Slice Intelligence: Fitbit is outselling the Apple Watch

Apple Watch


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Bloomberg is out with new numbers from Slice Intelligence showing that after an initial spike in orders the Apple Watch is now selling less than Fitbit fitness trackers.

Slice gathers data from emailed sales receipts to monitor how well devices are selling in the U.S.

Before the 2014 holidays, none of the well-known wearable devices (from Fitbit, Garmin, Jawbone, and Samsung) were selling more than 50,000 units per week. But Fitbit spiked up to more than 200,000 units per week during the holiday, and never returned to pre-holiday levels.

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The Netflix startup story (video)

Reed Hastings, in an animated video produced by Foundation Capital.


Editor’s note: Foundation Capital produced the video with Reed Hastings below. We asked Foundation partner Paul Holland to provide some back story as an introduction.

In 1992, I had the pleasure of doing my very first startup, Pure Software, with Reed Hastings. Over that time, I witnessed Reed take the company through what we would call “Bet the Company” moments––these incredibly challenging, business-threatening, near-death experiences. We faced eight or nine of these “Bet the Company” moments at Pure, and in every single case, I watched as Reed persevered and rallied his team to come up with creative solutions to very complex problems.

It’s this tenacity and bias toward action that has made Reed such a formidable force across today’s technology and media landscape. And he’s been able to take that spirit and management skill set and apply it to a much larger market today in the arena of digital content.

Fast-forward to 1998, when my partner here at Foundation Capital, Mike Schuh, decided that he wanted to fund a brand-new company called Netflix, which was run by Reed and whose service was pretty radical for the time. The idea was that you would take this new media format, the DVD, and ship it off via US Mail to customers, who would view it and mail back the disc.

The concept for Netflix arose during the very early days of DVDs. Only about 2% of US households had DVD players, but we saw that if the market grew to about 20% of households, we could have a really successful company. (Eventually more than 95% of households would come to own DVD players.) So we dove in with Reed to help the company take those first pivotal steps.

Now from the very beginning of Netflix––and the reason the company was named Netflix and not DVD by Mail––there was our belief that the marketplace for digital content would move to streaming. The idea that this content wouldn’t need to be couriered, but instead would travel over the air. And that’s just where media went. In our Startup Story featuring Reed, you’ll see it certainly wasn’t a cakewalk when it came time to battle the industry giant Blockbuster Video in the emerging battle for digital supremacy.

One of the key ingredients that makes Netflix so special is that it was started by one of the strongest software entrepreneurs on the planet. Reed is not only finely skilled in the software space but also incredibly talented at building teams and empowering his leadership. He had a phenomenal team he worked with during the rise of Netflix, including people like Neil Hunt, who is still the Chief Product Officer at the company and a tremendous software engineer.

Unlike most companies that go into the media space thinking about carving out a specific area of distribution differently, Reed and his team came at the challenge from a completely unique vantage point. And in doing so, they built a new idea around how content would be consumed and ultimately led an entire industry in the process. It was that forethought about how media would be consumed in the way it is today––on computers, mobile, and connected devices—that was Reed’s North Star. That said, no one involved could have dreamed just how large this concept would become and how successful Netflix would grow as a business. But it’s fun to look back on the journey through the lens of today.

What we do in the course of this Startup Story with Reed is take you back to the beginning, through some of the trials and tribulations that led to the creation of one of the best companies to ever come out of Silicon Valley––the cultural and industry cornerstone we know today as Netflix. And at its core, this story goes beyond Netflix. It’s about an exceptional entrepreneur who turned aspiration into actuality to build a great company.

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Google Payments will handle all your financial information, including Android Pay and Google Wallet apps

Google bucket of money


If you’re not reaching, engaging, and monetizing customers on mobile, you’re likely losing them to someone else. Register now for the 8th annual MobileBeat, July 13-14, where the best and brightest will be exploring the latest strategies and tactics in the mobile space.


