them.

3. 'Captivate' by Vanessa Van Edwards


"Captivate" is an emotional intelligence guidebook for leaders -- and then some. As someone who studies human behavior for a living, Van Edwards shares key insights for establishing rapport, building charisma, and decoding behavior patterns in order to transform our interactions with people. Whether you're interacting with your boss, your date, or a networking partner, these simple hacks will act as a field guide for building connections authentically in any situation.

4. 'Giftology' by John Ruhlin


In this unofficial masters class in gifting and relationship strategy, gifting expert John Ruhlin uses data-driven insights and captivating personal stories to reveal the best-kept secret of radically successful leaders: gift-giving with no strings attached.

Ruhlin explains how increased ROI, retention rates, and influence can all be achieved through this one philosophy. Regardless of your industry, this system can completely change your business, relationships, and outlook as a leader.

5. 'The Art of People' by Dave Kerpen


Being successful and attaining the influence you're after doesn't mean becoming a rigid, work-obsessed person who never has fun. In fact, in Dave Kerpen's book, "The Art of People," he emphasizes how important it is to hone your people skills in order to charm and win over those who matter, in both your personal and professional life.

Kerpen brings 53 easy-to-follow tips that will land you one step closer to what you're after. The tips range from how to network to the right questions to ask in meetings -- even touching on the appropriate way to blow off those who won't help you get where you need to be.

6. 'Leading Through the Turn' by Elise Mitchell


Rather than focus all your efforts, attention, and energy on your destination, Elise Mitchell explains in "Leading Through the Turn" how a journey mindset can positively affect your leadership style. While plenty of leadership books describe how to achieve an outcome, Mitchell focuses on navigating and appreciating all the twists and turns on the road to success.
Whether you're just stepping into leadership or you're an accomplished leader who's seeking something more, this book offers an important perspective for finding significance in your work and your life.

7. 'Self-Employed' by Joel Comm and John Rampton


In "Self-Employed," entrepreneurs Joel Comm and John Rampton combine their experiences and observations to offer cutting-edge insights into the personality traits that allow self-starters to thrive in the current entrepreneurial landscape.

Through easy-to-read, thought-provoking commentary, Comm and Rampton delve into the 50 (yes, 50) traits, characteristics, and mindsets that successful entrepreneurs have in common. Ultimately, the book provides a framework for assessing, understanding, and leveraging who you are in order to have the greatest impact and empower your business.

8. 'Ego Is the Enemy' by Ryan Holiday


Through insightful research and compelling anecdotes, Ryan Holiday shares a uniquely philosophical and historical perspective on effective leadership. In "Ego Is the Enemy," he explains that some of the most successful leaders throughout history -- from Jackie Robinson to Eleanor Roosevelt -- have placed the collective needs and goals of a group above their own desires for individual recognition.
Although leadership almost always involves mental, emotional, financial, and maybe even physical battles, Holiday demonstrates that leaders who have the biggest impact on history are those who've conquered their egos.

All relationships take work, but great leaders especially have a responsibility to foster them. These approaches and perspectives from successful industry leaders should give you more than a few ideas to enhance your own relationships.



What have you used to strengthen your own business relationships? I'd love to hear your thoughts below.



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

Monday, May 29, 2017

How to Strengthen Customer Relationships When Time is at a Premium


As a small business owner, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day operations of your business. And while the things that go on behind the scenes certainly matter, you can’t focus on them at the expense of your relationships with customers.

Small Businesses Are Built on Relationships


When people think about small businesses, a certain image is conjured up in their minds. They picture a quaint storefront on a main street in a small town. They see friendly storeowners who know customers by their first names and interact with them as they walk in. They picture handshakes, smiles, and promises that are always honored.

See, small businesses are all about interpersonal relations. They thrive on connections and conversations. But somewhere along the way, companies moved away from the heart of small business. With so many different forces and distractions competing for attention, small businesses have started spending less time focusing on relationships and more time dealing with “important” administrative tasks and responsibilities.

The problem with this shift in small business management is that nothing is more important than customer relationships. While payroll, accounting, digital marketing, website analytics, paid media, hiring, and training matter, they can’t take away from the focus on customer relationships. As soon as relationships erode, the business follows closely behind.

Do yourself a favor and conduct a quick analysis on your small business. Are you so wrapped up in the day-to-day tasks and managerial responsibilities that you’re no longer fostering healthy relationships with new and existing customers?

If this is the case, you aren’t alone. It’s an epidemic in the business world and you’ll find thousands of other business owners in the same boat. However, at some point, you have to make the conscious decision to get out of the boat and return to what made you successful: relationships.




4 Ways to Strengthen Customer Relationships


You can’t snap your fingers and wish your way into stronger customer relationships. What you need is a customer relations strategy that targets particular weaknesses in your business and builds on the strengths that you already have. And while every business will have different needs and action steps, the following tips should provide you with a solid footing on which you can build for the future.

 1. Use CRM Software

Customer relationship management (CRM) is a term used to describe the handy tools small businesses utilize to streamline the management and nurturing of customer relationships.
“It’s usually a cloud-based system that stores information about your clients, potential clients and contacts in one central safe place that everyone in your team can access and update wherever they are,” small business expert Nadia Finer says. “A CRM can also help you grow your business and keep customers happy by keeping track of interactions and tasks, and giving you a clear view of your sales pipeline.”

What Finer is really getting at is this: CRM makes it easier to manage customer relationships when you don’t have the time to manually handle every task.

