Startup – Fortune 500

This Is What It Takes For A Tiny Startup To Close Million-Dollar Deals With Fortune 500 Companies

MEGAN ROSE DICKEY JUN. 26, 2013, 9:24 AM 
ilya tokhner

Courtesy of Ilya Tokhner

 

Y Combinator startup AnyPerk has made some serious headway in the employee perks space since launching last March.

 

It has attracted the business of hot startups like Pinterest, Klout, Seamless, BirchBox, Quora, and even Pandora. 

AnyPerk helps small companies offer their employees top-notch perks like discounts on monthly wireless plans from Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, and gym memberships at 24 Hour Fitness.

AnyPerk’s agreements with three of the four largest wireless carriers will bring in $7.2 million this year in revenue, AnyPerk Director of Business Development Ilya Tokhner tells Business Insider. Over the next three years, the startup expects that number to increase to $50 million.  

But how did this tiny startup close those deals with industry giants? 

“The main thing that I always tell people is that you have to remember you’re dealing with people,” Tokhner says. “And a lot of time people forget that, and they’re so enamored with what their initiatives are, what they need to do, they call in, jump into the pitch, don’t build the relationship, and as a result, it’s just outside noise.”

Here’s Tokhner’s five-step process for closing deals:

  1. Do your homework: Find out where your potential partner is having a major problem and solve it for them.  
  2. Find your champion: Without heavy support from someone on the inside, all you are is outside noise. “Most people think that you have to go to the CEO, or the senior vice president, or someone very high up in the food chain, to get anything across,” Tokhner says. “That is only the case a small fraction of the time.” 
  3. Build trust: Remember that on the end of the other line is another person. Don’t just cut right to business, show them that you are invested in them and they will invest in you. The actual deal is only a small piece of the equation and should only be an extension of your relationship.
  4. Align incentives: Make sure that you genuinely care about solving your potential partner’s problem; always make it about them. If you are too caught up in your own agenda and your “sell,” it shows, and makes your deal a non-starter.
  5. Deliver: Just because the deal is closed, doesn’t mean it’s over. Once everything is in place, it is imperative that you deliver on your promises and execute your part of the deal. A major partnership is a living breathing thing, so you have to maintain the relationship on both the personal and business side. Success breeds more success.

Facebook Advertising Explained

The Facebook Advertising Ecosystem Explained

JOSH LUGER JUN. 24, 2013, 4:00 PM  
facebook ad revenue

BI Intelligence

 

Facebook is a daily destinations for millions and millions of consumers. Increasingly, their ad products offer targeting according to specific demographics, social connections, interests, and habits. 

Advertising on Facebook has become more sophisticated, varied, and data-intensive. Facebook has rolled out a spate of new ad formats in the past year and now offers at least seven major ways to advertise.

In a new report from BI Intelligence, we analyze the state of social media advertising and where it is heading, offering a comprehensive guide and examination of the advertising ecosystems on Facebook and Twitter, analyzing each of their principal ad products and concepts behind them, offer a primer on Tumblr as an emerging ad medium, and detail how mobile is an important part of this story as mobile-friendly as native ad formats fuel growth in the market.

Access The Full Report And Data By Signing Up For A Free Trial Today >>

Here’s an overview of the Facebook advertising ecosystem:

Startup Conference

IT’S HERE: Announcing Startup 2013

VALERIE REIMER JUN. 23, 2013, 9:28 PM 

 

Startup 2012

Michael Seto, Business Insider

Business Insider Startup was launched five years ago into a NYC tech scene that was sorely lacking in community. It quickly became a must-attend for entrepreneurs.

 

Fast forward five years and NYC now has a vibrant tech ecosystem and plenty of business plan competitions. It was time reinvent Startup.

We’re excited to announce that Startup 2013 is back on October 24 with a new format, new venue, and an exciting new partner: General Assembly.

Join us for a day of learning that will make you a better entrepreneur. You’ll come away with the tools you need to propel your great idea into a fully-funded, successful venture. You’ll also gather important contacts and inspiration.

Spend the morning enrolled in “Startup University,” powered by General Assembly. Chose from 15+ classes designed to provide the critical knowledge entrepreneurs need, including design, data analysis, “growth hacking,” apps, PR, VCs, product development, and more.

In the afternoon, you’ll join your fellow entrepreneurs in the auditorium for a series of discussions, presentations, interviews, and more. A first cut at the agenda includes:

  • I’ve Seen The Future, And This Is What It Looks Like
  • Internet of Things: How Ordinary Objects Are Being Brought To Life
  • Can Fads Become Businesses?
  • How To Change Laws That Get In Your Startup’s Way
  • We’re In The Billion-Dollar Club, And Here’s How We Did It

Hear from veteran VCs, breakout startups, tech stars, and repeat entrepreneurs. Startup attracts NYC’s top entrepreneurs. 

Save the date! Or better yet, buy a ticket while you can still get the early-bird rate. (Yes, we have reasonable rates for entrepreneurs.) We hope to see you downtown at the Museum of Jewish Heritage on October 24.

