Networking Archives
Manners Please: the Best Way to Say Thank You Plus BONUS Email Templates

Manners Please: the Best Way to Say Thank You Plus BONUS Email Templates

This isn’t the first time we’ve covered the thank you topic here on the Contactually Blog. Saying ‘thank you’ never goes out of style and we’re always finding new ways to tell our network and customers thank you. Saying “please” and “thank you” were among the first manners that we all learned when we were children. It goes without saying but expressing gratitude goes far beyond thanking our teachers, parents, and friends when we were kids. As we’ve grown up, saying “thank you” has taken on an even bigger role – especially in the business world. According to a 2014 survey by Ask Your Target Market, “81% of respondents agree that sending thank you notes is an important way to show appreciation.” But it doesn’t stop there. In addition to being polite and showing appreciation, saying “thank you” has a lot of other positive benefits both personally and professionally. According to Psychology Today, expressing gratitude has various benefits from growing new relationships to improving psychological health. So, if you are part of the 14% of people that say they never send “thank you” notes, it’s about time you jump on the bandwagon. Take a look at our tips on the best way to say thank you and become a “thank you” expert: General ‘Thank You’ Tips: 1: Keep it short Everyone appreciates the effort that you go through to thank them because it makes them feel valued; however, it doesn’t need to ramble on. Rambling is one of the most annoying email habits (check out 10 Email Habits that Annoy Your Customers to see what else is irritating your customers)...
5 Details to Add to Your 2017 Small Business Marketing Plan

5 Details to Add to Your 2017 Small Business Marketing Plan

It’s nearly impossible to keep up with new marketing trends these days—much less have the resources and time to build them into your marketing plan and execute on a small business budget. This year, instead of trying to do it all, choose just a few new things to try, even if they aren’t new in the industry (hello, guest posting). A refresher may be just what your plan needs to boost engagement, impressions and overall marketing success. Read on for the 5 things you should add to your marketing plan: Video Marketing Tests Video marketing is one of the fastest growing areas of the industry, with 65 percent of marketers planning to increase their mobile ad budgets to account for video (Hubspot). This year is a great time to test your video marketing chops and see what excites your specific audience. There are a variety of video options small businesses can try, regardless of the size of your budget. Here are two to consider: Social media video: Facebook Live, Instagram Stories and Snapchat all provide your small business with a chance to test video and boost social engagement, without spending any extra money. Embedded email video: Video in email lead to a 200 to 300 percent increase in click-through rate, as reported by HubSpot. One fun idea: Instead of writing your message, say it in a video—better yet, have your CEO say it. If you’re able or ready to spend a significant amount of money, also consider drone videography and testing YouTube ads. A Guest Posting Program Guest posting gets a bad rep thanks to “spammy” outreach and poor...
Managing and Maintaining My Contact List as a Freelancer

Managing and Maintaining My Contact List as a Freelancer

While most freelancers would love to simply wake up each day and have new work waiting for them, the reality is that half of a freelancer’s job is tracking down great well-paying clients that understand the value you’re providing. Freelancers often face dry spells as well as times of great abundance, but the nature of freelancing is tough. It’s important to make the most out of each and every client relationship. Luckily, there are several things you can do to facilitate this process and make your business relationships blossom. Managing my contact list and freelance work: Break It Down Our contact lists today are overwhelming, to say the least. When attempting to manage your contact list and make sense of it all, it’s ideal to break them down into manageable chunks that our brains can process more easily. You may choose to sort your clients by the amount of money they have spent on projects in the past, the type of work they request, the location that they are in, or even how easy they are to work with. There are many ways to sort your list, but the main point is that it should be logical to you. By doing so, you will be much more likely to remember who each person is, while tactfully avoiding information overload. Automate Your Marketing A smart marketing automation plan is much more than simply maintaining an email list and sending updates. A marketing automation plan is personable and specific and will have a solid goal in mind: getting more business. You’ll be able to create automated emails based on a client’s...
How I Manage My Contact List… Kinda

How I Manage My Contact List… Kinda

The most important part of networking is showing up. The second most important part is following up. I advocate for people to follow up with new contacts soon after they first meet, so each person is still fresh in each other’s minds. I talk a lot about the importance of following up on my blog at NetworkingForNicePeople.com. Following up well should help you keep your contact list organized but the truth is mine is a hot mess. I have never been able to get into the habit of creating a single Gmail contact for each person I exchange emails with. The steps to add a contact in Gmail are a little clunky and end up taking too much time. And so I neglect keeping my contact list up to snuff. I used to stress about this but I found a solution you can use too. Contact Management Solution… My solution is to rely heavily on search within my inbox. I am thankful I use Gmail, which of course is owned by Google – everyone’s favorite search engine. They know a thing or two about search. Searching within Gmail is actually quite powerful beyond a simple keyword search. Here are a few examples of ways I use email search to manage my contact list. These results may vary based on your email service provider or software but all should have a decent search function built in so give this a try. Search By Date & Keyword I usually mark my calendar to follow-up with new contacts about six months after a conference. Of course this is excluding the immediate follow-up...
Understanding Who’s in Your Sphere of Influence

Understanding Who’s in Your Sphere of Influence

Did you see the title and scratch your head wondering what the heck a sphere of influence is…and if you have one? That’s okay, you’re certainly not alone and yes you definitely have one, even if you don’t realize it! If we’re going by the definition below (that’s the second bulleted one) then you can think of your sphere of influence as the folks in your network with whom your opinion holds some weight. This can be anyone from your peers, friends, co-workers and beyond, and once you identify this layer of your network, you can begin to improve your communication with them and engage in a more meaningful way with them. Don’t think you’ve got a sphere or not sure why you should prioritize them? Think again, they might be hiding right in plain sight in your network and you’ll want to keep them top of mind because these are the people who are your biggest supporters, advocates and can often provide a boost to your business. We’ll help you to run through your network and better identify the very important SOI so you can best nurture them. Who’s in my sphere of influence? Know thy network Where do you start? We suggest going ahead and taking stock of your network on social media. No mean feat, we know, but a little work upfront will be worth it when you’ve identified those key folks in your network. So go ahead, get on social media and start scrolling through your friends, followers, and connections. If your first inclination is to check on LinkedIn, you may want to think again. Assess...
Top 10 Reasons Online Networking is More Effective Than In-Person Networking

Top 10 Reasons Online Networking is More Effective Than In-Person Networking

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on the Huffington Post and can be found here. Meeting people in real life, face-to-face is important for building professional relationships, but I’d be willing to bet that most of us — whether introverted or extroverted — do not enjoy the awkward interactions that are common when meeting strangers face-to-face for the first time. Networking events can feel like high school dances. Some packs of people who know each other stick together in cliques, never truly reaching out of their comfort zone. Others sit on the sidelines like wallflowers, waiting to go home to their pajamas and The Tonight Show. A scarce few may end up networking with someone they end up having a fruitful business relationship with, but most of us are lucky to leave with a few pleasant exchanges and business cards. Networking online, however, provides a much greater chance of success. It allows for a more thoughtful approach. 10 Reasons to start networking online: Here are 10 Reasons Online Networking is Better Than In-Person Networking, followed by steps to begin networking online like a champ. 10. Unlike networking events, networking online does not require suffering through a glass of bad chardonnay and a rubber chicken dinner. 9. Networking online has the potential to reach almost anyone in the world. It’s not just limited to whoever is in the room. 8. You can be strategic and prepare before networking with someone online, as opposed to flying by the seat of your pants with whoever happens to be at a networking event. 7. Online, you don’t have to worry about someone...