Earlier this week, the Google OS blog noticed that if you navigate to Google Wallet’s website, you’ll see that the service’s branding has been replaced by Google Payments. This led many to wonder if Google Wallet was being replaced by Google Payments, and since we knew that wasn’t true, we reached out to Google for clarification.

In short, Google Payments will be the company’s backend payments platform that supports all of its payments-related products. That includes the company’s two consumer-facing brands: Android Pay for in-app and in-store payments, and Google Wallet for peer-to-peer payments.

“As we prepare for the launch of our new payments products, we’re gradually updating the web destination where people can keep track of payments connected to their Google account, such as Play, Google Express, Google Fiber,” a Google spokesperson told VentureBeat. “These will now be available at payments.google.com.”

Right now, whether you head to wallet.google.com or payments.google.com you’ll see the same page (pictured below). The Google Payments site used to redirect to the Google Wallet site, but now it appears the opposite is more likely.

google_payments

Google Payments shows all transactions made with your Google account, and the main page also shows items that need your attention (like expired cards). You can add or change payment methods, manage your bills, and keep track of your shipping addresses in your address book. If you use Google Wallet, you’ll still see references to your Wallet Card and Wallet Balance.

The Google Wallet Privacy Notice now shows the following message:

The Services offered by Google Payments are covered by the Google Wallet Privacy Notice. The Google Wallet Privacy Notice will be updated effective June 30, 2015. You can view the updated notice at the link found here.

Indeed, that link takes you to the Google Payments Privacy Notice, which is dated next Tuesday. As the Google spokesperson told us, this is a gradual update.

Nevertheless, the change is already showing up in other products that leverage your Google account. Just yesterday, developer and Google open-source Chromium evangelist François Beaufort spotted a Chromium Code Review describing Google Payments integration with Chrome’s Autofill feature.

If you are signed into Chrome with your Google account, you can tap into your financial information by simply checking the new “Show addresses and credit cards from Google Payments” checkbox under chrome://settings/autofill. From that point on, you can autofill your web checkout forms with addresses and payment information from Google Payments using Chrome for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android.

chrome-payments

In short, whether you end up using the new Android Pay app, the new Google Wallet app, or really anything that requires paying through Google, you can expect Google Payments to the payments login system. If you want to keep track of all your financial information across all Google properties, you’ll head to payments.google.com.

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Do You Change Your Summer Business Hours?

summer business hours

Summer is officially here and the daylight hours are getting longer. Most people think of long, sunny days as a chance to kick back and have fun.

But for local business owners, it can be an opportunity to make the most of the business day.

According to Google research, 25 percent of small businesses change their summer business hours, extending their hours and staying open longer. Yet only one percent of local businesses have adjusted their hours on their Google My Business accounts.

Updating your summer business hours online may not seem like a top priority, but according to Google 4 out of 5 people use search engines to find local business information such as location and store hours. Furthermore the company claims only 37 percent of local businesses have created listings on search engines.

Google has been putting forth a marked effort to bring more small businesses online successfully. The company has recently been encouraging local business owners to update their information on Google My Business. And Google Maps is now telling users if a business is closed.

Now, the company is taking things even further with the launch of a new site that will help businesses check how their hours are showing up on Google. But the site does more than that. It’s a hub providing local business owners with tools and resources to get their businesses online.

This is a part of what Google calls the “Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map” initiative. Google explains on the site:

“With our new initiative, Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map, we’re teaming up with local leaders to create a program for 30,000 U.S. cities–all with the singular focus of getting local business info online and on the map. Every city will have a website like this one that businesses can visit for help. They can see how they show up on Google and build a free website of their own (free for one year). We’re also equipping local partners with free trainings and customized city materials to run workshops in town.”

It seems more and more people are searching online for information on local businesses and with a smartphone in nearly every pocket, mobile searches are also a big factor.

Google’s initiative and newly launched site could be a valuable resource for small business owners to help them get online and stay relevant.

Image: Gybo.com

This article, “Do You Change Your Summer Business Hours?” was first published on Small Business Trends

Getting Your First 1,000 Facebook Fans (Infographic)

More and more people are using Facebook to research businesses these days, and they’re doing more than just finding a business’s location and reading posts. People are using Facebook for social proof. They want to see how many people “Like” a business.

