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.


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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.

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.


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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.


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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.


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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.

Sign up to attend Email Marketing Webinar hosted by Westchester Networking for Professionals

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.

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Join WNFP Communities!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Make New Friends and Business Connections With These 7 Networking Icebreakers


Sweaty palms, dry mouth, and a light case of the shakes. Is it the onset of the flu? Nope. It's networking time. Networking can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially when you don't know anyone at the event. But it's a necessary part of an entrepreneur's work.

Polishing your networking skills is easy to let fall by the wayside in favor of other items in your burgeoning workload. But take the time, because networking does more than just build your business. It can also be a way to bounce back from burnout if you're feeling discouraged and reinvigorate your creativity if you're feeling tapped.

The thing about networking is that we're all there to widen our professional circles. We rely on each other for sales and referrals. And the number one factor in sales is relationships. That's why the best questions to ask are the ones that help you get to know the other person. Even though I am naturally shy, networking has helped me make new friends, close amazing deals, and learn new skills.


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Here's a list of my favorite questions that break the icy awkwardness of solo networking events.


1. What brought you to this event?


The answer might reveal if your potential new friend came with a colleague, to support a friend, or to represent a company. This question can help you see what you common interests you share and ease you into the conversation.

2. Do you know anyone else here tonight?


This is good way to see if your fellow networker is alone and in need an event buddy. Often, when people learn that I'm flying solo, they'll take me under their wing even if they're attending with friends.

3.How long have you lived in [whatever city you're in]?


This helps you get to know other attendees a little more personally. Some follow up questions might include what they like about their city or how they decided to move there (if they are not native to that city).

4. I'm headed to the bar, what should I get?


You can't do all that talking without something to wet your whistle. Make a graceful transition to the bar with a lighthearted question about what drinks they recommend.

5. What are you working on right now?


Infinitely better than "what do you do?" is asking what they're currently doing. We tend to prioritize our time based on what we most enjoy doing. So asking about the project of the moment almost guarantees they'll be talking about something they're passionate about.

6. Do you have any fun weekend plans?


This is a great question for events taking place Wednesday to Friday. Weekend plans can get you chatting about common interests. Who knows, you might even find a new hiking buddy or friend to add to your weekly poker matches.

7. I'm tired, what number coffee are you on today?


Chances are 9 out of 10 people at your event are also tired. Make a joke about caffeine intake and get them talking.

It's natural for people to ask the same question they've just answered in conversation. So don't ask any questions you don't want to answer!

Being a good networker takes practice so don't get discouraged if your first few events feel a bit rocky. Ask open-ended questions that help keep the conversation going and invite a little personality into the responses. You'll get to know more about their work and what they might be like to work with, too. See what events are happening near you and get to an event this week!


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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!

Monday, April 9, 2018

[VIDEO] 3 Simple Things You Can Do to Grow Your Business


After talking to hundreds of entrepreneurs and business owners, like financial advisors, real estate agents, mortgage brokers, business coaches, startup founders and more, Entrepreneur Network partner Greg Rollet has identified three simple things you can do to get more clients.

Now, these three things are not an exhaustive list, and there are a million different ways you can achieve them. But, they are at least a starting point you can use to develop your business and get more clients. For example, Rollett advises that you need to have a plan for your media.

This can take form in different ways. You might provide editorial content, meant to entertain readers and grow your audience. Or, you could create advertising, which would hopefully drive that audience toward an action -- particularly making a purchase or investing in you.

But, that's just one decision. You also need to decide on whether you want to make written media, photos or videos. Do you want it to be a digital media or something physical? Should it be long or short and what are your goals for the project?

This isn't about a one-size-fits-all solution -- each business will have different media needs. But, media is vital if you want to grow your business, because in the end, it's just a medium you can use for your message.



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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.

Stay Connected with WNFP!
Join WNFP Communities!

Never Use this Dumb Technique in Your Emails


I haven't written about email marketing in a while, so here goes. Earlier today, a reader forwarded a cold email that illustrates a emailing technique that seems effective but which actually reduces the likelihood that you'll get a response.

Here's the beginning of the cold email with names changed:

From: Kat Jones [mailto:kjones.mktg@outlook.com]
Sent: Friday, January 12, 2018 12:15 AM
To: Jon Dee jdee@deeco.com
Subject: Phone Meeting on Monday, Jdee 
Hello Jdee, 
I'm trying to get in touch with you to see if there is a mutual fit between our company expertise and your goals around sales prospecting strategies...


The most obvious problem with this cold email is that the email marketing app is grabbing the first part of the prospect's email and treating it as the prospect's first name. This flags the email as SPAM and almost guarantees a delete.

However, even if that programming error is fixed, this cold email would still get a chilly reception. The reason? The subject line tries to trick the prospect into opening the email by disguising itself as part of an ongoing conversation.

This is called a "bait and switch" subject line.

In this case, the "bait" implies that the prospect has already committed to a meeting and even identifies a specific day when that meeting was supposed to take place. Seeing this, prospects might easily think they've forgotten an appointment and thus open the email.

The "switch" is a sales pitch.

