Wednesday, May 23, 2018

How to Make Your Emails More Relevant and Effective

As an email marketer, it’s your job to recognize and pay attention to the needs of your subscribers. When someone signs up for your email list, it’s because they expect to get something worthwhile in return from you. To succeed in email marketing, you have to live up to the promises you make to your subscribers.

Crafting the right email for your subscribers is very important. Without a solid strategy in place, you risk sending emails to your subscribers that don’t meet the mark. Backed by data and a lot of insights, the team at EmailMonks has created a list of 6 questions that will help you create more effective and relevant emails and a better overall experience for the subscribers on your list.

The goal with this list is to help you bridge the gap between what you want to achieve as a marketer, and what your subscribers are hoping to receive from you.

Here are the 6 questions you should consider when crafting and sending emails to subscribers:

1. Is the reply-to email validated?

Picture this scenario: your email has a “from name” and a neat subject line. But for some reason, it’s not getting the open rate you expected it to get. Can you guess why? The problem may lie in the reply email address that you have listed. These days, in order to succeed with email marketing, you need to invest in personalization whenever possible. That means using first names in subject lines and the body of the email, segmenting your list, and using an email address from an actual human being as your reply email in the campaigns you send.

Imagine you are the customer. You receive an email from the brand you have subscribed to. The content makes you want to reply or ask a question. You click on reply-to, type in your email and send. As you wait by for days expecting an answer, the email has been sent to a no-reply email address. Because of this experience, you’re led to believe that the brand is not customer friendly, and you unsubscribe from the list.

In this example, the reply email address you chose to use as a business left a bad taste in the mouth of your subscriber. Instead of using email marketing as an opportunity to nurture a relationship, your email has led to an increase in unsubscribes. .

How do you handle this situation?

If you don’t want to receive emails on the ‘from address”, create an “info@” email address, which is quite common. Use it in place of the no-reply addresses, and send your emails.

When your subscribers can see that your reply email address is functional or comes from an actual person, they are much more likely to reply to your emails. Worried about managing the engagement that you’ll get from using a real email address as opposed to a no-reply email address? You can set an autoresponder to the emails received, which gives you some time to see the email and respond with the actual answer.

2. What’s the opening line?

89% of marketers say that email is their primary channel for lead generation. With this in mind, it’s vital that you send email campaigns that your subscribers actually want to open.

Subject lines play a significant role in whether or not a subscriber will open an email.

Not convinced? Consider this:

35% of email recipients open email based on subject line alone.

So as a marketer, the question you need to ask yourself is this: how can you write subject lines that drive action and persuade your subscribers to actually open the emails you send?

As it turns out, personalization is key.

Subject lines personalized with recipient’s first name, can lift open rates by 20%!

Saying thanks can also help.

If you use the words ‘thank you’ in your email subject lines, engagement can skyrocket to 62%.

Adding emojis to your subject line can also increase the open rates for your email. With emojis, you can to say more with fewer characters.

3. Have you segmented the list yet?

To boost the effectiveness of your campaign, you should also consider taking the time to segment your list.

Your business caters to different audience types who are dwelling in various lifecycle stages. As a result, the kind of content they expect can differ. If you blast the same email to your entire list, you risk sending emails to people that aren’t relevant, which can lead to an increase in unsubscribes. This is why you should segment your audience according to their preferences.

Consider this:

51% of marketers say that email list segmentation is the most effective personalization tactics.

There are various benefits associated with segmentation of email lists.

Marketers have found a 760% increase in email revenue from segmented campaigns.

So how can you get started with segmentation? Kick things off by choosing to segment your list based on demographics or audience behaviour. At the end of the day, you can find success by ensuring your segmentation strategy is in line with the needs, expectations, and desires of your audience.

4. Have you included the CTA?

An email is incomplete without a call-to-action. If your audience is not compelled to take any action, you may not be able to achieve your marketing goals.

There are a lot of factors that can make a CTA ineffective in an email campaign. Sometimes the button is too small or, the color is off-putting. In some cases, instead of being led to the discounts page, the subscriber mistakenly reaches the home or main page of the website. This can irk your subscriber, and drive them to engage less with the campaigns you send to them in the future.

Here are tips to create the perfect CTA for your email:

Keep it as precise, clear and straightforward as possible

Use action words to compel the audience to click on it

Use colors that ensure the CTA button stands out

Reduce friction or confusion by only including one CTA in your email (emails with a single CTA have shown to increase clicks 371% and sales 1617%)

5. When are you sending your emails?

Reaching out to the customer at the right time is crucial for the success of your email campaign. If you send an email when your subscribers are sleeping, you might lose out on a possible conversion. That’s why you need to identify the right time and day to send your emails.

Many businesses believe that the best day and time to send out an email is Tuesday at 10 am. While this time of day and day of the week does tend to be effective for a lot of business and brands, it’s important to consider your specific audience and situation when deciding when to send out your campaigns.

It’s also worth noting that the best time to send emails can differ depending on whether you’re operating as a B2C or B2C business.

The image below gives the best time and day to email B2B and B2C subscribers:

Here are a few tips to help you identify the time and day best suited to your audience:

Analyze the send and open rate data for your emails for a period of six months

Check the times and days for the following:
  • When subscribers opened the email
  • When subscribers clicked on the links in the email
  • When subscribers responded to the emails

Does your segmented list open the emails during holidays and weekends? What motivates them to click on your emails during these days?