Think about it. If you want to go to a new restaurant and you visit its Facebook page and it has 30 fans, does that make you more or less likely to visit the establishment? It probably doesn’t help. The same goes for internet businesses. If you’re running an ecommerce store and you have only 100 fans, do you think that helps your chances of getting orders, especially when your competitor has 5,000 fans?

This doesn’t apply to all businesses, but for most B2C companies, having a lot of Facebook fans is important. This is especially true for small businesses. In certain bigger industries, such as automotive, the amount of Facebook fans doesn’t factor into a buying decision for the consumer.

To help you grow your fan base, Neil Patel over at Quick Sprout has created an infographic that’s full of wonderful tips to help you reach your first 1,000 Facebook fans.

How to Get Your First 1000 Facebook Fans
Courtesy of: Quick Sprout

For additional tips on getting more Facebook fans, check out this content from Kissmetrics:

About the Author: Zach Bulygo (Twitter) is a Content Writer for Kissmetrics.

5 Ways Writing A Book Will Supercharge Your Online Presence

5 Ways Writing A Book Will Supercharge Your Online Presence written by Guest Post read more at Small Business Marketing Blog from Duct Tape Marketing

lead-generationLet me tell you right off the bat, writing and publishing a book is a lot easier than you think.  In September of 2014, when I became a Duct Tape Marketing Certified Consultant, I provided a list of ten reasons why joining the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant network is a no-brainer for digital agencies.  On top of all those reasons, I had no idea that the network would lead me to becoming a published author after just a few short months of joining.

The backdrop to my story is that I attended the Duct Tape Marketing Annual Summit last year.  Shortly after that amazing three-day event, fellow marketing consultant Ray Perry of MarketBlazer, Inc. approached me to write a book with three other Duct Tape Marketing Consultants.  Last year, Ray and another group of DTM Consultants published a great book on referral marketing called Renewable Referrals, and that book became an Amazon Best Seller!

Fast-forward six months, now I am part of an amazing team of fellow consultants that has launched The Small Business Owner’s Guide To Local Lead Generation – another book that is well on its way to Amazon Best Seller status.   Aside from an awesome foreword written by John Jantsch, we have an incredible list of endorsements from the likes of BNI founder Dr. Ivan Misner, Copyblogger’s Brian Clark, New York Times bestselling author Michael Port, and many more thought leaders and tech company CEOs.

Now that you know a little about what we’ve accomplished and how we got here, let me explain why publishing a book results in a seismic boost to your online presence:

  1. Online Authority. Creating and publishing a book in your niche provides an instant boost in personal authority and elevates your status as an expert.  From creating book and author pages on Amazon, to launching a book via press releases, podcasts and online marketing, these activities provide an overnight boost in authority that most of your competitors will not have.  In other words, you are no longer just “Your Name”, you are “Your Name, author of…”
  2. Online Trust.  Getting thought leaders in your niche takes some effort and creativity, but it’s easier than you think (assuming you have good content).  Asking an influencer to provide a quote for a book about their niche reinforces their position as a leader in that niche – so in many cases they will be motivated to provide a book quote.  Once you have multiple industry authorities blessing your book, all of your content suddenly becomes more credible, trustworthy and interesting.
  3. Organic SEO.  If you launch a book effectively, you will also create a standalone book website.  All of the marketing that you do should lead people back to the book site, the same way we doing now in this guest blog post.  Our book site already ranks highly on Google for “local lead generation books” and is quickly climbing for more competitive generic terms such as “local lead generation”.
  4. Social Media Exposure. Book launches, by their very nature, create buzz.  With careful and strategic coordination, you can dramatically amplify your social media exposure by leveraging your own network, as well as those that have supported your book.  From tagging tweets and posts, to simply notifying business chambers and local media, you will find many venues and organizations that will be motivated to share your story on social media.
  5. Conversion Optimization.  If you are a regular consumer of John Jantsch’s content, you already know that creating great content in a way that draws ideal customers into your digital channel is a core Duct Tape Marketing principle.  By promoting and offering an actual book on your website, you now have a killer conversion hook that will convert more first-time web visitors into loyal content consumers, and thus on the path towards conversion.