As a general principle, most businesses extract 70-80 percent of their profits from 20-30 percent of their customers. One way to maximize the value of your CRM system is to use the built-in analytics tools to keep track of who your most valuable customers are.

As marketing manager Christopher Meloni explains it, “This sort of tracking, with the help of your CRM software, will in-turn enable you to allocate your resources in such a manner that those 20-30% of your customers get the best customer service, always. This is called target-based allocation, and it can prove wonders for you and your business organization.”

CRM can also be used to help you handle customer complaints in a swift manner. By delivering fast responses, you can deal with problems as they arise (instead of letting them fester). Other valuable uses – depending on the CRM system you use – include the ability to analyze customer buying patterns, send out automatic updates, and keep track of who customers are and how they’re likely to respond in certain situations.

2. Invest in Business Intelligence

Are you currently invested in business intelligence? This is the fastest developing trend in small business and you have to make it a priority if you stand any chance of acquiring and maintaining a base of loyal customers that continue to come back time after time.

“Business intelligence for small business helps to gather data about your customers’ behavior and structure it in a clear form so that it can be analyzed fast and easy,” explains Heiko Troster of datapine. “With insights about your customers’ behavior you can make effective business decisions.”

Data is the ammunition of your communicative efforts. When you understand who your customers are and what they want, you can effectively forecast needs and satisfy their desires. You still have to strategically act on the information you have, but at least business intelligence tools can provide you with valuable data that you’d otherwise miss out on.

3. Gather More Information on Customers

Customers want to be known as more than an invoice number or receipt. They want to be seen as individuals with personal lives, needs, and sensitivities. When you have advanced CRM and business intelligence tools in place, you can tactfully gather more information on your customers and gain a fuller picture of who they are and what their needs are. This will benefit you in the long run by allowing you to interact with customers on an individual basis.

4. Reshape Your Social Media Strategy

What does your current social media strategy look like? If you haven’t made a conscious effort over the years to make your social media presence about your followers, then your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram profiles are probably self-serving. All of the content you post is about your brand and you aren’t adding any real value to your customers. Sound familiar?
If the goal is to strengthen customer relationships, you’ll need to reshape your social media strategy and make it less about you and more about them. Make it an avenue for two-way conversations to take place.

“Unlike a one-way conversation where a company typically dominates the narrative and doesn’t really acknowledge or interact with visitors/followers , a two-way conversation directly connects brands and consumers,” says Carolyn Edgecomb of IMPACT. “A two-conversation is a dialogue, where brands speak and listen to their audience, responding directly to their wants and needs.”
The classic rule of thumb is that 80 percent of your social media posts should add value to your brand without directly promoting your products and services. Try your best to meet this goal.

Make More Time for Customers


Forging strong relationships with customers takes effort. But thanks to the technologies you now have available to you – such as CRM systems, business intelligence tools, and social media – it doesn’t have to require a ton of time.

Now’s the time to create a game plan for success. How are you going to handle the many needs of your company without compromising on the customer relationship front? It’ll take some trial and error, but you can find a solution.



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


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, May 26, 2017

Facebook Isn't The Most Important Place To Do Social Networking

 Your company is the best place to start networking.


If you were to take all of the advice offered by every social media expert and look for a common thread, it would probably be the importance of networking. That's what social media marketing is all about. Whether you're building connections with the owners of other pages to generate views and influence, or deepening the loyalty of individual customers through live video and comments, social media is the ultimate tool for making business personal. It's called "social" media for a reason.
So it's no surprise that Carlos Gil, a social media marketing speaker, also rates the importance of networking. But while social media speakers also tend to work as consultants for a range of different businesses, Gil is unusual in having a full-time corporate day job. He runs the social media strategy for BMC. It's a multi-billion dollar company that employs more than 6,000 people and supplies IT services for about 82 percent of the Fortune 500.

So as a social media professional, Gil understands content strategy and Facebook advertising and Snapchat. But as a company man, he's also discovered the importance of networking not just online but also within the company.

"You can't do things by yourself," he says. "All the stuff that we social media practitioners tell other people to do online, you have to do when you work at a corporation but even more so because you're constantly under the gun. You have deadlines. Other people depend on you to make them look good. There are lots of moving parts."

 It's an important point, and one that's often overlooked. Social media gives us the ability to reach huge numbers of people anywhere they might be, but there are also people all around us, and they matter too. When you work in a large corporation, they matter a great deal.



In fact, they all matter. It's not just a question of making friends with the IT guy so that when your email doesn't work, it gets fixed fast. Everyone from the people who keep your office clean to the CEO is a potential connection that can bring you benefits.

And in the same way that on social media you buy connections with good content, so within a corporation, you buy connections with co-operation. You lend a hand. You listen to people's problems. You go out of your way to help someone when they need it. You make introductions and you take part in corporate activities.

All of those team-building exercises, after-work drinks and the company ping pong league aren't there just to enrich life at work. They're perks with a purpose. They put you in touch with people who need your help and whose help you need. They bring people together.

It's hard to imagine now a business that doesn't use social media. But the first big test of a staff member's networking skills isn't online. It's their ability to talk over the partitions and build connections within the company.




