Friday, July 20, 2018

How Warren Buffett And Steven Spielberg Used Strategic Relationships To Launch Their Careers

For the past seven years, Alex Banayan has been studying success obsessively. He has spent thousands of hours poring over hundreds of biographies and sitting down one-on-one with the people from whom he was eager to learn. Banayan interviewed Bill Gates, Lady Gaga, Steve Wozniak, Maya Angelou, Larry King, Jessica Alba, and many more.

He began this journey as a college student, with no access to his heroes. So, he did what no one would suggest and chased Larry King through a grocery store, hacked Warren Buffett’s shareholders meeting, and crouched in a bathroom to get to Tim Ferriss.

In Banayan’s new book: The Third Door: The Wild Quest to Uncover How the World’s Most Successful People Launched Their Careers, he illuminates the power of relationships to achieve your career goals.

Here are two of the best relationship lessons he learned during his celebrity interviews:

1. Find Your Inside (Wo)man.

Steven Spielberg got his start when he was about nineteen years old. According to Banayan’s recounting of Spielberg, he boarded a tour bus at Universal Studios Hollywood, rode around the lot, and then jumped off, sneaking into a bathroom and disappearing behind a building. He watched the tour bus drive away, and then spent the rest of the day on the Universal lot.

Wandering around, he bumped into a man named Chuck Silvers who worked for Universal TV. They spoke for a while. When Silvers found out Spielberg was an aspiring director, he wrote him a three-day pass.

Spielberg went there for the next three days, and on the fourth, he showed up again, this time dressed in a suit and carrying his dad’s briefcase. Spielberg walked up to the gate, threw a hand in the air, and said, “Hey Scotty”, and the guard simply waved back.

For the next three months, Spielberg arrived at the gate, waved, and walked right through.

On the lot, he would approach Hollywood stars and studio executives and ask them to lunch. Spielberg snuck onto soundstages and sat in editing rooms, soaking up as much information as he could. Some days he’d smuggle an extra suit in his briefcase, sleep overnight in an office, and change into the fresh clothes the next morning and walk back onto the lot.

Eventually Chuck Silvers became Spielberg’s mentor. He advised him to stop schmoozing, and come back when he had a high-quality short film to show. As he had been making short films since he was twelve, Spielberg began writing a twenty-six-minute film called "Amblin'". After months of directing and grueling editing, finally he showed it to Chuck Silvers. It was so good that when Silvers saw it, a tear ran down his cheek.

Silvers reached for the phone and called Sid Sheinberg, Universal TV’s vice president of production.

After Sid Sheinberg watched Amblin’, he asked to meet Spielberg immediately.

Spielberg rushed over to the Universal lot, and Sheinberg offered him a seven-year contract on the spot. And that’s how Steven Spielberg became the youngest major studio director in Hollywood history.

Now pause, and recognize what Spielberg did that was a game-changer. He found his ‘inside (wo)man’: someone inside the organization willing to put his or her reputation on the line for you.

If Chuck Silvers hadn’t offered Spielberg a three-day pass, or called the VP of production and demanded he watch the film, Spielberg never would have gotten the contract.

“Of course, Spielberg had incredible talent, but so do other aspiring directors. There was a reason he got that contract when so many others didn’t,” explains Banayan.

What’s your biggest career goal right now? Who could be your ‘inside (wo)man’ to help you break through?

Banayan interviewing Larry King.

2. Work For Free.

When Warren Buffett was working as a stockbroker, he decided he wanted to hone his skills and go to business school. He applied to Columbia University because he knew that Benjamin Graham, the Wall Street legend known as the father of value investing, taught there. Buffett got into Columbia, took Graham’s class, and eventually Graham became his mentor.

When Buffett was about to graduate, he decided not to take a high-paying corporate job, which most MBAs did, but to try to work directly for Graham instead. Buffett asked Graham for a job, but Graham said no. Buffett then offered to work for free. Graham still said no.

So Buffett went back to Omaha and worked as a stockbroker again. But he continued writing letters to Graham, visiting him in New York, and in Buffett’s own words, after two years of “pestering him”, finally Graham gave him a job.

Buffett was married and had a child by this point, but he still flew to New York as soon as possible to begin working. Buffett didn’t even ask if there was a salary. He worked at a desk outside of Graham’s office, learning first-hand from him.

