Friday, December 28, 2018

The Growing Importance of Welcome Emails [Infographic]


Didn’t think welcome emails are important? Think again. According to Invespcro, welcome emails are so important that they result in four times more open rates and five times more clicks. Clearly, welcome emails are critical messages sent to your subscribers to usher them to your online store/website.



Not only do welcome emails provide warm welcome to your new subscribers, they also provide them with relevant content at the right time, when they are psychologically ready for you. When someone visits your website and submit their email, it means they are seriously interested in your product or service. Literally, they are asking you to communicate further with them. As a matter of fact 74% of subscribers expect to receive a welcome email.

As soon as a new subscriber signs up, sending them an email welcoming them onboard will likely get you 320% more revenue than promotional emails. As if that is not enough, you will enjoy 86% more lift in unique open rate. On top of that, you will see a 196% improvement in unique click rate.

If you want to boost your email metrics, there is not a better way to start than sending that welcome metric.

The type of welcome email can range from a series of emails to just a simple automated welcome email message welcoming new subscribers and telling them more about your services or product. This is the perfect of opportunity for you to invite your subscribers to learn more about you. However, be careful lest you risk overwhelming them with too much information in the first instance.

If you think you risk overwhelming your subscribers with information, it is best to combat information overload by sending diving your welcome emails into different themes then sending many welcome emails` in intervals. For instance, you can send the first email to welcome them, the second one to invite them to your social networks and the third to introduce them to your products.

Welcoming emails are also effective because they save time that would have been used to manually collect new leads which can be time-consuming and tedious for even the smallest of businesses. The efficiency that comes with automated email campaigns is worth it. If you have a good marketing automation tool, then you will have an easy time implementing your first welcome email campaign.

Another critical point to note about welcome emails is that they have 10% higher read rate than normal marketing emails. This is the perfect opportunity to reach out to these consumers because they are more receptive.



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

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

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Thursday, December 27, 2018

5 Essential Leadership Skills Every Business Owner Needs


From manager to creative, small business owners are used to wearing a lot of different hats with their startups. Balancing out the role means being able to act as a leader and that requires certain skills. Every leader may be different, but they do share several skills in common that allow them to break the mold and lead their team to success.

What kinds of leadership skills should you possess? I did a little research and found that great leaders share these skill sets.

1. Great Communicators

Technically you can become a leader without this trait, but you will not be an effective one. Who can successfully lead when their team is afraid or nervous to reach out to the company’s leadership?


Great leaders understand how to communicate with their teams. They know that not all individuals within a business are alike and need to tailor how they communicate accordingly. Some leaders may speak with their team members one-on-one in private meetings. Others may meet with them for group discussions or email their feedback.

Great communicators also listen. They pick up on nonverbal cues, like body language, as they would with verbal ones. Chat with each member of your team about communication styles. Let each person know how they can reach out to you and ask how they would like to be communicated with in return. Extend the same courtesy to everyone else you work with, from partners to customers, and be timely and authentic in how you communicate together.


2. Problem Solvers

Great leaders don’t see problems as obstacles. A problem, or even a mistake, has a solution and can be fixed. Solving a problem may require a little strategic thinking and teamwork to accomplish, but it can be done. Even better, once the problem has been solved you’ve learned and grown from the experience.

There is no such thing as a business owner who does everything perfectly. Entrepreneurs learn from every mistake. These can range from “duh!” moments (like a tweet with a misspelling in it) to completely unexpected situations (like losing a major client). You can crawl into bed and hide under the covers from the problem. Or, you can face it head-on, come up with an answer, and fix it.



3. Positivity

Business is an industry where entrepreneurs are taught to look after number one. They have long been told it’s a dog eat dog world out there, and the only way to get ahead is to be cutthroat and ruthless.

But, what if I told you this is just a harmful stereotype? I’ve long embraced positivity as a small business owner and I can’t imagine running a company with any other attitude. Being positive is about more than seeing the glass half full. It disarms so many because it’s not expected. That’s a great thing, actually, because it turns entire mindsets around.

Positivity and optimism, especially when it’s genuine, is contagious. If you walk the positive walk and talk the talk, you’ll find it attracts like-minded individuals towards you and your business.

4. Emotional Intelligence

This is a leadership skill that has only recently become embraced with business leaders. Emotional intelligence turns the thought of traditional intelligence — that individuals with a high IQ are the smartest in the room — on its head. Defined as the other kind of smart, emotional intelligence seeks out individuals that are empathetic and able to handle interpersonal relationships.

While emotional intelligence is largely intangible, it’s a huge asset to anyone in a leadership role. When you possess “EQ” traits like these, you are able to better motivate your team, solve conflicts fairly, and adapt to changes and setbacks.

5. Creativity

Creativity may be the most important skill a business owner can have. When a leader is creative, it creates a domino effect throughout the organization. Your creativity can inspire others to think outside of the box and brainstorm new ideas!

Think of your business as a melting pot. Each individual has something great to contribute that will benefit the company in the long run. The best leaders know how to nudge this out of their team and help them flex their creative muscle to go above and beyond.



