Category: Marketing Tips

linkedin

When it comes to conversion rates, LinkedIn wins over Twitter and Facebook as the social media platform of choice for business to business visitor-to-lead conversions. In fact, 80% of all B2B leads originate from LinkedIn with a conversion rate of 2.74% which is more than double compared to other social media sites.

However, it’s not as simple as creating a profile and sitting back and waiting for the prospects to come to you. You need to work at bringing in those qualified leads. Here are 7 techniques to get you started.

1. Be active

Posting regularly on LinkedIn is different than when you post on other social media sites. On LinkedIn, it is acceptable for you to post once or twice a day especially if you are posting something relevant and informative concerning your industry. The more active you are, the more attention you’ll get.

2. Be original

While sharing other people’s content is a great way to shout out that you appreciate their work, be sure that you are also publishing your original thoughts via your own blogs.

Piggybacking on other’s content can only get you so far. It’s your original content that will really showcase your knowledge and skills in the industry and is an excellent way to promote your personal brand.Continue Reading..

what-this-man%27s-success-and-your-product-failure-have-in-common

Two of the biggest political events of 2016, the British exit from the EU and the U.S. elections, have put a big question mark on the value of big data. Pollsters predicted a more than 71% chance that Hillary Clinton would win the elections, versus a 28.6% probability of a Trump victory. Across the Atlantic, the markets had predicted on the day of the referendum an 85% likelihood that Britain would remain in the EU. So what went wrong?

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According to the Economist the explanation of the spectacular failure probably lies in the cognitive biases people have. These biases affect the survey respondents as well as analysts, prompting the former to express opinions they don’t actually hold and the latter to interpret data based on faulty assumptions.

The LA times, which was almost the only publication that predicted Trump’s victory, said their polls were successful because they identified and removed the social desirability bias, which was causing Trump supporters to be less comfortable about revealing their vote to telephone pollsters. The analysts’ judgment was probably clouded by confirmation bias, which causes researches to form hypothesis and beliefs and give more importance to facts that confirm their preconceived ideas.

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With more than 380 million members, LinkedIn is the most popular social network for professionals and one of the top social networks overall. But are you using LinkedIn to its fullest potential?

With new social networks sprouting up constantly, LinkedIn is a platform that often gets underutilized or put on the back burner. But the truth is, LinkedIn can be extremely powerful — especially when you’re aware of all the platform’s hidden features that don’t get nearly as much attention as they deserve.

So to help you learn how to use LinkedIn effectively, this post is chock full of LinkedIn tips you may be overlooking … but definitely shouldn’t.

Download the full guide here to learn how to use LinkedIn for professional networking, business, and marketing.Continue Reading..

But how do you do market validation? This week we spoke with Urko Wood an expert in growth strategy and innovation who helps companies determine where to focus and what to do to drive growth through innovation.

Urko, how do you validate a market?

It all depends on what you mean by “validate a market.” There are two different kinds of market validation. There’s validating the market demand and then there’s validating the solution. These are two very different things and, consequently, how we go about them should be different, too. I see a lot of large companies and startups fail to make this distinction all the time and, consequently, they fail with new products because they’re going about the market validation and innovation process all wrong.

Can you tell us more about these differences and how you would go about validating the market in each case?Continue Reading..

Google Keep just keeps getting better. Make Google Keep central to your life. Use it obsessively. When you do that, it becomes a mirror to your mind, an extension to your thought processes that never forgets — a nursery for your best ideas, projects, goals and plans.

Google Keep is probably the best Google service that most people don’t use.

Services like Keep, Evernote and Microsoft OneNote are often called “note-taking apps.” But it’s an obsolete label. They’ve grown beyond their roots, now offering collaborative workflow, reminders, checklists, geofencing, optical character recognition, voice transcription, sketching and more.

A few years ago, I would have recommended Evernote. But over the summer, Evernote took a wrong turn. The company changed its pricing structure in a way that practically forces users to pay or quit. Specifically, Evernote added limitations to the free version, called Evernote Basic. It’s now accessible via a maximum of two devices per year — a total deal-killer, as far as I’m concerned. They limit uploads to 60 megabytes per month, which is absurdly low. And they raised prices on premium tiers. The paid versions of Evernote now cost $34.99, $69.99 and $120 per year.Continue Reading..

With more than 10 billion endorsements since its launch in 2012, LinkedIn is now using machine learning to customize each person’s experience so that the most impactful endorsements are surfaced when you view a profile.

LinkedIn has taken its endorsements feature and given it a touch-up so that it actually means something on a person’s profile. With more than 10 billion endorsements since its launch in 2012, the professional social networking company is now using machine learning to customize each person’s experience so that the most impactful endorsements are surfaced when you view a profile.

Considered to be LinkedIn’s one-click lightweight version of recommendations, endorsements were geared toward letting people offer rapid testimonials about a person’s competencies and skill sets. Do you know Microsoft Office? Are you good at marketing? Can someone vouch for your engineering chops? But it was also prone to randomness, such as users planting false flags about someone’s credentials — you could be endorsed for being a good pet-sitter, for example, even if your career had nothing to do with animals.