Two years later, when Graham retired and closed down his firm, Buffett moved back to Omaha to start his own fund. And when Graham’s former clients were looking for a new place to invest their money, Graham referred them to Buffett.

He could’ve gotten a high-paying job right out of school and made far more money in the short-term. But, by offering to work for free under Graham, he set himself up to make much more in the long-term. Instead of trying to get paid as much as possible in dollars, Buffett chose to get paid in mentorship, expertise, and relationships.

Have you had opportunities where you had to choose between getting paid in money versus in relationship currency? What can you do today to ensure you invest in your long-term future and get paid in relationships?

Over the past seven years, Banayan learned, “...that everyone has the power to make little choices that can alter their lives forever. When Warren Buffett asked to work for free, that was a choice. When Steven Spielberg jumped off the Universal Studios tour bus at age nineteen so he could roam the lot and meet film executives, that was a choice.”

Banayan continues, “You can choose either to wait around and hope life gives you what you want, or you can choose to jump up, make strategic relationships, and start putting in the work to make your dreams come true.”


Image Credit: Zach Allen

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, July 19, 2018

How to Provide and Get Value Through Email Marketing All Year Long

The friends you’re willing to help are the same ones that help you.

You can think about email marketing in the same way you think of the give and take between friends. The more value you give to the relationship, the more value you’ll get back.

If you can consistently provide value all year long your marketing will become more effective. You just have to start with the right plan.

Step 1: Create an overview for the whole year

Think of the year as a whole, what are the key dates throughout the year you would have reason to contact your email list? Are there any major holidays or events specific to your business that make sense to communicate about?

If you find any gaps in your calendar, are there marketing holidays you can include? There are plenty of other holidays, like Friendship Day or Book Lovers’ Day, that can relate to your business, like a bakery sending a new recipe on World Chocolate Day. Mark all these dates on a single sheet of paper, including the day/month, so you have an overview of your year.

Step 2: Choose a specific day each month

Once you start planning out what you’re going to send each month, the next step is to figure out when you’ll send an email. Be specific and choose a single day to send an email, and make it the same each month.

Customers will start anticipating an email from you on that day and will be more inclined to hear what you have to say. Constant Contact uses this technique when sending out the Hints & Tips newsletter, sending it on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month.

Step 3: Know what you’re going to send each time

Knowing what you should include in your email every time you send to your customers is as simple as answering a few questions: What are you offering, how does that help your customers, and what do you want customers to do next? Answer these questions to make each email more focused and effective.

If your barber shop needs to get customers to book more appointments during the week, especially during midday, you could offer a special rate for a lunch break trim. After highlighting your offer, you could explain that a lunch break trim is cheap and quick, exactly what they are looking for in a barber during their work hours. Then you could include a call to action button that clearly directs customers to book online, before the promotion ends.

Create a plan that does the hard work for you

More time working at anything means more success. When you create a plan for your email marketing that looks at the entire year, your message becomes more consistent and much more effective. Then you can focus on running your business, instead of creating emails at the last minute when you need a boost in sales.

Once you stop forcing your marketing, leaving out the heavy discounts and hard sells to your customers, they’ll start listening to what your business is saying. As long as the message is consistent, you can drive them to action and create more lasting relationships, keeping your business growing year after year, just like your marketing.


Image Credit: N/A

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, July 18, 2018

How to Apologize After an Email Marketing Snafu

Things don’t always go as planned, and as a marketer, you’ll likely find yourself needing to apologize for mistakes. Email is no exception. It’s easy to send out a broken link, get a date wrong, or send an email to the wrong segment.

Most of us have been there. While it’s difficult to own up to a mistake, the best bet is always to mitigate the situation and apologize. Your subscribers are human, too. They know that mistakes happen, and if they’re happy with what you offer, they’ll usually give you the benefit of the doubt.

So, when you make a mistake in an email, how can you apologize? We’re here with tips for how to apologize after an email marketing blunder.

Stay cool and react as promptly as possible

You might be a little stressed from all the complaints you’ve received. Plus, you’re likely beating yourself up. Before you get to writing your apology email, center yourself and calm down. You want to be calm and rational when you write your email.

But as soon as you feel you’re in a proper state of mind, it’s time to get to work. Not sending out a timely response can cause even more confusion and frustration for your customers. For example, Fab sent out a casual and friendly apology email on the same day they made the mistake, pairing the message with a promo code.

