Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Email Marketing Is Still The Top Way To Generate Leads

As the general public became familiar with electronic communications, mass postal-mail marketing campaigns gave way to email marketing campaigns. If you have been working in marketing prior to the social media boom, you surely remember when emails were the top marketing platform.

Over time, the popularity of email marketing campaigns resulted in personal email inboxes that were overflowing with the latest and greatest offers. Email campaigns grew and people grew tired of them. Laws that allowed customers to unsubscribe breathed new life into email marketing campaigns as customers could easily pick and choose the companies they were interested in.

Email marketing has long been a tried-and-true method for generating leads. This approach continues to enjoy a strong track record in spite of the rise of social media platforms. Email marketing is still an efficient way to generate leads at a reasonable cost.

One thing that hasn’t changed with email marketing is that you need to be strategic about how you word every part of marketing emails. One of the best things about email subscriptions of today is that you can count on your prospects having some level of interest in your product or service that encouraged them to sign up for your subscription list to begin with.

Write email campaigns that get results.

One of the first lessons that I learned about email marketing campaigns is to give sincere thought to how a customer perceives every component of the email, starting with the subject line. Media headlines grab your attention and get you to listen longer or read further. A meaningful subject line for an email offers the same punch. Subject lines should be relevant, interesting and genuine.

Journalism students quickly learn how the inverted pyramid style of writing gives readers the most important information first. The rest of the paragraph or article supports the initial information or offers additional details. Your email marketing customers will respond to the same style of writing. They want the big news first because they’re often reading your email while they’re commuting or at work. If they want the details, they’ll read the email again just before they buy.

Keep your emails simple and minimal. Just as a crisp, pressed business suit sends a professional message, a clean, uncluttered email tells consumers that you are professional. If you can’t create a professional-looking email, look for professional-looking templates where you can fill in the blanks.

Be cognizant of your purpose. Each of your emails should have a clear goal such as educating your customer, asking for referrals or getting them to follow your company’s social media platforms.

Engage your email readers with content that is short and to the point. Wordiness and fluff have no place in email marketing campaigns. Reveal your purpose up front and talk about how your purpose relates to the customer to get a connection started. Choose large fonts in an easy-to-read style. Your readers may be people who constantly read while they’re on the go or they may have poor eyesight. You’ll want them to be able to read and scan the email quickly.

Move the wording in your email toward your call-to-action section quickly and make the action that you want them to take ultra-clear. Try to think about the ways emails in your inbox grab your attention and those that cause you to hit delete.


Create customized emails for cold leads from all sources.

The main sources from which I get our leads are our blogs, organic traffic, pay-per-click ads and salespeople. No matter where you source your leads, use several email chains that are customized according to what those leads are looking for. Next, categorize them and get them in the right automated email chain. This places them in your sales funnel to warm them up and get them ready for sales.

Generate leads from blogs.

Our prospects love our informative blog articles. Use your blog as an opportunity to send them related articles. This primes the prospect for a call to action asking them if they want you to call them.

Move warm email leads to hot leads and make the sale.

It’s important to give your warm leads as much attention as your cold leads. When our emails move from the cold list to the warm list, I have a specific email that I send to nurture the relationship and make it a little warmer. I also include a thoughtful testimonial to help gain credibility.

After sending the warm email, follow up with a second email asking if they’re still looking for your services. Include a sale offer or coupon to move the lead closer to a sale.

Test and analyze email marketing campaign results.

There’s still a lot of power in A/B split testing. Testing emails reduces bounce rates, tells you more about your customers, increases conversions and is cost effective.

In analyzing my email marketing campaigns, I look for open rates at 30% or higher to know if they were successful. I don’t expect as much from click-through rates, where I like to see around the 5% range.

When a new approach to marketing takes marketers by storm, some marketers make the mistake of moving into new strategies full force, leaving methods that have worked well in the past smoldering in the dust. The best marketing campaigns use several marketing forms simultaneously. The key to maximizing results with every effort is to know your purpose, target the right customers and learn from your results.

Source: https://www.forbes.com
Image Credit: Pexels

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

Stay Connected with WNFP!
Join WNFP Communities!