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

Thursday, May 25, 2017

To Make Networking Less Awkward, Make It A Date


Most people hear the word "networking" and flashback to a corporate event at a moderately swanky bar full of young professionals. Everyone wears a name tag and tries to drink in moderation and give the most entertaining summary of their job. Occasionally these events are interrupted by short speeches by members of company leadership that are paced so no one knows when to laugh or clap or both. Sometimes guests are forced to comply with the event planners' decision to implement some kind of ice breaker, or worse, a game to the already awkward proceedings.

If you're lucky, you'll meet maybe three relevant contacts to your business idea and land a meeting with only one. I'd give chances that this meeting produces any tangible results or benefits at, eh, one in four. Sure, this approach to networking lands us a lot of free drinks and an excuse to leave the office on time, but that's hardly the intention. For how focused the startup world and the firms funding them are on demonstrating potential scale and profitably, we sure are committed to a networking ritual with an extremely low ROI. It isn't that networking events are inherently broken, it is that in the effort to make them less awkward, we often produce precisely the opposite effect. The advice I am about to give on making things less awkward is going to sound even more ridiculous than the most incoherent drunk guy at the open bar but bear with me: treat networking like you would treat dating.

Now don't get ahead of yourself and start thinking of ways to compliment that VC guy's hair or ask about where his parents live and how often he visits. What I mean is, if you're any good at dating, you come up with thoughtful activities that both of you will enjoy where you can actually be doing something instead of just wringing answers out of each other over drinks or dinner for two hours. Social media investigation and rapport building brings out a lot of information about people's favorite activities and their interests. If someone you want to meet runs marathons, offer to train with them if the relationship is close enough. If a new contact is known for their love of fine art, suggest a very quick drink then head off to the latest small gallery opening of an up and coming painter. These meaningful engagements translate into opportunities to have a more meaningful twice the engagement with them while also demonstrating you're not just another couple of drinks in a company hoodie.

And don't forget that your interests can be used as catalysts to engagement too. In addition to my entrepreneurial and business interests, I use my Twitter feed to showcase the photography I do as a fairly serious hobby. It inevitably comes up in conversations as it is somewhat unexpected from a guy running a publishing tech startup. More than once, these conversations have turned to offers for me to take photographs of the person in a park or on a rooftop, anywhere that would make a nicer headshot than the white background with a collar showing on LinkedIn. I've taken portraits of bestselling authors, entrepreneurs who sold their company for hundreds of millions and of top-tier VCs investors who invest in unicorns. Once the picture retouched and sent to their inbox, it's the start of a completely different relationship. It is not a transactional vibe; just snapping photos and talking in a scenic location reveals our full humanity and the values we bring with us to a potential partnership.  Though it can feel strange at first, once you see the value of thinking outside the box for networking activities, it becomes easy, second nature even. I fear I can't say the same about playing ice breaker games.








Source: https://www.inc.com
Image Credit: Getty 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!

Monday, May 22, 2017

5 Creative Email Marketing Ideas to Try in 2017



Email marketing is still one of the best ways to reach your customers with a 3,800 percent ROI and $38 made for every $1 spent, according to the Direct Marketing Association.

However, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut with email marketing — you do your usual sales blasts and content pieces each month, but thinking outside that box takes more time; time that you don’t have.

That’s why we did the work for you to come up with five fun email marketing ideas to try this year.

Consider which ones would appeal most to your audience and put your own spin on them.

1. Video

Slowly but surely video is taking up a larger presence in our lives.


Incredibly, 300 minutes of video is uploaded to YouTube every single minute with 3.25 billion hours watched each month, according to Static Brain Research Institute.

You can take advantage of video popularity with email marketing this year. Instead of sending the usual text or image-based content, embed a video instead.

The key is making the video as easy to play as possible, which increases engagement metrics and overall value to the reader:

“If executed properly, one of the most successful video email method being used today is setting up your video to play as soon as the subscriber clicks the play button…,” says Holly Rollins, president of 10X Digital Inc.


Constant Contact makes it easy for you to add a video to your email in just a few simple steps:


Just paste in your video URL and a clickable thumbnail will be added to your email:


Is your business new to email marketing? Try out a free 60-day trial of Constant Contact today!

2. Coupons


Coupons alone drive more than $29K, on average, in monthly sales for retailers according to a 2016 analysis.

However, these discounts are only valuable if your customers know they’re available, which is where email comes in.

Here’s how to make the most of your coupon promotion:


  • Personalize: Don’t just offer a generic coupon — include a personal message that expresses why you’re sending the coupon as a reminder of how much you value your audience.
  • Remove distractions: It’s fun to customize and design your emails, but too much can be distracting. This does the opposite of encourage clicks, and at worst, could drive potential customers away. Instead, choose one objective — in this case, highlighting a discount or coupon — and focus on that.
  • Vary your CTA by segment: There are many call-to-action options, not just Learn More, Browse, or Buy Now. The CTA for your top engagers, for example, could be to share the discount or deal via social, suggests Stephan Hovnanian, content solutions architect at Bambu. Play with CTAs among various segments to zero in on the best ones.


 Here’s how you can set up a coupon in your Constant Contact account.



3. Letter from the CEO

Everyone wants to know that the top brass is thinking about them, especially your customers who spend their hard-earned money on your products or services.

For those on your email list who have yet to buy, this sort of email builds trust, loyalty, and authority with your brand — all of which are critical to driving sales.

The letter can be done on a weekly, monthly, or even quarterly basis. The topic can be fluid to match the priorities and changes of the business.

One month, the CEO could address a new addition to your service line up, followed by details on your latest volunteer project in the next one.