Don’t play the blame game

It can be tempting to put the blame on someone, and maybe there is really is an individual person or specific entity that is responsible. But whatever you do, do not blame an individual or another company. It reflects poorly on your organization.

Focus your apology on how the incident should never have happened. You want to be seen as taking ownership, not trying to dodge responsibility. Your customers will respect you accepting responsibility much more than making excuses or finding a scapegoat for what happened.

For example, The Sharper Image made a mistake by sending a coupon available only in San Antonio to every subscriber nationwide. They quickly realized it was a mistake, but they didn’t play the blame game and they sent a coupon to everyone as a way to apologize.

Personalize your messages

You want your customers to know they are receiving an apology from a real person. Ideally, send it out from a personal inbox, but you can also send it out from your team inbox as long as you sign it with an actual name.

“Never send out an apology email from an unattended email box. Never send out an apology from a ‘no-reply.’ Your customer is already unhappy, and an impersonal email they cannot even respond to will only make it worse,” advises Gary Mulligan, email marketer at BoomEssays.

For example, after Shutterfly sent an email congratulating new moms to everyone on their list, they sent out an apology using the subscriber’s first name and wrote the apology from John Boris, the Chief Marketing Officer.

Put yourself in your subscriber’s shoes

Empathizing with your customer is key to writing a proper apology email. Ask yourself, if you were the customer, what would you want to hear? What kind of information and updates are you looking for?

Also, think about how you would want the company to make things up to you. Your customer could be wondering why the incident happened, how it affects them, if it will affect them in the future, etc.

Accidents happen. Emphasize that it was not your intention to hurt anyone by your actions. Maybe the offense was preventable, and maybe it wasn’t. But it’s in the past now and what matters is your apology and letting your customers know you did not mean to offend them.

Give them a reason to forgive you

You’ve apologized for your offense, but now what will you do to make it up to them? Show your customers you care about upsetting them by providing them with a gift or, at the very least, explaining how you will avoid future mishaps.

You could offer them a coupon or a discount code. Reiterate your company values and why their business is important to you. Show them a little love by offering free shipping on their next purchase. Get that bad taste out of their mouth and remind them why they loved your business to begin with.

For example, Lucky Brand sent the following email after a technical glitch caused a poor web experience. The brand offered up a generous 30% discount to give subscribers a reason to forgive and forget.

Use humor if appropriate

Be careful with this one, as a poorly thought-out joke may be the reason for your apology in the first place. However, using humor can help lighten the mood after a gaffe.

When it comes to humor, consider your brand’s tone. Is it out of character for your brand to be humorous, or does it fit with who you are? Brand consistency is important when you are conducting damage control.

Before you engage with humor, consider the degree of seriousness of your offense. If the mistake was not terribly serious or if it was out of your control then humor may be a good tool for you. It shows your human side.

For example, Wistia sent an apology email after sending the wrong link with a familiar face — the company dog. Wistia made light of the situation with a joke and fun image.

Wrap up

Mistakes are going to happen; what’s important is how you react. Remember to keep your cool, respond promptly, avoid blaming, and personalize your messages. If you’re thoughtful, keep your cool, and have fun, mistakes will be easily forgotten and forgiven by your subscribers.


Image Credit: N/A

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, July 17, 2018

Everything You Need to Know About Email Marketing

When it comes to successful marketing strategies, did you know email marketing consistently ranks as one of the best tactics? Studies show email has a median ROI of 122 percent; this is more than four times higher than other top strategies, including social media. In addition, HubSpot reports 86 percent of consumers want to receive emails from companies they do business with at least once a month.


As you can tell, research backs up claims that email marketing is worth the investment. In addition to the hard numbers, there are additional reasons this tactic plays an important role in your overall content marketing strategy.

As Forbes points out, email marketing can “fuel” your business’ strategy to increase website traffic and search engine optimization (SEO). How?

  • It’s cost efficient.
  • It provides a way to promote your blog posts, articles or other content.
  • It increases link shares by making it easy for subscribers to share your content on their social pages or website.
  • It encourages customer loyalty as well as brand awareness and reputation.
  • It increases your social media follower base by offering another way to remind subscribers to connect with your social channels.

How can you include email marketing as an effective component of your content strategy? Keep reading to find out!