With the answers to these questions, you should be able to determine the perfect send time and day for your subscriber list.

6. Have you personalized your emails?

Consider this fact about personalization in marketing:

60% of marketers struggle to personalize content in real-time, yet 77% believe real-time personalization is crucial.

You have already segmented the email list; you should now send content that you believe will prove to be useful to each individual on your list. If the email content you send is relevant, you’ll have a much better chance driving more conversions for your business.

To send relevant emails, you need to invest in personalization. Here’s why:

Personalized messages based on behaviour are 3x better than batch and blast.

Wrapping up

If you don’t give the subscriber what they are looking for at the right time, you might just lose out on a possible conversion.

As a marketer, you need to have a firm understanding of what each of your subscribers are looking for, and why they have subscribed to your email list. Knowing this information will help put you on the right path toward building more effective email marketing campaigns for your business.

How do you stay relevant to your subscribers? Share your ideas in the comments section below.

Image Credit: Propeller

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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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The 7 Legal Rules Your Emails Must Follow

The following excerpt is from Susan Gunelius’ book Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing for Business.

As an email marketer, you need to comply with laws that were put in place to protect consumers. While it might be tempting to buy a list of email addresses and just start sending messages to everyone on that list, this is a bad idea for a few reasons. First, you might be breaking the law. Second, you might be hurting your chances of your future email marketing messages getting into people's email inboxes, including inboxes belonging to your own customers. The bottom line is, your actions as an email marketer can affect the deliverability of your email today and in the future.

The most important law you need to know and follow in the United States is the CAN- SPAM Act of 2003. This law applies to all forms of commercial email messages and not just commercial email messages sent in bulk to lists of people. What makes a message commercial? It's not clearly defined in the Act, but it's probably broader than you think. For example, a commercial message doesn't have to promote a product or service directly to messages as be considered commercial. Even messages that promote content "any electronic on a commercial website -- such as a blog post, free ebook, mail message, educational article or tutorial -- would be considered commercial since they indirectly promote the company.

The cost for noncompliance can be very high, particularly since you can be charged penalties for each separate email violation up to $40,654. Furthermore, if your email messages violate other laws, such as those related to deceptive advertising, you could face even more fines or criminal penalties, including imprisonment.

There are seven primary requirements of the CAN-SPAM Act. Following is a basic explanation of each of the main requirements. If you always err on the side of caution and assume messages sent from your company are commercial advertisements or promotions (even if they're not directly advertising or promoting a product or service), then you should be safe.

Header information. The header information in your messages must not be false or misleading. This includes the information in the message's "From," "To," and "Reply To" fields as well as the routing information. In other words, your messages should accurately identify both the person and business that initiated the message. Furthermore, the header information should include the originating domain (which is typically your business' web domain) and real email address.

Subject line. The subject line of your email messages must reflect the true content of the message. Don't try to conceal what the message is about with a clever subject line. Instead, the subject line should clearly explain what the recipient will get when they open the message. Both inaccurate and vague subject lines could get you in trouble.

Ad disclosure. You must identify that the message is an ad or promotional in nature. The good news is that the CAN-SPAM Act provides a great deal of flexibility in terms of how you disclose this information. The most important thing to understand is that somewhere in your message, you must conspicuously explain that your message is promotional (even if it's indirectly promotional) or an advertisement. Leave no room for confusion here.

Location. You must include your physical address in your messages. This has to be your valid postal address, which means it can be your street address or a post office box registered with the U.S. Postal Service. It could also be a private mailbox that you registered with a commercial mail receiving agency, but make sure that agency was established under postal service regulations or it won't meet the requirements of the CAN-SPAM Act.

Unsubscribe option. Your messages must include an easy and obvious way to unsubscribe if recipients want to opt out of receiving email messages from you in the future. You cannot create conditions to opt out, such as requiring a person to pay a fee or provide any personally identifiable information aside from an email address. Furthermore, the opt-out process must not require a person to do more than send a reply email message or visit one web page. If you send multiple types of messages (e.g., newsletters, product updates and so on), you can offer a way for people to choose which types of email messages they want to opt out of receiving from you. However, you must also provide a way for them to opt out of receiving all messages from you.

Opt-out completion. After you send a message, recipients must have 30 days to unsubscribe. If someone unsubscribes, you must honor that request within 10 business days. Once a person unsubscribes, you're not allowed to transfer or sell that person's email address (individually or as part of a list) to anyone else (unless the company you're transferring the list to is helping you comply with the CAN-SPAM Act).

Third parties. If you hire another person or company to manage your email marketing, you're still responsible for complying with the CAN-SPAM Act. In fact, both you and the person or company handling your email marketing are responsible and could get in trouble if the law isn't followed. Therefore, make sure anyone you work with knows the laws and complies with them. You'll need to monitor their activities for compliance on an ongoing basis.

Image Credit: cnythzl | Getty Images

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, May 21, 2018

4 Ways Successful Email Marketing Campaigns Are Like Happy Marriages

Attraction. Courtship. Engagement. An event that signifies the beginning of a new union. And then: a long, mutually satisfying relationship.

We’re talking about a happy marriage, right?

Exactly. And about a successful email marketing campaign.

At first blush, they don’t seem to have much in common. But the similarities become clearer the more you compare them. “Like a marriage, email marketing is based on a relationship between two interested parties: a brand and a consumer,” writes Jason Warnock at Marketing Land. And, as in marriage, to be successful, an email marketing relationship must be built on a foundation of respect and be carefully nurtured.