Tip: Keep the design simple for these emails. A template like Constant Contact’s “Basic Newsletter” works well.


4. Sale preview

This sounds similar to discounts and coupons distribution, but it’s different in a few ways.

The first is that this type of email is meant to make your subscribers feel special — they’re getting an exclusive first look at this upcoming sale.

It’s also not meant to drive sales right away, but to build buzz around the upcoming event — whether online or in your store.

When designing your sale preview email, keep a few important details in mind:


  • Make it feel exclusive: Use words like, “Exclusive” (of course), “Just for you,” “For our top customers,” etc.
  • Focus your CTA on spreading the word: Whether that’s a discount code for your subscribers to share or simply asking them to post on Facebook or send a Tweet. If you go with the latter, make it easy for them by setting it up first. You can embed custom tweets and Facebook posts in your email like you do with your blog posts, removing friction and increasing the chances they’ll share.
  • Use images: Show off your product, but don’t be overwhelming. Choose your top 3 to 5 sales items to highlight with both images and text.
  • Segment your audience: Based on the products you’re highlighting, send personalized emails to separate groups. Your ability to do this will depend on how segmented your list is already; at the very least you can create two separate emails for current and potential customers.
Here’s a look at how Constant Contact customer, La Provence, sent a sale preview to boost early holiday sales:



5. Seasonal guide

Both B2B and B2C companies can take advantage of this one, even if your business isn’t necessarily “seasonal.”

“This is a great way to make a more personal connection with your audience and will increase the chance of your message getting noticed,” says Ryan Pinkham.

A seasonal guide can mean a lot of things, depending on your company’s product and service line-up. See below for a few fun ideas to try:


  • Seasonal marketing guide: Marketing or ad agencies could send a quarterly checklist and guide for analyzing content, email, and social data. Many already do something similar.
  • Seasonal style guide: Retail is the most obvious business for this email type. Focus on the styles of that season, including images of products you offer that fit within the various trends. Include helpful information, like how to pair a rain jacket with a classy pair of shoes, etc.
  • Seasonal health guide: Best for outdoor recreation/fitness/wellness organizations, this guide can include information about allergies in the spring or staying safe in the sun in the summer. Again, include products naturally within the content.
  • Seasonal tax guide: Perfect for tax accountants or other financial advisors. Simply outline important tax dates or create a free printable that subscribers can stick to their fridge for quick and easy reference. This is especially valuable for anyone who works with freelancers and contract workers, both of which have a variety of dates to remember.


Brainstorm what seasonal changes your customers care more about most and formulate an email around that. Test different topics, angles, content types and more.

Try one of these ideas in your next email!


Don’t let yourself get into an email marketing rut. There are so many ways to format and present your content, there’s no reason not to experiment!

Ready to get started? Start with a free trial of Constant Contact’s email marketing.  
 Already have an account? Log in to put it to work!



Source.com: http://www.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!

How To Write A Persuasive Marketing Email


When you send a marketing email, it’s a bit different from a regular email.

You’re not just sharing information, you’re trying to drive engagement that supports your business in some way.

You’re trying to drive action without being too pushy and turning your subscribers off.

What’s the secret to writing a successful marketing email?

The best email marketing campaigns have a clear focus, authentic tone, and information that’s helpful to the reader.

Use these tips to write marketing emails that drive business:

 •    Infuse the personality of your business.

Imagine you’re having a face-to-face conversation with a customer. What would that experience be like? Your reader should feel like you’re speaking directly to them as well. Extend the great experience you regularly provide to create an engaging content strategy.

     •    Make sure the subject line is true to the content of your email.

There are many tips about how to write good email subject lines. The most important tip? Be clear about what the reader should expect when they open the email.

    •    Take advantage of the preheader text to entice the reader to open your email.


The preheader text is like a second subject line. It gives you an additional chance to entice the reader to open your email. Use this to your advantage, especially when it comes to increasing your mobile open rates.

 •    Keep content clear and concise.

Picture, Paragraph, Call to Action. The best emails have a clear focus and are designed to encourage a single action from the reader. Clear, concise content also makes it easier to read your emails.

    •    Only include information that helps the reader take the action you want them to take.


Remove anything that veers from the action you want the reader to take. Doing so helps you get to the best length for your email newsletter. If it’s not helping your reader take the desired action, it’s a distraction. Remove it.

  • Plan on sending more than one email.

It would be great if all you needed was one email to do the job. The truth is people are busy and your business isn’t their top priority. It’s not that people don’t want to take action, it’s just that they get distracted. Plan your email marketing calendar to include a short series of three emails around a particular promotion: an announcement, a reminder, and a last chance.

Ready to write your marketing email?

Put these tips to use and start seeing more meaningful results from your email marketing today.

These content tips, combined with a customizable email template, make it easy to create a persuasive email in minutes.


Want to try email marketing out for your business? Try out a free 60-day trial of Constant Contact today!




Image Credit: forbes.com
Source: forbes.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!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Don’t Let Growing Pains Take Your Business Down



In the past year, several high-profile entrepreneurial companies have been in the news for not-so-positive reasons. Once held up as role models, these businesses and their high-profile founders (I won’t name names) are now struggling to survive. The common denominator in their downfalls? There are several, but the main culprit is too-rapid growth.

Growing fast might seem like the answer to a small business owner’s prayers. But often, the perils of rapid growth illustrate the saying, “Be careful what you wish for—you might get it.”
 

