Monday, April 30, 2018

What Is the Difference Between Marketing, Advertising, and Branding? A Simple Analogy to Help Explain


In my work with entrepreneurs and business students, I often hear marketing strategies explained as "having social media," "having an online brand," or "advertising a lot."

These explanations make me cringe because, while they might be part of a plan, they grossly oversimplify the deeper and more complex concepts behind a truly effective marketing strategy.

In order to explain and help others understand marketing--namely the differences between marketing, advertising, and branding--I ask them to apply each of these concepts to themselves personally. When you do, this is what it would look like.


Marketing is how you see yourself.


Marketing is the image that you are trying to present to others. It starts with how you dress, the colors and patterns you choose, and how you groom. We all have a strategy for this--yes, everyone, including your unkempt second cousin who rarely showers and wears the same Star Wars shirt he's worn since college.

Even not having a strategy for your personal appearance is a strategy itself.

You choose your image to portray yourself as a business professional, a punk rocker, a tech nerd, etc., and by doing so, you are expressing to others through your appearance your character, lovable attributes, and in the end, the value you offer to others.

It isn't fun to admit that appearances are as important as they are, but let's be honest, first impressions are driven by appearance. Impressions can evolve and be molded later, but as we all know, they require time and effort to change, so we do our best to get it right up front.

For a business, a marketing strategy considers how you want others to perceive your company. It should convey the vision and values of the business and express these in a way that the public will recognize and associate with your company.

How you "dress" your company will determine how effectively your message and image will be accepted by consumers.

Advertising is how you act in public.


If marketing is how you see yourself, advertising describes your actions.

How you carry yourself, where you hang out, and what you say are just as important as how you look. All of this should be considered with your marketing strategy to assure that you have consistency between your image and your actions.

For instance, imagine that you wear a New England Patriots jersey and get a "I Heart Tom Brady" tattoo, but during the Super Bowl, you cheer for the Philadelphia Eagles and celebrate their victory. You will confound--and probably infuriate--all of your friends and likely be exiled from future Sunday game days.

Your business advertising strategy is the same. If you execute it in the wrong places, with the wrong message and tone, at the wrong times, or to the wrong audience, it will ultimately confuse consumers and could turn them away.

Branding is how others see you.


While marketing is how you want others to see you, branding is how they actually do.

Your marketing strategy should assess and consider your personal brand. If you have a strong brand, you can spend more time building on it. If you have reputation problems, however, you need to focus on rebuilding or changing perceptions.

As an example, if your professional network believes you to be a fraud or slacker, then it will require more than just dressing professionally and mastering your LinkedIn profile to change this perception.

Similarly, from a business standpoint, understanding how consumers perceive your business is crucial for how you decide to execute a marketing and advertising strategy.

Now, I understand I just oversimplified complex marketing concepts--exactly what I critiqued at the beginning. I find, however, that applying these concepts to ourselves creates an effective and simple way to explain how each concept can and should be applied to your business.

What other methods or analogies do you use to simplify and explain the differences between marketing concepts? Please share your valuable insights with others below in the comments.






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



ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

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Saturday, April 28, 2018

Branding Boot Camp: How to Build a Tactical Marketing Plan [WATCH VIDEO]




ICYMI, I had a branding issue when I first met marketing expert Kathleen Griffith. In part one of our special series, I learned about fragmentation. Griffith encouraged me to pick one area of my business to focus on and she gave tips on how you can get do that, too. Then we delved into what I needed to develop a brand strategy and the importance of knowing your company's core values. In this episode, Griffith walks me through how to build a tactical marketing plan and has homework assignments that may help you as well.





Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com


ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

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Monday, April 23, 2018

Live-Streaming: An Expert Guide For Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs


I've never been one for live streams, myself. Though I'm more than comfortable speaking, as I have on stages across the globe, I have never felt sure that I have the tools, technology, and technical know-how to make it work. But that's no longer an excuse. Live streaming isn't going anywhere, and it's a powerful tool for connecting with your audience.

I'm lucky to get to grace the stage at Social Media Marketing World 18 alongside some of the marketing industry's best and brightest social media experts, so I asked for their tips, tricks, hacks and best practices for using live streaming video -- whether on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram or elsewhere--to engage your audience and grow your business.


Preparing: What To Do Before You To Go Live


"Too many people are afraid of going live, because they are not sure they look, sound, act, talk, etc well enough. But, the only way to get better is to practice. Stop coming up with excuses and start creating more!" -- Azriel Ratz, CEO, Ratz Pack Media

"For FB live: pick one big thing you want your audience to walk away with. One video, one big point. Be really clear on who your audience is, what the need and who you are. Treat it like a show - not a collection of videos." --Kathy Klotz-Guest, Author of "Stop Boring Me!"

"A lot of creators wait a few minutes to allow the live audience to tune in so which is a mistake as the replay audience will likely click away and not sit through "dead space" which is why as soon as you go live you want to be energetic, vibrant, and be ready to be 'on'." -- Carlos Gil, CEO/Founder, Gil Media Co.