Sources: www.business2community.com


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

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Wednesday, December 26, 2018

4 Ways to Know When It's Time to Rebrand Your Business


Many entrepreneurs and business owners believe that a company's "brand" is simply the company's name and logo. That's not true, of course: A brand is more than just its underlying company's name and logo.

Yet, it's also true that that a name and business logo are key ambassadors for a brand, so it's important that both be strong.

Your company's own brand is the sum total of the experiences your customers and prospects have with your company. A good brand communicates what your company does and how it does it. A good brand also establishes trust and credibility with your prospects and customers. And because a brand evolves over time, many companies, including some of the most successful ones, rebrand.

You may have noticed recent rebrands by Dunkin' Donuts, Weight Watchers, Uber, Unilever and others. That's why it's worthwhile to look closely at why companies rebrand and what your own company should know to successfully rebrand your business. When should a company even consider rebranding? Here are ways you can know when the time is right.

Companies should rebrand to better differentiate from the competition.

If your company name is generic and similar to that of other businesses, you’re hurting your brand. A generic logo will similarly hurt your brand. A related problem occurs when you use stock art in your branding or marketing materials: You may be hurting your brand because everyone recognizes stock art when they see it; and those photos may turn up being used by your competitors.

This is where rebranding comes in: It can help your business stand out from your competitors' by showcasing the things that make your company different and better.

Even the best companies change their brand identity. For example, did you know that Google started with the name "Backrub" or that Accenture started out as "Andersen Consulting"? It's not unusual for a company to outgrow its name and look for a fresh, unique business name that can help grow its business. Maybe it's time that your company do the same.


Companies should rebrand to give new life to outdated branding. 

It's possible that your Comic Sans font, flash-based website or 1990s color palette is dragging your brand down and making your business look outdated. What are you going to do? The answer is "rebrand," something even the most successful businesses do, as seen from the various iterations of the Airbnb logo:



Smart companies rebrand because they know that good design can make or break a business, because they know they've outgrown their original mission. Maybe your business started off selling personalized t-shirts, but now you want to add customized coffee mugs. If your branding revolves around t-shirts, customers won't know that they can look to you for mugs, too.

This is a common problem,. and we always advise clients to make sure their business name is not too narrow or literal.


Companies should rebrand to outgrow their poor reputation.
Uber's recent brand overhaul was necessary to break ties with its bad reputation and visibly demonstrate a commitment to a new, improved culture. If your business is struggling to overcome a negative reputation, a rebrand can help consumers see you in a fresh new light.


Companies should rebrand when their business evolves.

Sometimes, a business gets the opportunity to expand or target a new market. When that happens, it's important to ensure that your new customers and prospects can connect with your brand. That's what happened with Pabst Blue Ribbon, a low-price U.S. beer popular with fraternities and hipsters. China’s version of PBR -- the stately sounding Pabst Blue Ribbon 1844 -- sells for $44 a bottle!

This happened because Pabst saw a chance to re-market itself to the
Chinese craft beer market -- a market unaware of its budget reputation in the United States. By doing its homework, Pabst expanded into a new demographic and significantly grew its business.



6 things your company needs to know to rebrand successfully

1. Start by understanding your mission and values. 
Before you rebrand, it's crucial that you clearly understand your company's mission and values. Consider and assess what makes your company special. Why does your company exist, and what values does it have that are essential?


2. Develop a rebranding strategy that works with your existing branding. 
Many companies don't have the luxury of starting from a clean slate. If you're doing a partial rebrand, make sure to take the existing brand assets into account. BrandExtract, a branding firm with over a century of experience, explained why consistent branding is important, saying:
A consistent brand helps increase the overall value of your company by reinforcing your position in the marketplace, attracting better quality customers with higher retention rates and raising the perceived value of your products or services …. In contrast, erratic,
inconsistent behavior quickly leads to confusion and mistrust.

3. Consider the market and your competition. 
Before you rebrand, do your due diligence. Research what your competition does. Determine how you stand apart from your competitors, and what your true value proposition is. It's vital that your new brand be fresh and relevant, but not so of-the-moment that it ends up looking dated too quickly.

4. Collaborate with your team. 
Your brand may be one of your most important company assets, but just as valuable are the people that help grow your business every day. Include voices from across your company: Some of the best ideas and most valuable feedback come from departments you might not expect.


5. Manage the rebrand carefully. 
A rebrand is often a complex and lengthy endeavor. Without a careful plan of attack and a well-managed process, the rebrand can quickly go off the rails. Set deadlines and mitigate going down those pesky rabbit holes with a well thought-out project plan.

6. Launch your rebrand and tell the world. 
Even the most incredible rebrand is wasted if you never actually launch it. Make sure you plan your rebrand launch and be prepared to explain why you rebranded. Minimize the risk of customer confusion through a carefully planned launch that showcases the story behind the rebrand.

A rebrand is a declaration of your company’s commitment to upward growth. Change is never easy, but sometimes, as the song goes, a change will do you good.