What lessons can you take away to help avoid the risks of rapid growth?


1. Company culture matters.

Growing businesses run into trouble when their PR persona doesn’t jibe with what’s actually happening inside the company. If you promote your business as an egalitarian, forward-thinking innovator, but your workplace is actually rife with sexual harassment, it’s only a matter of time until customers find out about the disconnect and dump you like a hot potato.
To-do: It’s easy to keep control of your company culture when there are only a few of you. However, as your business expands, be sure to instill the same culture in all your new employees. Employee handbooks, onboarding practices and systematized training help ensure everyone’s on the same page. Make sure your managers embody your company culture, too.

2. With capital comes complexity.


Getting a fat round of funding from angel investors or VCs looks like the answer to your dreams—but often becomes a nightmare. In return for the money, you now have investors looking over your shoulder and second-guessing you, or even directing you.
To-do: Before you seek financing of any kind, know what you’re getting into. If you take money from investors, you’ll need to report on results, live up to their expectations, and maybe even give up some control of your business. The alternative could be losing it entirely.

3. You’ve got to pay the bills.

Buzz and hype can take you far, but if you aren’t paying your bills on time, you’ll eventually crash and burn. Rapid growth brings new costs, as well as the temptation to splurge on fancy office furniture or an expensive advertising agency to maintain your image.
To-do: Keep careful tabs on your company’s cash flow. You may need to monitor it daily to stay on top of things. Weigh any new expenses carefully, focusing on spending in ways that will benefit your business—not your ego.

4. Hire wisely.


When rapid growth stretches your small business’ staff too thin, it’s a recipe for disaster. Overworked employees can’t do their best, and your company’s product or service quality suffers. Eventually they become resentful, spurring morale problems and potential PR disasters.

To-do: Employees are the foundation of your business, so don’t scrimp on hiring. Have plans in place for how you will add staff as needed. That doesn’t necessarily require hiring full-time employees; it could mean knowing where to find the best independent contractors, virtual employees or temporary workers.

5. Walk the walk.


You’re busier than you ever thought possible, getting next to no sleep, and walking on air from the excitement of your business dreams coming true. It’s all too easy to start believing that the rules don’t apply to you. If you expect your employees to work for peanuts or your vendors to wait for payment while you’re signing the lease on a snazzy new sports car, you’re in for a big surprise.

To-do: Never ask your team to do something that you wouldn’t do yourself. Of course, you should focus most of your time on high-value activities, but you also need to be willing to get down in the trenches when it counts. Showing employees you understand their sacrifices and your partners that you honor your commitments will help your reputation grow along with your sales.






Source: http://www.theselfemployed.com
Image Credit: theselfemployed.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!

Monday, May 15, 2017

5 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Benefit from Advertising Discounts on Deal Websites

 Sometimes it takes cutting prices to move to the level. 




 Being a self-made entrepreneur requires you to make smart decisions for your business to stay ahead of the competition. However, with a stable marketing plan, you may still be looking for ways to boost your sales, drive more traffic, and increase your awareness online. How can you do this though when you’ve already detailed your marketing strategy as extensively as possible for now? 

Deal websites, like Dealslands, Groupon, Scoopon and Vouchershops benefit any business. Whether you’re managing a small business with a handful of employees or a Fortune 500 company with hundreds of employees, it’s going to help your business if executed strategically.

These companies sponsor major businesses from Papa John’s pizza and Hotels.com to smaller businesses like Bargain Max and Jacamo. By offering small businesses like you a platform to grow a larger audience, they gain only a small portion of revenue through sponsorship on the website. The overall benefits surpass the small costs to hosts on these platforms, making it an easily accessible tool for business owners.


Let’s look at how discount websites are changing the way entrepreneurs market.

1. Attract more customers and reviews.


Increasing traffic is the goal of any business. More traffic equals more return customers. Sounds good, right? Well, using a discount website to promote limited deals helps expose you to an even larger audience. Many small businesses and entrepreneurs don’t have the connections to broaden their audience quickly.

Offering deals on discount sites gives you the exposure to millions of viewers each time you post a deal. The more deals you post, the more exposure. Plus, if your products are appealing to consumers, you could luck out into getting a few online reviews about your website.

2. Reduce inventory


It’s a common problem in business to over order on a product occasionally. Regardless of the reason, getting rid of inventory is necessary. Discount sites offer you a way to promote these products to get rid of them completely. Those 20% discount coupon codes only work if you have an audience. It’s a chain reaction with having a larger viewership to see you, your products and discounts exist.

3. Increase sales


So, while posting on a deal site requires some strategic planning, if used correctly, you can easily increase sales with them. By offering a certain amount of codes over a specific time span, you guarantee yourself customers on the promoted, discounted product. However, it doesn’t always stop there.

If you own a fashion business, you will find that offering jeans for a discount could get customers to purchase shirts and accessories at full-price. This helps increase revenue streams and profitability margins. Only 66 percent of companies see an increase in sales, but the main purpose is for exposure. However, this can be a nice perk if you’re in the right niche.

4. Meet quarterly goals

If you’ve established a perfect marketing plan, you have quarterly goals set out for yourself. Meeting these goals doesn’t always happen easily and requires a certain push. That’s where these deal websites come in handy.

If you plan the number of discounts correctly, you’ll be able to meet your financial budget and goals without overselling on products. Remember, if you have too many discount codes working at the same time, it generates a significant increase in sales. So, keep in mind how many units you want to discount to help with meeting your quarterly financial goals.