"When you starting live streaming involve relevant influencers in your live stream that already have an audience you want to attract. It's very difficult building up your audience so it's better to leverage off someone that has an audience already. So you're looking for relevant influencers that are attracting a large livestream audience." --Ian Cleary, Founder of RazorSocial, Co-Founder of OutreachPlus

"Have your URL and any other short text information you want to periodically display during your show in a nearby text file or Google doc so you can easily copy and paste it into display slots as your show moves forward. That way you don't have to sit there and try to retype URLs or short phrases." -- David H. Lawrence XVII, Actor and creator of Camera Ready U

"Ah, the age old question; if no-one knew about your live-stream and no-one watched it then did it really happen? Well, yes, you can get people to watch your videos back, but part of the magic of live-video is the live aspect! You can interact with your audience, answer questions and change topic as you go. So, you have to give your audience a heads up before you stream. Spread the word on your social media accounts and start building up a buzz around the event. Get people to sign-up, so you have an idea about how many people will watch and send reminder messages and follow-up emails." -- Bryan Kramer, CEO of H2H Companies & PureMatter

"Set a time and day of the week and be consistent." -- Monica Pruett, Instructor at The6FigureBlog.com

Content: What To Live Stream (And What Not To)


"The most important aspect of live streaming is relevance. Relevance to audience (why would they watch your live stream), to timing (is this time a good time to get the numbers you're after), & to your brand story (hitting the right tone is so important). Knowing your audience & understanding what drives them will help you situate your visual aspects of your live stream as well as decide the topics that will be addressed." -- Cassie Roma, Content Marketing & Social Media Expert

"When you are somewhere witnessing something that you want share, or immediately inspired to share something, and you whip out your phone and just go for it, that's On the Fly live streaming. It should be quick and impactful. When you are in a space that you have more control over, like your home or office, and you decide you have something important to share and want to go live to share it, that is In the Moment. If you happen to have a studio, this might be more produced, but it doesn't need to be. It should have clean audio and some consideration for the way your set looks. When you spend time on your live stream by scripting an opening and a closing, by carefully planning the content you share, and by promoting the fact that it's coming, that's Prepped and Ready. More and more live streams are taking this format with platforms like BeLive making the scheduling and promotion easier. Prepped and Ready may or may not mean you are live streaming at a regular time, and it always means you are live streaming with a full content and promotion plan." -- Chloe DiVita, Founder of Perceptive Presence

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Engagement: Activating The Audience During The Stream


"It seems so simple, but by telling your Facebook Live audience to turn the sound on using the text field makes a huge difference in your metrics." -- Carmen Shirley Collins, Social Media Lead, Talent Brand, Cisco

"Ask an easy-to-answer question like 'where are you viewing from' or ask them to click on Like if they can hear you loud and clear. This will bring you great engagement and boost your reach as Facebook will show your live video to more people." -- Alex Khan, Germany's most followed Social Media Coach

"On Instagram Live, you can't label your video. As soon as you go live, type a comment with your video title or topic and share it. Then, select your comment and Pin it. This keeps your comment (with the topic or title) visible to all viewers coming on throughout the live broadcast." -- Jenn Herman, Founder of Jenn's Trends,

"As you are Live have your viewers share the live video on their personal profiles simultaneously which will provide you greater reach" -- Nicholas Kusmich, Founder & Director of the H2H Media Group

"You must remember that most of your live stream views will come from the replay and NOT the live stream. This is true for even the most popular live streamers. It is imperative therefore that you build your live stream format around the replay viewers. One great way to do this is in your first 5 seconds. Most live streamers spend the first few minutes waiting for their audience to show up which makes for a horrible replay experience. Instead, start your live stream FOR the replay viewer by asking a question or hitting them with a value statement up front. That way, when a viewer watches on replay, the very first thing they will hear is a question or comment designed specifically for them!" -- Owen Video, The VideoSpot


Tools: Technology and Software Suggestions


"Here's a relatively new tool that I have been testing (and loving!!) lately. It's Ecamm Live. It's only $39 (one time - NOT subscription!), is lightweight and super easy to use, with some neat built-in features like countdown clock, pop out windows, multiple camera inputs, PIP, desktop sharing, etc. Authentic engagement is key to live video, so having a window that not only displays viewer comments, but allows for one-click, lower-thirds comment overlays makes this my current live video production platform of choice. You can also bring in video or audio guests using the Ecamm Call Recorder for Skype. The Ecamm software also has a built-in option to post to YouTube when you're done (sweeeeeet!)" -- Lou Mongello, Host/Producer of WDWRadio.com

"When going live on Facebook, use a service like Live Leap to syndicate that live broadcast automatically to multiple Facebook groups, pages, notify your audience on your other social networks, your blog/website, email and even SMS. This is a quick/easy way to expand your reach without any additional effort on your part (besides the set up)." -- Leslie Samuel, Owner of Becoming A Blogger

"With the ability to stream live to Facebook, Belive makes it so easy to conduct an interview and share screens. You also have a great view of all the comments on the Facebook Live and the ability to reply from the Belive manager. It also lets you show the commenter's photo and comment on the screen - which people love! One of my favorite features is the agenda. I drop in my outline, links I want to share, etc. So I can either display them on the screen or copy and paste to a comment on the broadcast." -- Alisa Meredith, Content Marketing Manager, Tailwind.
Other Tips, Tricks & Hacks

"Go live for at least 15 minutes. FB wants people to watch lives while they are live. In order to get the most reach, make sure to stay live for long enough for FB give you the most reach as possible." -- Azriel Ratz, CEO, Ratz Pack Media

