5 Quick Tips for Getting High-Quality LinkedIn Recommendations

It’s hard to underemphasize the power of referrals in business today. According to a PeopleMetrics study, 78% of B2B prospects kick off their buying processes by asking for network referrals. With this in mind, businesses should strive to get referred to new potential customers before reaching out.  

But what if you don’t share any connections or acquaintances with a them? Recommendations are the next best thing. A glowing recommendation from an existing customer provides social proof that can put new prospects’ minds at ease.

However, not just any recommendation will bolster your reputation. It has to be written by the right person, about the right topic, at the right time.

Use these tips to source personalized, persuasive LinkedIn recommendations that will make your profile stand out against a sea of competitors.


5 Tips for Earning More High-Quality LinkedIn Recommendations


1) Think about what you’d like to communicate.


Not every recommendation serves the same purpose. Are you looking for a new job? Trying to attract new customers? Attempting to make a drastic career shift?

Before you ask for a recommendation, think about what you’re trying to accomplish, as this will impact who you’ll ask and how you direct this person. For example, if you’re looking for a new job, a recommendation from a manager or colleague about exemplary work performance will help you stand out to recruiters and hiring managers. But if you’d like to source new customers, a recommendation from an existing customer detailing the results you helped them achieve will mean the most to prospects. 

2) Identify the person you’d like to recommend you.


Next, zero in on the person you want to write a recommendation. Keep in mind that the best person to write a recommendation isn’t always the one you’re closest with, or the one with the most impressive title.

Here are some guidelines that can help you find the perfect person to recommend you. Choose someone that:
  • you have worked with for six months or more
  • you worked with closely for a period of time
  • has experience with other professionals like you
  • has benefited in a material way from your work
  • is in a similar industry or holds a similar job to the target audience you’d like to attract (customers, recruiters, executives, etc.)
  • is a strong writer
  • regards you in a positive light (obvious, but critical.)

 

3) Identify two to three topics you’d like the person to focus on.


Generic recommendations like the below aren’t all that effective:

“Steve is great! He’s a really nice guy.”
“Jill is a hard worker and a smart worker.”
“Collaborating with Stephanie was awesome.”

Sure, these statements are nice. But what do they really say about you in particular? These accolades could be applied to almost anybody.

Odds are, you’re hoping a recommendation will get you chosen for something — a job, a deal, an organization. With this in mind, recommendations need to be specific enough to convince the decision maker to select you specifically, and not just someone like you.

To ensure you get a customized recommendation, prompt the person you ask with a couple topics or questions. Just make sure to do it gently and courteously. After all, this person is doing you a favor — you don’t want to seem demanding.

Here’s an example of how you might phrase your prompts:

“I’m really proud of the work we did on the Corp Inc. project. Could you write a bit about that initiative and what our collaboration and results were like?”

In addition, consider adding a length guideline. This serves two purposes. First, it gives people an idea of how long this task will take. Second, it relieves the stress of wondering whether they’re writing too much or too little.

LinkedIn cuts recommendations off after approximately 65 words and adds a “see more” tag. With this in mind, a solid length parameter is three to five sentences.

4) Offer value.


You should never ask for something without offering value first. Before sending your recommendation request, find something to send to your contact, such as an interesting blog post, webinar invitation, research report, or even a referral.

Instead of thinking about what you find most interesting, think about what would be most helpful to your contact. Spend some time searching for something truly valuable if you expect to receive a well thought out recommendation in return.

5) Send the request.


All that remains now is sending the request. You can either do this through email, or directly through LinkedIn.

To ask for a recommendation via LinkedIn, follow these steps:
  1. Hover over your picture in the upper right corner
  2. Click “Privacy and Settings” from the drop-down menu
  3. Click “manage your recommendations”
  4. Choose a position, and click “ask for a recommendation”
Although LinkedIn allows you to request recommendations from up to three people at once, your request should be customized enough to only be appropriate for one specific person.

One benefit of sending your request through LinkedIn is that you can nudge the person if they are unresponsive. Simply click the “remind” button under the person’s profile on your Recommendations screen.