The above list is really just the tip of the iceberg in terms of benefits.  Perhaps one of my favorites is that this book has become my new business card.  There is nothing like walking into a sales meeting and dropping a book on the table with credible endorsements.  As a busy agency owner, I really have to be careful how I invest my most treasured asset: time.  So when I tell you that book publishing has become a new cornerstone of my own inbound marketing strategy, I am not saying it lightly.  Yet, I have already signed on for another book project and will publish my own book this fall titled:  New SEO: Search Engine Optimization For Web Designers & Small Business Owners.

Trust me, if I can write a book, you can too.

phil-singletonPhil Singleton owns and operates Kansas City Web Design, where he and his team provide custom WordPress and Magento web development, and Kansas City SEO, where he provides search engine optimization services to companies with hundreds of thousands in revenues to hundreds of millions.  To get more SEO and Internet marketing tips and advice, and learn more about Phil’s book writing adventures, follow him on Google+.

Survey Finds 5 Entrepreneur Attributes are Shared Qualities

Entrepreneur Attributes

The 2015 U.S. Trust Insights on Wealth and Worth survey has found that many business owners and entrepreneurs share at least five similar attributes.

The survey is based on a nationwide survey of 640 high net worth and ultra high net worth adults, of which 118 are business owners, with at least $3 million in investable assets, not including the value of their primary residences.

The five attributes shared by these high net worth entrepreneurs are:

A Passion for their Business

Nine in ten business owners say they have a clear sense of purpose for their lives, and three quarters of respondents consider meaningful work an important aspect of their purpose.

Personal and Business Lives that are Closely Intertwined

A high proportion of business owners’ finances are tied up in their companies. Forty-four percent say most of their income and financial assets are linked to their firms. For owners under the age of 50, that is especially true. Nearly two-thirds of those responding (64 percent) say their businesses represent most of their income and assets.

A Focus on Health, Family and Financial Security

Seventy-six percent say their health is their most important personal asset. Yet, 35 percent say they’ve sacrificed their health for the sake of their careers.

A Strong Sense of Responsibility for the Needs of Others

Seventy-nine percent say they typically put the needs of others ahead of their own. Partly as a result, 59 percent say their personal, work, financial, and social goals often conflict with each other.

A Desire to Give Back to Society

Nine in 10 business owners say that giving back to society is important, if not essential, to their lives. And they place greater relative importance on giving back than non-business owners.

U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management, which conducted the survey, is a private wealth management organization. The company says it provides resources and customized solutions for wealth structuring, investment management, banking and credit needs.

U.S. Trust is part of the Global Wealth and Investment Management unit of Bank of America, N.A.

Image: U.S. Trust

This article, “Survey Finds 5 Entrepreneur Attributes are Shared Qualities” was first published on Small Business Trends

6 Webinar Mistakes Along with Actionable Solutions

webinar mistakes and solutions

Webinars are a powerful marketing tool for keeping in touch with leads during the sales cycle and building your reputation as an industry thought leader.

Next to in-person events, webinars rank as the most effective B2B marketing tactic, according to HubSpot. Sixty-seven percent of B2B buyers seek out webinars prior to making a purchasing decision, making webinars more sought after than infographics, eBooks, videos and ROI calculators.

Planning and executing a successful webinar, however, can be easier said than done. Are you putting together a webinar for the first time or disappointed in past webinar performance? Get your webinar game back on track with tricks for avoiding common webinar mistakes.

Webinar Mistake No. 1: Spending Too Much Time Focused on Your Product or Service

Solution: Client needs come first.

While this tip sounds pretty obvious, it’s easy to overlook.

Like all forms of content marketing, webinars need to fit within a broader strategic marketing plan and play to your audience’s genuine needs and challenges rather than simply highlighting a business product or service your company offers.