"Don't assume that live streaming is just for millennial audiences. I worked for a healthcare company that had a lot of success live streaming healthy cooking classes, fitness classes for seniors, and Medicare Q&A sessions. Facebook makes it so easy for users to participate!" -- Dan Gingiss, Author of "Winning at Social Customer Care"

"Brands and businesses should start using 360-live video as it is the next iteration in live video/live streaming. You will see a shift in content from 2D/flat to content that's 3D, 360-degrees and sometime holographic." -- Cathy Hackl, Marketing Futurist, Author of Marketing New Realities, VR and AR Evangelist

"When you create your Live Stream, think about how you are going to re-purpose it. I am using Live Streaming at least a few times a week and then I download the video, add it to YouTube, share it on the other social platforms and embed it on a blog post. Now that one piece of content is going much further!" -- Andrea Vahl, Co-author of Facebook Marketing All-in-One for Dummies


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



ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

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Friday, April 20, 2018

Why Fulfillment Is the True Key to Growing and Scaling an E-Commerce Business


In the world of eCommerce, particularly for emerging bands in the health, beauty, and fashion markets, your 2018 growth plan should include methods to optimize order fulfillment. Why? It plays a key role in achieving customer satisfaction. Numerous studies continue to point out the significance of factors such as delivery times, order tracking and ease of returns for customers when choosing where to spend their dollars. Prioritizing fulfillment can help brands appeal to the evolving demands of today's shoppers, and increase the lifetime value of a customer to achieve short and long-term growth.


Fast Shipping


A recent Dropoff study revealed that 97% of shoppers view expedited delivery as at least somewhat important when deciding to make a purchase, with 40% saying it is very important. These results highlight the significance of swiftly processing and shipping a customer's order to gain their trust, as well as their future business. This latter point is not just an opinion, as DHL notes that brands who offer premium shipping grow 1.6 times faster than those who don't.

For emerging brands that expect strong growth in 2018, the ability to provide accurate and fast delivery may require partnering with an experienced third-party logistics (3PL) company. The proper 3PL will have the ability to scale as a brand grows to seamlessly accommodate significant increases in orders.


Transparency


Today's shoppers also want transparency from the merchants they purchase from - and that includes order tracking. A ProShip study indicates that 97% of customers want the ability to monitor their order status throughout the shipping process. If sellers are unable to meet this expectation, they risk not appealing to an overwhelming majority of consumers. Further supporting this claim is a 2017 eCommerce Study by Dotcom Distribution. Results from the study indicated that 26.7% of responding online shoppers believe greater order visibility could influence a repeat purchase, a jump from 20.8% in 2016.

Another benefit to order tracking is that it can create an increase in traffic to a brand's website. These increased visits have the potential to translate to additional purchases, as the traffic provides an opportunity to expose these customers to more products and promotions.


Simple Returns


There are, of course, occasions when a customer is not completely satisfied with his or her purchase for reasons other than fulfillment. This is especially true for eCommerce retailers, as they reportedly have a higher rate of return than their in-store counterparts. According to a Navar survey, almost half of participating millennial shoppers view returns as difficult, with 60% of those choosing to keep the items they don't like simply to avoid the process. Growing retailers must do their best to make returns a smooth process to maintain customer satisfaction. By ensuring a simple return process, growing brands can maintain a level of equity with these customers that may reap dividends in the future.


Growth Pains


As eCommerce companies emerge and grow, so, too, do many problems they face. Increased order volume and sales will yield more revenue, but they also open the door to new issues that must be addressed:

  • Team/Space Limitations - Many emerging brands don't have the warehouse space for the added inventory necessary to fulfill orders in a timely fashion. Additionally, smaller teams will soon realize they can't keep up with the growing workload. A 3PL that can scale with your business will help solve these issues.
  • Technology Stack - As a business expands, its available technology needs to grow with it. Special programs to effectively manage the increases in sales must be developed and integrated into the fulfillment process.
  • Fluctuating Sales - Sales can spike and drop based on seasonality, a successful promotion, line expansion/introduction or other factors. A 3PL partner should have the experience and insight to help a brand and retailer plan for these variations.

These are just a few potential issues.



Addressing these considerations will have an impact on 2018 sales and growth. Selecting the right 3PL partner can help ensure that fulfillment does its part in creating a positive brand experience for your customers that drives customer loyalty. 



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




ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

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Thursday, April 19, 2018

How to Write Emails That Move the Sales Needle


It’s easy to send an email—and it can cost you basically nothing. Your company can send a limitless number of marketing emails, hoping for the best—but if that’s the approach you take, you’ll find that your emails fall on deaf ears. In fact, you’ll probably find that they never get opened at all.

Just because emails are perceived as cheap and mundane doesn’t mean you should be careless in how you send them. With the right approach, marketing emails can be more than just inbox filler. They can actually move your sales needle and improve your bottom line.


How? By accomplishing a few things:


  1. First, your emails actually have to be opened and read.
  2. Your emails need to go to the right people.
  3. Your emails need to offer something of value.
  4. Finally, your emails need to earn the trust of each recipient.

Maybe that sounds like a tall order, but with the right email marketing strategy, these goals are totally attainable. Here’s how.