Source: www.entrepreneur.com
Picture:




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

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Monday, December 24, 2018

How to Successfully Transition From Passion to Passion in Business [VIDEO]


Nathalie Lussier is a blogger, an award-winning entrepreneur, an international keynote speaker and the the creator of a wildly popular free 30-Day List Building Challenge program for entrepreneurs ready to scale. She built her first health blog into a site that now boasts over 750,000 yearly visitors and more than 1 million page views.

As her blog grew, viewers and clients began asking how she expanded so quickly. This interest led to the creation of her second business, a six-figure consulting company offering digital marketing training products. Her current focus is on her growing software startup AmbitionAlly, which she co-founded with her husband. I sat down with Lussier, who went from college straight into entrepreneurship, to talk about how she keeps transitioning from one successful business to another.

Stay passionate.
For Lussier’s first business, her blog, she credited passion as a big factor in her success. She then transitioned into a passion for helping her clients, followed by a passion for helping other entrepreneurs.

I think it can be argued that there are founders who create in an industry they’re not passionate about, but they are passionate about something in business. They may just love building or love serving people or love creating jobs, etc. You have to have passion about what you’re doing in order to go the distance with your ideas.

Master marketing.
Lussier quickly added that passion alone is not enough.

“Learning marketing helped a ton. If nobody knew about my blog, it would have never gone anywhere. So, really learning about how to blog properly, how to actually write for the kinds of people I wanted to reach, that was the biggest ‘a-ha’ for me.”

Brendon Burchard told me the same thing when I interviewed him a couple of years ago. He is an author with a message, but to get the message out he had to become a marketer. Take the time to learn best marketing practices for your product or industry in order to follow your passion successfully.

Meet a need.
Lussier has always been very intentional with her content and her products and services, and she advises you do the same.  


“The first time I tried to launch a course in that space, it was very generic. It was, you know, ‘Set your self up for success!’ ... once I talked to people, and I found out what their biggest stumbling blocks were -- they kept saying over and over again, ‘I have cravings, I can't deal with those.’ And so that's why I decided to call my course, ‘Cure cravings forever.’”


It’s not enough to have great products or ideas or content if no one wants to read, watch, or learn about it. To know the needs of your audience, you need to actually engage your customers. “I did send out a survey, but most of those came from one-on-one conversations. “

Before you start a service business or create a product, spend the time asking questions and gathering data to make sure you will have a demand for your creation.
Take care of your customers.
From her one-on-one coaching, to her web design business, to her current digital product offerings, Lussier prioritized communicating with clients. She also made sure she was managing their expectations and offering them great customer service.

“Tons of little things, like project management software, helped us a lot ... having meetings with clients and making sure that they're clear with that we're, how things are progressing behind the scenes. And these are little details, but they make a really big difference to that client.”

Don’t be tempted to phone in customer service and satisfaction in this digital age. Online reviews and social media word of mouth are crucial to your success.


Use your existing experience.
If you’re changing industries or products or business models, resist the urge to reinvent the wheel. You can find a million webinars and online courses, but stick with what you really need and realize you already know a lot.

“Don't discount everything that you've done to this point; use it. There's probably gold in there,” she explained. “I see this a lot with people who are leaving corporate. They say, ‘Okay, I was a lawyer but now I want to start something completely different and everything I've done so far is not useful,’ which is not at all the case, right? There is so much -- managing people, communication -- so much that you can use in your new step forward in your career. It's more of a mindset thing, but I think that that is something that has been huge for me.”


Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com


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

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Friday, December 21, 2018

4 Reasons You Need Business Continuity Planning


What happens if a natural disaster keeps all of our employees at home for days — or weeks. Meanwhile, your key services are hampered due to damage sustained at your office. How are you going to contact all of your employees — not to mention customers? What will be the most efficient ways to put the pieces of your business back together, following an emergency?

This is business continuity planning. Good business continuity planning should look at the business as a whole — with a goal to support business resilience. Business continuity describes a complete solution for backup and disaster recovery. A business continuity strategy will protect data on-premises in physical and virtual servers and in the cloud. Whether data is on servers or in SaaS applications, it needs to be backed up. Business continuity goes a step further and offers you the ability to restore your data, which is termed disaster recovery.

Whether a business is faced with a natural disaster, or a cyber-attack, strong business continuity practices will have you up and running in minutes, particularly business continuity solutions that leverage the hybrid cloud – guaranteeing a quicker restore time. The severity and length of business disruptions caused by any disaster can vary considerably. To be prepared for extended or permanent facility damage, businesses should maintain continuous off-site backup of data, applications, and server images, as well as have arrangements in place for re-routing incoming calls to an alternative site and/or to employees’ mobile phones. Data is essential for all types of organizations today, so ensuring access to applications and data following a disaster is critical.

Still, it’s just one piece of the business continuity puzzle. Evaluating your company’s ability to restore IT operations can be a good starting point for company-wide business continuity efforts. In fact, many business continuity planning efforts start by conducting a business impact analysis or risk assessment — these studies can reveal weaknesses in your organization’s ability to continue operations that go far beyond IT.

What are 4 reasons you need business continuity planning?