Here are four additional attributes they share:

You need permission to get things started

Navigating the early stages of a relationship is tricky. Accurately assessing your intended’s receptivity to taking things to the next level requires patience and sensitivity to verbal and non-verbal cues. If you try to rush things, you are sure to be shut down.

In this regard, email marketing is much less complicated. You either have the OK to send your messages, or you don’t. If you rush things without permission your message will be ignored or caught up in a spam trap, and your reputation might suffer.
Permission is “Implied” or “expressed.”

“You have implied permission to email somebody if you have an existing business relationship with them,” writes Campaign Monitor. “This could mean they are a current customer, donate to your charity, or are an active member of your website, club or community.”

Without that implied permission, you will need a specific OK to send campaigns: “Express permission is granted when somebody specifically gives you permission to send them email campaigns, likely by entering their email address in a subscribe form on your website or entering their details into your in-store newsletter subscribe form.”

Engagement is a critical step

The next milestone on the road to marriage is engagement, which, according to Priceonomics, these days usually happens after about three years of dating. Email marketers are also looking eagerly to engagement – in a different sense of the word – but hope it can happen more quickly.

While engagement in its matrimonial meaning is usually signified by a shiny bauble on the bride-to-be’s left hand, email marketers must look to their metrics for visible signifiers of email marketing engagement.

“A subscriber who is positively engaged is someone who opens and clicks your campaigns or interacts with your brand online,” reports Mailchimp. “Engaged subscribers are likely to open your emails, and continue to purchase, donate, or support your organization or brand.”

In email marketing there is also a phenomenon called negative engagement, which is signaled by unsubscribes, getting flagged as spam and direct complaints. There have been instances of negative engagement on the road to marriage, too, although they are rare.

A special moment seals the deal

During a wedding ceremony, the bride and groom must state their intention – usually in response to a call to action from the officiant.

The email marketing equivalent of the bride and groom saying “I do” and slipping rings on each other is when a recipient clicks on a call to action. Both signify that a commitment has been made.

Crafting a successful call to action for an email marketing message, like crafting wedding vows, requires an investment in time and effort. And both tasks can be challenging to do well.

“Thirty-five percent of marketers say creating a meaningful CTA is one of the most challenging aspects of email marketing, according to a recent study,” reports Andrea Robbins on Business 2 Community. “To create a meaningful CTA, it should contain short, specific directions that guide the subscriber to make a purchase, download an eBook, or RSVP for an event. Buttons are visually appealing and draw the eye of subscribers, especially those reading your email on a smartphone. Make the button size noticeable and use a color that makes the button pop.”

And then it’s on to ‘happily ever after’ (hopefully)

Unlike weddings, in which vows are just exchanged once, that initial click on a CTA is, ideally, only the first of many. But, like a marriage needs nurturing to succeed, it’s important that email marketers not lose focus on the customer after that first sale takes place. The honeymoon period begins with the crafting of transactional messages that keep the customer informed once the order is placed.

“Transactional emails (like order confirmation and shipping confirmation emails) are often neglected by eCommerce marketers in favor of newsletters and promotional campaigns, however, they actually present a significant opportunity,” writes Aaron Beashel at Campaign Monitor. “In fact, 64% of consumers actually consider these the most valuable emails in their inbox, and they typically have 8x higher open and click-through rates than promotional emails.”


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, May 18, 2018

Want to Be a Stronger Leader? Use this Map to Improve Your Alliances and Relationships

Relationships and alliances help you build momentum and move closer to your goals, They influence your outlooks and attitudes about what's happening around you. They even affect your longevity, resistance to disease, and mental wellbeing.

Yet in the hard work of building a business we often forget to be intentional about the allies we gather around us. We set visions for where we want the business to go, strategize on financial structures and campaigns that test product-market fit, and use design thinking to more deeply understand our customers and what they long for.

But relationships? If you're like most leaders, they simply "happen." We take them as they come -- but seldom apply proactive thought to gathering the right people around us.

You can change that. By getting intentional about your relationship strategy, the way you would about a product or financial plan, you can design a path to improving the connections that influence you most. I recommend a simplified version of a "sociogram," or map of relationships and social connections. Although there are various ways to construct sociograms, the simple one shared here offers an easy way to identify and design the alliances you want to bring to your leadership -- and life.

Here's how it works.

Draw Your Map

First, draw a small circle in the center of a piece of paper and jot your name and date in it.

Then draw two rings around it: concentric circles moving outward from the center. Leave enough room to do some writing in these circles.

Next, reflect on key relationships that influence you: people you interact with often, or who create significant impact on your life, or on whom you rely for stability, support, and collaboration.

Start to write the names of these people: the most influential ones near the center, close to your name, and the somewhat less impactful ones farther from the center.

Try to identify 8-10 names, and no more than 12. Consider both positive and negative influences. Identify important people from your past, even if you're no longer connected. Include personal as well as professional connections: loved ones and key work relationships belong on this map.

Be thoughtful about the process. You may put names down and end up replacing them with others that feel more influential. Keep refining until you have a solid map of the most influential 10-or-so allies in your circles.

Identify Patterns

Now, consider the roles of the people you added to your map.

Which are mentors, guides, or inspirations: people you learn from or see as role models, whether they know it or not?

Which are partners or collaborators, whether personal or professional? Is there someone who is your "Champion," always in your corner ready to cheer you on?

