Article | August 3, 2020
Last week, Amazon released several advancements to its Sponsored Display ad offering, which has been in beta since September 2019. With these advancements to the Sponsored Display capabilities, Amazon expands the ability of sellers and brands to take advantage of Amazon’s expansive audience pool. This equally gives more control to brands and sellers to drive traffic not just at the keyword level, but also at the audience level.
Article | October 16, 2020
Since Hubspot coined the term “inbound marketing,” every kind of business has been trying to get the coveted inbound lead. And why not? Inbound leads usually buy things more quickly, complain less about price, and renew more often.
As a freelancer, inbound leads are especially valuable. You don’t have a sales team and scaled up marketing efforts - it’s just you and your time. I know this firsthand, because I’ve had a nearly 100% inbound freelance business since day one. My business has been profitable since I started it and increased in revenue each year, all without needing to send cold pitches. In this blog post, I’m detailing the four factors that helped me build my inbound funnel, each one corresponding to a timeless law of freelancing from my book, The 50 Laws of Freelancing.
Step 1: Have a good enough one-liner
I’m a freelance writer for startups and venture capitalists. If you asked me what else I do, I’d tell you that I edit, do content strategy, occasionally work with big corporations and governments, and more. But my “one-liner” when I introduce myself is simply that I am a freelance writer for startups and venture capitalists.
This is the essence of the “good enough” one-liner.
When you introduce yourself, you want to make sure what you say meets two criteria:
1. It’s easy to understand.
2. It’s easy to repeat.
If you want to build an inbound funnel, criterion number two is the most important. If I started all of my introductions with everything I do, people would get confused and understand less. But more importantly, they would repeat it less - or repeat it incorrectly.
The point of a “good enough” one-liner is so that other people talk about you the way you want to be talked about. When you focus on making it easy to understand and easy to repeat, you give people the language you want them to use. This alone has generated lots of clients for me, who reach out and say they heard I did freelance writing, and wonder if I could help them.
Step 2: Try everything and stick with what you like
Freelancers often work remotely, and unfortunately that comes with many pitfalls, particularly around freelancer mental health. Obviously, selling more is a critical element of mental health - making money can not only address anxiety about money but also pay for resources and help if necessary.
The way that I tackle both the pitfalls of remote freelance work and selling more is to try everything but stick with what you like. You try everything because you never know what might work or what you might like. When you only stick with what you like, you’re more likely to engage on a genuine level and more likely to enjoy yourself. Win-win.
In my case, I’ve tried every social media platform I can find, gone to hundreds of events and conferences, and even did a cultural exchange vacation to France to help a family restore their old chateau. If the platforms or experiences didn’t give me clients directly, they provided stories that rounded me out as a human and freelancer, resulting in more sales.
Step 3: Ask for referrals the right way
Asking someone if they will refer business to you is asking for a favor. Even if you pay them a commission, you’re still asking for them to use mental energy to remember your sales pitch then leverage their social capital to send clients your way.
Instead, make them the hero.
Here’s how it works:
Step 1: Instead of asking for referrals, remind them of your easy to repeat one-liner and tell them that if they know anyone facing the challenges you solve, you’d be happy to help.
Step 2: When that person interacts with someone facing a challenge, they can bring you up as a solution to the problem.
Step 3: Introductions you get from that person will be way higher quality because now you’re presented as the solution to a problem, and the person who referred you is the hero who made the introduction. The third person gets their problem solved, you get an inbound client, and your friend gets more social capital for being a problem-solver.
Step 4: Build partnerships
If you are trying to increase your client base without direct sales, then partnerships are a huge way to go. In making them, though, you have to be clear on the value you provide both to the end user (your potential client) and to the partner. In short, you have to make your partner the hero so they open up their network to you.
Here’s an example of what I did: I was working with a venture capitalist on their content, then we talked about a partnership. We agreed on a few pieces of content that I would offer at a discount to any portfolio company that the VC had. In turn, the VC would market me as the solution to any portfolio company needing content.