Email Template to Request a LinkedIn Recommendation


Hi [first name],

I hope all is well with you. I recently came across this ebook on [topic they care about] that I thought would interest you:

[link to content asset]

You’ll find section X particularly valuable. 

I really enjoyed working with you on/at [project/company], and I was wondering if you would write a brief LinkedIn recommendation of my work. I’d love it if you could touch on Y initiative and our collaboration on Z. Just three to five sentences is all I’m after.

I know a recommendation from you will significantly elevate my profile. I greatly appreciate your time, and hope to hear from you soon.

Thank you,

[your name]


http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/linkedin-recommendations

7 Quick Ways to Free Up More Time in Your Day



When life gets stressful, there’s one quote that I always like to remember: “You have the same number of hours in the day as Beyoncé.”

As true as that saying may be, most of us still come up short in terms of the time and resources we need to cross tasks off our list. 

Often times, it’s this “so much to do, so little time” mentality that places a barrier between what you’re capable of achieving and what you’re actually getting done. But the truth is, freeing up time requires you to do more than identify what you can’t seem to accomplish. You have to actually focus to move something (anything) forward.

Once we build this momentum, we’re all capable of being unstoppable … but getting started with finding your focus isn’t always easy. To combat this, we’ve put together a list of seven tips to help you get on track to freeing up a ton of time.


7 Tips for Freeing Up Time in Your Day

 

1) Take Control of Distractions 



Is it just us, or does it sometimes feel like your hand and your brain have two separate agendas? It’s like your brain is ready to do work, but then your hand hits the mouse and before you know it you’re five scrolls down your Facebook News Feed.

Between social media, email notifications, and the place where productivity goes to die (yep, YouTube), staying focused on the task at hand is easier said than done.

Lucky for both of us, I picked up a tool from my college finals days that I’ve carried along with me into the professional world — and it works like a charm.

Self Control is a Mac application that allows users to temporarily block internet access to a list of specified websites for a customizable length of time. (Don’t worry PC people, you can do the same thing with an app called Freedom.)

Simply add your favorite time-sucking websites to “the blacklist” and they’ll remain out of reach for as long as you need.

You’ll be amazed by how much time you win back.


2) Work Within a Defined Timeframe 



Ever find yourself chained to your desk for hours trying to crank out a project?

While we commend your effort (we’ve been there), it’s important to note that forcing yourself to commit to long periods of uninterrupted work can often have an adverse effect on your productivity. To help you get some of those hours back, you may want to consider the Pomodoro Technique. For the Italians in the audience, you’re probably wondering why we’re advising a group of marketers to explore a technique named after the Italian word for tomato, but we promise it will all become clear in a second.

According to Lifehacker, the Pomodoro Technique can be best broken down into the following five steps:

pomodorogif_final.gif


This approach — named after the famous tomato-shaped timer it employs — is designed to help you leverage bursts of focus by removing distractions and holding yourself to a time limit.

Don’t have a tomato timer? Check out Focus Booster. This digital play on the technique is great for digital marketers who want to leverage the approach and keep track of their progress online.


3) Delegate What’s On Your Plate



If you really want to free up some time in your day, you need to stop trying to wear ALL of the hats.

When Professor Julian Birkinshaw and productivity expert Jordan Cohen set out to explore productivity in the workplace, they found that an average of 41% of a knowledge worker’s time was spent on tasks and activities that could be handled proficiently by others.

Understandingly, letting go of some of your responsibilities can be just as much scary as it is refreshing. You worry that you’re going to let someone down or that the person you pass it off to isn’t going to get it the way that you did — but the truth is, all you need to succeed is a plan.

Enter Trello.

This flexible, interactive project management app provides users with an organized way to keep track of their tasks, while making it easy to collaborate, communicate, and assign projects to different members. You can think of it as “a whiteboard with super powers.”


4) Save Nonessential Tasks for Later

 


As a marketer, it’s just as much our job to consume remarkable content as it is to create it. As a result, we’re often found consulting our RSS feed, prowling industry blogs, and scrolling through our favorite social platforms to find resources to educate us and inform our strategies.