Let’s say you’ve got a great app for a common industry need. Even it’s a truly revolutionary app, no one wants to hear solely about your app for 60 minutes.

Respect your audience’s time and give them information they truly need in your webinar, recommends Forbes.

In this case, a discussion about industry problems and different solution strategies is beneficial – and you can use this conversation to position your business as a solution provider with a soft mention of your app.

Webinar Mistake No. 2: Over-Promising and Under-Delivering

Solution: Stay in your wheelhouse or co-present with a strategic partner.

You can’t be all things to all people, nor should you try to be. Focus on your specific area of expertise and partner with complementary companies to offer expanded services that address additional client needs.

For example, let’s say your company provides strategic advice to startups on SEO and social media. Your startup clients could probably benefit from information on how to target investors, but if you’re not an investor yourself, you’re probably not in a position to provide qualified advice.

Partnering with an angel investor or venture capital firm for a webinar is a great option for delivering valuable information that’s outside your area of expertise.

Webinar Mistake No. 3: Choosing the Wrong Presentation Platform

Solution: Test out options in advance.

One of the very common webinar mistakes is a low-quality webinar platform. It’s just as bad as a poorly designed website, and it makes your business look unprofessional and hurts your brand reputation.

My go-to webinar provider is ClickWebinar. It’s fully integrated and compatible with Adobe, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Flickr. Plus, ClickWebinar offers a moderated Q&A chat for enhanced interaction with participants.

Another popular webinar platform includes WebinarsOnAir, which runs over Google Hangouts. Whichever webinar platform you choose to use, test it out in advance with a practice run. Be sure you’re familiar with the platform’s different features and confident in its capabilities.

Webinar Mistake No. 4: Participation Rates are Low

Solution: Incentivize sign-up with a special offer.

In addition to the great (free!) information you’ll be offering about a common industry problem, you can further incentivize participation by sweetening the deal with special offers.

Offer the first 100 participants who sign up access to a free eBook or supplemental materials, like the slide deck or on-demand webinar replays. Allow sufficient time to get the word out about your upcoming webinar via emails and social media.

Even if you can throw together a webinar in 48 hours, you should be marketing the webinar at least two weeks in advance.

Finally, be sure that your webinar sign-up form is not reducing participation. As Adobe President Ken Molay points out in his whitepaper on webinar best practices, lengthy input forms kill participation rates.

Webinar Mistake No. 5: Scheduling Your Webinar Too Early (or Late) in the Day

Solution: Avoid workflow interruptions with a midday webinar.

While it’s impossible to find a single time that works for everyone, midday is a generally a great option for boosting participation.

Selecting a consistent time is especially important if you’ll be hosting a series of webinars over the course of several months.

For example, if you have a monthly or bi-weekly “lunchtime chat” webinar, scheduling for the same time (e.g., 1pm EST) will make it part of your participant’s routine and boost participation by making the webinar a recurring appointment on their calendar.

HubSpot recommends scheduling webinars at 1 p.m. or 2 p.m. Eastern time for maximum bi-coastal attendance.

Webinar Mistake No. 6: Failing to Capitalize on Leads

Solution: Continue engaging after the webinar ends.

Webinars have many benefits, but the role of the webinar in your lead generation funnel does not end once the webinar is over.

Stay in touch with participants by sending follow-up materials, requesting feedback, and letting them know about upcoming webinars. Segment your webinar signup list into three separate groups: those who signed up (but did not attend), those who attended, and those who attended and participated in the Q&A.

Target your follow-up accordingly based on the needs of each group.

For example, did a participant ask a really detailed question that you were unable to fully answer within the scope of the webinar? In this case, you’ll want to follow-up with an email or call.

Did a lead express interest but fail to attend? Send a follow-up email offering access to the slide deck or webinar recording.

Webinar Photo via Shutterstock

 
 

 

This article, “6 Webinar Mistakes Along with Actionable Solutions” was first published on Small Business Trends

Social Proof and the Science of Psychological Marketing

Using Social Proof to Turbocharge your MarketingI’m not a psychologist, but I play one every day as I try to figure out why people (users, customers, visitors, etc.) do what they do… and how to get them to do more of what I want them to do.