1. Downtime is really, really, expensive: If your employees or customers lose access to business-critical applications and data, there will be a direct impact on productivity and revenue. While this sounds obvious, many organizations do not consider the actual costs of downtime. Some modern business continuity products offer the ability to run applications from backup instances of virtual servers. This allows users to continue operations while primary application servers are restored. Choosing a business continuity solution aimed at reducing downtime makes good business sense.

2. Data backup alone is not enough — not nearly enough! You’d be hard pressed to find a business today that doesn’t conduct some form of data backup. But, what happens if a flood wipes out your primary and backup servers? Sending a copy of data offsite for disaster recovery should also be considered essential. Historically, this meant sending tapes to a secondary location or tape vault. As previously mentioned, modern business continuity products can run applications from backup instances of virtual servers, and some can extend this capability to the cloud. The ability to run applications in the cloud while onsite infrastructure is restored is widely considered to be a game changer for disaster recovery. As CEO, you don’t want yesterday’s backup technology. Backup and business continuity are not one in the same. Your business needs both — all the time.

3. Disasters actually do happen — and they most times are not natural! Not every disaster is broadcasted on news and weather channels. Most IT downtime is a result of common, every day actions like accidental (or even intentional) data deletion, damage to computer hardware and poor security habits. For example, a CompTIA study found that 94% of respondents routinely log into public wifi, in spite of security risks. And, 69% of this group accesses work-related data over public wifi. A ransomware attack or virus can halt operations just as easily as a tornado or a power surge. These disasters are typically a result of human error, which in unpreventable.



4. Business continuity impacts everybody — especially your customers! Data is essential for all types of organizations today, so ensuring access to applications and data following a disaster is critical. But it’s just one piece of the business continuity puzzle. Evaluating your business’ ability to restore IT operations can be a good starting point for company-wide business continuity efforts. Good business continuity and disaster recovery planning should look at the business as a whole – with a goal to develop business resilience. In fact, many business continuity planning efforts start by conducting a business impact analysis or risk assessment—these studies can reveal weaknesses in your organization’s ability to continue operations that go far beyond IT.

Keep in mind, failure to protect your business from human error, hardware failure and/or natural disasters can be detrimental and impact every single stakeholder. Implementing a business continuity and disaster recovery plan will help you sleep a little better at night.


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




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

Stay Connected with WNFP!
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Thursday, December 20, 2018

How to Forge Your Own Path in Business


You don’t need to be a visionary to forge your own path in business.

Honestly, you don’t even need to be a business owner to forge your own path. It’s more about a state of mind where you’re able to think for yourself professionally. To clarify, that doesn’t mean you’ve got to be a lone wolf: ideally, you want to be able to to work with and even for others, but without being a follower.

The ability to balance being an independent thinker yet simultaneously remaining accountable for your actions will make you a much more valuable worker, no matter what field you’ve chosen. The good news is that with targeted effort, anyone can adopt this mindset. Here are some of my tips for how to forge your own path in business, and why it matters.

Learn the rules first.

This might sound out of place in a post about how to forge your own path in business. After all, aren’t we talking about independence?

Here’s the thing. Before you want to break the rules, you have to actually learn what they are. Take the time to learn the “rules” of your trade before you start trying to reinvent the wheel. You’re likely to pick up wisdom that will serve you, even if you intend on using the rules to inspire new and creative ways of breaking them.

Seek guidance.

Once again, you might find yourself thinking: why should I seek out guidance if I want to forge my own path? Picture a cliche movie scene of a parent teaching their kid how to ride a bike. There’s that magical moment where the parent lets go of the back of the bike, and the kid is doing it on his own.

In business, you often need that initial helping hand before you can ride smoothly on your own. Before you can think for yourself, it can be helpful to absorb all of the wisdom you can from others.

One powerful way to do this is to find a mentor, or someone established in your field or a similar field who can give you words of advice and help you avoid making mistakes. Another is to make sure to take part in networking groups and to engage with other entrepreneurs. The more people you connect with and the more knowledge you gain, the better!

Set realistic and specific goals.

If you want to gain confidence, become an independent thinker, and a better problem solver, do this one thing: set realistic and specific goals.

Say that you want to increase sales for your business. It may not be realistic to say that you want to double your sales, but to simply have a goal to “increase sales” isn’t specific enough. However, setting a goal of increasing sales by 20% this year might be more realistic and is definitely more specific.

A goal like this is motivating, as it gives you something specific to work toward. It also allows you to break it down into actionable steps. You can begin to problem-solve, making specific plans for ways in which you could make your goal a reality. As you reach these milestones, you’ll gain more confidence in your abilities, which can help you move forward more confidently in your career.




Observe, but don’t copy.

It can be very helpful to look at what your competitors and other entrepreneurs are doing. It keeps you relevant, gives you ideas, and can help keep you nimble in your chosen field.

However -- this is important -- you should never copy what others are doing. For one thing, it doesn’t work. Say you see someone killing it with a brand new hummus restaurant startup. You can’t just start crushing chickpeas and expect success. There are lots of inner workings to the business that you’re not privy to, so even if you were to try, you couldn’t quite replicate someone else’s success.