Get Your Subject Line Right


Remember, your marketing emails won’t accomplish anything if they don’t get read. And that largely comes down to the subject line. Your subject line sets the tone and establishes the first impression for each email you send—and a good subject line will entice the recipient to explore your message. That’s how you get your emails to be opened and read.

So what does a good subject line look like? For one thing, it’s succinct. According to one study, the best length for an email subject line is four words. Does that mean every email you send needs to have a four-word subject line? No—but you should definitely shoot for brevity.

As for the substance of your subject lines, make sure you avoid clich├ęs. Emoji and overtly salesy language tend not to grab anyone’s attention. Instead, convey the value of your message. What does it say, or what kind of offer does it include? How will the recipient be better off for opening your message?

That’s what you should convey in your subject line—in as brief and punchy a way as you can.


Recommended for youSign up for Email Marketing Webinar with Westchester Networking for Professionals

Send Your Emails to the Right People


Another key to getting your emails opened and read is to make sure they go to the right people. Before you hit send, know who you’re sending to.

Accomplish this by keeping a well-curated email list. There are different ways to do this. Maybe you have lists for low-quality and high-quality leads; for returning customers and new leads. At Grammar Chic, Inc., we have distinct aspects of our business—resume writing and content marketing, for example—where the subject matter overlap is pretty minimal. Thus, we maintain separate email lists, only sending resume-related stuff to jobseekers, not to our friends who work in marketing.

Well-curated email lists are key for ensuring that, when someone receives your message, it contains something that speaks to them.


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Make Your Emails Valuable


Finally, your emails must earn the trust of each recipient. To put it another way, you need to show that you respect your recipient’s time. Remember that the people who receive your emails probably receive a ton of messages over the course of the day. They have little patience for something that simply hogs space in their inbox. Rather than sending them a bunch of cursory messages day in and day out, send messages judiciously—and make sure each one really counts.

And to make a message count, you need to make sure it offers something of value. Value, of course, can come in many different forms—among them:

  • An offer for a white paper, guide, or other downloadable offer
  • A discount code or coupon
  • A first look at a new product or service, before it’s been unveiled anywhere else
  • Carefully curated, value-adding clips from your company blog

The bottom line? Don’t waste anyone’s time. Give them something that speaks to their needs and shows that you’re looking out for them—not just trying to hock your wares.


Write Emails That Improve Your Bottom Line


Good emails don’t just get read; they convert, in one way or another. As such, they can actually move your sales needle.



Source: https://www.business2community.com
Image Credit: Pixabay


ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

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11 Quick Email Marketing Tips That Will Increase Your Response Rates

Despite the rumors, email marketing is definitely not dead. In fact, among savvy marketers, it is actually rated one of the most effective marketing strategies. Take a look at this chart from Smart Insights and Get Response.




So take a look at your email marketing tactics and evaluate how you can improve. These tips will help.

1. Use your name in the “from address” of your email marketing campaigns. Using your business name results in fewer opens because it isn’t as friendly and personal.

2. Make it worth it for your audience to open and read your emails. Always include a surprise in every three or four emails so they get used to the idea that you may give something away in your emails that no one else is going to get. This can be something as simple as a free audio download.

3. It’s all about stand-out headlines. Focus on crafting headlines that let your readers know what’s inside and why they should open without being dishonest. Your text should deliver everything your headline promises.

4. Segmentation is imperative for good email marketing because that’s the only way you can freely mention the right product, the right service, and the right topic to them at the right time. If you’re new to this tactic, read 50 Smart Ways to Segment Your Email List Like a Pro from Optin Monster. Then enlist the help of your virtual assistant to implement it.

5. Check out your competition’s email marketing list. Sign up for their freebies and watch how they do things. Don’t copy them, but do figure out how they do it, identify the gaps, and note the topics.



6. Work on building a real relationship with your email list members. Let them reply directly to the emails you send, and then answer them. They like knowing a real person is behind the emails rather than nothing at all. Check your email marketing software, many of them default to a generic reply to address. You can change this for each email.

7. Evaluate your writing style. Email writing should be a little more laid back than most people think. Email should be personal, brief, and exciting to read. Show your enthusiasm with your word choice. Try talking your emails using voice to text to get the rhythm right. Be sure to edit if you do this! The spoken word doesn’t always translate well directly to written language.

8. Get personal in your email. Share your experiences and give details that you normally would not give on your site. Trusting your readers with a little-known fact will make them feel special and that your friendship is mutual.

9. In your high school English class, you were probably taught to write in the third person, rather than using you and I. However, you should talk directly to each individual, using the word “you” to allude to your more personal relationship, which helps persuade your readers to take the action based on your relationship and their trust.

10. Tell stories to your audience that leads them to make the conclusion to buy what you’re recommending to them. Stories can be case studies, your own story, or client stories. When they see real-life examples, they’ll be much more connected to the content.

11. Include your CTA link in more than one spot in your email. If you mention the product or solution, link to it, don’t wait until the end. That way the moment your reader is ready to click through, they can do so. Make sure they land directly on a landing page specific to the CTA.



Source: https://www.business2community.com
Image Credit: Smart Insights | Get Response




ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

Stay Connected with WNFP!
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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

9 Reasons Why No One Wants to Open Your Marketing Emails


As email marketing continues to grow in popularity, there's little sign that marketers know what they're doing. Below are nine marketing emails I received in the past week, all of which make basic, fatal errors.