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Fully understanding your customers and the challenges they face might just be the number one key to success as far as product development goes. In the end, customers are the ones who will decide whether to buy a product or not. Here’s how to focus on them first.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” – Henry Ford

Henry Ford famously said that he invented the Ford T without asking for any feedback from his potential customers. According to him, people were not capable of thinking about radical innovation.

Since then, his words have sunk into the minds of many product teams that now deeply believe they should never listen to their customers. They’re afraid it might slow their innovative thinking.

However, we might be misunderstanding his words. There is a difference between deeply understanding your customers by asking them what they want and doing exactly what they say. It’s true that you shouldn’t always give your customers what they ask you for.

But, fully understanding your customers and the challenges they face might just be the number one key to success as far as product development goes. In the end, customers are the ones who will decide whether to buy a product or not, so it’s always a good idea to focus on them first.

But, how do you get to really understand your customers without quickly losing yourself in assumptions? This is where customer development comes in.

What Is Customer Development All About?

We are not trained to think about customers in a disciplined way. We have processes for product development, for sales, and for marketing. But, when it comes to our very own customers, we usually hide behind assumptions and guesses about what they need and want.

Customer development tries to fix that by pushing producers to understand customers as much as they understand the market they are in and the technologies they are using.

The idea being that you need to build your product or service for people who are or will be truly passionate about it. To do that, you need to get out of your office and check all the theories you have about your product against reality. It’s all about focusing on your customers.

The methodology is quite simple. Pick one customer that is or will be truly passionate about your product, build that product, and then iterate to improve it.

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What does your LinkedIn profile say about you? Follow these tips and you can ensure that you have a killer LinkedIn profile that will stand out to recruiters, hiring managers, and potential customers.

Whether you’re job hunting, gathering leads, or networking in your industry, having a professional, eye-catching LinkedIn profile is an excellent idea to make sure that you can be found by the right people at the right time.

First and foremost: It’s not about you! Write your summary in the first person (as in “I accomplished XYZ,”) but remember who your audience is. With each statement you write, consider who you are hoping will read it, and what you’re hoping they will take away.

For example, when reading about your skills, past job duties, or anything else on your profile, a recruiter, hiring manager, or potential customer wants to be able to imagine how you can help them. So, instead of “I managed a team of 10 people,” you might say, “I was able to attract and hire top talent to round out my team, which then exceeded sales goals by 15 percent.”

Filling out a profile isn’t difficult, but there are some important best practices you should follow to make sure yours is as powerful as possible:

Start with a professional photo.

If you don’t have a professional headshot, add that to your to-do list, and go with the cleanest, most professional looking snapshot you have — and upgrade as soon as possible. And smile! Remember: That photo may be your first impression with a potential employer.

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Are you inadvertantly sabotaging your customer development? Here are some anti-patterns to watch out for and defeat.

Steve Blank always liked to say, “In a startup, no facts exist inside the building, only opinions.” The lean startup movement encourages that you get out of the building with a mixture of experiments and qualitative research. Doing qualitative work gives you several benefits. It helps you learn how others experience and think about your problem space. It helps you uncover evidence about your assumptions, or lack thereof.

My post “12 tips for customer development” tries to help entrepreneurs and product designers understand how to do qualitative work more effectively. But people struggle with this area. Here are some anti-patterns to watch out for and defeat.

1. You treat speculation as confirmation

Here are some question types that I don’t like — and if you ask them, you should heavily discount the answer: “would you use this?” “would you pay for this?” “would you like this?”

I can’t say that I *never* ask these questions, but I always prefer behavioral questions over speculation.

As contrast, here is a behavior-focused interaction: “Tell me about a time when you bought airline tickets online.” “What did you enjoy about the process? What frustrated you about the process?” “What different systems or methods have you tried in past to book tickets?”

2. You lead the witness

Leading the witness is putting the answer in the interviewee’s mouth in the way you ask the question. For example: “We don’t think most people really want to book tickets online, but what do you think?” Examine both how you phrase your questions and your tone of voice. Are you steering the answer? Ask open-ended, neutral questions before you drill down: “what was that experience of buying online tickets like?”

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At Buffer, we have always taken a lot of pride in thinking that we were following the Lean Startup methodologies very closely. However we were not connecting with our customers enought throughout development. Twitter helps us quickly get customer feedback so we can continue to build products people love.

At Buffer, we’ve recently made a big change to how we build products and use the Lean Startup methodologies much more closely.

It followed what I’d call a phenomenon that Hiten Shah, one of our closest advisors mentioned to us in a mentoring session:

“There’s a strange thing I see. Startups do customer development once then don’t make it part of the product process.” – Hiten Shah

At Buffer, we have always taken a lot of pride in thinking that we were following the Lean Startup methodologies very closely. That’s why this line from Hiten hit me like a brick. We weren’t really being lean and avoiding waste if we weren’t doing extensive customer development.

From that day a few months ago, we started to double down and put almost every single assumption or hypothesis of our business through customer development interviews first. And I believe it’s been one of the best changes we’ve made recently.

I’ve personally never felt closer to our customers and their problems.

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