Monday, July 30, 2018

Successful Networking Is All About Having the Right Energy

There are three things that set any business person apart from the rest of the pack.

  1. The energy she carries. 
  2. The situational knowledge she has.
  3. How she leverages relationship capital, not only of herself but of others.

Many young professionals have a shortage of experience or situational knowledge; they also lack a huge network of relationship capital. Having this capital is all a variable of time, nothing else. But, by putting an effort into networking, anyone can accelerate her success.

This is where the energy that you carry comes into play. Relationship capital is an immensely valuable part of business success. And one of the best ways to build this asset is to put your energy, intention and attention on networking. Energy makes it, quote-unquote "network," meaning the energy that you carry is what makes your connections work.

Energetic first steps

The first step when you have identified an event, a place or a situation where you can network is simply to put yourself into the right frame of mind. First, think of yourself as an equal. You mustn't think of yourself as separate, inferior or even superior. Don't fall victim to your ego! Envision yourself on a level playing field.

If you don't have the right energy before you step into a networking or connection situation, then you must shift your energy. I can't tell you how many times that I've entered a room of my own family where I've felt separate, inferior or superior. And it always tends to make situations worse. This is why we must first have our energy aligned and be connected as one. You must feel like you belong, especially if you're younger and you don't have many relationships that you can leverage. If you don't carry the right energy when networking, you will not be very successful.


Bring your value

When you walk into a room, you want people to feel and know that you provide value, and can be of service. Also that you're radically humble and can ask for help. I want the energy that I carry to utilize the 100/20 Rule: Everyone who speaks with me or meets me knows that I'm giving much more value than I'm asking for.

Networking will be easier if you have a simplified approach to your interactions or connections. Once you have the right energy, make sure you maintain eye contact, smile and always have at least one question to ask.

Second, that emotion

When formulating your question, remember that people "buy" on emotion for logical reasons. Therefore, it's a good idea to connect emotionally. Emotion is energy in motion. There are numerous ways to establish an emotional connection from the outset. You can share a passion for a sports team, for the place where you grew up or the community you serve. If you both have children, you can talk about their school activities. Or anything that's important to you, and in common with the other person.

Finally, when networking, be "more interested than interesting." Simply put: Find out what they know, rather than showing off what you know.

A key part of networking is making sure you have a simple system in place to keep track of the people you meet. That way you can easily keep in touch with them and deepen your emotional connection.

Exchange contact numbers on the spot by having them call your mobile phone with theirs. In the same day you meet them, send an invitation to connect on LinkedIn. At home, or in your office, do not file business cards alphabetically. Rather, put them in order of importance -- or strongest influence -- or in the order of generating most to least ROI. And keep them in plain sight on your desk as a reminder to follow up.

Remember when putting together your system: The universe loves simple.

Making new relationships ... indirectly

One of the best ways to build new relationships is a bit counterintuitive in that you do not interact directly. I learned this from my mentor, Leigh Steinberg, when we were recruiting athletes at his sports agency. We utilized spheres of influence. In other words, we leveraged the connection someone else had to the people we wanted to meet. It's an organic and authentic way to meet an important person you can't just pick up the phone and call.

What many people fail to realize is that having an individual who's more than one degree of separation from your target prospect can be more effective than you actually pitching your target. This is because now you have an unbiased, credible referral source who is aligned with your vision.

Network and thrive

When you can effectively connect without the ego's need of being separate, inferior or superior, you leverage more than just your situational knowledge, you include others' as well. Not only can your relationship capital, and that of your mentors, help to accelerate your networking (and career) but utilizing the spheres of influence can, too. Most importantly, make a point to connect emotionally, then develop a process or system to continue to connect to those people emotionally. For example, if you connected on both of your kids' school activities, you can check in once in a while to inquire about their progress.

When you effectively connect to others and provide value, you can easily connect to what inspires both of you. If you bring the right energy to your networking and connect to goodness, you'll exponentially experience more success and happiness.


Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com
Image Credit: Hero Images | 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.

Stay Connected with WNFP!
Join WNFP Communities!