While I don't have specific statistics on this specific subject line, I've seen a couple of studies showing that a similar technique--using just the subject line "RE:"--has a very high open rate. Marketers use bait and switch to get their open rates up.

However, the true measurement of the effectiveness of a cold email isn't how many prospects open an email, but how many prospects read and respond to the email.

In my experience, "bait and switch" subject lines do indeed get relatively high open rates (compared to the number of emails sent) but they also get correspondingly low response rates (compared to the number of emails opened).


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There are three reasons for the poor performance of such emails.

First, prospects get annoyed and resentful when they think they're opening an email that contains something relevant and instead get a sales pitch.

Case in point: the reader who sent me the cold email was so annoyed that he wrote a detailed complaint which I'll include in the next issue of my free newsletter. For now, here's how he started his response:

"Your email below is the most frustrating one I've received in quite some time."

So, while the cold email in question did get a response in this case, it wasn't at all the response that the marketer wanted.

Second, pulling "bait and switch" is starting the relationship with a lie. Most prospects are predisposed to mistrust salespeople anyway. They aren't likely to respond to (much less by from) somebody they now mistrust even more.

Third and finally, sending one-size-fits-all cold emails to a list of prospects is SPAMming, plain and simple. People hate being SPAMmed and resent people and companies who SPAM them.

Which leads us to the two overriding rules of email marketing:

Only send mass emails to people who have subscribed to your list.
If you must send cold emails, carefully customize each email to match each individual recipient.







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!

Friday, April 6, 2018

11 First Sentences That Guarantee the Rest of Your Email Won't Get Read


Imagine you get this email. You don't know the sender, but you open it anyway. How long would you keep reading?

Dear Jeff, 
I hope you're having a great President's Day! I definitely am. Even though I'm spending a little time at work right now, I plan to spend at least part of the day having fun with friends. We're going snowboarding. I can't wait!"

​"I am writing to ask if you would be interested in...

Would you keep reading? Generally speaking, would you even have made it to the second paragraph? I know: The sender was trying to establish rapport. But still -- do you care about the President's Day plans of someone you don't know?

Nope. Instead you were thinking, "Clearly you want something. Can you please get to it?"

Now imagine you get this email:
We would love to have you on our show to talk about your book. Our podcast regularly appears in the top 10 of 'What's Hot' in the Business category of Apple Podcasts...

Would you keep reading? I know I did.

Here's the thing. We all get cold emails, and we're all incredibly good at sniffing out boilerplate openings and forced friendliness. Even if we do keep reading, canned openings negatively impact our impression of what is to come -- and make it much less likely we'll respond positively to the actual message of the email.

Think I'm wrong? Tell me how many times you've seen the following opening lines in an email and still kept reading.
"I thought I would circle back ..."
Yes, because I didn't respond the first time you emailed. But why will I respond this time... especially when the rest of your email is just copied and pasted from your original email?

In the same vein, this won't work either:
"In case you missed this ..." 
Maybe I did miss this.
Or maybe I wasn't interested.

Occasionally the recipient may have missed your original email. But know the person you're targeting. If it's someone who gets dozens of unsolicited emails a day, like, say, Tim Ferriss, then his lack of response doesn't mean he missed it. He didn't respond because he gets too many emails to respond to each one individually. If he's interested, he'll respond.

And just in case he really did miss it, find a more creative way to send another email. "In case you missed this" only ensures that even if he does see your second email, he's not going to read it.

And that's also true for:
"I'm just following up ..."

Occasionally a follow-up is warranted. If I said I would do something, and I haven't, by all means, please follow up. It's embarrassing to admit, but I sometimes do forget.

But if you're just "following up," or "circling back," or finding out if the recipient "missed this," find a more creative opening line.

Look at what you wrote in the first email. In all likelihood it was benefit-driven -- for you. Find a way to benefit the recipient. Always give, long before you hope to receive.
"I hope this finds you well."

I get this one at least four times a day. While I appreciate the sentiment, I immediately think two things. I first wonder when Dickensian greetings came back into vogue. But more important, "I hope this finds you well" screams "We don't know each other."

And while every new friendship has to start somewhere, "I hope this finds you well" is unlikely to be the place.

That's also true for:
"I hope you had a great weekend."

Fine if it comes from a friend (even though none of my friends ever open an email that way). Otherwise it's just forced friendliness. Asking "How was the Rolex 24?" shows you know me personally. Asking "How is your next book coming?" shows you know me professionally.

Granted, "I hope you had a great weekend" is an attempt to be friendly. But really: Do you expect people to respond? Do you really want to know about their weekend? Nah. What you really care about is how they respond to the meat of your email.

In time, some professional relationships do also become personal. But when the initial contact is through email, the relationships always starts as a professional one. Work to establish that first. Then a friendship might follow.

But not if you pretend that we're already friends.
"You might be surprised to learn ..."

No, I won't be, because I won't read the rest of your email. Like fake friendliness, interest-starters feel canned and forced. If I might be surprised, shoot, go ahead and surprise me with your opening line.

The same is true for:
"Did you know ...?"

Granted, asking a question can be a way to engage readers. But not in the opening line of an email since what we all do know is that whatever you claim we don't know is something you will then solve for us, probably for a fee.