Unfortunately, the downside to our desire to “always be learning” is that it can often suck up a ton of our time. Rather than nix a good habit for the sake of time, we found Pocket. . Pocket is a brilliant, time-saving app that allows users to save web content for later. When you add a piece of content to your “pocket,” it automatically saves across all of your devices (computer, phone, and tablet) so you can access it when you have some free time.

The best part? You don’t even need an internet connection to use it.


5) Rethink Your Sleeping Habits



Does this tip make us sound too much like your mom? For the sake of your precious time, that’s a risk we’re willing to take.

It’s no secret that most of us spend arguably too much time under the glow of our devices in bed at night. You do it. I do it. We all do it.

However, according to Harvard Health, the blue light emitted by our devices could be seriously deteriorating our sleeping habits.

While it works to boost attention, reaction times, and mood during the day, research has revealed that at night, this light has the power to block the production of the sleep hormone melatonin and throw off your circadian rhythm.

As a result, we suffer from a decrease in sleep quality, and a later (or more groggy) start to our morning. Yikes.

In other words, when it’s time for lights out, it’s time for blue lights out too. And while it’s unrealistic to ask you to pull the plug early every night, we’ve found an app that will help to ensure that you’re up and at ’em for those early morning hours.

F.lux is an app that solves for this very problem by adapting the color of your computer’s display in accordance to the time of day. In doing so, you’ll strike a balance between blue light during the day to keep you focused, and warm red light at night to help you wind down.


6) Pack Your Lunch With the Right Foods



Okay, now we really sound like your mom, but trust us, this one couldn’t be more true.

When hunger strikes at work, this is what the internal conversation looks like for me:

Hmmm. I’m getting hungry. What am I in the mood for? Salad? No way. I’m starting that diet tomorrow. Maybe. Okay. Uhhhh. A Wrap? That sounds kind of good. Sushi? Strong possibility. Chipotle? Ugh, the line is going to be so long. Pizza? I mean, I’m always in the mood for pizza. Oh, wait, that place I like isn’t open on Mondays. Never mind. Do I have a meeting after lunch? I think I have a meeting. Let me check. Yes. Okay, so I have to make this quick. Hmmm.”

Sound familiar?

The fact of the matter is, you have a ton of other decisions to make during the day, so why task yourself with lunch?

To eliminate the indecision that accompanies lunch plans, make note of these brown bag friendly options that are proven to boost concentration:
  • Salmon
  • Beets
  • Blueberries
  • Spinach 
  • Eggs
  • Bananas
  • Oatmeal
  • Dark chocolate (for dessert 😉 )


Not only will these choices have you feeling good, but think of all the time you’ll be saving thanks to their super concentration-boosting powers.


7) Use Keyboard Shortcuts



I used to live down the street from one of my former co-workers. To spice up our morning commutes, we’d meet at the stop sign and take different routes to work in an effort to determine the fastest way to get there.

What our quest to uncover the ultimate shortcut taught me is that while something like two minutes difference may seem trivial, little time savers like this have the ability to add up to something greater.

Combine that shortened commute with a few keyboard shortcuts once you get to work and you’ll surely notice a difference.

Not familiar with keyboard shortcuts? These neat little tricks and hacks aim to help you simplify tasks by reducing your dependence on your mouse. Try memorizing a handful of these shortcuts a week and you’ll be whizzing through your work in no time.

http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/productivity-tips

13 Twitter Stats You Need to Know to Maximise the Effect of Your Tweets

Did you know that tweets with one or two hashtags in generate a 21% increase in engagement than those with none? Or that tweets with more than two hashtags see a 17% drop?

Those stats are just a couple that the guys at Fusework Studios have put together in this handy infographic, which stats will make you change your strategy?

13 Twitter Stats You Need to Know to Maximise the Effect of Your Tweets

http://blog.red-website-design.co.uk/2014/10/27/13-twitter-stats-you-need-to-know-to-maximise-the-effect-of-your-tweets/

31 Dos and Don’ts for a Successful Email Marketing Campaign

How many times have you received a marketing email and deleted it without reading it?