Before we move on though, I wanted to make sure you are aware of how the EU’s new GDPR laws may affect your business, even if you operate in the United States. As Erika’s article about how GDPR affects marketing explains:

While this law only applies to members of the European Union, it’s still going to affect those of us that do business on this side of the pond thanks to our global economy. In terms of your email marketing, if you have even one person on your list that is an EU citizen, it’s important you’re aware of the regulations. And if you don’t, it’s beneficial to be informed for good measure.

Make sure you check out her post for specifics about how to comply with the regulations.

How to Create Effective Email Marketing Messages

Before you begin your email marketing campaign, make sure you have a clear understanding of your budget and goals. Once you’ve clearly established them, you can tackle the question of how you’ll achieve your goals.


Effective Email Marketing Tactics

When it comes to the most effective email marketing tactics, Campaign Monitor reports the most important tactics are (in order):

  • Personalization
  • List Segmentation
  • Automated Campaigns (see 15 examples of automated emails you can send on the Social Media Hat)
  • Testing and Optimization
  • Responsive Design

Entrepreneur backs up the importance of personalization too, sharing that, “More than half of consumers and 65 percent of B2B buyers surveyed were likely to switch brands if a company didn’t make an effort to personalize its communications to them.”

Whether you’re putting together an email marketing strategy for a small business, a medium-sized company or a major organization, personalization matters. How can you do this? As Entrepreneur recommends, “Get to know your subscribers better, and increase personalization by including polls in your emails. Not only is this an easy way for small businesses to learn more about their subscribers, it leads to more engaging emails and gives subscribers a chance to voice their preferences proactively.”

How are you segmenting your email marketing lists?

As you get to know your subscribers better, you can segment your lists better. Kissmetrics recommends separating them based on your target audience’s variables, such as:

  • Demographics (e.g. age, gender, job title, etc.)
  • Email Engagement (open rate and clickthrough rate)
  • Geographic Area
  • Past Purchases
  • Amount Spent with Your Business
  • Website Behavior
  • Time Since Last Purchase

Once you have subscribers divided into specific lists, you can send more targeted, personalized emails based on their information. For example, if you have the lists segmented by geographical location, you could send an email letting one group of subscribers know about an upcoming event in their area.

Clearly, this can be a lot to manage. The good news is you can also subscribe to a third-party email marketing management platform (such as MailChimp or Constant Contact) to take advantage of tools and services they offer to assist with personalization, as well as list segmentation, automation, testing and responsive design.

Speaking of MailChimp, their blog shares a lot of helpful advice based on research into what’s worked well for their customers. In addition to the tactics above, the email marketing platform recommends:

  • Using landing pages to provide, “A clear call to action and an easy space to make purchases.” This tactic has helped their customers increase their list growth rates by about 36 percent.
  • Incorporating social media into your email marketing. MailChimp provides tools to incorporate Facebook and Instagram ads directly into your email campaign.
  • If it’s appropriate for your brand voice, incorporate emojis into your emails.
  • Rely on clear, high-quality visuals. As MailChimp explains, “What we do know is that when it comes to the relationship between click rate and the ratio of text to images in campaigns, keeping the amount of copy per image lower leads to success.”

Email Marketing Specifics: Creating Your Messages

How much time do you spend crafting your email marketing subject lines?

Email marketing statistic next to computer with envelopes coming out.

How much time do you spend crafting your email marketing subject lines?

Now that you have an idea of what tactics you want to include in your email marketing strategy, it’s time to get down to actually creating messages for your subscribers.

As Natalie Petersen shared in her recent post about content development, your e-newsletter should include these elements:

  1. An enticing subject line. 64 percent of people say they open an email because of the subject line, so spend time on it and make sure it’s enticing.
  2. A strong visual appearance. In addition to choosing colors and an overall feel that matches your brand, include high-res images throughout the newsletter.
  3. Concise, helpful content. Make your email easy to read and provide something of value to your readers. If you want to share an article that’s more than a couple of paragraphs, post it on your blog and link to it from the newsletter. Also, a brief introduction at the top of the email is a fantastic way to give your readers a quick look at what the issue includes and infuse a bit of your personality.
  4. Grammatically correct text. Text that’s rife with errors can be confusing, plus it makes you look less professional. If possible, have a co-worker or friend proofread the text for you and double check your work.
  5. A call to action. What do you want your readers to do after reading your newsletter? Share it with their friends? Contact you to for a free consultation? Make it clear how you’d like them to respond – after all, if you never ask they’ll never do it!