5. Boost your reputation


Most importantly, going to a discount deal website provides your business with a better reputation. The more you offer your customers quality products with occasional discounts and promotions, they’ll start talking. Promoting through their social networks, customers could help your small business get a huge boost in search engine rankings with a high volume of shares and mentions.

Better search engine rankings provide you with even more brand awareness and solidify your reputation as a great company in your niche. Offering a discount on a deal website could completely change your business structure.

These tips guarantee to help increase your sales, boost long-term traffic, and build your brands’ awareness. Struggling as an entrepreneur is difficult, but it’s not impossible to succeed with the right methods implemented. It’s a small fee for the return you’re expected to get from the deal website,






Source: http://www.entrepreneur.com
Image Credit: shuttershock



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, May 11, 2017

5 Warning Signs Your Business Is Killing Your Relationship

When the conversation about quality time starts, you better be paying attention.



Running your own successful business is great, especially when it creates financial freedom. But many business owners get stuck in the trap of working around the clock. Burying your head in the sand with the intention of working 24/7 may ultimately cost a high price. Unless you juggle your business and your personal life effectively, relationship breakdown will manifest.

Incidentally, there are warning signs pointing to the direction of relationship destruction. Ignorance has an adverse effect, which ultimately can lead to killing your relationship. The following are some of the fundamental relationship warning signs.

1.  Endless arguments about lack of time.


Not enough quality time with your spouse is one of the main relationship killers. Running your own business is a blatant time stealer. Working more than 40 hours each week, excluding weekends, coming home and jumping on the laptop or computer, having to attend networking events, meetings, and other business functions and tasks demand lots of time.

This will affect the quality time you spend with your spouse, causing you to grow apart. Feeling alienated and overburdened is a recipe for pushing your spouse to do their own thing. Not only that, but resentment will give birth to arguments and lead to frustration and a toxic environment in the home.

Prioritize family time. Develop a schedule and slot in quality relationship time, business time and social time. Be flexible and don’t put your business before your relationship. Also, outsource tasks to freelancers or contractors that do not require your attention and free up more of your time.

2.  Burnout puts stress on your relationship.



Not only will burnout cause emotional, mental and physical tiredness, it puts enormous strain on a relationship. Fatigue feeds irritation and stress. And stress can push you over the limit, inducing outbursts of anger. On top of that, burnout induces tension, exhaustion, lack of motivation, constant headaches, insomnia, reduced energy levels and other negative emotional and physical symptoms.

Ignoring these warning signs can destroy your relationship. Take steps to fix the problems now. When burnout kicks in, stay on top of it by getting a good night’s sleep, drinking less caffeine and alcohol and eating healthy and exercising. Take a long lunch break and lots of small breaks during the day, and get regular health checkups at the doctor's.

3.  Business talks dominates conversations.



Let’s face it. Owning a business is similar to having a new baby to the family. It’s consuming. It’s exciting. It fuels your passion. You could easily live and breathe your business. Gradually, it becomes the center of every conversation. All well and good if you’re single. However, in a relationship, you must identify that the distinction between business talk and relationship talk may become blurry. This isn’t healthy and could force your spouse to wonder where they fit in your life. In the end, non-stop business talks create division. You could be physically present but mentally absent, cocooned in your own business world.

Don’t allow business talk to control your attitude and kill your relationship. Know when to switch off. Stimulate personal conversations. Set aside designated time to update your spouse about business happenings. In addition, arrange regular date nights for light-hearted fun. Demonstrate your commitment to your relationship.


4. Financial instability can lead you down the divorce path.


Having a guaranteed and regular salary each month stops when you become self-employed. The stability of a boss paying your wages has been replaced by a nail-biting uncertainty. The uncertainty of a steady income is one of the drawbacks of running a business. Coupled with the fear of losing all, tension mounts between you and your spouse. Money quarrels are marriage breakers. It produces disagreements, empowers negativity and snaps teamwork between you. Usually, this indicates the beginning of the open door to divorce.

This age-old problem in marriages is not impossible to resolve. Agreeing there is a financial crisis is a good start for dealing with the dispute. Although some couples find it difficult to talk about money, keeping lines of communication open is vital. Other steps could include setting up a budget system and opening a joint bank account. If your spouse works, their wages will help pay the bills.

Finally, don’t rule out visiting a financial adviser or a marriage counselor who helps entrepreneurial couples.


5. Lack of emotional support from your spouse.


Your spouse’s support is crucial to your business success. Not supporting your dream or vision, especially during rocky times can lead to business failure. Perhaps they feel threatened because your business dominates the relationship. Or maybe they think it will fail. On the other hand, could it be you’ve changed from the person you used to be? Whatever the case, this presents a challenge.

How do you fix it? Lavish lots of attention on your spouse and make them feel secure and appreciated. Don’t let the business come between you. Find out their concerns. Make important decisions together. Ask for their ideas and listen to what they have to say. Share business struggles or successes and plan together. Stay committed to each other.

Although running your business is a big deal and could kill your relationship, it doesn’t have to be that way. Work on promoting a better balance between the two. Careful consideration, precise planning, commitment, dedication, and quality time together, good communication and knowing when to switch from business to relationship mode will promote a healthy work-life balance.





Source: http://www.entrepreneur.com
Image Credit: Shuttershock

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, May 10, 2017

How to Improve Your Networking Skills

If you want to succeed in business, you need to surround yourself with the right people. 