I spend a lot more time reading books about – and otherwise studying – human psychology and the way our brains operate, than I do on specific marketing techniques, growth hacks, or the latest viral sensation.

Those things are fleeting, but the way our brain works is much slower to change.

One of the people I’ve learned the most from when it comes to human behavior is Dr. Robert Cialdini, starting with his game changing book Influence. He and others from his Influence at Work group have released other books that provided real-world examples of how to leverage the principles of Influence – or avoid them – but Influence is still my go-to resource.

Dr. Cialdini has posited that there are six principles of persuasion – Reciprocation, Liking, Consensus, Authority, Consistency, and Scarcity – each of which has the power to elicit certain behaviors (simply due to how our brains work) in those at which the principle is focused.

In this article I want to explore the Principle of Consensus, otherwise known in marketing as “Social Proof” and in Customer Success as “Advocacy.”

 

Generally when we think of Social Proof we think of…

  • A person wearing nice clothes crossing the street against the light, so you follow her (she must know what she’s doing… she’s dressed so professionally).
  • A group of people looking up in the sky… so you look up, too.
  • 9 out of 10 Dentists prefer…
  • The number of Retweets, Likes, or Repins a piece of content gets on the various social networks.
  • The number of backers on Kickstarter
  • This many other readers highlighted this section in a Kindle ebook
  • A hit counter on your web page (for those of you joining us from 1996)

But when we’re marketing B2B SaaS and software products, the proof isn’t in the pudding (or any of those things on the list above), it’s with others who have used – or can vouch for – your product.

Social Proof and The Principle of Consensus

That sounds like a fantasy genre book title.

Anyway, according to my wallet-sized Principles of Persuasion card I got when I spent some time with the Influence at Work group in Phoenix a while back (that I carry with me everyday because I’m just that awesome), Consensus is when “people decide what is appropriate for them to do in a situation by examining what others are doing.”

The card goes on to say that Consensus is ACTIVATED by evidence of how others are thinking, feeling, or acting.

It also says that Consensus is AMPLIFIED by evidence from many others, similar others, and by uncertainty.

Every Principle of Persuasion has Amplifiers; things that, when they happen, markedly improve the effectiveness of the principle, but let’s talk specifically about…

Social Proof Amplifiers

Of the three amplifiers of Consensus, similarity and uncertainty are  the most interesting in the world of B2B SaaS, especially for niche or vertical-focused products.

I’ll discuss similarity in a lot more detail later, so for now I want to touch on uncertainty; such a simple, but incredibly powerful concept.

When we don’t know what to do, we look to others for cues (or sometimes exactly what we should do).

When we don’t know what to do it’s usually for one of two reasons: there are no obvious choices or too many.

We’re either starting from scratch or are overwhelmed by options.

So we look to others to help move us forward.

Looking to others when we don’t know what to do is human nature.

Social Proof – the Principle of Consensus – simply leverages (takes advantage of) that human nature.

If you’re entering a crowded market with your SaaS product, one way to cut through the clutter is to heavily leverage Social Proof.

If you’re creating a new product category (like we’ve done at Gainsight by literally creating the Customer Success Management software product category), you’ll probably need to leverage all three types of Social Proof below at various stages of your evolution.

Understanding Consensus and what activates it – what triggers our brains to react a certain way – and what amplifies this principle, are absolutely critical when it comes to putting these concepts to work.

That’s why I wanted to examine this idea of Consensus as it relates to Social Proof as a marketing technique.

That starts by understanding that there are…

Three types of Social Proof

You can probably get more granular and come up with other types, but in my experience, when it comes to Social Proof there are basically three kinds: Similar, Aspirational, and Endorsement.

Knowing the difference will help you get the results you’re looking for in your marketing.

On the flip side, NOT knowing the difference could literally derail your marketing efforts, so it pays to know what you’re doing.