Which are dependents, relying on you for appropriate care or nurturing - or in needy ways that drain your time, energy, and attention?

Who might be a deterrent: a critic or challenger who complicates your path or burdens your life experience with negativity?

Do you have a catalyst, someone who sparks you to a higher level of vision, contribution, or presence?

Notice similarities between them. What patterns do you see? What gaps?

Design Your Ideal Map

As you reviewed this map you probably felt things you liked about it, some you didn't like about it, and some you wished to change. Use that thinking to develop the Sociogram you want to have surround you.

Put your name and a realistic future date into a center circle. Then, around it, like before: two concentric circles.

Need a mentor? Mark that in your closest circle, or move someone who could be a guide or inspiration closer to the core.

Notice some toxic forces close to the center? Push them out to the farther circle, or, better yet, out of the circles altogether.

Too many optional dependents? Soften their impact by moving them away from center. Maybe you'll see how this opens up time and headspace to move family or loved ones in closer.

Who is missing from your circles? A champion or catalyst? A partner?

Who needs to move closer to center? Who farther? Who needs to leave your circles? Who do you want to invite in? Invest some time to reflect on your ideal constellation of allies. It's the first step in designing the relationships you actually want.

Convert to Action

Compare the two maps. Everything different between them, is, in a sense, your desire for change. Now, all that's left is creating a plan of action.

Identify those desires and name the outcome you seek. Maybe it's something like "I want a go-to mentor I can meet with regularly to improve my long-term thinking," or "I want to limit the impact of negative personalities by reducing the time I spend with them."

Then think of barriers to these actions. You may not have a candidate for an aligned mentor, or you may need to navigate some politics to interact less with the negative force.

Next, identify ways to work through those barriers: how can you create the desired change and outcomes? Can you activate your alumni network to seek a mentor, or reconnect with someone you've lost touch with? Can you come up with a corrective plan for the difficult forces to see if they can change, or adjust your behavior so you interact less frequently? In other words, what can you do to make your desired change happen?

Reaching the success your second sociogram inspires may seem like an ambitious plan -- but isn't that also true of any product, financial, or organizational vision? Move toward realization of your ideal relationship map the same way you do with other goals: by setting a clear vision for what you seek and putting steps in place to help you achieve it.

Need motivation? Close your eyes and see yourself in that future circle, surrounded by allies who help you succeed. We can't do it alone. Designing the relationships that help you get where you want to go is, actually, a big step forward in getting there.


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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Stop Playing Golf and Going to Happy Hours. Do This Networking Activity Instead

We talk every day about innovation, what's next, what piece of technology will disrupt whole industries. But we never talk about innovation when it comes to networking. Sure, social media has certainly changed it.

But face-to-face networking, as a whole, hasn't changed much. People still pass out business cards, still meet for Happy Hour and half-priced apps at their local networking group. And they still play golf.

Don't get me wrong, I love golf and I understand its previous networking appeal. It's quiet and leaves plenty of time to bond and discuss things. But it's not necessarily for Millennials it's not cheap and it's not a workout. And Millennials are now the largest age demographic in the workforce so preferences are changing.

If we know that people are looking to be more active then we need to re-evaluate networking activities as a whole. We need to make them less expensive so more people can be included. We need to make them more active because today's connected workforce is always looking to kill two birds with one stone. A networking activity that also doubles for a trip to the gym is crucial.

But it also has to be general enough that people can have a conversation while doing it because again that's still the most important part. I would love to network while doing CrossFit but not everyone is as crazy as I am.

So when I was in Las Vegas last month for Adobe Summit, we took people on a bike ride. Simple, athletic, outdoors and the creation of a common experience everyone can share. And the excitement of doing something other than golf worked.

"Some of the best networking I did this year at Summit wasn't inside the conference itself but on the highways around Las Vegas--on my bike. When people are doing something active and the endorphins are pumping it's a way to forge a much more natural, and lasting, connection. Networking doesn't always have to mean sipping drinks and wearing name tags. It's as ripe for disruption as any other business practice," said Ryan Holmes, founder and CEO, Hootsuite.

Beyond the health benefits of exercise, cycling has three major benefits in the workplace - it fosters creativity, builds a sense of camaraderie and collaboration, and can positively impact performance.

Brad Rencher, executive vice president and general manager, Adobe Experience Cloud, broke down those three reasons for me and gave me insight in to the mind of a young top executive at a company and how they are rethinking work-life balance and networking: creativity, camaraderie, and performance.


To me, there's no better way to think critically though a tough problem than on the back of a bike. That's why I schedule cycling meetings with my team when our schedules and discussion topics permit us to get out of the office. It's our chance to ditch the to-do list and step outside to get fresh air and open up our minds to think creatively though our challenges.


Our rides foster camaraderie, whether they're internal team rides or external rides with partners and customers. During a ride, you're working together to make it to the finish line-inspiring each other to push forward and make it through tough climbs. This sense of teamwork builds deep, lasting relationships that go beyond the ride. In fact, a partner who joined a ride this past year at Cannes told me, "We all walked away feeling we connected with each other on another level, which obviously helps business discussions."


I cannot speak enough about the importance of balancing your day job with exercise. In fact, according to a recent study by the Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO), Brigham Young University and the Center for Health Research at Healthways, employees who exercise three times a week for 30 minutes are 15 percent more likely to be higher performing individuals. Any physical activity, whether it's cycling, a walk around the block, or even painting, goes a long way toward resetting your focus and making people better when they're on the job.