 When we think about surrounding ourselves with the right people, we often think in terms of what those people can do for us. The real question you should be asking is, “What value can I bring to people?”

People do business with people, not businesses. Most people at networking events go right out, shake hands, ask what the other person’s name and business are and hand off a card. Sound familiar? If so, smack your business-card-passing hand on the wrist!

That, my friends, is not how connections are made. Aim for the “second handshake” with your networking conversations.

Picture this scenario: You walk into a networking event, and as usual, people are looking at you like you’re their next meal. Someone immediately approaches you, reaches out to shake your hand and says (in one breath), “Hi, my name is Brady, I’m the owner of Awesome Business, I do X, Y and Z. What’s your name and what do you do?” You spurt your scripted answer back, exchange cards and walk away. There’s no connection; there’s no second handshake.

Now, try this scenario: You walk into a networking event, go up to someone who looks interesting, shake hands and introduce yourselves by name. You say, “Phil, I’m curious -- how did you get into doing what you do?” And a conversation ensues. After about five minutes, you’ve learned that you both left corporate jobs to go it on your own. You have something in common. The foundation of a relationship is laid. And you both genuinely enjoyed the conversation to the point that when you start to walk away, he extends his hand and gives you a second handshake. Success!

If you approach networking and relationship building in this manner, you’re bound to get a second handshake.

It’s these conversations -- these second handshakes -- that are the foundation of mutually beneficial relationships. The relationships that allow you to surround yourself with the right people. The relationships that lead to business success.

Questions to get a conversation started

Need some help getting that conversation going? Here are some questions you can ask that will likely throw someone a little off their pre-scripted networking pitch game. By doing that, you’re likely to have a better conversation, find a connection and get that second handshake.

Business-oriented questions:

  • How did you get started in this industry?
  • Why do you love to do what you do?
  • How do you spend your time?
  • What’s your favorite type of client to work with?
  • What’s your favorite problem to solve?
  • What’s the first thing you do when you sign a new contract?
  • What’s your favorite way to celebrate success?
  • What is something a client has said to you that really made you happy?


 Digging deeper and some atypical questions:

  • When you were a little kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
  • What was your favorite toy as a child?
  • (As a follow-up) Does it connect in any way to what you do today?
  • What is your favorite holiday tradition that you celebrate with friends, family or your employees?
  • What’s something you’re most looking forward to doing with your business (or with your family) in the next year?
  • What do you feel has been the secret to your success?
  • Use these questions to help generate conversations and see what type of relationships can develop!





Source: http://www.entrepreneur.com
Images Credit: Getty 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!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

5 Secrets To Keeping Your Mojo Flowing, In Good Times and Bad



Deciding your own schedules. Choosing your own projects. Working as much or as little as you want. The freelance lifestyle seems like a dream. Only when it isn’t.

Accompanied by all that flexibility and the freedom to work in your pajamas comes the nerve-racking worry of whether you’ll be able to pay all your bills this month. Will that long elusive client finally pay up? Can you afford to replace your broken down car with a functional one and keep up with your loan payments?

So yeah, it’s good when the sun shines bright on you. But unlike a job that brings in an assured salary every month, cloudy days (months?) can burn a serious hole in your everyday finances. Having been in that boat myself, I can guarantee you, it’s not a fun place to be in. So what helped me in those dark days and helped me sail along splendidly eventually? These simple tactics.

1. Dig into your network


When the going starts getting rough, don’t hesitate to reach out to your friends. Be prepared to get a lot of pushbacks, and don’t feel too bad about it. Most people are too busy making their own ends meet to go out of their way and help someone else out. However, there will definitely be a few good Samaritans out there who can guide you to interesting opportunities or who will at least put you on to someone else if they can’t be of much use themselves.

You’ve been active on various platforms, interacting with friends and coworkers for years. You’ve probably built a reputation for yourself and in all likelihood, your network knows what you’re good at. This is the time you tap into these networks and figure out opportunities for yourself. Research proves that social networking is used by employers to find the right candidates. A study by Google shows that the most successful workers tend to be the most active on social networks.

LinkedIn is a great place to start but don’t limit yourself just to LinkedIn. Facebook shows your friends with common interests as yours. Twitter allows you to reach out to just about anyone from Bill Gates to your next door neighbor.

Find people in your niche and don’t hesitate to contact them for opportunities.


2. Create for the joy of creating


Human actions are typically motivated by the expectation of rewards. Professor Wolfram Schultz from Cambridge University shows us that when our expectations from any action are low, and when these actions are met with unexpected rewards, the amount of dopamine released into our brains is huge. Conversely, when we work with clear expectations of rewards that are not met, the resulting crash is nerve wracking.

Take note from this study and prepare yourself for the worst when you’re faced with a slump on the professional front. Do what you do best – write, paint, craft, sing, whatever – without huge expectations attached to your actions. Do it for the joy of your craft and the results will automatically follow through.

3. Learn new skills, explore new tools


A low period in your freelancing career is a good time to retool yourself both literally and metaphorically.

You could opt to upgrade your current skill sets by checking out courses online or at your local community college. I know a friend who built a successful pastry shop business after attending a free workshop on baking and cake decorating at her local arts and crafts store. Websites like edX, Alison and Khan Academy offer hundreds of different modules in a wide variety of subjects for absolutely free. Many universities offer online certificate programs that look great on your resume, upgrade your proficiency and don’t cost you an arm and a leg.