Further, by the the time you copy, you’re already a follower and behind the curve. It’s better to use the information you observe as data, so that you can gain insight on things like effective marketing techniques and aesthetics, and apply these things to your own original ideas.

Think for yourself.

You probably already guessed this one, but to forge your own path in business, you need to learn to think for yourself. So...how do you do that? Education is key. You need to absorb all of the knowledge you can, talk to as many people as you can, and observe as much as you can.

It’s almost like you’re forming your own personal library of data and resources. As time goes on, you’ll become better able to use this knowledge that you’ve gained to put your own unique ideas out in the world. You’ll be better able to generate ideas and to come up with intelligent solutions.

Let yourself grow over time.

Ultimately, if you want to forge your own path in business, you need to be patient. Expertise, independent thinking, and autonomy won’t all happen overnight, so take the pressure off of yourself.

Remember: patience is a trait of some of the most successful people. Focus on progress, not perfection. If you want to be successful for the long haul, allow yourself to learn and grow and continue to improve over time. Slow but steady, right?



Source: www.entrepreneur.com
Image Credit: Hero Images | Getty Images



ABOUT WNFP

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

Stay Connected with WNFP!
Join WNFP Communities!

How to Use Events to Market Your Retail Store


Are you looking for a cost-effective and fun way to raise your retail store’s profile in the local community? Then consider hosting events to market your business.

Even if your location is snow-bound right now, this is the perfect time to start planning some Spring events to attract shoppers who will be eager to get outdoors once the weather turns pleasant.

There are all kinds of options for hosting events, from having local musicians play in the shop, to hosting an art opening, to having a VIP only sale for your best customers after hours. Below are some steps to get your event rolling.

How to Use Events to Market Your Business

Figure Out Your Goals for Your Event

Do you want to reward existing customers or attract new ones?

A VIP only sale could work for the first option, while an event that attracts passersby (like live music or a cooking demonstration) could work for the second.

Determine Your Budget

Consider factors like extra employees to handle the register, the cost of staying open later, refreshments and decorations. Also, figure out if your event will be a reoccuring one or a single occasion event.

Find Participants

Do you need outside participation to make the event work? For instance, if you own a boutique and want to host an art show, you could reach out to local artists to let them know your store is going to start featuring original art work. Offer them the chance to sell their art in exchange for a small commission and having them bring in their fans and friends to the event.

Similarly, plenty of local musicians are probably willing to play for free or a nominal fee, and this can expose your store to a whole new clientele. Think creatively and you’ll be able to recruit participants for little or no cost.

Create a Marketing Plan for Your Event

This could include store signage, email marketing, social media outreach and, of course, PR with local media outlets.

Be sure to start marketing well in advance so you have plenty of time to spread the word.



Plan the Logistics of Your Event

Consider factors such as:

  • How much space is needed? For instance, if you’re hosting a cooking lesson in your housewares boutique or a fashion show in your clothing store, you may need extra space and seating. Depending on space needs, you may also want customers to RSVP or register in advance.
  • How many employees will you need?
  • Are any permits needed? Such as for live music or other events that create noise or crowds?
  • Plan for refreshment preparation and also cleanup.


Gather Customer Information

This is a key part of every event. After all, you want a way to stay in touch with people who came in to your store:

  • Have an signup sheet on hand for customers to subscribe to email newsletters or marketing messages from you.
  • Have plenty of business cards, brochures or fliers customers can take with them to remember your business.
  • If your event involves showing customers how to do something, like a florist hosting a floral arrangement class, give out informational handouts with your business information on them.
  • Have customers fill out forms to win a prize or drop their business card in a fishbowl.


Follow Up

Once you’ve gathered contact information from customers, be sure that you follow up with them within the next two weeks while the event is still fresh in their minds. Get them back into your store by providing a special offer or discount that’s good for a limited time.

By hosting events on a regular basis, you can make your store more than just a store – it can become a gathering place for the local community, strengthening your ties with your customers and differentiating you from your big competitors.



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


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

Stay Connected with WNFP!
Join WNFP Communities!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Tips and Tricks for Planning and Delivering Your Business Presentation


Presentations are common in the workplace, but they aren't everyone's best friend. To some, delivering a presentation at work can feel more like a dreaded medical procedure than a chance to connect with and enlighten other professionals. However, there's often no avoiding the ordeal, especially as a business owner trying to establish your brand.

While you might think that great public speakers are born that way, anyone can develop strong presentation skills. Here are tips to help business owners better plan and deliver their presentations.

Planning

Every quality presentation requires in-depth planning. Here's how to do it.

1. Get to know your audience.

Before planning your presentation, make sure you know your audience. You'll want to understand their interests and needs, and what you can offer them. A good way to do this is to identify any issues they might have and finding ways to help them, said Ron Tsang, author of "From Presentation to Standing Ovation" (2016).

"If you understand your audience really well and focus on helping them solve an urgent problem, two things happen," he said. "Your audience will lean in to hear your presentation, and you will feel less self-conscious because you're no longer focused on your own nervousness."


If you know your audience, you might also anticipate any questions or concerns they might have and address them in your presentation. This will prove that you have done your research and are a credible professional in your field.