Friday, July 27, 2018

How to Set Up a Small Business Advertising Campaign – A Checklist

Want to know how to set up a small business advertising campaign? In this article, we’ve identified nine essential steps. The 9 steps to set up an advertising campaign are:

  1. Define your advertising goals 
  2. Pick what you want to promote
  3. Identify your target audience 
  4. Determine where to find your audience 
  5. Decide your campaign timing
  6. Set an advertising budget 
  7. Select outlets to advertise in
  8. Create the advertising message and graphics
  9. Measure results

While large corporations hire advertising agencies for campaigns involving millions of dollars (think “Mad Men” if you were a fan of that show — and the Madison Avenue ad agency featured in it), small businesses don’t have that luxury.

As a small business owner or marketing manager in a smaller company, you may have to do most of the work on your own without much outside help.

Let’s dive into detail around each of the nine steps in setting up a small business advertising campaign. Here’s our small business advertising checklist detail:

1. Define your Advertising Goals

Clearly define a business goal or goals for your advertising campaign. Ask yourself: what are you trying to achieve with advertising? Don’t just say you want “more sales.” Everyone wants more sales. Be more specific.

Use the SMART method to define your goals better. SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-bound goals.

Consider these five different advertising goals and how to put SMART goals around them:

Find new customers – If your goal is more customers, identify how many and in what time period so you can measure results. But make sure the goal is achievable. If you have a small budget of $2,000, you’re not going to get 10,000 new customers in 30 days. But 50 to 75 new customers might be doable, depending on your industry. A SMART goal might be: Acquire 50 new customers in 30 days.

Reinforce brand awareness – If you would like your company or solution to be top of mind in the future when prospects are ready to buy, then brand awareness may be a good strategic goal. If so, how will you measure brand awareness success? By an increase in word of mouth referrals? By an increase in search engine visibility? What about store foot traffic? More social media mentions? More website traffic? A brand awareness survey? Identify concrete results you will measure. A SMART goal might be: Increase social media visibility for your brand by at least 20% in 6 months, as measured by Social Mention.

Launch a new product – If promoting a new product is the reason for the campaign, how will you measure that? A SMART goal might be: Sell 300 units during the initial 3-month product launch.

Inform about lesser-known benefits – Those that sell professional services or complex business solutions may want to inform their targets about possible benefits. Example: A digital agency comes out with a new service offering. A SMART goal could be: Generate 150 downloads of a lead magnet explaining the benefits of that offering, of which 30 are solidly interested in hearing more about it, during a 90-day campaign.

Gain a seasonal push – If you are in retail and hold seasonal sales, then your advertising will be concentrated in a narrow time window of perhaps a few weeks or days. This goal requires you to focus on techniques that spur people into action during that time, such as event-based radio broadcast advertising where you try to get a large number of people to come to your store one weekend. A SMART goal could be: Increase foot traffic to your store by 30% during the weekend event, and increase sales by 10%.


2. Pick What You Want to Promote

The next step in your small business advertising checklist is to decide what you will promote. Choose whether ads will promote:

  • a product
  • a service
  • a group of products / services
  • your brand 
  • a special sale or event
  • something else 

What you promote must line up with your goals.

Example 1: if your goals include a seasonal sales bump or launching a new product, your focus might be on promoting an event or product — not on promoting your company as a whole.

Example 2: if you are a home improvement contractor trying to boost sales, then you might promote capabilities or a group of related products and services that appeal to target customers. For instance, “Custom kitchen remodels, cabinets, granite countertops, more – call us for a free design consultation and quote”.

3. Identify your Target Audience

Identify the targets you want to reach — precisely. Targets are not just “more buyers” or “consumers.” Be specific.

Develop buyer personas to zero in on the targets you want to reach with advertising.

Buyer personas are fictional representations of your ideal target buyer. Personas include demographics, firmographics (for business customers), preferences, habits, challenges they are trying to solve, income and more.

If you’ve never set up buyer personas, go over to Make My Persona and use the free tool. Most businesses have more than one ideal customer profile, so create several.

4. Determine where to Find your Audience

When setting up your small business advertising campaign it’s important to have a good audience fit.