It doesn't have to be cycling. But it does need to be something your team is passionate about doing and wants to share with others. Make it an experience. Make it more active. make it something that creates a collective bond that you can share and remember call back to over time. That's what makes a networking experience memorable. And the point of networking is to be remembered, not forgotten. 


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, May 17, 2018

How Much Time Should You Invest in Networking?

I’m at a Starbucks with a colleague as I write this piece. As we’re sitting here working, she’s telling me about how she just went into business for herself full-time. She knows that networking is a part of a successful business, but she’s wondering how much time she should invest in networking.

This is a very valid question. It’s also one I get all the time. I understand where she’s coming from because at this stage in her business, she still feels like there are a lot of unknowns. As a result, she needs to balance between figuring out the behind-the-scenes of her business with networking.

I can tell you from my personal experience that networking even in the beginning stages has led to the business I have today. Therefore, I do think you need to invest in networking. The real question is how much? Here are some tips.

Ask yourself these two important questions…

Sometimes, you don’t need to figure out how much to invest in networking. What you really need to determine is whether or not a particular event is worth your time. I, for one, have attended plenty of networking events that went nowhere. Over time, I learned to develop a series of questions to help me determine whether or not I should attend an event.

Will I make an immediate return on my investment?

At the end of the day, whether or not you should invest in networking comes down to the word “investment.” When you invest, you expect to make a return. Therefore, you need to determine what the return would be for a particular event.

Here are some ways to make an immediate return:

  • Getting paid to attend
  • The ability to sell
  • Education

In the beginning stages, you may be more concerned with seeking education to grow your business. Often times, you can get some sort of education when you invest in networking events that are designed to teach attendees.

Is there a person/brand attending that I want to meet and potentially do business with?

The other way in which to determine whether or not to invest in networking is to consider who will be at events. For example, I go to events if I know a particular brand will be present. This is one of the strategies I use to get influencer deals and it works like a charm.

If a particular person is leading or attending an event, then I might go as well. That’s actually how I met one of my first mentors in the beginning stages of my business.

Final Thoughts

That’s it. If the answer to these two questions is no, then I won’t invest in networking unless I feel like I have extra time. As you can see, I focus on whether or not attending an event will actually lead to more commas in my bank account. I did this in the beginning and I still do it today. The reason is that I don’t like taking on more than I have to. The stress isn’t worth it.

Image Credit: rawpixel | Pixabay

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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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Not Having These 8 Networking Skills Will Cost You

"It's not what you know, it's who you know" is one of the oldest sayings in business. Often, your ability to bring real value to your company hinges on how well you build and leverage your personal network of relationships. And when you aren't doing a strong job of networking, you ultimately cost yourself, and your business, money.

Without strong networking skills, you might be missing out on the shared knowledge and tips about opportunities that simply aren't available through normal channels. Be it a promising lead to a new business opportunity or a subcontractor who is more skilled than her peers, you can end up paying more and earning less if you're not building the right relationships.

You don’t make small talk

If your first response to meeting someone at a conference or in the office is to offer up your business card and ask about their work, you might be unintentionally keeping them at a distance. Don't get into a bad habit that could cost you your next raise. Networking is ultimately about people as much as it's about business, and having a stronger personal relationship with your contacts will ultimately make them more valuable to you -- not to mention make your interactions more pleasant.

What to do instead:

Open conversations with a discussion of shared interests before letting the conversation organically flow into business topics. Engage people about what matters to them to make a much stronger impression and cultivate a relationship you can sustain over time.

You don’t follow up

After attending a networking event, you're likely to return home with a stack of business cards or friend requests from the many people you've just met. It can be easy to just sweep them aside in favor of more pressing concerns, but that's a mistake. Just because it isn't a job requirement doesn't mean you shouldn't reach out again -- it's an important skill that money can't buy. People will quickly forget names and faces, and without adequate follow up, you're unlikely to show an adequate return on the time you spent networking.

What to do instead:

Reach out and touch base with any interesting people you met, particularly those people you spent the most time talking with, even if it's just to send a brief email or post on social media. People remain more connected to those contacts who follow up promptly, and you can cement yourself in their memory just by offering a brief "hello." Be persistent -- it's a trait billionaires have.

You aren’t networking at work

At the end of a long day, the last thing most people want to do is attend networking events or socialize with work contacts, rather than head home to relax. When you wait until after normal business hours to do all of your networking, though, it can leave you feeling drained, something that rarely fosters the personal connections that develop into valuable business relationships.

What to do instead:

Do your networking at work, building relationships with the people at your business and the people outside your company you're in regular contact with. Using work time to socialize with other people in your field isn't shirking responsibility; it's building the bonds that will keep you connected to people even after they move on to different jobs. Building networking into your work day is one of the best ways to ensure that you're developing a network without stretching yourself too thin.

You aren’t active on social media

The torrent of messages and posts that come with your social media accounts can be overwhelming at times, and they can definitely reduce your productivity. However, just because a tool isn't useful all of the time doesn't mean it isn't essential some of the time. Social media platforms are ideal for facilitating networking, and many people rely on them to keep in touch with people, making tools like LinkedIn and Facebook much more reliable for networking in some cases than calls or emails would be.

What to do instead:

Maintaining a LinkedIn profile is one of the easiest ways to get a clear sense of your personal network and how far it reaches. You even have the option to see how your connections might provide you with an "in" with a certain person or at a certain company, increasing your chances of getting a job. It's also a great way to keep personal and professional social media usage separate if you're uncomfortable with business contacts seeing your personal posts.