Quick note on terminology: the "teaser" is the first 20 or so words in the email, which typically appear in the recipient's Inbox display. Other than the Subject line, the teaser is what causes the recipient to open the email.

Note: all of the email below were sent to me unsolicited, so I'm not bothering to edit out the names or the contact information. Just to be clear, with the exception of #9 (which is phishing SPAM), their product may very well be fabulous.

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1. Apologizing for your email.


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This example is particularly egregious since it comes from a large sales training firm. They've not only wasted the first half of their teaser repeating their corporate name but wasted the second half with the unsubscribe explanation. Doh!

2. Puzzling Subject line and teaser.


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When it comes to email marketing, mysterious is the enemy of good. No decision-maker opens an email out of mere curiosity. Unless your email seems immediately relevant, most (sane) people will delete or ignore it.

3. Repeating the Subject line in the teaser.


click image to enlarge

I see this all the time: wasting the first half of the teaser repeating the information that's in the Subject line. Once is enough. Ideally the teaser should expand on the Subject line to help provide a compelling case to open the email.

4. Putting the date in the teaser (twice).


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Seriously? Every email system in the world displays the date when the email was received. Nobody cares when it was sent. Also note that the first part of the teaser is wasted repeating the identity. Dumb.

5. A self-centered teaser.


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Dude, I don't care what you want and I especially don't care if you're available to assist me (as always?). In email marketing you must establish your relevance before bringing yourself into the scenario.

6. An incomprehensible Subject line.


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Say whut?

7. A questionable sender's email address.


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Wow. AOL. Is that still a thing? Also, what's the craziness of putting the contact information at the top? If you're serious about email marketing, get a serious email address. Not Gmail or Hotmail and certainly not this refugee from the 1990s.

8. "Click to Webpage" in your teaser.


click image to enlarge


Unfortunately, several email marketing programs default with this ridiculous question in the teaser. It not only wastes the teaser but sounds like it's something from when email was something new and unreliable.

9. Recipient's name in the Subject line.


click image to enlarge


Probably the best way to make certain your email will be deleted. Only SPAMmers do this. Please note that the message is indeed SPAM, but I frequently see legitimate email marketers trying this hackneyed, counterproductive personalization.




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



ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

Stay Connected with WNFP!
Join WNFP Communities!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

6 Common Mistakes Even the Most Professional People Make at Networking Events


If you have attended a tech event or any event in which people are networking, you have most definitely encountered some of these mistakes, you may even be guilty of a few of them. I know I am.

Over the years, like many entrepreneurs, I have attended hundreds of tech events and conferences. Only in the past 24-48 months, can I say that I have truly leveraged these networking opportunities to build and amplify my business. Prior to that, I was doing it all wrong, with many of the points below sounding a bit too familiar.

Let's just jump right in.


1. Talking Someone's Ear Off


If someone calls you over to make an introduction at an event, let's say to an investor, that is an opportunity to connect, not an opportunity to chew off the ear of that investor for 30 minutes. Say hi, connect, state your elevator pitch, exchange business cards perhaps, and ask if it would be ok to send over more info.

If you stand there talking for 30 minutes, a few things will happen.

First of all you will bore the person.

Second, you will make things awkward because they want to go on to the next person. Or eat lunch. Or go home. Or get a drink. But they can't because you won't stop talking.

Third, the person who introduced you is literally just standing there. Bored. Awkward. And worst of all, they are instantly regretting introducing you. You stole their spotlight. You made them look bad. You missed the opportunity and ruined your chances not only with the investor or whoever you were being introduced to, but also the chances of the person who connected you, ever doing so again.

Be concise, straight to the point, and move on.

2. Pitching Like a Robot


Speaking of pitching, don't be robotic and rehearsed. Don't recite your pitch as if you're reading it off a paper. "We are revolutionizing X." "We are disrupting Y."

It is transparent when you just repeat your pitch over and over. Be personal. Be authentic. Mix it up. Be spontaneous.

People are better at picking up on this kind of thing than you might think and repeating the same sentence over and over is ineffective and even insulting.

3. Beating Around the Bush


If you want something from the person you are speaking to, state it. In the beginning. Be transparent and straight forward. Same is true for email. If you stand there pitching, and at the end of your monologue, the individual is not sure what to do with all the information you just gave them, that is both awkward and ineffective.

"I have an idea. I'd love your feedback."
"I have a startup. I want you to write about us" (Not a recommended sentence.)
"I have a question. I'd love to grab a cup of coffee. "

State up front what the ask is and you might just get what you want.


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4. Failing on the Follow-Up


If you pitched someone at an event, chances are you are not the only one who pitched that person. Remember that. When following up the next day, say something for context. "I'm the guy who made the joke about the WiFi." "I'm the person you met by the entrance who grew up with your cousin."

When you do send a follow up email, give the context of your meeting at the event. Give the context of your email. I have gotten a follow up to an event that was an email with 500 words and no ask; no context, and no explanation of why I was getting it. I had no idea what to do with it. I literally replied "Is there something specific I can help with or was that for an FYI?"

Want something? Say it. Up front. Be concise and transparent. Don't send a long email without giving the recipient a reason to read it.

"Hi Michael, we spoke yesterday about you giving me some advice about x. Here is more info."