Social Media Rules

5 Social Media Rules Every Entrepreneur Should Know

BY  | June 14, 2013|
 
5 Social Media Rules Every Entrepreneur Should Know

 

Social media can level the playing field between industry leaders and upstarts, between multinational corporation executives and small-business owners, making peers of all participants. Yet appearances can be deceiving. To borrow from George Orwell’s Animal Farm, all social-media users are equal, but some are more equal than others.

 

So what makes the difference between a following of 500 and a following of 500,000? While A-list celebrities can have an advantage over most everyone else, other social media darlings have grown their base of fans more organically, and you can learn from their strategies.

What follows are five keys culled from darlings of the current social media landscape for increasing your influence in a way that can make a difference to your business strategies.

1. Produce quality content.

If you want to make your mark on social media, first and foremost you should provide quality content. “Content is twofold,” says Mari Smith, a social-media marketing expert and author of The New Relationship Marketing: How to Build a Large, Loyal, Profitable Network Using the Social Web (Wiley, 2011). “It’s generating your own, [being] a thought leader. The other element is what I call OPC — other people’s content — and not being afraid to share that.”

Produce quality content

One man who successfully balances both elements is entrepreneur, investor and author Guy Kawasaki. “He’s a self-professed ‘firehose of content,’ ” says Smith. “He has a way of creating a nice blend of other people’s content as well as his own thoughts and opinions.” Not only that, but according to his Twitter bio, Kawasaki repeats every tweet four times in order to reach all time zones.

Quantity is not the same as quality, of course, but what is remarkable about Kawasaki, says Smith, is “his masterful ability to curate such volume. I could skim through his tweets and probably find a few things every day that I could pass on to my followers.”

2. Be open and engaging.

Be open and engaging

On social media, it’s important to be available to your audience, and few people exemplify that principle better, says Smith, than entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk. “On Twitter, he does a lot of responding” to followers, she says. “He treats everybody as an equal, and he responds at an amazing velocity.”

What’s the upside of all this time-consuming engagement for Vaynerchuk? A loyal and devoted following for his business books and priceless visibility for his consulting business, VaynerMedia. “People love it,” Smith says. “If they get a response from Gary, even if it’s a smiley face, they’re like, “Oh my God, Gary tweeted back at me!'”

3. Focus on a specific niche.

Focus on a specific niche

On social media, you can either be a generalist — producing and curating a hodge-podge of content across many different disciplines — or you can choose to specialize in one or a few areas. Specialists tend to bend more ears than generalists, says Smith. “Social media is extremely noisy. You’ve got to be able to stand out,” she says, and the best way to do this is to own a particular subject.

Jessica Northey, founder of Tucson, Ariz.-based social-media marketing boutique Finger Candy Media, “owns” country music, says Smith. Northey hosts a live weekly Twitter chat and Google+ “twangout” for country-music fans. This year, Forbes ranked Northey at No. 3 on its list of the Top 50 Social Media Power Influencers. She has more than half a million followers on Twitter and more than 700,000 on Google+. “In my travels, if I came across anyone in the country-music arena, Jessica would be my choice” of someone to connect them with, Smith says.

4. Use social media to build your business, and vice versa.

Use social media to build your business, and vice versa

For an entrepreneur, time spent on social media might seem like a distraction from the more important tasks central to running a business. Because it’s so time-intensive, you should back up your thought leadership on social media with a real profit-making enterprise. Chris Brogan, founder and chief executive of Human Business Works, a business-training company in Portland, Maine, is one example, says Smith. “He walks his talk. He speaks all over the world, and he consults with a lot of companies on social media.”

In other words, Brogan demonstrates his expertise in blog posts, uses social platforms to broadcast those posts and then uses the resulting visibility to market himself for speaking gigs, coaching sessions and more. These, in turn, increase his social media following. And it doesn’t hurt that he was able to carve out a place for himself by being an early adopter of social platforms, Smith says.

5. Embrace each social network’s unique culture.

Embrace each social network's unique culture

Each social network has a “unique culture,” says Smith, and the best users embrace it rather than sharing identical content across platforms. Take Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark, N.J. He relies mainly on Twitter, where he has more than 1.2 million followers, and Facebook, and uses each platform in a way that takes advantage of its native capabilities.

“On Twitter, I see him retweeting people, I see him thanking people and engaging with them,” Smith says. She also notes that Booker makes use of hashtags, a popular way of marking your tweets for a specific purpose or larger conversation.

On Facebook, by contrast, Booker posts less frequently. “You don’t want to bombard people on Facebook,” says Smith. He finds more elaborate ways to involve his community in his activities. For instance, he uploads albums of photos from various events where he has spoken.

Some power users maintain a presence on multiple networks, Smith says, but for most people two are enough. “Really you want to have Facebook and one other [platform] that you’re active on,” she says.

 

Advertising – Mobile

JOSH LUGER JUN. 19, 2013, 6:58 PM 
  •  
ma

We are in the post-PC era, and soon billions of consumers will be carrying around Internet-connected mobile devices for up to 16 hours a day. Mobile audiences have exploded as a result.