What type of content should you include? The biggest key here is to know your target subscriber. What messages will they want to receive from you? How will you provide them value?

For example, if you have a younger target audience, research into millennials’ preferences will help guide your email content. As this infographic shares:

  • 63 percent of millennials actually prefer to communicate with retailers via email.
  • 59 percent will take action from emails containing a site-wide or product category-wide promotional offers.
  • The majority of millennials want to engage with retailers via email for discounts and promotional offers.
  • 71 percent will take action from an email containing their preferred content (e.g. discount codes and free shipping)
  • The majority of millennials will pull up an email when browsing in a physical store to access coupons.

10 Common Email Marketing Mistakes

As you begin (or revisit) your email marketing campaign, make sure you avoid these all-too-common e-newsletter mistakes:

How often do you review your email marketing analytics?

1. You forget to look at the analytics. How will you be able to measure success without objective data? Each time a newsletter is distributed, take a look at how many recipients open it, which links they click, if they forward it, etc. As you look at this information, try to notice any trends you see emerging. Do your readers seem to like a particular type of content more than another? Is the open rate higher or lower when you send it in the afternoon as opposed to the morning? Pay attention to these tendencies and adjust your email marketing campaign accordingly.

2.  Your emails aren’t mobile friendly. If your newsletter doesn’t load on mobile devices, or is formatted in a way that’s hard to read, readers won’t take your email seriously. Ensure images, email size and videos that you send are compatible with mobile devices so that potential customers can find your emails.

3. You lack consistency. Sporadically sending out emails to subscribers may frustrate them and then cause them to forget they asked to receive your messages and then unsubscribe when they see them. Instead, implement your email marketing on a consistent schedule and stick to it. You also want to be consistent with the content you share in your emails so subscribers will know what to expect and be more interested in opening them.

4. You over communicate. Your subscribers follow you for a reason, but if you spam them with too many emails they will unsubscribe. When you create your email marketing schedule, don’t over load it with too many messages going out too frequently. 

5. You ignore design.
Do your email marketing messages fit your branding?

While a generic template or no HTML at all can be tempting, ignoring a custom-design means you’re losing brand identity. Custom templates allow you to showcase your business in a unique way and make it stand out from the rest of the emails people receive.

6. Your headlines are dull. You want your marketing emails to be opened at the very least. Create a compelling subject line that grabs the attention of your recipients. Subject lines that lack pizazz can be easily categorized as spam to potential customers.

7. You forget to customize the preview text. This is the preview of what shows up in recipients’ inboxes. As HubSpot explains, “If your email client supports preview text, also known as pre-header text, you can optimize it for every email you send. Allowing this text to auto-populate is a lost opportunity to grab attention or delight your recipients.” Most email marketing platforms include a place for you to customize this space.

8. Your emails are too long. When it comes to email marketing, the shorter the content, the better. Each paragraph of your email should be about 3 to 4 lines at the most. Your potential customers are in a hurry and usually scan through emails. Ensure that your first sentence has the most important information so they won’t miss the crucial parts of your message.

9. You don’t repurpose content you’ve already created. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel every time you send a newsletter. Share your latest blog post or a fascinating article you shared on Facebook. Remember, it takes multiple impressions for consumers to remember a brand, so repeat your message in as many channels as possible.

10. You sound like a used car salesperson. Just because email marketing isn’t face to face doesn’t mean you can’t add a little personality to your messages. Avoid sounding like a used car salesperson by avoiding a full on sales pitch within your emails. Try adding a little humor, fun facts or anything else that may tickle the fancy of your potential customers.

Now you’re ready to get started with or revisit your email marketing campaign!

Image Credit: N/A

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, July 16, 2018

The 55 Best Questions To Ask To Break The Ice And Really Get To Know Someone

What’s the first question most people ask you when you meet?

It’s likely, “What do you do?”

This has become the new “How’s it going?” or “How about that weather?” and it’s awful.

If you’re anything like me, this question leaves you feeling sized-up and minimized. It’s as if the asker is thinking to herself, “I’m out of here if she doesn’t fit my predetermined criteria of what is interesting.”

So, you struggle to answer, not even sure if the asker cares in the first place, or if it’s just small talk.

Why does it have to be like this? And why do we care so much about what someone does, anyway? Hopefully, we respect ourselves enough to know that we are dynamic people who can’t be described adequately in one sentence. We also know that we can’t get someone to feel invested in us, or our work, in a quick transactional conversation.