Let’s look at each type in more detail.

1. Similar Social Proof

Social Proof that’s “similar” is when you display the logos of – or testimonials from – customers that are the same as your Ideal Customer.

This is the most basic type of Social Proof and is generally what we think of when we hear “social proof” from a marketing standpoint.

When we display logos of our customers on our marketing websites, if we think about what we’re trying to do at all, it generally falls into the “similar” category, right?

“I’ll put these logos on my site and hope that others like them will contact me or sign-up for our service” you say to yourself.

So you put all the logos on your site without really thinking through the ramifications of that. In fact, you’re quick to add the logo of that giant company you landed because, well, how cool is that, right?

Well, it might not be that cool if your Ideal Customer isn’t like that giant company and thinks, based on the presence of that logo, that your solution – even if it’s right for them – is likely too far out of reach. “If Walmart can afford it, we can’t.”

It is tempting to show off that giant logo you landed, but if that’s incongruent with your Ideal Customer Profile you may scare them away.

When it comes to Social Proof, defining your Ideal Customer Profile is critical so you can leverage Social Proof that’s similar to the customers you really want to land; outliers (and ego-boosters) be damned.

A Quick Note on Viral Expansion

If you’re thinking about your viral expansion opportunities – both intra and inter-company virality – for your product, remember that you’ll be taking advantage of the principles of Social Proof there, too.

Awesome, right? Sure… but just know that virality is almost always horizontal, which means you shouldn’t assume advocacy programs and viral loops will help you land better (more ideal) customers than you already have. It just doesn’t tend to work that way in reality.

If you have less-than-ideal customers advocating for you or otherwise spreading the word, they’ll bring in more like them.

Yet another reason to focus on your Ideal Customer in the first place.

Okay, all of that said, there IS a time and place for displaying logos of companies larger (or more successful) than your Ideal Customers and that’s called…

2. Aspirational Social Proof

Robert Cialdini and Lincoln Murphy

Social Proof that’s “aspirational” is when you display reviews, video testimonials, or logos of companies that your Ideal Customer prospects want to be like.

But let me be clear; aspirational social proof is potentially dangerous as your ideal customers may not get it & think bigger customers mean you’re out of their price range.

This is yet another reason to really get to know your Ideal Customer, understand their Desired Outcome, and then use that knowledge to engage these psychological principles.

If you sell to B2B startups that are post-series A funding, for example, the leaders of those organizations may have aspirations of being $100M (and eventually $1B Unicorns) companies and want to operate as such. They may not need a world-class subscription management platform like Zuora or a world-class Customer Success Management product like Gainsight today, but if they want to be a $100M company, they should act like one.

Knowing that this is your Ideal Customer, you’d show them the logos (and other Social Proof elements) from the companies they want to be like someday… not the companies they’re like today.

But you have to know your Ideal Customer or this could have the opposite effect.

Okay, so what if you’re just starting out and don’t have any “Similar” or “Aspirational” Social Proof to offer? You can use…

3. Endorsements (Celebrity or Otherwise)

Endorsements are just that… someone that your Ideal Customer trusts, advocating for your product.

When you don’t have customers yet – or don’t have customers that have achieved the necessary success milestones that would make being an advocate for you a logical next step – you may have to go a different route.

Finding someone that you can show the product to, who can see the real value (potential) in it, and is willing to share their perception of the product (sometimes for a what amounts to a fee) with your potential customers can go a long way.

You might have to give them or their customers access to your product at no charge in order for them to see the value in your product, but it’s probably worth it at first.

Or you might have to “sponsor” research that – fingers crossed and breath held – comes out in your favor so you can distribute the research to your prospects. Trusted analysts can “endorse” you without actually endorsing you. What a world.

And of course there’s the celebrity endorsement route… think about what happens when Tim Ferris or Oprah mention a product. But that “celebrity” has to be someone that jibes with your Ideal Customer, otherwise it really won’t have the desired effect.

Kim Kardashian shilling for your project management app may not give you the result you want.

Snoop Dogg on the other hand…

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