You don’t try to expand your network

It can be easy to settle into a routine, maintaining a short list of contacts you're regularly in contact with, and feel like you don't necessarily need to expand it. While it's always good carefully cultivate relationships with your closest associates, too little time spent expanding it can leave your network narrowly focused and with limited value.

What to do instead:

Expand the boundaries of who you communicate with so you can reap the benefits of a larger pool of expertise. Plan lunches, coffee dates and drinks with people at your company that you don't typically interact with, or even fellow professionals you associate with outside of work. You never really know where you might discover a great relationship; sometimes, the connections you're most surprised by prove to be the most valuable. Marketing yourself doesn't cost very much, and it yields high returns.

You don’t do your research

Heading into a meeting or networking event without knowledge of who you might be meeting and their industry will probably leave you unable to really understand how you can potentially help each other. Your networking efforts will this ultimately prove frustrating if you don't adequately research the people and companies you're interacting with ahead of time, as you'll be unable to make those meaningful connections.

What to do instead:

A clear sense of who you're meeting with and how you can help each other will typically make your networking efforts bear more fruit. Learn about who you're meeting, what their company does and how you can help them reach those goals. When you come into the relationship armed with knowledge, you can create more opportunity for everyone involved.

You don’t start with the end in mind

Setting goals is usually an important step in any process. Without clear definitions of success, it can be difficult to know how to approach a situation. That's as true for networking as it is elsewhere in business. If you don't have a sense of what you want to accomplish at a certain event or meeting beyond "networking," your efforts will be unfocused and not produce the results you want.

What to do instead:

Enter all networking situations with a goal in mind. This doesn't mean you're locked into pursuing a certain outcome, but simply that you have clear expectations and a sense of what you need to make your investment of time worthwhile. Networking is most effective when it's focused on developing mutually beneficial relationships, so don't be afraid to define your idea of success prior to starting the process.

You aren’t thinking win-win

If your network consists solely of people who are going out of your way to do you favors, it's probably not going to remain strong for long. Without some degree of reciprocity, your business relationships will remain one-sided and unlikely to produce much value for you or your business in the long term.

What to do instead:

Make sure that you are providing as much, if not more, value to the rest of your network as they are providing to you. The best business networks are those that benefit everyone involved, so listen to requests from your contacts and find ways to grant them when possible. What's more, if an opportunity arises where you can create value for a contact, don't hesitate to reach out. The more you help your network, the more it will help you.

Image Credit: Shuttershock | theleetgeeks | | Pixabay | Pexels | StartupStockPhotos |

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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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

3 Secrets Behind Maximizing Advertising Spend

As a small business owner with big goals, you’re willing to spend money to make money. But you still make it a priority to spend smartly, so investing in something like advertising takes consideration. Once you make the decision to advertise, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting the best results for your money from your advertising spend.

When your marketing and sales pipelines are running smoothly and you know your customers, online ads are a great way to accelerate customer acquisition and revenue. Research from Wordstream indicates that Google search ads drive average conversion rates of around 3.75%, so the opportunity is indeed real.

But if you don’t know what you’re doing and aren’t willing to learn, these campaigns can be a quick drain on your marketing department’s resources, from ad spend to work hours wasted tweaking campaigns with no hope.

Success in online advertising involves multiple factors. You need to optimize how much your advertising brings in, how much it costs and what other resources it consumes. And you need to juggle this all consistently, all at the same time.

How do you balance and improve all these factors in tandem? The following advertising spend tactics will help you in multiple areas. Consider prioritizing them in your ad strategy.

Retarget Warm Leads

One of the best ways to make the most of your advertising spend is to retarget people who’ve already interacted with your brand. This could be audience members who have interacted with but not converted from other ads, website visitors referred by your social posts, or anyone else who’s visited your pages or clicked on your links, depending on the ad platform.

This gives you a second opportunity to win over leads who are warm but haven’t converted. It often takes more than one try to bring someone into your sales funnel, and retargeting provides your second chance, third chance and so on.

Depending on how you accomplish your retargeting, you can use ads for a variety of different goals. For example, it’s an effective way to get a paid campaign back in front of someone who didn’t convert the first time and maximize its ROI. But it can also be used with platforms such as Facebook ads and custom audiences to show your existing website or social media audience a paid campaign.

Retargeting is an especially great use of your ad spend because it helps you focus on your best prospects, those who’ve already shown some interest in you. Think of it like Pareto’s Principle for advertising.

By focusing more of your advertising spend on higher potential prospects, you can get a higher return. This is how Lumension was able to increase lead volume by 81%, even while cutting their PPC budget by 30%.

Track Your Entire Funnel

If you’re testing multiple points in your marketing funnel and retargeting people to bring them back into it at multiple touchpoints, you’ll need to be able to accurately track that impact on your business.

Yes, you have your ad campaign data, but that’s not enough to understand how the conversions play out long-term. For example, if a lead generation campaign involves a follow-up sequence once an email lead is generated, you’ll need to tie the results from those email marketing efforts to the PPC campaign that originally acquired the lead.

Once a customer is in that state between having clicked on an ad and fully becoming a customer, you need to look to other tools to get a better view of your audience in the whole process of becoming a customer.

With Google Analytics, you can easily set up goal tracking and a conversion funnel to watch the bigger picture performance from your ads. Because they’re both Google products, it’s easy to aggregate your AdWords performance data to Analytics. But what about Facebook, Bing and other platforms?