Isn’t there a better way? Yes, but you may have to break a few norms to bust up the status quo to really get to know someone.  

Here’s a list of some better icebreaker questions to consider. I’ve broken them into mild, medium and hot so you can go deeper as your palate allows.

Play with what works for you in various environments and points in a conversation. A ‘hot’ one is typically best if reserved until after you’ve warmed someone up a bit, so they feel comfortable enough to open up. Some environments create this intimacy quickly, in which case you can dive right in.

And sometimes, a great precursor to any question is simply to admit that you’re over surface-level conversation and really want to learn what makes this person tick. So, might they mind your asking some untraditional questions, and speaking more authentically?


With that, here are 55 questions you might want to try:


Any upcoming travel plans?

What brought you here?

How do you two know each other?

When you're not working, how do you like to spend your time?

What are you reading currently?

What’s the first concert you attended?

Where do you most hope to visit?

What’s your favorite book?

What's your favorite 90’s show?

What's the best Halloween costume you've ever had?

What's your dream job?

What's your favorite word?

What was your first job?

What's one thing you're excited about that's coming up in 2018?

What was the worst job you've ever had?

What is your most-used emoji?

If you could win an Olympic medal for any sport, real or fake, what would it be?

If you could change your name, what would it be?

What movie or TV show title best describes your week?

What was your favorite subject in school?

What’s your hidden talent?

If you had to eat one thing for every meal going forward, what would you eat?

If someone were to play you in a movie, who would you want it to be?


If you could spend a day in someone else’s shoes, whose would they be? Why?

What's one thing your mother/father taught you that completely changed your life?

What’s been on your mind lately?

What’s the first career you dreamed of having as a kid?

What’s the last text you sent?

What's one of your favorite memories?

What's one thing about you that surprises people?

Who, or what, was your biggest teacher?

What was something you've done that made you feel extreme happiness?

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

If you could instantly become an expert in something, what would it be?

What does success mean to you?

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Where is your happy place?

If you could invite 3 people, dead or alive, to a dinner party, who would they be, and why?

How can someone win a gold star with you?

What energizes you and brings you excitement?

What qualities do you value in the people with whom you spend time?

For what would you be famous?

What does your dream day look like?

If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?

What’s your guilty pleasure?

At what job would you be terrible?

If you had to choose only 3 adjectives to describe yourself, which would you choose?


What do you give a damn about?

What is a dream you have that you’ve yet to achieve?

What's something you say you'll do, but never will?

What did you have to give up to achieve your current level of success?

Has anything ever happened to you that you could not, and cannot, explain?

Do you ever find there are things about you that people misunderstand? What are they?

For what are you most grateful today?

If you could have one 'do over' in your life, what would you do differently?

Of what are you most afraid?

See what it's like to stop leading a conversation with “What do you do?” and see how it makes you feel. How does your conversation partner respond? Do you find that it can be a shortcut to warm them up? And by taking that leap, does it give permission to others to break the mold of their typical conversation patterns?

It takes time to build a relationship. The initial interaction should be used to find some chemistry and build rapport. If you can spark curiosity in getting to know you more, you've succeeded. Choose any of these questions to have in mind for your next interactions, and see what feels authentic to you in kickstarting new relationships.

Most importantly, don’t attack someone with questions. When you ask, deeply listen. Any questions that come after should be a natural follow up to their response. These are helpful primers, but follow the course that the conversation takes.

And then, you will eventually get to know what someone does. No need to lead with it. Ideally, it will uncover itself as you get to know what really matters to your new friend.


Image Credit: 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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Friday, July 13, 2018

4 Tactics You Need to Know for an Effective Email Marketing Strategy

As consumers, emails bombard us at every opportunity, and as marketers, we’re still sending them because they continue to be one of the most effective means of getting the results we want. The success of email marketing lies in its versatility. It’s a tool that serves countless purposes across every industry, and no two marketing emails will have the same look and feel, intent, or result.

The impact of email marketing goes far beyond delivering messages, monitoring open rates, and tracking click-through rates. So, whether you’re working on a start-up, or your company is already well-established, an effective email marketing strategy is key to promoting your business, generating leads, and increasing revenue.