Estimate where your targets spend their time and get their news. What kind of activities do they engage in? What are their daily preferences? How do they research purchases? Understanding these things helps identify how to find people in your target audience.

While billboards, TV ads or magazine ads might reach a very large number of people, the real question is how many of YOUR targets are they likely to reach? Going for wide reach could be expensive overkill — or miss the mark altogether.

Go back to your buyer personas. Do they suggest your target audience is mainly urban millennials who don’t drive much and prefer to go online rather than read print or watch TV? In that case, billboards, print ads and TV ads won’t reach many of them.

Some of the online advertising methods allow you to target precisely. For example, consider how Facebook ads let you target by interests and demographics. Or use keywords in Google AdWords to attract buyers actively searching for your products.

However, online ads could be expensive — and may not hit the mark if you’re mainly trying to lure local foot traffic into your bakery. Community coupon books or advertising in a community bulletin might be better for reaching these local shoppers.

5. Choose your Campaign Timing

Some types of advertising can be launched immediately. Others require advance planning.

How fast do you need results? Many small businesses want instant results. But not all types of advertising are immediate.

For example, if you’re running a special promotion for a limited time, you need results before the special runs out. A magazine ad that you have to place months ahead of time will be too late. A better option is pay-per-click ads that start delivering clicks within hours. Or consider radio spots that go up within a few days.

On the other hand, with a new product launch, you typically plan it well in advance. So a blitz campaign that includes direct mail, TV commercials and Internet display ads along with a PR campaign, can be coordinated so it all starts to roll out around the same time to make a big splash.

Remember, timing is a key part of any small business advertising campaign.

6. Set an Advertising Budget

Be realistic when setting your advertising budget. We all want free advertising. But usually you need to budget for some level of spend.

Next in your small business advertising checklist, consider these three factors when setting your budget. Look at:

Past history – If you’ve advertised in the past, you’ll have a baseline to start from. Evaluate past campaigns to see if they hit the mark with good results. And look at what you spent. Adjust accordingly. 

Lifetime value of a customer – Consider what a sale is worth to you to make sure the cost of the advertising will lead to profitable sales. Know what a completed sale “conversion” is worth to you, advises Robert Brady, a Certified Google AdWords partner with Righteous Marketing.

“Know the lifetime value of a customer. And know how much you’re willing to commit to acquiring that new lead or purchase,” he adds. “Then use those numbers for your digital advertising efforts. For example, say that your average customer purchases 3 times and each purchase is roughly $50. That means every new customer is worth $150. Say you are willing to commit 20 percent to acquiring new customers. That means your goal for cost per conversion is $30. Any advertising that gets a customer for less should be emphasized and expanded. Methods that can’t achieve that goal get tweaked or dropped.”

Industry benchmarks – Take a look at what others of roughly the same size in your industry or similar industries spend on advertising. Industry benchmarks give you a number to compare against, by calculating advertising expenses as a percentage of annual sales (factoring in both new and existing customers).

7. Select Outlets to Advertise In

Find media outlets that align with your goals, audience, timing and budget.

In other words, what media outlets or properties are the best places to advertise` for what you want to accomplish? Start with where you audience spends time.

If you decide pay-per-click search ads are appropriate, the obvious choices are Google AdWords and Bing ads. Or perhaps you know that a large chunk of your target audience enjoys Pinterest. In that case, promoted Pinterest pins may be an obvious option.

However, other types of advertising may require more research to identify outlets. Sometimes you find hidden gems.

You may need to check out various television or radio stations, websites, magazines, coupon clipper books, outdoor advertising or other media outlets. If you decide a particular outlet is promising, simply look on the website for the “sales” or “advertising” contact (or find a number to call and ask).

Many outlets have an online media kit that provides information for prospective advertisers.


8. Create the Advertising Message and Graphics

Next, you will need to create the advertising message and “creative assets” (graphics, footage or audio) for your campaign. Some types of ads require professional design. Others can be do-it-yourself.

For print ads, TV commercials and possibly radio spots, many small businesses engage the services of a creative agency to produce the ad assets to make a professional impression. Remember to budget for the cost of the ad creative assets.