2. Understand your material.

Don't just study or memorize your points – thoroughly understand them so you can speak without the help of notecards or slides. Not only will you be more prepared for missteps or follow-up questions, but you'll feel more confident and capable, leaving no room for nerves to get in the way.

"Our brains work through association and the subconscious brain actually makes … [95] percent of decisions," said Melina Palmer, founder of The Brainy Business. "It relies on rules of thumb to make decisions and is more likely to take over when the conscious brain is overwhelmed, like if you are scared before/during a presentation."

If you store all your information in your conscious space, you'll be more prone to anxiety and failure, Palmer added. This can cause mistakes, stumbling over words and loss of confidence.

"When the conscious brain gets overwhelmed by fear, it will shut down," she said. "If your subconscious does not know what to say and you have not practiced enough, the chances you will forget something and get more flustered increases dramatically."

3. Rehearse your presentation.

If you're going to be speaking to people in a given industry, they'll likely understand more complex diction related to the field. If you're presenting to a group who doesn't have experience in the topic of discussion, however, you should plan to avoid niche terminology, understanding what points you'll need to explain in more depth.

Donna Grindle, founder and CEO of Kardon, advises using layman's terms in these cases. Rehearse your presentation in front of a child to see if they understand what you're explaining. Sure, you want to sound professional in your speech, but it should be simple enough for anyone, with any level of experience, to know what you're saying.



Delivering

Now that it's time to deliver, take a deep breath and remember these tips.

1. Don't be intimidated.

Don't let your audience intimidate you. You are providing them with valuable insight that they likely are interested in learning. Be confident and professional, and deliver your message without worrying about being judged or ridiculed.

"While it is easy to think of the audience as a giant, scary, judging mob, in reality, the audience wants you to do well as much as you do," said Palmer. "Whether you are speaking to 10 people or 10,000, they want you to succeed, and they are rooting for you. Talk to them as if they are nice, kind people who want you to succeed, and give them the benefit of the doubt."

If someone doesn't seem engaged, don't take it personally or assume you're doing something wrong. You never know if someone is preoccupied with personal concerns, tired from lack of sleep, etc. Rather, see it as a reminder that your audience is human, and take the chance to connect with them. Relate what you are saying to the audience, bring up anecdotes from your own life, and be receptive to feedback and questions.

2. Follow your strategy.

Go into your presentation with a purpose – and make sure that purpose isn't "get it over with." Don't just write down what you want your audience to know the night before and then repeat it in front of them in a monotone.

"There is nothing that can be less interesting than someone who has slides filled with words and then stands up and reads them," said Grindle. "That is more like giving a book report in school. Provide bullets, charts, drawings, images, etc. to present your information using more than just words. Anyone can read a report without sitting through a presentation of it."

Follow through with your plan to engage your audience, no matter how nervous or doubtful you might feel. It can be tempting to do whatever it takes to get through the speech quickly, but you can't sacrifice passion and efficiency.

3. Be authentic.

Your audience wants you to be real; they don't want someone to stand in front of them and lecture them on the same topic for over an hour. Have a conversation rather than delivering a speech, making it as much about your audience as about you.

"When you are authentic and honest with the audience, they can tell, and they appreciate it," said Palmer. "This makes them more likely to give you the benefit of the doubt."

Authenticity also breeds connection, which should be your first priority.


"The whole point of public speaking is for you to connect with your audience and share what you know with them," said Grindle.


Source: https://www.businessnewsdaily.com
Image Credit: Credit: Matej Kastelic/Shutterstock

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

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Turn Action Planning Into Business Results


I am a planner. As a mom of four small children, I have to be, in order for us to be (nearly) on time for all of our various commitments. Last Saturday morning for example, I had everything all planned out. I was going to take my second oldest to soccer while my husband took the other three to my eldest’s baseball game. After soccer (which is shorter than baseball), I was going to run to the grocery store. We’d all meet back up for lunch, get the two littlest down for nap, and then I’d take my oldest two off to cub scouts while my husband got stuff done around the quiet house.

It was a good plan. But, as is the case with most plans, it didn’t work out because it was never implemented. It rained. A child fell sick. And so, the plans fell by the wayside in the day-to-day chaos of our lives.

One of the Greatest Problems with Action Planning

The same can be true within your organization. You can have everything in place for action planning. Your cross-functional team has met, reviewed the data from your CX program, and identified the areas of opportunity. The team has developed a full-fledged plan to address an area of opportunity.

But then everyone goes back to their day job. Action plans are placed on the shelf, considered lower priority than getting the day-to-day work done. Change never happens.

A lack of follow-through is one the most frequent problems with any type of planning. An organization must have a structure in place to ensure that implementing the plan and following through with it is a priority.

Make Change a Priority

As part of an ongoing customer-centric strategy, your organization must be dedicated to improving the customer experience. It cannot be “as time allows.” It cannot be on an ad-hoc basis. Creating and implementing action plans must become routine.

This is not easy to do, although it is attainable with the right support and dedication. It requires Senior Level Support, Employee Accountability, and an Investment of Time and Resources.