According to Campaign Monitor, on average, email marketing brings in a 4400% ROI. In other words, every $1 spent on email marketing produces $44 in return. This might be because 58% of adults wake up and immediately check their email or because email is 40 times better at converting consumers than Facebook and Twitter. And despite what you may think, email marketing is still growing. Gmail alone has 1 billion users worldwide, and The Radicati Group predicts that there will be 2.2 billion email users worldwide by the end of 2018 and 3 billion by 2020 (that’s almost half of the world’s population!).

So, here are four email marketing tactics that give your customers a reason to care, a reason to engage, a reason to buy, and most importantly, a reason to stay with your business:

Segment your database

Email list segmentation directly correlates to recipient behavior and ensures that what you’re sending is relevant to the reader. Without it, most emails bounce or end up in the trash folder; with it, you stand a much better chance of enticing the reader to care, to learn more about your brand, and to purchase your product or service. You can’t afford to miss out on the demand generation opportunities represented by email segmentation.

A study by HubSpot found that all key email marketing KPIs perform better when you segment your email list.

DMA says 77% of ROI comes from segmented, targeted, and triggered campaigns. So, one simple adjustment—segmenting your email list to appropriately target your subscribers—can improve your engagement and conversion rates as well as increase your ROI.

To help you get started with basic segmentation and increase your email marketing engagement, here are ten recommendations from MailingManager.

Personalize your emails

Admittedly, email automation makes the lives of marketers and salespeople easier. Long gone are the days when we laboriously thumbed through piles of business cards to email prospects one by one. But, just because technology has allowed us to be faster and more efficient, we are not now granted immunity to establishing personalized, authentic connections with our audiences.

Additionally, a recent study by Campaign Monitor found that emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened. They also showed that segmenting email campaigns to deliver more personalized content increased email revenue by 760%. In other words, personalized content has become a necessity rather than just a nice touch.

Ensure Deliverability

Deliverability isn’t always a guarantee. And, how much you pay for a platform has nothing to do with the likelihood of your emails reaching someone’s inbox. A perfect subject line with spectacular content is worthless if your email gets lost in transit or flagged as spam. Here are six tips to make sure your email gets in front of your audience, so you can begin to perfect your digital experience and improve marketing efficiency and dollars spent.

Automate your campaigns

Marketing automation platforms help you streamline your marketing efforts to consistently stay connected with your audience, so you can eliminate repetitive tasks and focus on the quality of your campaigns and messaging.

Automated emails generate 320% more revenue than non-automated. Marketing automation is extremely powerful for many reasons: more responsive messaging, effective prospect nurturing, improved productivity, better targeting, and programs that free up marketers to focus on strategy, to name a few.

Whether you are launching your marketing automation initiative or are preparing for a future investment in marketing automation, here are four tips to help you get started:

Your success in marketing automation will help you engage with more customers more often and increase sales and loyalty.

In short, email is not going anywhere and remains one of the most effective business communication tools today. Email marketing, when done correctly, can help you engage with your customers, increase sales, grow your business and retain loyal customers. It is both an art and a science that takes time and practice to get right, but nailing down just a few of these tactics can result in a huge return on investment (ROI) for your business.


Image Credit: and Lyris, Inc.

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, July 12, 2018

Email Marketing Not Working As Well As You’d Hoped? Here’s Why:

Does your email marketing strategy include only sending emails when you need something in return – like a sale, or a sign up? This is the type of thinking that we see commonly when small businesses are just starting out with email marketing.

Do you have that one friend that only calls when they need something? We all do, and this is how customers can feel when you’re only asking them to buy something.

By sending emails that are really only trying to hard sell customers, you are not giving your business the best chance to successfully market to them. Your contacts can easily become fatigued with this type of communication and lose interest.

Instead, you should think about how you can send on a consistent basis and balance sales emails with content your customers will value.

What does “valuable content” mean?

Valuable content is information that your customers will find helpful, and that pertains to the type of business you are running, including your services, products and industry. This content should be offered to your customers when you communicate with them, and without expecting anything in return while also providing them an opportunity to buy if desired.

Just like wine and cheese or chocolate and peanut butter, asking a customer to make a purchase pairs very well with valuable content.

Here are some examples of emails that would include valuable content:

  • A dog grooming company could create a guide on how to de-stress your pup.
  • A yoga studio could let you know about upcoming retreats in your area.
  • A wine store could send an email about the top five reds to bring to a dinner party.
  • Circling back to the “wine and cheese” reference, content and selling compliment each other when implemented into your email marketing strategy.