Many types of online ads, on the other hand, can be do-it-yourself. For instance, you can create Google AdWords or Facebook ads right within the provided dashboard. For display ads, you can have an inexpensive banner ad made through an online service such as DesignPax starting at around $50.

9. Measure Results

Last but not least, measure results.

Based on your business goals, you should have identified specific metrics to know if your campaign is successful. You need to measure performance against those metrics.

Some types of ads, such as AdWords, are easy to measure because the data is automatically collected. For instance, you can track click-throughs and identify how many converted into online sales or leads.

Other types of ads such as television commercials may require you to manually collect and measure data. For instance, you might need to compare the amount of foot traffic or the number of closed sales, before, during and after TV commercials run.

As you track performance, learn and react. Tweak mid campaign if possible. Or do an analysis and debrief afterwards to learn for the next time.

So there you have it — how to set up an advertising campaign in 9 steps. By following this small business advertising checklist you’ll be positioned for success. Take a look at this sample checklist to help your small business plan an advertising strategy of your own.

Source: https://smallbiztrends.com
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.

Stay Connected with WNFP!
Join WNFP Communities!

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Stand Out With These 4 Top Personal Branding Tools

Improve Your Personal Branding with These 4 Great Resources

Building a loyal following is not difficult when you know which tools to use. Connecting with the right people can help you spread word and find new clients. There are several resources that can improve your networking with better results. Would you like to increase your brand awareness? Take advantage of these resources, and let me know how these work for you!

1) Become the knowledge source – Passle

Build relationships with experts who will recommend your brand. Passle helps by focusing and engaging with your community who can then experience your own expertise in your industry. Find targeted articles to re-purpose on your blog, announce the latest events and news for your brand, find relevant content for your audience, and more.

2) Connect with quality industry leaders – Xing

Would you like to engage in a smaller social network for more targeted connections? Newer on the networking scene from Germany is a website similar to LinkedIn called, Xing, but with more of a simplified format. This is a good resource resource for employers and job seekers alike with access to high level professionals in both business and the media.

3) Online reputation management – Brand Yourself

Want your blog to appear in Google search results? Then you will enjoy Brand Yourself, which gives you an opportunity to submit three profiles such as a website, social media profile, ect. for free. This is one worth checking out especially if your personal brand is newer.

4) Create an online business profile in minutes – Strikingly

Would you like to showcase your brand but don’t have a website up yet? A good service to use in place of a blog is called, Strikingly. Brands and businesses can set up a page showcasing a biography, expertise, and connected networks. Use the free version or purchase a domain name that can be moved later to a WordPress installation.

Hopefully you will find these personal branding tools useful to your online marketing strategy. Are there any that you would like to add as well?


Source: https://www.business2community.com
Image Credit: Susan Gilbert

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

Stay Connected with WNFP!
Join WNFP Communities!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

10 Things You’re Missing Out on by Using a Personal Email Account to Do Your Email Marketing

If you’re like a lot of small businesses and organizations, you may be using a personal email account — like Gmail, Outlook, AOL, or Yahoo — to communicate with a group of email contacts.
Chances are you’ve also noticed some limitations in what you can and can’t do with a personal email account.

One of the biggest limitations of using a personal account is in the design of your emails.

If you’re not a professional designer, it’s tough to create emails that actually match your brand and make your business look professional.

Other limitations include:

Problems getting messages delivered: Has anyone ever told you they didn’t receive your email? Sending mass emails from a personal account can result in more emails being sent to the spam folder.

Difficulty keeping track of your email contacts: Manually keeping track of new email addresses and people who have asked to be taken off your list can cause headaches and take up hours of your time.

No understanding of who opened an email or clicked a link: You hope your emails are getting opened and read, but personal accounts don’t provide that information.

Email marketing services like Constant Contact are built to make it easy to create beautiful emails that drive real business results.

They have the tools you need to manage your email contacts and provide in-depth reporting tools to track important metrics like opens, clicks, and shares for your emails.
They also provide tools and training to help you stay compliant with important email laws, which are 
easy to violate if you’re trying to do marketing from a personal email account.