It was a triple win:
Startups have limited time and resources, but need good content. The partnership meant discounted rates and a high quality writer.
VCs want to solve problems for their portfolio companies. The partnership meant they got an “exclusive” deal for their startups that no one else could get them.
I didn’t want to chase clients. The partnership meant a discounted rate, but I still profited because I didn’t have to invest any time selling those clients.
Remember: freelancing is a business
Too many people assume freelancing is this in-between zone. You’re not an employee, but you’re not a corporation either. The reality is that freelancing is firmly in business territory. That means you have additional administration to work through, but you also have the ability to leverage business frameworks to make you more successful - particularly around building inbound funnels.
Article | February 24, 2020
Social media has become very common and important that we cannot live without it. The attachment that one gets from social media is almost unbreakable. Almost 90% of the world population uses social media as a platform to engage with others and search for relevant data. In the same manner, social media marketing has become a place where an owner showcases his products and presents them in front of the audience to get a good reply or review. Marketers take the feedback to become popular and improve their products according to the needs of people.
Many things go into making social media marketing or advertisement. A plan that consists of everything from scratch till the end (the goal you want to achieve). Social media is an easy platform where there are no complications and restrictions. You just develop a marketing strategy with your team and start its promotion. However, many things work in the background to make a social media marketing plan successful. There is not a single man behind all the work, but there is a team that works day and night to achieve that goal. Some of the tips on how to create a social media marketing plan from scratch are as follows.
Article | April 28, 2020
We have always been familiar with various video conferencing platforms but the current situation of COVID-19 has put them at the top of everyone’s routine. Never before have video calling platforms been in so much demand. The current lockdown imposition in the world has forced all possible industries to give their employees work from home by default not by choice, and asked to contribute to stopping the spread of the Coronavirus disease.
A rare situation like this has caused the world to go online for important meetings, conferences, learning activities, and every other important work. During this time many companies have seen a spurt in growth and Silicon valley-based communication technology company—Zoom is one of them. The video communication software company has seen a growth in its user base from 10 million to 200 million daily visitors and has been recognized as the top choice from satisfied customer reviews on TrustRadius, Gartner, and G2.
With big customers in the pocket like Uber, Delta, HubSpot, Zapier, etc. the company has earned power when other companies started their businesses based on Zoom which is running quite successfully. Many businesses started building their services or products on Facebook, Slack, Twitter, Instagram, etc. and now Zoom is the latest hotspot around which new businesses are popping up. Let’s have a look at the newly started businesses based on the web conferencing software and how they have made use of Zoom features.
Table of Contents
Founded in 2018, San Francisco based Grain might be the first business to build entirely around Zoom, at least as a starting point. Let’s understand the core idea of the business.
According to co-founder and CEO, Mike Adams, the key idea is to extract and save the important content in Zoom calls. Further, the best part of the conversation can be shared across various platforms like Slack, Notion, Discord, Twitter, or even iMessages.
Suppose a student is attending a Zoom class and wants to take the notes for later use. This has been made simple using Grain. Without needing to watch the full lecture again a student can save or record the important part of what a teacher is teaching in the virtual class that he or she can share with other students.
There are many ways to save an important part of the video using Grain. You can convert the whole video call into the transcript and then pick up the part you want to share. This will automatically create a unique URL for the separate part of the video that you can share across various platforms.
You can save and share the highlighted notes that you can create alongside the call. Here you are given a facility to take notes during the call in a column that is provided by Grain and save or share it later on.
Similarly, Grain can be used for the office purpose where you can flag the most important bit of information from the meeting and share those clips with your colleagues to understand the complex or prime things in the call.
The limit is given to save and share the video clips ranges from 30 seconds to 10 minutes. You can also create sections of the best parts of the video to create a summary highlight and this has no time limit. You are also given control over who can edit the video later to avoid the illegal activity and stop manipulating the snippet.