Senior Level Leadership

Ongoing change efforts require more than just an acknowledgment by executives. Senior-level executives must take a key leadership role in driving a customer-centric culture and advocating for change throughout the organization.

Implementing change will require time and money – even for the smallest changes. A senior level executive will need to prioritize providing those resources for implementing changes over other potential uses. In cases of conflict, the senior level executive is responsible for choosing the solution that will be best for the customer.

Without senior level leadership, implementing change for the benefit of the customer may not get the prioritization needed.

Employee Accountability

Once you have senior leadership focusing on improving the customer experience, you need to also hold people accountable. Owners should be assigned to all action plans, big and small. This person will have ultimate accountability for the final product.

So how do you keep this person accountable and motivated? The same ways you would for any other goal or key task:


  • Create a sense of ownership by involving them in creating the solution they are responsible for implementing
  • Create buy-in by sharing with them the insights on customer experience and the problem so they can better understand it and empathize with the customer
  • Hold them accountable through regular check-ins with leadership to follow-up on the action plans
  • Ensure action plans are part of performance plans and reviews
  • Recognize hard work through both peer to peer and management recognition

Time and Resources

Finally, for change to occur, the organization must provide the necessary time and resources for implementation. At a minimum, the organization should provide slack time within employees’ workloads, so they can work on designing and implementing changes. Change may require small or large budgets as well, but these budgets, as well as the business case for that investment, should be clearly documented as part of the action plan. Action plans that don’t have a clear business case may not be funded – organizations do not fund change just for the sake of change.

Change Leads to ROI


Having these three components in place sets the stage for successful change through action planning. Case in point: Reliant. Reliant turned their customer feedback into actionable improvements and ultimately increased their NPS by 152%. They laid a strong foundation of senior level support combined with employee recognition and accountability, and then provided the necessary time and resources to implement their action plans. This paid off with highly satisfied customers and reduced churn. You can read more about their program success here.

Conclusion

It is hard to implement change. Creating a plan and just letting it sit is very easy. Organizations that are truly interested in improving the experience for their customers ensure they have senior leadership advocating for change, hold employees accountable for implementing action plans, and ensure employees have the time and resources to implement the plans. With these elements in place, organizations will be able to successful follow through on action plans, leading to big payoff and a greatly improved customer experience. As a parent, I’ve learned that things may not always go according to plan. But the lesson still remains, whether it be getting kids to a game or re-aligning your organization’s CX program, it is important to set yourself up for success, so the day-to-day chaos doesn’t overwhelm your plans.


Source: https://www.business2community.com


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

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Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Here’s Why You Should Invest in Video Marketing to Grow Your Business


As digital marketing increasingly becomes an integral part of your business, employing strategies to keep you ahead of the competition will need to be a top priority. Interestingly, using video in your content proves to be one of the most powerful ways to achieve this.


Although video marketing might seem overwhelming at first, it has become an essential tool for many businesses. In fact, Wyzowls’ Video Marketing Statistics 2017 reveals that 63% of businesses are using video as a marketing tool. Out of those, 82% feel that video is a crucial part of their marketing strategy.


If you are wondering whether video marketing is worth investing more, read on.


4 Reasons Why Video Marketing Works

#1: Builds Consumers Trust Easily


Video production takes time, effort and money. And not everyone has enough resources to do it. But is it worth investing in video marketing? Definitely. Studies show that videos generate more trust in consumers than written content.

As statistics reveal, 79% of consumers would rather watch a video to learn about a product than read text on a page and 84% are likely to make a purchase after watching a brand’s video. Consider how this can make a difference in your conversion rate and you will start to understand why video is becoming an indispensable tool in your marketing arsenal.


Videos also draw more customer attention than any other medium. Given that we are in the midst of information overload, your brand will not succeed if you cannot stand out from the crowd with a unique story. Fortunately, video marketing has the ability to make a compelling pitch more quickly than reading would. It can easily get your message across, and when done effectively, it can grab your customer’s attention without much difficulty.

#2: Connects on a Personal Level

When consumers see someone on the screen, they build a sense of relationship toward the brand. Rather than them just reading blocks of text that could have been created by anyone, they see a face. They learn who the person is. They see and hear the person’s emotions through his/her tone of voice and non-verbal gestures.

And even if there is no conversation going on, the visual information they see is enough for them to understand what is happening. A sense of personal connection develops almost instantly as a result.

In addition, when people encounter the real faces and personalities behind your business in a video, you foster a strong and meaningful relationship. They get the idea of how passionate you and your people are in giving them the solutions they need. By becoming visible through video, you evoke emotions that traditional content may not be able to do. When you leverage this powerful aspect of video, not only do you instill trust, you also drive viewers toward a desired action.

#3: Engages Customers More Effectively

According to Wordstream, social video generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined. Views on branded video content have increased 257% on Facebook and 99% on YouTube as of June 2017.

Content Marketing Institute also indicates that web users are 10 times more likely to engage with, comment on, share video content than blog posts or related social media updates. The numbers only prove how crucial video marketing is in your overall marketing strategy.