One of the best ways to see how an email marketing service can benefit your business is to try it for yourself.

You can try Constant Contact free for 60 days.

Still have questions about why an email marketing service is right for you? Here are 10 things you’re missing out on by not using a service for your email marketing.

1. You’re not prepared to send bulk emails
Many email accounts and most Internet Service Providers (ISPs) limit the number of emails that you can send at one time. This means that as your email database grows, you could run into more and more problems with getting your emails delivered.

Email providers like Constant Contact work diligently to maintain strong relationships with ISPs and establish reputations for sending permission-based emails.  As a result, our customers see more of their emails delivered to their recipients’ inboxes, and less emails in the spam folder.

2. You’re putting relationships at risk
When someone joins your email list, they trust you to protect their information. They also trust that you’ll respect their privacy and give them the option to opt-out.

But as hard as you try to fulfill these obligations to your audience, when sending email using Outlook or another email account, mistakes can happen. Perhaps the biggest mistake is exposing your entire list in the To: line of your email.

Another mistake is failing to offer an easy way to unsubscribe. This can not only damage your reputation as a business, but can also put you at risk of violating email laws, which require an unsubscribe link in every message you send out.

3. You can’t host and manage your list from one location
An email marketing service hosts your email list and automatically performs critical list management functions. These functions include sign-up for new subscribers, editing capabilities so that subscribers can edit their own profiles, and the ability to unsubscribe with one click.

An email service will also manage bounced emails for you, differentiating between reasons for the bounce (including full mailbox, vacation message, non-existent address or blocked).

4. You’re on your own
Email marketing services like Constant Contact are built to make it quick and easy to do email marketing for your small business.
If you’re switching from a personal email account, we’ll give you the tools and training to help you get started — from uploading your existing email contacts to setting up your first email campaign.

If you do run into any problems or have questions about how to improve the look of your emails, simply pick up the phone and give us a call. Our award-winning support team is committed to your success.


5. You’re unable to deliver emails in the right format
Emails can display differently, based on the email client and device a recipient is using.

With an email service like Constant Contact, you’re able to send both a text and HTML version of each message you send out. This means that your emails will be delivered to your subscribers in the correct format every time.

In comparison, your email account can’t tell which email format each recipient is able to receive — which can make your email unreadable or send it to the spam folder.

6. You can’t create professional-looking emails that match your brand
With an email marketing service, you’ll have access to hundreds of professionally-designed email templates that make it easy to create great looking emails.

We handle the design work for you — you just need to customize the template with your colors and branding, choose the images you’d like to include, and add your content. These templates will make your message look great in any inbox, whether someone is reading on a desktop or a mobile device.

7. You can’t protect yourself from delivery problems
A good email marketing service maintains strong permission policies and has an active anti-blocking team working with ISPs on your behalf to ensure that your email is delivered.

At Constant Contact, we monitor all outgoing email to ensure that all major ISPs and corporate domains are successfully accepting your email. If there is a “blip” on the receiver’s end when your email campaign is being sent, an email marketing service makes continued attempts to send your email while quickly addressing the problem with the ISP.

8. You can’t see who opened or clicked
Using an email marketing service like Constant Contact gives you access to in-depth reporting to see key metrics like emails sent, opened, who opened, who clicked through, and which links they clicked on. You’re also able to see important details like spam reports, bounces, and opt-outs.

This will allow you to see what’s working and identify opportunities to make improvements, or identify potential issues that could put your business at risk.

9. You don’t have the newest tools and features
Here at Constant Contact, we have a team of people who are focused on staying on top of the latest trends in the industry. We provide regular updates and new features to enhance functionality, comply with the law, and optimize email delivery though ISPs.

In addition, we are members of groups like The Email Service Provider Coalition (ESPC). The goal of the ESPC is to provide unique and effective spam-fighting solutions that will optimize your email delivery and response and minimize the spam in your subscribers’ inbox.

10. You could be breaking the law
You don’t have the time or resources to stay up-to-date with the latest email laws and regulations. Unfortunately, if you’ve been using a personal email account to send your marketing emails, there’s a good chance you’re already in violation of some important laws like Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act (CAN-SPAM) and the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL).