Additionally, you are probably going to buy that wine from that specific wine seller because you know they have it in stock, they are the experts, and you trust them. They didn’t specifically ask you for a sale, but they did encourage it with their valuable content.

When emails are paired with valuable content and an option to purchase, there is a much higher chance of actually getting that purchase, along with building trust, and your reputation as an expert in your industry.

Do not fall for this email marketing misconception:

The major misconception we see is that you only need to send an email when you need a boost in sales. If your customers are not getting emails from you consistently, you risk them forgetting who you are, causing your email marketing results to plummet.

Whether you schedule ahead of time, map out a plan for your entire year, or use automation, make sure you’re sending regularly. Consistency will set the stage for your email marketing performance.

When you communicate on a regular cadence, and especially when those communications contain valuable content, you’ll be viewed as a dependable source to your audience. They’ll start to expect the next campaign, and will become more engaged with the valuable content within, boosting revenue organically.

When you’re sending emails with content that your customers actually want to learn about, then they’ll become excited about seeing your emails in their inbox. And once you establish a regular cadence, those same customers will be anticipating the next one.

See the results you’ve always hoped for

The truth is, if you balance your sales emails with valuable content on a consistent basis, you can get the email marketing results you’ve been hoping for all along. When customers recognize your emails in their inbox, they’ll think of you first when they are ready to buy.


Image Credit: N/A

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, July 11, 2018

7 Ways Custom Audio Branding Can Turn Your VOIP System Into a 24/7 Brand Ambassador

A custom audio brand is as important to your customer’s ear as your visual identity is to their eye.

From the choice of music and voice talent to the strategy of the script and voice prompts, a custom audio brand is the auditory conduit that connects callers to your business with warmth, familiarity and professionalism.

But if your business has transitioned to a voice-over-internet-protocol (VOIP) telephone system, you may be missing out on the advantages of custom audio branding.

That’s because VOIP systems come with basic ‘plug and play’ features that are limited in customizable options. If you’re using these, you may be missing a strategic opportunity to connect with your customers, serve them and even sell to them.

Consider these seven ways custom audio branding can turn your VOIP system into a 24/7 brand ambassador.

#1: Custom audio branding ensures a great first impression

Without custom audio branding, your VOIP system will sound like every other company using an out-of-the-box system, including bland messaging backed by canned music.

Custom audio branding puts your best foot forward with a customized script matched with music specifically selected for your target demographic.

All components work together to ensure that the first impression is the right one.

#2: Custom audio branding gives your business a sound signature

When customers call your company, you want them to be able to close their eyes and feel as if they just walked into your lobby.

Custom audio branding enables you to create a sound signature that’s tailored to your demographic, builds a positive connection and engenders familiarity.

#3: Custom audio branding makes your VOIP audio congruent with other audio marketing touch points

It’s likely that when a customer calls, they have already visited your website and may even be familiar with audio branding you’ve used on promotional videos, radio ads or even podcasts.

Using the same audio brand on your VOIP telephone system reinforces your other audio touch points and strengthens the connection with your customer.

#4: Custom audio branding reinforces visual identity

Human senses work together to complete our understanding of an experience.

Your brand experience is no different.

Whether your visual identity is professional, informal or whimsical, your audio brand should reflect and reinforce that.


#5: Custom audio branding aligns your music with your brand

Music choices are a key part of your brand. Any music you use should align with your target demographics.

You only get a handful of choices with most VOIP telephone systems and none of them are great. But with a custom audio branding consultant, your musical choices are unlimited and you can rest assured that you’re operating within copyright laws.

#6: Custom audio branding strengthens your customer connection

At the end of the day, it really is all about customer connection. Every branded touch point your customer experiences strengthens the connection with your company.

When you have custom audio branding on your VOIP system, you have a competitive edge over those who do not.

#7: Custom audio branding prevents transition problems

When you work with a custom audio brand consultant for your VOIP telephone service, you benefit from years of professional experience and know-how.

Experienced consultants know how to pinpoint potential branding or technical problems that can accompany a transition to VOIP. These can include solutions ranging from simple audio format tweaks and hardware upgrades to ‘run-arounds’ that can save you time and money.

Consultants can also help you create an audio branding workflow and bridge the communication gap between the technical and marketing departments. This helps everyone understand the new technology and work together to achieve a seamless transition.

Image Credit: 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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