With businesses and consumers being bombarded with hundreds of emails a day it’s no wonder that it takes something special to get your emails noticed.

For some guidance follow the 31 dos and don’ts detailed in this infographic from Skadeedle.

31 Dos and Don’ts for a Successful Email Marketing Campaign

3 Small Business Content Marketing Tips to Fuel Growth

SMB-Content-Marketing
Businesses that only market during special promotional periods have an increased risk of failure. And this is especially true for small businesses, as the stakes are high. Marketing consistently, in good times and in bad, is key to a steady growth pattern.

First things first — be true to your customers by creating content to build conversations. Launch a consistent, relevant content marketing strategy to improve brand awareness. In turn, your sales conversations will be based on respect for your business.

To fuel small business growth, create content that falls into three simple categories: relevant, indexable, and social.

1.  Create Relevant, Fresh Content


Reduce the inconsistent nature of small business growth by producing fresh content that maps directly to your SEO and social strategies. Your content must be interesting (i.e. relevant) to your target customers. Here are your SEO goals in a nutshell:

  • Drive Website Traffic. Prospects and customers respond to appealing content with website visits.
  • Maintain A Customer Focus. Fresh, relevant content demonstrates commitment to customers and their pain points.
  • Highlight Positive Content. A steady stream of high-quality content helps push down negative organic feedback.
  • Boost Visibility. New content improves SEO.

 

2.  Play Nice for the Sake of Indexing


Relevant, optimized content not only provides customers with helpful information, it also allows search engines to index your business website on the results page (hopefully on the first page). Keep in mind:

  • Use Keywords Wisely. Don’t twist sentences out of shape to force in keywords. Instead, write content that flows easily when keywords are included.
  • Create Quality Content. When you write well and write about what you know, search engines and customers take note.
  • Develop Content To Be Indexed. Make sure posts are long enough (at least 300 words) to provide an accurate picture of your business for both search engines and customers.

 

3.  Manage a Social Media Presence


Set your sights on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest. Where are your competitors (the ones who are doing it right)? And where are your customers? For example, tech is on Twitter, manufacturing is on LinkedIn, non-profit is on Facebook, and design is on Pinterest. Chances are, your vertical lands within one or two channels. Put most of your social media marketing efforts toward your top two channels and develop a secondary presence on the others.

Encourage customers to follow your brand on social by posting highly shareable content. The more shares, the wider your net becomes — and with little effort from you. Before you post, ask yourself, “If I didn’t have a vested interest in my specific business, would I want to share this information with a peer?”

Quick tips for staying relevant, engaging your customers, and maximizing your social media exposure:

  • Post frequently
  • Respond to all comments within 24 hours
  • Vary types of posts
  • Provide links to articles and information of interest to your customers
  • Write status updates and share photos that are customer-oriented (not merely self-serving)
  • Post content that is relevant to your industry (90% written by other sources)
  •  
So what’s the bottom line? To avoid the pitfalls of rapid and cyclical growth, every content channel you manage must showcase relevant, fresh, indexable and shareable content.

The Ideal Length for all Your Online Marketing Content

The length of your online content plays a huge part in the success of your online marketing strategy – whether it’s the length of your social media posts, blog headlines or page title tags.
 
If you’re too short you might not give your followers and readers enough info to get them interested, if you’re too long you could lose their interest.
 
To help you along the way the guys over at Sumall have put together this infographic which shows the ideal length of all your online marketing content.
 
The Ideal Length of all Your Online Marketing Content
 
 

10 Essential Features of a Successful Small Business Website

How successful is your small business website? Are you looking for areas in which you can improve usability and results?

For most small businesses your website will act as your salesman (except it works 24/7 and won’t ask for commission). It’s where customers will find out about the services you offer and effectively decide if they want to buy from you, so it needs to be right in order to make you a success.

For some guidance making your website work better for you take a look at this infographic from Add People.

10 Essential Features of a Successful Small Business Website