Video also engages even the most dismissive buyers as it is super easy to consume. Instead of reading long product descriptions or filing through online catalogs, buyers can see the product in action at the touch of a button. Through an explainer video, your customers can gain a better understanding of your product or service. If you are selling an app or software, they can get a good grasp on how it works even when it can be quite tricky. This ultimately can reduce the number of support calls you receive in a day.




#4: Increases Conversion and Sales

Multiple studies show that including video on a landing page not only boost conversions but also lead directly to sales. While text is still an integral part of your website, videos are more appealing to visitors. As a result, they are more likely to linger to find something helpful or interesting about your business or one of your offerings. This in return can lead to higher conversions. It is also found that customers are nearly twice as likely to purchase a product or service after watching video content, particularly demo videos.


If you can make high quality, compelling videos, visitors will stay longer on your webpage. This sends a positive signal to Google and helps improve your search ranking in return. In other words, the more people spend more time on a page, the better that page will be ranked. Needless to say, landing on the first page of Google can have immense benefits to your business, especially in terms of conversion and sales.

Wrapping Up

Videos can serve as a solid foundation for a great marketing strategy. As the above points have shown, investing in this highly rewarding medium can do wonders toward capturing your target audience’s attention, building trust and meaningful relationship, increasing engagement, and more importantly boosting conversion and sales.




Source: https://www.business2community.com



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

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Monday, December 17, 2018

How to Use Events to Market Your Business


Using events to promote your business is one of the most traditional ways to get your name out there and connect with your local market. However, novice event planners can quickly lose their footing while putting their events together so using a step-by-step method is a huge help. Follow this basic planning outline for a surefire way to plan your next killer event!

Plan Ahead

This seems like a gimme, but often times people underestimate the runway needed to properly plan an event. Before you do anything, you should be able to answer these questions:

What is the purpose of my event?

Do you want to generate leads or start building your customer emailing list? Are you looking to create brand awareness or strengthen your connection with your community? The answer to this question will determine a lot about the different components you choose to implement at your event so being clear from the start will prevent unsatisfactory results down the road.

What is my ultimate goal?

If you decided that the purpose of your event was to create stronger community ties then the goal of your event may be to use those connections to broaden your professional network. Your goal should be something measurable tied to your purpose.

Prepare

Once you’ve clearly defined your desired outcome it’s time to start putting the puzzle pieces together. This is when you’ll start to look at all of the basic elements that make up an event such as:


  • Budget – Determine your budget first, as it will be a deciding factor for the other components.
  • Vendors (Catering, A/V, photography, entertainment, equipment rentals, etc)
  • Venue – Think about parking, permits, size, location.
  • Date – Check local event calendars so you don’t end up picking a date that conflicts with a competing event.
  • Staffing needs – Will you require employees to help out or look for volunteers?
  • Agenda – What is the minute by minute schedule for the event? (Ex: 6pm doors open, 6-7 cocktails, 7:05 welcome note, etc). A detailed schedule ensures everything you want to happen actually does!


Don’t forget to keep the weather in mind. If you’re having an outdoor event you should have a backup plan should the weather decide to take a turn for the worse.

Promote Your Event

Once you’ve got the nuts and bolts situated, it’s time to start spreading the word. The basic first step is to create invitations. Whether you use traditional mailers, social media posts, an email marketing platform, or a combination of these just be sure you’re giving your invitees enough lead time to make room for you on their calendars. Do your best to create a buzz!

Don’t forget that event promotion doesn’t only occur leading up to the big day. During the event, assign someone on your team to post to social media in real-time so people nearby have the opportunity to stop in.


Look for Local Publicity

Don’t forget that most of your local newspapers and media outlets will cover your event for free. Contact local news stations and ask how you can get a mention on their morning or lifestyle segments. This is especially well received if you’re tying your event to a charitable cause or planning it for a time of the year that receives media attention anyway, like a Shop Local day.

Local bloggers and micro-influencers can be publicity powerhouses, too. Offer them free entry into your event or promise to mention them and link their blogs in your follow-up efforts or on your own website or blog.

Follow Up

Follow-up efforts are perhaps one of the most vital components in the event life cycle that also happen to be the most passed over. If you don’t follow up with attendees after the event you’re missing a huge opportunity to move them further down the pipeline to becoming a loyal customer. Post photos from the event online and in store and send people a personal thank you with an event recap. These small touches go a long way in making your customers feel appreciated for the support they’ve given you and your business.

Also, hold an internal recap meeting. Go over aspects of the event that you loved and thought went well and take a closer look at areas that you can improve upon for next time. Don’t underestimate the value of this follow-up analysis. Critiquing your event from the planning stage all the way to your attendee follow-up methods is tremendously valuable and will help you be more effective the next time around.


Now, all the planning in the world can’t account for last minute changes and snafus. Be flexible while sticking to your plan as best you can and try not to sweat the small stuff. Even the most experienced event planners will have things go haywire the day of party – just roll with it, have a good time and give yourself a big pat on the back for pulling off a successful event!




Source: https://thrivehive.com

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

Stay Connected with WNFP!
Join WNFP Communities!