Email marketing services like Constant Contact are responsible for ensuring that your emails are compliant with these legislations. We provide the tools you need to follow the laws, and let you know when there’s a change that could impact your business.

Don’t wait to make the switch.

Email marketing is the most effective marketing tool available to small businesses today.

Consider the following:

  • 91 percent of U.S. adults like to receive promotional emails from the companies they do business with. (MarketingSherpa)
  • 66 percent of consumers have made a purchase based on an email marketing message they’ve received (Direct Marketing Association)
  • Email is almost 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined in helping your business attract new customer (McKinsey)

Source: https://smallbiztrends.com
Image Credit: Constant Contact

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

Stay Connected with WNFP!
Join WNFP Communities!

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

6 False Advertising Scandals You Can Learn From

New entrepreneurs are often tempted to exaggerate what new products or services are capable of. No wonder: Presented to a powerful investor, a stretch of the truth just might help land that series A funding.

And, less seriously, a bit of marketing flair or showmanship, in many cases, will help an entrepreneur accomplish his or her without many repercussions.

But, in other cases, if you’re that entrepreneur who is caught deliberately misleading investors or consumers, you could face false advertising charges -- and the ruin of your brand's reputation. 

Consider these six examples:

1. Airborne gets caught by its own fake science.

Back in the 1990s, the herbal supplement Airborne was all the rage. Packed with vitamins and minerals, it was pushed by marketers as being capable of preventing or mitigating common illnesses like the cold and flu. Eventually, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) stepped in to test the claims of the manufacturers, discovering that there was no real scientific evidence to back up the claims. Airborne agreed to pay $23.3 million to settle a lawsuit.

2. Nope. Splenda doesn't come from sugar.

In the early 2000s, then-new artificial sweetener Splenda engaged in a marketing campaign with the tagline, “Made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar,” to convert consumers of other artificial sweeteners as well as sugar purists hesitant to consume anything artificial.

But, as the Sugar Association uncovered, Splenda wasn’t really “made from sugar,” because it's actually a chemical compound heavily processed in a factory. The association filed suit, which was eventually settled out of court in a confidential settlement. Splenda rival Equal was also outraged at the claims; it took Splenda to court in 2007 and also reached a confidential settlement.

3. Sadly, New Balance shoes don't make you lose weight.

Back in 2011, New Balance introduced a new line of shoes it claimed had features that “[used] hidden balance board technology that encourages muscle activation in the glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves, which in turn burns calories.”

Multiple studies cited in the resulting class-action lawsuit indicated that the shoes didn't provide any additional health benefits compared to walking shoes, and might actually lead to injury. Needless to say, the case was not good PR for New Balance. Anyone who purchased a pair of the shoes was entitled to ra $100 refund, and New Balance eventually paid out more than $2.3 million.


4. Fake Science II: Rice Krispies don't boost your immune system.

Back in 2010, Kellogg erroneously claimed that Rice Krispies had “immune-boosting properties,” allegedly because of the antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that the breakfast cereal was fortified with. The claims were dubious, at best; the Federal Trade Commission ordered Kellogg to halt any and all advertising making reference to these effects.

When the case was settled in 2011, Kellogg agreed to pay a $2.5 million fine to affected customers and donate $2.5 million of Kellogg products to charity.

5. Volkswagen emits untruths.

In 2016, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a lawsuit against Volkswagen, claiming that some of its vehicles burned clean, diesel fuel. In reality, Volkswagen had been cheating on its emissions tests for more than seven years. This wasn’t a simple mistake, either; Volkswagen engineered a piece of software that allowed a vehicle to detect when it was being tested and intentionally reduce harmful exhaust as a temporary measure to fool testers.

This false advertising scandal proved a huge blow to Volkswagen; not only did the carmaker take a reputation hit and face a major FTC lawsuit, it also faced a potential $90 billion fine for violating the Clean Air Act.

