Sales and marketing folks: Does this routine sound familiar?
- Go to event.
- Meet a prospect.
- Ask for their card.
- Send them an email follow-up.
- Hope they open it and respond. (then start all over again.)
Isn’t there a better way? I may have found it at a recent One Million Cups meeting.
For those not familiar with One Million Cups (or 1MC), it’s a free, national program designed to educate, engage, and connect entrepreneurs. Every Wednesday morning, in more than 110 communities, one or two early stage startups present their companies to a diverse audience of their peers, mentors, educators, and advisers for supportive feedback on how to grow their business. I like to think of it as Shark Tank, without the sharks.
At a recent 1MC gathering, the presenter was Jennifer Santoro of Vaetas (derived from combining the Latin for “the age of” with the word “video.”) They have developed an interactive video communication tool to help organizations drive more business development.
A Vaetas user signs into the app on their computer, tablet or iPhone, with the intention to send a video message via email, text or social media to engage with a customer or prospect (or many of them.) You can choose from existing videos on sites like YouTube and Vimeo or record a brand new video with a device’s webcam or even a phone camera.
The key, Jennifer emphasized, is to decide ahead of time on the intent or desired outcome from this communication.
Do you want to set up a meeting? A demo? Initiate a request for more information? Sell a product or service? Solicit a donation? In other words, what do you want the viewer to do after watching your video message?
Vaetas has built 25 Calls-To-Action (CTAs) you can choose from to embed directly into your video. That’s a game changer. No longer do you just list a website, email or phone number at the end of your video and hope the viewer reaches out.
The chosen CTA can lead them directly to your website to make a purchase or donation, complete a survey or a form to request more information, to your calendar to schedule a coffee or a demo, or to sign up for your newsletter or even to email you right from the video.
The Vaetas team has created integrations with most of the leading social media and communication tools, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Constant Contact, MailChimp, Hubspot, Wordpress and Blogger, to name a few.
Jennifer shared that traditional “old school” emails only have a click-through rate of 4% (meaning out of 100 messages sent, only four are acted upon by the recipient.) With VAETAS email, they’re averaging 23% to 37% click-through rates. To me, that’s huge.
Want to learn more? Email Jennifer@vaetas.com and tell her you know the secret discount code from the 1MC meeting to get a free month: 1MILLIONCUPS CHARLESTON. The offer is good through March 31.
Maybe this could be your business development game changer.
Thomas Heath, CLC is a business coach, strategic advisor and founder of Thomas Heath Coaching. Got a question? Planning a great startup event? He loves to respond to our readers. Contact him via email or on LinkedIn.
An insider’s view into the Charleston region’s startup community
This column came about as a result of the nature of my work offering strategic advice to early stage and existing growth companies, which includes attending a lot of business-related events around town. People are always asking me: “Where’s the best place to make connections? How do I learn about a cool tech company before it hits big? What’s the best group to learn about the latest marketing tools?”
So here are my picks for the best startup happenings coming up:
The Iron Yard
6-8 p.m. Feb. 22
One Million Cups
9-10 a.m. Feb. 22, Mar. 1
Developed by the Kauffman Foundation, this national movement is based on the notion that entrepreneurs across the country discover solutions and make connections every Wednesday morning over a million cups of coffee. The Harbor Entrepreneur Center, 1505 King St. Extension. Free. Just show up. Leave time to get there as the new location can be tricky to find.
“Act. Aspire. Achieve.”
8 a.m.-4 p.m. Feb. 23
That’s the theme of this annual conference from the Center for Women, which is expected to bring more than 200 attendees. There’ll be nine development workshops and training sessions, as well as a keynote address by best-selling author and work/life balance expert Samantha Ettus. This event is all about encouraging and inspiring women, both in business and in life, as well as a great place to connect with other entrepreneurial females. Trident Technical College, 7000 Rivers Ave., North Charleston. $95 for C4W members, $120 for guests (includes a hardcover copy of The Pie Life: A Guilt-Free Recipe for Success and Satisfaction, as well as a swag bag and lunch.) Register: www.c4wconference.org
Tech After 5
5:30-7:30 p.m. Feb. 28
Phil Yanov organizes this monthly brew-meets-business networking event for tech professionals and entrepreneurs. A cool thing is that when you register, they ask: "What are you looking for?" Great place for those looking to both find and fill tech positions. Lagunitas Taproom, 161 East Bay St., Charleston. Cost: $10 but free for tech professionals. Register: http://bit.ly/2kgXKrh
6-8 p.m. March 2
This monthly gathering, sponsored by Google for Entrepreneurs, is part of a global startup community that inspires and connects entrepreneurs. Charleston Director Jeremy Berman will conduct one of his “fireside chats” with Kevin Eichelberger, the founder of Blue Acorn. This ecommerce agency, with clients like Le Creuset and Alex & Ani, has landed on the Inc. 5000 the last four years. The Harbor Entrepreneur Center, 1505 King St. Extension. $10. Register: startupgrind.com/charleston