"Did you know" and, "You might be surprised to learn" are clear signals that a sales pitch is coming. Maybe that's not your intent -- but we'll assume it is.

And a couple quick ones:
"My name is ..."

I already knew that. Your name appears in the sender field.
"I would like to introduce myself ..."

Sometimes introducing yourself first is OK, but in most cases the best approach is to say what you can do for the recipient (or what you want) first.

Then, if we're interested, we'll be willing to check out whether you're the right person to provide it (or are someone we want to help).
"I know you're really busy ..."

This is always followed by "but ..." (which is a lot like saying, "I know this is going to hurt your feelings, but ..."), Acknowledging a situation and then choosing to ignore that situation is an off-putting way to start.

Instead, respect the recipient's time by getting to the point: The less fluff, the better.
"I want to ask a quick favor."

At least in my experience, a "quick favor" never turns out to be quick. And neither does the ask itself.

Here's a better way to do it. I recently received this one-line email:
Daniel Coyle's new book is about high performance teams, I would love to have him on my podcast, and I'm hoping you can connect us.

He clearly knows I know Dan, and the name of the podcast was in the sender's sig. Easy ask, and I always try to help out people I know, so I forwarded his email to Dan with one line: "Want me to connect you guys?" (I don't share people's email addresses without asking.)

Dan said yes. That's the kind of favor I'm happy to do.

But if the email had led with something like, "I am hoping you will do a quick favor for me. My name is John Doe, and in addition to running Acme Industries I am also the host of ..."

Nope. Probably not -- because I probably wouldn't have stuck with it long enough to get to the good stuff.

And that, ultimately, is the point. Your may have great intentions. You may mean extremely well. You may only be trying to be friendly, courteous, and professional.

But if you start your emails with opening lines like the ones above, most people will assume the worst -- not the best.

Find a different way to be friendly, courteous, and professional -- especially if you want your emails to actually be read.


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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!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

How to Network by Reconnecting to Old Friends


When looking for a new job or when we need new information, we know we need to work our networks. And we know that often the fringes and edges of network yield the most beneficial information compared to just surveying a few friends. But getting to the edge can be an awkward process. Reaching back out to the former colleagues and forgotten friends who populate the fringes can be uncomfortable, and there's a strong temptation to just stop trying.

Since Mark Granovetter's pivotal research paper "The Strength of Weak Ties," we've known that close friends are rarely as valuable a source of new information, including new career information, as are those long-lost friends and former colleagues that comprise "weak ties." In another study, researchers found that "dormant ties"--literally friends and colleagues for whom you once had a strong relationship but it has since lapsed--are a potent source of all sorts of new information.

In addition to being a common source of job leads, working your network to get referrals though weak ties and friends of friends can also pay off in raw dollars. In a recent Payscale survey of 53,000 employees, those who applied for their job through a referral from a business contact (like a former colleagues and friends) or through their extended personal network (friends of friends) also received thousands of dollars more in average salary offers than those who relied on family members or close friends for a referral.

But how do you get in touch with those old colleagues and friends of friends? Here's a few tips to make reaching out and reconnecting significantly less awkward:


Drop the agenda. It's okay to be on the job hunt or to need information, but it's best to approach any reconnection without the goal of getting something (like a job referral) from other people. So, drop the agenda for the first few interactions and focus on getting to know them again. (This is also the reason behind the old networking adage "dig your well before your thirsty.")

Start with email. Social media like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat (if you're under 30) are great for finding a friend or colleague lost to history, but not so great at reconnecting. Everyone uses these services differently and everyone has different rules for reconnecting. A connection request might get rejected if others have different criteria for which requests they accept. But email is still an acceptable, professional medium. So if you've got it or can find it, start with email.

Seek out a call. In that email, don't ask for anything (see "drop the agenda") other than a phone call. We often default to "let's do lunch" or "let's grab coffee" but these invitations are time consuming and more prone to being declined (or politely excused away). They're also not feasible if geography is a factor. So, start small with a 15-minute phone call or, if the relationship was warm enough before it went cold perhaps a video chat through Skype, Zoom, or WebEx.

Look for ways to help. It's always better to be giving into a relationship before trying to withdraw something from it, so look for ways to help. It's tempting here to openly ask "what can I do for you?" but the truth is this question puts people on the spot--they just reconnected with you, how would they know what help you can provide? Instead, be thinking during and after the conversation for ways you can help with an introduction, a resource, or something else.

Make it a habit. The easiest way to get over the awkwardness of reconnecting is to do it often. It's best to make a habit of reaching back out regularly, say with one person per week or per month. There are software services like Contactually that can even send you a reminder if you haven't communicated with someone for too long. My personal favorite trick is to use social media to stay on top of what old colleagues or friends are doing or achieving, but then use a more personal medium like email, text message or phone call to say congratulations or offer help.

In addition, if you make it a habit to regularly reach back out to old colleagues and former friends by doing the above, you'll have rebuilt a part of your network and provided enough value to it to where you may not even have to ask for help when the time comes.

Your old...new friends may be eager to give it.

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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!