By using a data consolidation tool (like SuperMetrics), you can save time managing the metrics of it all by automatically updating all PPC data in your Google Analytics reports. Supermetrics offers several data consolidation solutions, including integrations with Tableau, Excel and Google Data Visualizer, but if you’re already used to comparing your referrer data in Analytics, this is the way to go.

Look at how all your marketing channels work together here to get the best understanding of how different channels like advertising contribute to the whole. Double down on what’s working well, and kill what isn’t.

Test Your Campaigns

One of the easiest ways to start improving your ad campaigns and capitalize on your advertising spend consistently is by testing new changes, methods and strategies often.

Always having a test going means always seeking ways to improve your campaign, getting better results. That might mean a lower ad spend, it might mean higher click-through rates or conversions, and it often means both. That’s why testing is so important to prioritize.

Running A/B and multivariate tests in your marketing allows you to try out new tactics in a controlled manner. Basic A/B testing focuses on testing two versions against each other, while multivariate testing looks deeper at different combinations and variations of campaign elements.

They’re an opportunity to continuously fix underperforming campaigns and turn them around, or even find new opportunities for improvement inside already successful funnels.

You can test virtually any element of your campaign, from audience targeting and ad copy through to your landing page or an offer’s post-conversion page. The closer a test is to the conversion, the quicker you may be able to see results. For example, ComScore was able to increase conversions by almost 70% by testing product pages directly.

With so many ways to test, you can start with the areas of your campaign most in need of improvement to make the biggest impact. Once improved, move on to plug another leak.

Get the Most From Your Advertising Spend

When you get serious with your advertising spend, you won’t want to set campaigns live and just let them be. Instead, to get maximum results, you’ll want to improve your chances of converting any way you can, from testing for improvements to retargeting warm leads.

Image Credit: Shuttershock

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, May 14, 2018

Is Email Marketing Right For Your Business

Email marketing is a great way to stay in touch with current customers as well as engage with new prospects. However, it may not be the best approach for your brand. How do you decide if email marketing is right for you? Here are a few things to consider.

First, Do I Know You?

Where did you get their email address from? If you are doing a cold introduction, make sure you acknowledge it and give your prospect a chance to unsubscribe. No one likes spam, and you want to make sure that your message is not labeled as such, There are many reputable vendors to purchase lists from as well as generating your own, but we’ll talk about that in a later blog post.

Second, What Is The Reason For Your Call?

Think about your goal for the emails. Email marketing is a lot like blogging, you want to provide good quality information on a consistent basis. Don’t try to push a sale or set an exploding offer. I say that because that definitely shortens the life of your email campaign. Pressing for an immediate decision may lead to a high number of unsubscribes from your list.

Third, How Are You Sending Emails?

Using your personal email may lead to getting your domain blacklisted. Additionally, without an easy way for people to unsubscribe, and you keeping up with it, there is a chance for larger fines and problems.

Finally, How Are Your Emails Being Designed?

An email is a lot like your website or a landing page. It needs to display well on all device sizes, have clear imagery and text, and have a clear path for your prospect to follow. If you make people work too hard to purchase, they may just keep walking.

These are just a few things to consider as you start an email marketing campaign. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be digging into several of these questions, as well as offering recommendations on ideas and tools to enhance your campaign.

If you have a specific question, be sure to post it in the comments below and we’ll respond.

Image Credit: geralt | Pixabay

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!

Saturday, May 12, 2018

4 Reasons Why Nurturing Business Relationships Makes Money

I’m currently working on a huge project for one of my clients where I get to interview successful entrepreneurs from all types of industries. On a recent interview I did, I had the pleasure of speaking with a friend and colleague who is a genius at building business relationships. According to her, it’s these business relationships that keep growing her revenue.

In a world where so much is being done online, we often forget that we are dealing with people. It’s people who pay you, which is why building business relationships is so important. Here are x reasons why nurturing business relationships makes money.

Trust is a big part of making money.

People will not pay you unless they trust you can fix their issues. Period.

In fact, I find this is often a key component missing in sales conversations. Business owners are often taught to go after anything that moves. This doesn’t work for two reasons. First, you’re better off finding a select few group of people you can cater to. Second, you need to build trust first.

There are several ways of building trust in business relationships both online and off. Here are a few of them:

  • Consistently providing great quality work.
  • Truly listening to other people when they speak.
  • Acting with integrity in business.
  • Walking your talk.
  • Consistently creating quality content over a period of time.

Building trust in business relationships is not limited to these actions, but they are certainly a good place to start. 

They can make transitions easier.

When I interviewed my friend and colleague on the topic of business relationships, she shared a great story about quitting her last job. Because she had built solid business relationships at her last job, when she announced she was leaving to start her own company a ton of clients went with her.

The way she explains it, these clients know she’s good at what she does. They want to do business with her, not just anyone. This made the transition into running her own company much easier.

They can send referrals.

Just because someone may not pay you, doesn’t mean they won’t send someone else who will. For example, I recently had a consultation with someone who wasn’t yet ready for my six-week business program. She did, however, refer a friend who is now one of my students.

These things happen in my business all the time. Because I put forth the effort to build business relationships, people know they can refer others to my work.

Colleagues can become sounding boards.

Every business owner needs a sounding board or two. In building business relationships, I now have a group of colleagues I know I can go to for help. This comes in handy when I have questions, doubts or fears. It’s also how I’ve been able to find valuable team members. It’s because of these relationships I’ve been able to build the business I have today.