Besides gaining new skills, you can also use your down time to learn about new tools that make your work quicker, better and easier. Frequently, we freelancers double up as our own web designers, content marketers and bookkeepers. Traditionally, we have had neither the money nor the resources to accomplish these to our satisfaction. Fortunately, the internet is now a powerhouse of free tools that enable us to do just that.

For example, MarvelApp lets you turn your mockups and ideas into realistic mobile and web pages with its super simple prototyping capabilities. No need to hire a web developer or designer to do the coding.

You also have loads of help with publishing and marketing your blog and social posts – Snip.ly makes content curation a breeze, PDF Split&Merge allows you to mix, blend and remarket your whitepapers and ebooks, and Piktochart enables you to turn that boring block of industry data into visual content for your C-suite audience.

Finally, if you want a better handle on your freelance business’ finances (who doesn’t?) check out Nutcache for a free and easy to use invoicing and time tracking tool.


4. Spend money to make money


When you’re down on your luck, it seems like every penny saved is a penny earned. While this may have been true for your mom’s generation, today you need to invest in your business to see returns coming from it. Just as a savvy investor puts money into the stock markets during a bear run and sees his money grow when the markets inevitably bounce back to a bull run, create a fund for advertising your services when the orders stop coming in and your business needs that extra push.

If you have a website or a blog, promote it using AdWords and other PPC tools. Are your users active on Facebook? Advertise to your perfect target audience with paid ads on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest, as the case may be. Use a tool like Retargeter to communicate to users who have already visited your website before and have shown interest in your services. This is also a good time to revive your email database. Use tools like MailChimp or Vertical Response to build ROI driven email campaigns that will bring you measurable results.

5. Moonlight: Poetry doesn’t pay the bills



When things are not looking up in your core area of expertise, don’t hesitate to branch out. It’s awesome to live on the hope that your next big client is just around the corner, but a freelancer does not have the luxury of “wait and watch” time. Bills need to be paid, the wheels of life need to be greased, and all of that comes at a price.

Head out to the hundreds of multi-disciplinary job boards on the internet and try your luck in areas that may even be a tad out of your comfort zone. Besides that usual suspects like Odesk and Elance, pick from sites like PeoplePerHour or Fiverr to find some truly out of the box freelancing opportunities. Who knows a great new project could just mean the beginning of a whole new career track!

In Closing

In good times, simply go with the flow, but remember to breathe and have a little fun for yourself too. When things slow down, try the tips detailed above to keep your head above water. Peaks and troughs in your career are expected. With a dash of resourcefulness and loads of positivity, there’s no slump that is unconquerable.





Source: http://www.theselfemployed.com 
Image Credit: Getty 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!

Monday, May 8, 2017

5 Ways to Maximize Your Marketing




 Despite their small size, micro businesses in general have moved into the digital marketing age.

More than two-thirds (68.8 percent) market their businesses both online and offline. Over half (52.7 percent) say their online presence is “very important” to their marketing efforts, while 30.4 percent say it’s “fairly important.”

However, there’s still a long way to go. More than one-fourth (28.9 percent) of small business owners surveyed say they don’t market their businesses both online and offline. And even those who do market both ways often fail to present cohesive branding. About one-third of micro-business owners say developing a more consistent online and offline marketing identity would have a “substantial” financial impact on their businesses, and one-fourth think it would have a “significant” impact.

How can you maximize your marketing? Here are five tips:

1. Make sure your business website is up to snuff. 
Less than one-third (32.7 percent) of small business owners in the survey say their websites are their primary means of marketing. However, even if your website is not your main focus, it needs to be in good shape. Make sure your business website is mobile-friendly; most people search for local businesses on their smartphones these days, and Google awards higher rankings in search results to mobile-friendly sites. Make key information — your business address, hours, and phone number — easy to see, and keep it updated.

2. Give online advertising a try. Just 6.6 percent of micro-business owners in the survey describe online advertising as a marketing priority. However, when properly executed, online advertising can be highly effective and affordable. Since prospective customers search for businesses online, having your ads show up when they search for what you sell can only help your business.

3. Get listed in online directories. 
Only 5 percent of survey respondents say online directories are a key marketing method for them. But if your business is one that attracts local customers, online directories are vitally important to getting customers in your door. Plus, it’s easy (and generally free) to list your business in local search directories such as Google My Business or Yelp. To get the best results from online directories, make sure that your business name, address and phone number are exactly the same in all your listings — if they vary even slightly, search engines will view the variations as different businesses.

4. Don’t rely solely on social media marketing. Social media is the dominant marketing method used by micro-business owners; 53.3 percent say it’s their primary marketing focus. However, while social media marketing is important, putting all your efforts into social media marketing can leave you vulnerable. What happens if the key social network you rely on makes significant changes to its algorithm or has a sudden decline in popularity?

5. Promote a cohesive brand image. More than half of small business owners surveyed say business cards are their primary print marketing method; print advertising and signage are also used. Whether you’re marketing online, on social media or in print, you need to convey a unified brand image throughout. That means using similar graphics, colors and images, as well as reinforcing trademarks and taglines. Last but certainly not least, make sure your print materials drive customers to your website and social media platforms, that your social media accounts link to your website and that your website prominently displays your social media icons.

By integrating all your marketing — print, online and social media — you’ll get better results from each method you use.




Source: http://www.theselfemployed.com
Image Credit: Getty 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!