"Hi Michelle, as mentioned, I'd love to meet some investors. Here is additional info about my venture."

Context.

5. Non-Stop Name-Dropping


We all name drop. It's a thing. It creates common ground, it establishes credibility. If you spend most of the meeting name-dropping or listing your accomplishments when really, all you want to do is ask for some help, that help will never come. The person is thinking "Why are you telling me how great you are if you want my help? You seem to be doing just fine without me."

Validate yourself for a few seconds, then move on.

6. Enough About You


Start every meeting with "Tell me about you." Or "What are your bottlenecks?" Or "Tell me some more about your focus nowadays."

If you absolutely must start the meeting talking about yourself, then make sure to ask one of those questions a few minutes in.

People have a short attention span for others who only talk about themselves. On the flip side, just like you like talking about yourself, the person you are speaking to also wants to tell you about themselves. Allow them to do that. Draw them in.

Those are some guidelines for networking during and following the event.

Networking is an art. Following up is a science. Do it right or don't do it at all.


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




ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

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Monday, April 16, 2018

These 5 Common Marketing Mistakes Can Sink a Small Business


It happens: with multiple departments to oversee, deadlines piling up, and the urge to just get. it. done. small business owners may decide to act on marketing ideas--maybe even good ones!--without a comprehensive plan in place first.

As it turns out, though, throwing up blogs, videos, podcasts, and social posts without creating a strategy around them first is the number one mistake brands make with their content marketing, according to Robert Rose, Chief Strategy Advisor, Content Marketing Institute.

There are plenty of other missteps well-intentioned brands can make as they aim to engage audiences. Watch out for these four all-too-common blunders.

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Writing for Search Engines


We've explored what Google wants, but Rose cautions that unlike real people (your customers!) search engines don't pay the rent.

"I've seen companies who are amazing at getting to the front page of Google, but then once you click through - there's nothing else there beyond the answer to the question the user asked," Rose says.

The copy that you create has to serve double duty--both quenching the reader's curiosity and motivating them to learn more by moving deeper within your brand's website.


Expecting an Immediate Payoff


At the content marketing agency I co-founded, Masthead Media, I often encounter marketing managers who are eager to see their content investment yield near-instant results...or, perform at least as quickly as a Facebook ad. Because most content needs time to be discovered organically and built momentum, an ultra-fast ROI rarely happens.

"Many of the businesses who struggle simply see content marketing as a replacement for traditional advertising, or other sales collateral production," says Rose. "If the business expects content to provide the same value, in the same timeframe, as an ad, then there will be nothing but disappointment."

Instead, you should look to content as a long-term, rather than a campaign-based investment. By creating high-quality content, you're actually investing in the relationship you have with your audiences--and the one they have with you. Over a period of months, and even years (not days!) that enhanced relationship can yield exponential value.

I recommend mapping out short-term and long-term KPIs for your content--not just your revenue, but metrics that demonstrate that you're building trust with the audiences you care about. Total and returning traffic, traffic from search, time on site, pages per session, and click-through rates can all indicate if your content is gaining traction--and enhancing your relationship--with audiences. And remember, content can have an endless shelf life if you know how to use it.

Not Spending Enough on Content


While CMI research indicates that most organizations are spending between 10 percent and 30 percent of their overall marketing budget on content marketing, the brands that are successful are spending, on average, 40 percent. So if your content budget is still just whatever's leftover after funds for traditional marketing channels has been earmarked, you're really creating an uphill climb to results.


Giving up on Video


This is where expecting immediate results and not making the investment collide.

Sporadically putting up videos here and there and expecting impressive results does not a video strategy make. And looking at video as the uber-expensive medium it once was is a mistake, too. "The costs continue to come down in terms of quality and production," says Rose.

On the flip side, beware of putting all of your eggs in the video basket. "Those that are good at video will create a swell in the marketplace," says Rose. "For others, the noise will become so loud, that you'll see a bit of a backlash to it."

To set yourself apart, consider tapping microinfluencers who excel at video content creation to supplement your video strategy. The built-in distribution can help kickstart a robust video presence.





ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

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Friday, April 13, 2018

7 Expert Email Marketing Tips

Credit: Shutterstock/Fizwig

Email is an effective, affordable marketing tactic that has remained a top strategy for years. It has influenced many consumers and propelled many brands to the top of their category. But while it's held its ground for some time, it's certainly changed over the years.

To keep up with times, you must adapt to tech changes and implement new tactics. Here are seven email marketing tips to ensure success for your email marketing campaigns. Deciding on an email marketing software program for your business.


CAN-SPAM


According to KJ Dearie, product specialist at Termly, one of the most important steps an email marketer should take is adhering to the CAN-SPAM Act, a law that outlines seven requirements for business emails.

"Broadly speaking, the CAN-SPAM Act requires marketing emails to be clear in both content and intentions and to give recipients the ability to unsubscribe from the emailing service," Dearie said. "The act also dictates the need for business owners to ensure that any third-party email marketing service they employ adheres to the CAN-SPAM standards or risk penalization, the likes of which could be as steep as $40,000 per offending email."

It's best to make yourself aware of these risks before it's too late. It's as simple as familiarizing yourself with the act and ensuring you don't overstep its boundaries.