Final Thoughts

Business relationships can help you expand your current business into new horizons. If you don’t prioritize building relationships, consider this your permission slip to get started.


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, May 10, 2018

15 Biggest Email Marketing Turnoffs for New Customers

Email marketing remains one of the best ways to communicate with your audience. However, nobody likes their inbox spammed with too many messages that provide no value, so here are some of the biggest email marketing turnoffs any business should keep in mind when approaching new customers.

1. Template Emails

There is nothing worse than making the investment, as a client, into a new product and service and receiving a template email correspondence. Your first email to a new customer should be personal and offering next steps, gratitude for their business and a way to contact you with any questions or issues. Make the customer feel like you personally care about them. – Jennifer Mellon, Trustify

2. Excessive Emailing

In an effort to better understand your users’ needs and provide an exceptional customer experience, it’s easy to break a cardinal rule when it comes to email marketing: overkill. Excessive emailing frustrates new users and leads to unsubscribes and churn. Be sure to coordinate your engagement outreach, survey gathering and abandoned cart emails so they don’t get in the way of your good intentions. – Matt Bendett, Peerspace

3. Misleading Emails

Some businesses still send out messages with misleading subject lines, implying that the recipient has won something or that they can get something for free. When they open the email, it turns out they have to buy something. Anything in the subject line or message that’s not completely honest will only ruin your credibility. You can send compelling messages without such tactics. – Shawn Porat, Scorely

4. An Immediate Sales Pitch

Email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to reach an audience and grow a brand. However, subscribers are very smart. If someone is willing to give you their email address, you need to provide them with value and appreciate the relationship. This is where autoresponders can really come into play. If you want to lose a new subscriber right away, try to sell them in your welcome email. – Zac Johnson,Blogger

5. Poor Format

Most people prefer to skim through content and email is no different. It’s critical to avoid big chunks of text. Instead, use short sentences and lots of line breaks. Make sure your first sentence captures the reader and then get to the point quickly. You only have a few seconds to get your message across. – Ajay Paghdal, OutreachMama

6. Lack of Substance

The difference between an email that new customers will read versus one that will be filtered into their spam folder is substance. Even if you send emails with pertinent information and exclusive offers, customers will be discouraged to take advantage if it looks like generic promotional spam. Adding some interesting copy will help make a better impact with customers. – Bryce Welker, CPA Exam Guy

7. Communication Without Permission

One of the biggest turnoffs to a new customer is to be suddenly bombarded with emails. Instead, initial emails should be informative and set expectations, i.e. we will be sending you an email once a month to let you know about our offers and to share news you might find useful. That way, the customer feels you care about their time and their understanding of how you communicate with them. – Peter Boyd, PaperStreet Web Design

8. Inconsistency

Many times, people will dive into email marketing overpromising and underdelivering. They will tell their new customers to expect a weekly newsletter from them, only to deliver a couple of newsletters a year. To make sure you’re keeping your promise, use email service providers to automate the weekly newsletter and keep customers posted on what they want to see from you. – Jared Atchison, WPForms

9. No Welcome Email

Think about this: you just gave your favorite website your email address to send you relevant news, and you go to your inbox to see if they sent you something yet. Nothing. Not even a welcome email. Welcome emails get viewed the most and they are an opportunity to set the stage and expectations for future emails. – Syed Balkhi, OptinMonster

10. Feeling Taken From Rather Than Given to

New customers are trusting you with their info, and it’s crucial not to break that trust. Lack of email etiquette/boundaries, and communicating without offering something of value, are just a few of the things that turn new customers off. Companies should be mindful of this and always aim at sending communication that their customers (especially new ones) cannot wait to open. – Dalia MacPhee, DALIA MACPHEE

11. Offering Too Many Products

We receive the best returns on email marketing when the email focuses on a single product. Using a single email as a broad spread of products does not generate nearly as much interest as focusing on the details, benefits, pricing and turnaround of a single product. Each email is targeted to a list of customers who would be most likely to consume the advertised product. – Carmine Silano, CheerSounds Music

12. A Poorly Written Subject Line

Thanks to Twitter, we all know how to craft a good message with limited characters. A good marketing email should tell who you are and what you want, as well as why the recipient is receiving it. This way, the customer will be able to know what they are about to open and will be more inclined to do so. – Ryan Bradley, Koester & Bradley, LLP

13. No Clear Ask

Despite the spam potential, I’m generally open to receiving marketing emails, especially for new software products. This helps me stay on top of the new trends. Unfortunately, many of the emails I receive have no clear value or ask. I don’t really know what they are offering and what they want from me. This should be clear for the recipient. – Brian Samson, True North

14. Tacky Taglines

Nothing turns someone off in an email marketing campaign more than a super pitch as a headline and pure sale copy. Inherently, there is an understanding between a recipient and sender of sales intent. However, the sender needs to offer information useful to the recipient that opens a dialogue. You should start building a relationship through useful content, then transition naturally to a sale. – Matthew Capala, Alphametic

15. Automation Overkill

I think it’s great to find tools that help you use your time wisely, but when used incorrectly, automation can be detrimental to the customer experience. There’s nothing worse than knowing when the next “just checking in” message will arrive in your inbox, and when it’s clear to the customer that they are on an automated list, automation serves as a waste of everyone’s time. – Kevin Yamazaki, Sidebench


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!