Founded by two young and talented minds from MIT, Fireflies.ai is doing an excellent work of helping people manage their tasks using AI-based technology.
While there are so many things to do on the list, one can simply not waste time going through the past calls or chats to note down an important part of work. That’s where Fireflies.ai comes to help you.
It helps you save critical information that is being said and you won’t miss anything even after leaving the meeting room. And to do so, all you have to do is integrate Fireflies’ AI assistant by inviting it to the Zoom meeting. As soon as the meeting starts, it captures every moment by recording the call and sends you the transcript over your email once the meeting is over. It makes use of NLP (Natural Language Processing) algorithms to transcribe the audio call into the text format. Along with these features, it can integrate with dozens of apps like Salesforce, Slack, Zoho, Zapier, etc. They also have a Chrome extension for Google calendar that makes it easy to invite the AI assistant to the scheduled meeting.
This is how Fireflies.ai helps improve and accelerate the productivity gained from the Zoom meetings and unlock the hidden value in the voice data. It makes it easy to take quick notes with the help of high-quality recording while you pay attention to the live meeting.
The San Francisco based business is running quite smoothly and raised a fund of $5M in December 2019 from Canaan Partners.
Stream is a privately held, San Francisco based small company which started its business based on Zoom. It helps people host online events quickly especially the paid ones. It is not restricted to be used by office working professionals but can also be used by musicians, fitness instructors, content creators, private tutors, etc. and allows turning every physical event into a virtual event.
We use Zoom because it's what my 65-year-old aunt is familiar with. It's the tool of the moment. It is helpful to build a powerful, easy-to-use API. I'm surprised a lot of other developers haven't used it yet you can do a whole bunch of different things that you probably wouldn't think of.
Lan Paje, Co-founder and CEO, Stream
According to Stream, you can create a website to promote your virtual event and make money with tip donations or by charging people for entry to the event. This is the easiest way for event organizers to live-stream the event with just one click. The company is still taking baby steps and growing quite well.
The issue that Stream facing right now is uninvited guest appearances to the live events. According to the company, Zoom is lacking a security solution and preventing Zoombombers.
Otter is again a silicon valley based startup by a team of industry veterans who have working experience of development and technology in mobile, search, speech, and data analytics in leading technology companies.
Otter.ai offers a real-time voice transcript of conversations in a meeting. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the company has seen growth in its customer base and launched some new features. Earlier users would get the transcription after an hour or two after the meeting is wrapped. But with the recent partnership with Zoom, it offers real-time transcription and recording of a live video conference. The feature is available on the Zoom app and can be used on desktop or mobiles.
Once the meeting is wrapped, you can refer back to the transcript and highlight the important part of the long conversation. Additionally, you can also add comments and photos to meeting notes.
It offers security to group conversations giving each user a separate user ID and then group members can also highlight edit, and share notes with others. The software is usable for work, schools, and daily life.
With Otter.ai, transcription as long as 600 minutes is offered for free. It also offers paid plans with additional features that help to make your meetings more reliable.
Otter usage has been increased 5X with Zoom meeting over a few weeks of April and the company has observed new more sign-ups of students and employees working from home. Addressing increased use of generating rich notes with Otter’s AI-powered assistant, Sam Liang conveys the importance of Otter where everyone can search, play, edit, and share conversations on all devices.
Virtual meetings have skyrocketed during the COVID-19 outbreak as organizations recognize that high-quality voice meeting notes are a critical tool for employee productivity when collaborating within an office or in any virtual meeting.
Sam Liang, CEO, Otter.ai
By April 2020, Otter has transcribed more than 25 million meetings and has raised $23 million in funding from NTT DOCOMO, GGV Capital, Slow Ventures, Horizon Ventures, and others.
It seems Zoom is changing how remote working employees communicate and in the future, it might become a strong business tool. Growth of the video conferencing application pointing to more businesses built based on it. Isn’t that a way to go?