Segmentation


When crafting your emails, keep your target audience in mind. However, this isn't just one group of people; rather, it should be several groups of consumers categorized according to preferences and interests, a process known as segmentation.

"Do not blast messages to everyone on your list," said Maria Mora, content director at Big Sea. "Break lists up depending on where your contacts are in the buyer's journey, and segment based on what you know about them. Then tailor messages that are appropriate to those contacts at the right time."


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Subject line


The first thing customers will see is your subject line. If it doesn't pique their curiosity among the swarm of other emails in their inbox, they'll likely delete it.

To create an attractive subject, Ryan Gould, vice president of strategy and marketing services at Elevation Marketing, advised getting personal with customers by being upfront about who you are and what you can do for them.

"Customers really don't care about what your email is offering. They just want to know how it's going to benefit them," he said. "If that is coming across clearly in the subject line and it's paired with a sense of urgency, such as a time limit, odds are they will want to read more. Using questions … and mentioning current (and relevant) events are also excellent ways to pique readers' curiosity."

A/B testing


Once you've come up with some good angles, it's time to put them to the test. With A/B testing, you can experiment with two variants, such as two subject lines, to discover which performs best.

"When sending email campaigns, it's important to find out what works for you and your audience," said Sean Nichols, marketing manager at SiteVisibility. "A/B testing is the best way to do this and can … increase your open rates and clicks."

Rather than blindly choosing what you think might perform best, run A/B tests so you can curate your information in the future.

"Through A/B testing, you're able to test a variety of things, like subject lines, who the email is sent from and when the email is sent, but perhaps most importantly, you're able to test the content within the email," he added. "Here, you should test things like call to actions, the images included, the text used to convey your message and the layout of the email itself."

Nichols recommended testing just one part of the email (e.g., subject lines or images) at a time so there aren't too many variables. This ensures more accurate results.

Call to action


Don't forget the purpose of your email, which should be clear to your audience. Are you reminding them that they have an item in their cart? Alerting them of a sale? Promoting new products?

"If you want to see email engagement increase, you have to have a strong call to action to encourage and measure that engagement," said Megan Robinson, vice president of marketing at @revenue. "For those starting out with email marketing, [many] fail to think about the reader's journey and connect the immediate message with the next steps."

Every email should require some form of action from consumers, from checking out your website to filling out a survey. Once you have their attention with a catchy subject and intriguing text, they'll be more interested in following your requests.

Clear and concise


Don't complicate your emails. Say exactly what you want to say in a way that will interest your readers. You don't have to type paragraphs of content that no one will bother reading. Be as clear and concise as possible.

"Instead of including several long articles that will take readers a long time to scroll through, keep it brief and include a link to your blog where they can read more," said Emily Sidley, senior director of publicity at Three Girls Media Inc. "This is especially important, because the majority of consumers check email on their phones. If the email is too long, they won't spend time scrolling through on their tiny handheld screen."

Many mobile users are on the go and don't have time to read lengthy content. If your emails take longer than two to three minutes to read, you're likely to be ignored, added Mora.


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Analytics


The last step to consider is analytics. Your job is not over once you click Send. In fact, it's just begun.

"Each time you send a newsletter, look at how many recipients open it, which links they click, if they forward it, etc.," said Sidley. "As you look at this information, notice trends. Do your readers like a particular type of content more than another? Is the open rate higher or lower when you send it in the afternoon or the morning? Pay attention to the data and adjust your email marketing campaign accordingly."

The results will help you create more valuable content for the future.



Source: https://www.businessnewsdaily.com






ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

Stay Connected with WNFP!
Join WNFP Communities!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Want to Build a Great Marketing Strategy? Start by Making Human Connections. Here's How


Hearst bought Rodale. Meredith bought Time. But these major magazine unions will look relatively small if AT&T acquires Time Warner and Sinclair Broadcast Group manages to take over Tribune Media. And now, CBS is in talks with Viacom to combine. While the valuations in this wave of M&A vary, one thing remains constant: a quest for scale.

Facebook and Google eat the lion's share of digital advertising and practically all the growth. So this wave of mega media mergers illustrates one route to combat the dominance of these internet giants: scale. Each of these mergers amasses an enormous audience in an effort to extend companies' reach in order to compete. And while it will be exciting to see what these mergers yield in terms of advertiser appeal, there's another approach that many marketers should be thinking about.

In today's mass-reach world, it is easy to be blinded by scale. Even in the case of each of these massive mergers, there's something that media brands mastered long ago that still matters: individual relationships. It might sound counterintuitive that corporations like these would know their customers, but the reality is that consumers interact with individual titles, programs, and media personalities. The way that media companies maintain their popularity among consumers is by understanding their interests and serving them. In fact, while consumer trust in the media continues to be low, trust in journalism and journalists is on the rise.

In a world of seemingly infinite reach, that one-to-one connection is more valuable than ever. Here are three things you need to keep in mind so you can get personal with your customers.


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1. Make honest human connections.


Humans are literally wired to connect with one another. When we treat our customers like data or personas or demographics, it can be easy to forget that they are individuals. The really confounding thing about our ability to collect nearly infinite information about our customers is that we don't treat them as well as we did before we interacted digitally.

Trust is essential to form human connections. While it might be tempting to use tracking tools to gather data about our customers, trust is more important. Opting in is the bare minimum for data collection--transparency and consent must be given. Be sure that you treat your customers (and their data) with respect to deepen your customer connection.