6. Red Bull doesn’t give you wings.

This one’s an especially interesting case. You’re likely aware of the energy drink Red Bull’s signature tagline: “Red Bull gives you wings.” As a reasonable consumer, you know intuitively that Red Bull cannot, in fact, give you wings -- yet that was part of the premise behind a 2014 lawsuit against the beverage company.

Additional complaints mentioned Red Bull’s claims that its beverage could improve concentration and reaction speeds. Red Bull eventually settled for a $13 million payment, but said: “Red Bull settled the lawsuit to avoid the cost and distraction of litigation. However, Red Bull maintains that its marketing and labeling have always been truthful and accurate, and denies any and all wrongdoing or liability.”

If you’re interested in learning more about the legal framework for truth in advertising, so you can walk the line as closely as possible without creating problem for your brand, the Federal Trade Commission has a helpful outline on the subject.

In any case, stick as close to the provable, objective truth as you can; and, if you’re ever in doubt, consult with a lawyer about what you can and can’t say to promote your product.

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com
Image Credit: Red Bull

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 23, 2018

10 Tips for Branding, Blogging and Social Media Marketing

There’s so much that goes into creating a successful small business marketing campaign. Branding, content marketing and social media all play important roles in this area. So you need to come up with the mix best for you.

But members of the online small business community can still offer valuable insights to help you shape your own unique plan. Here are some of their top tips for promoting your small business with content marketing, social media and branding.

Learn the Importance of Consistent Branding

If you want customers to remember your business, you need to create a brand identity that’s consistent across platforms and messages. Consistency is a main tenant of branding, but it’s still something some entrepreneurs overlook. Learn why it’s so important in a recent PMA Web Services post by Peggy Murrah.

Ramp Up Your B2C Social Media Content Distribution

When you’re marketing a consumer focused business on social media, content creation is only part of the process. You also need to be able to distribute this content effectively. Learn more about this part of the equation in this Prepare 1 post by Blair Evan Ball.

Keep Up with Changes in Social Media

Social media platforms are constantly changing and updating. So if you want your marketing strategy to be successful, you need to be able to adjust to those changes, as Rachel Strella explains in a recent Strella Social Media Post. BizSugar members also share thoughts on the post in their community.

Consider the Ideal Blog Post Length for Your Content

There are many schools of thought about how long blog posts should be in order to attract the most possible search traffic. There’s not a simple answer to the question. But there are many things you can consider to make a good decision, as Sam Hollingsworth discusses in a recent Search Engine Journal post.


Update Old Posts When You’re Out of Blog Post Ideas

If you find yourself out of ideas for what to post on your business’s blog, you could simply go back and repurpose some previous content. Ivana Taylor of DIY Marketers offers some suggestions for updating those old posts.

Train Your Brain to Be Creative

Creating effective content for your business requires a lot of creative thinking. This creativity grows over time for a lot of business owners, but there are some things you can do to intentionally develop this characteristic, as Jodi Harris details in a recent Content Marketing Institute post.

Use These Simple Yet Effective Techniques to Grow Your Business

Growing a business doesn’t need to involve a lot of complicated techniques. There are plenty of simple things you can do, like the methods listed in a recent Pixel Productions post by Helen Cartwright. You can also see what the BizSugar community has to say about the post here.

Build a Facebook Messenger Bot Sequence

One of the main purposes of using social media is to start conversations with customers. And Facebook Messenger can be an effective platform for doing just this. You can even build bot sequences to automate parts of the process. Learn more in a recent Social Media Explorer post by Dana Tran.

Don’t Miss Out on These Free Online Advertising Opportunities

When you first start your website, you might actually find the opportunity to take advantage of some free advertising credits. A recent post by Susan Solovic goes over how to best utilize these opportunities so they make a big impact on your business.

Incorporate Video into Your Business

Video has so many different potential applications for businesses, from content marketing to training. So if you have yet to make use of this format, Ivan Widjaya of Biz Penguin explains why you should rethink this strategy.

Source: https://smallbiztrends.com
Image Credit: Shutterstock

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 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.”


Source: https://www.forbes.com
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.


Source: https://www.business2community.com
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.


Source: https://www.business2community.com
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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