2. Exchange ideas.


As a marketer, it can be very easy to focus on one-way messaging. Let's face it--a lot of work goes into creating those marketing messages. However, genuine relationships are based on interaction and dialogue. Find opportunities to listen. Ask questions and for opinions. Give your customers input and not only will you deepen your relationship with them, but you will also probably receive feedback, criticism, and ideas that you can use. Who would know better what your customers need than they do?


3. Socialize.


Yes, you can incorporate social media. But this requires actively listening, exchanging ideas, responding to positive and negative feedback, and all of the qualities required in genuine human connection. However, while it can be easy to fall back into the internet-scale trap and view social media as the most efficient way to reach your customers, genuine relationships are rarely based on efficiency.

One of the most effective ways to connect with customers is face to face. Many marketers (and media companies) are adding live experiences to their mix. Work with your customers to understand what sorts of real-world events would be useful, fun, or interesting to them. And if creating your own event seems too daunting, you can find out what events they already attend and what sorts of causes matter to them, or interests they have, and create a custom experience within an event just for your audience. What creates a deeper bond than shared experience?

So, yes, there are many ways to reach your customers, and the internet spawns new and increasingly targeted ones all the time. But as you consider the most effective methods for your marketing objectives, consider whether your topmost objective is scale or if you are looking for the kind of lasting customer relationship that will sustain you in the long run.



[WATCH VIDEO]



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




ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

Stay Connected with WNFP!
Join WNFP Communities!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

How to Personalize Emails Based On What You Know


Think of your favorite customer.

With every visit your knowledge of this customer grows and grows.

The first time they shopped at your business you discovered what products they like; the next time it was the name of their dog.

Now, you know what they do for a living, how they say goodbye with some well-timed finger guns, and why their dream of having a puppy was never fulfilled. (They’re allergic).

This knowledge is where the power of a small business lies and where no large business, even with a seemingly endless marketing budget, can come close.

You can use your special knowledge of your customers to talk with them one-on-one in your email marketing, taking your personalization to the next level.

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Why would you want to use what you know in your emails?

Of all the marketing you see all day, every day, which ones actually make an impact? Personalization can help your marketing rise to the top by speaking directly to your potential customers. It’s easy to tune out a conversation that you’re not involved in, but think of how fast you start to listen in once you hear your name.

The same can happen with marketing. Even just mentioning your customer’s name in the subject line of an email can boost open rates. If you only have a few chances a day to grab the attention of your customers, you need to make sure you’re doing everything you can to make an impact.


Reward your most valuable customers

No matter how many new customers walk through your door, the ones that have been with you the longest are what keep you showing up early and staying open late. Reward that loyalty can help to keep them coming back, and can spread more loyalty via word of mouth when they tell friends about their special loyalty discount or reward.


Keep a record of the first time customers shop with you, visit your store, or sign up for your email list. Setup an automated message that sends them a special message and gives them some reward or an incentive that gets them back into your store. These emails work because customers don’t expect them and it shows how much you truly appreciate their business. After all, the lights couldn’t stay on without customers like them.


Build stronger connections with customers

Of course, as with anything, you can go too far with personalizing emails to people you know. Getting an email detailing my specific morning ritual, down to how many times I pet my cat before leaving for work (twice), would make me throw my computer out the window too.

Still, you can use personalization to forge a stronger connection with your customers. If you know three bike clubs visit your coffee shop every weekend, send out a bike club themed email to those customers giving them an incentive to come on Wednesday nights too. Your email could say, “In a bike club? Bring a new member to the coffee shop on Wednesday nights and get 10% off your coffee!”

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Keep things interesting (even a little weird)

Imagine getting ice cream on a warm, summer afternoon. As you pay for your two scoops of vanilla, you notice a survey next to the register asking what your favorite potato chip flavor is – interesting right?

A month later, you get an email from that ice cream shop with the results of the survey. Not only was your flavor one of the three most popular picks, but you can try all three in ice cream form right now, for a limited time. I’d try salt and vinegar ice cream at least once.

Personalizing your email marketing based on your customers’ likes and behavior can make your marketing more interesting and even set your business apart from the rest. Personalization can be a powerful tool that lets you test different messages with smaller groups of your customers, without the risk of turning other people off from your business.

How to start getting personal

If running your business has been your main focus, not getting to know your customers as well as you’d like, then now is the time to start. Not only will it make each interaction with your customers, more enjoyable, it can also help spur more revenue.

Start chatting with your customers, stage a get together for local clubs and organizations, or partner with other businesses; anything that can lead to more interesting conversations. Make sure you have a system to manage contacts in place, even if it’s just a simple spreadsheet, and add notes beside each customer as you learn more and more about them.

Even if the information you’re learning doesn’t seem to do with your business, down the road you may find that specific piece of personalization is exactly what’s missing in your marketing.


Source: https://blogs.constantcontact.com/




ABOUT WNFP
Westchester Networking for Professionals (WNFP) is a business organization focused on providing our members and guests with an extraordinary networking experience, bringing business professionals together for the sole purpose of generating new relationships and developing new business opportunities. Not a member, learn how you can become a member and join this awesome group of professionals to connect and grow your business.

Stay Connected with WNFP!
Join WNFP Communities!