 

Mobile advertising should be a bonanza, similar to online advertising a decade ago. However, it has been a bit slow off the ground, and its growth trajectory is not clear cut.

In a recent report from BI Intelligence on the mobile advertising ecosystemwe explain the complexities and fractures, and examine the central and dynamic roles played by mobile ad networks, demand side platforms, mobile ad exchanges, real-time bidding, agencies, brands, and new companies hoping to upend the traditional banner ad.

Access The Full Report And Data By Signing Up For A Free Trial Today >>

Here’s the dynamics surrounding the mobile advertising ecosystem:

In full, the report:

 

Advertising – Social Media

The Social Media Advertising Ecosystem Explained

JOSH LUGER JUN. 17, 2013, 4:04 PM

 

u.s. social by device

BI Intelligence

The media constellation has become increasingly fractured. The Web produced the initial fissure, but mobile created new cracks in the landscape. Today, no single medium earns more than 45% of our media consumption.

 

How can you solve this problem? Social media offers a solution.

Social networks like Facebook and Twitter are daily destinations for millions of consumers. Increasingly, their ad products offer targeting according to specific demographics, social connections, interests, and habits. 

In a new report from BI Intelligence, we analyze the state of social media advertising and where it is heading, offering a comprehensive guide and examination of the advertising ecosystems on Facebook and Twitter, offer a primer on Tumblr as an emerging ad medium, and detail how mobile is an important part of this story as mobile-friendly as native ad formats fuel growth in the market.

Access The Full Report And Data By Signing Up For A Free Trial Today >>

Here’s an overview of some major players in the mobile advertising ecosystem:

Getting The Most Out Of Twitter

Using Twitter for Sales and Marketing

By: Ted Prodromou | March 21, 2013

In his book Ultimate Guide to Twitter for Business, online marketing expert Ted Prodromou offers an easy-to-understand guide to using Twitter that will help small-business owners generate leads and connect with customers. In this edited excerpt, the author offers 10 ideas for effectively using Twitter as a marketing and sales tool.

Businesses are discovering that Twitter is a very effective tool for marketing, sales, technical support, and customer support. Your prospects and customers are talking about you and your competitors on Twitter, so you need to be listening to what they say and adapting your Twitter strategy to respond to their conversations. You can also use Twitter to proactively promote your brand, generate leads, promote company events and engage with your customers and prospects in real time.

Here are some ideas for using Twitter as a marketing channel:

Promote your brand by optimizing your Twitter profile.
Be sure to:

  • Use your logo as your profile picture.
  • Use your brand name as your Twitter handle and your Twitter username.
  • Use your brand name in your Twitter bio, and add a link to a white paper in your bio.
  • Add your website’s URL to your profile.
  • Use your brand name as your hashtag and include it in all Tweets.

Generate leads by offering white papers, instructional videos, e-books and product samples if appropriate.
Write a compelling Tweet with a link to the lead generation asset. Always send visitors to a separate landing page with an opt-in form for each asset you Tweeted about. After visitors opt in to receive the asset, follow up with a series of emails that introduce them to your products and to additional white papers, videos and e-books. Track your results so you know which assets are most popular and which Tweets generate the best response. Tweets are like subject lines in your emails, so track your Tweets in a spreadsheet so you know which work best.

Promote webinars, conferences, training classes, and other events sponsored by your company.
Write Tweets that promote the events, and include a link to a landing page where customers can sign up for the events. Again, use a separate landing page for each event and track your results.

Display the Twitter logo prominently on your website and encourage people to follow you on Twitter.
Also add links to your Twitter page in your email footer, on your blogs and in your email newsletters. Constantly ask people to follow you in all your marketing materials.

If appropriate, offer discount codes in your Tweets.
Twitter has also become a very effective sales tool for both B2B and B2C businesses. In B2B sales, Twitter helps you keep your name in front of prospects when you have a long sales cycle. In B2C sales, you can Tweet promotions and coupon codes and create contests to generate sales. Here are some ideas for using Twitter for sales:

Listen!
Monitor your competitors’ brand names and hashtags to see what people are saying about them on Twitter. When you see negative Tweets about their products or service, use it as a competitive selling point. Listen for positive and negative comments about your products and services as well. Engage unsatisfied customers or prospects immediately to defuse the situation. The key is to address their concerns quickly so you can turn the negative sentiment into positive sentiment publicly.

Use Twitter Search to find people using your target keywords in their Twitter profiles, hashtags, and Tweets.
They may be dissatisfied with your competitor’s product and are looking for a solution to their problem. These people are potential prospects, so you should check out their profiles and follow them. After you follow them, see who they’re following and keep following more potential prospects as you find them. Add your prospects to a Twitter list so it’s easier for you to monitor and communicate with them.

When you have a prospect in your sales funnel, engage them in conversation publicly on Twitter.
Send them links to new white papers or videos to introduce them to new features in your products.

Hold contests to generate sales.
You could have people Tweet a picture of themselves using your product, with the winner receiving a discount on their next purchase.

Tweet coupon codes.
One of the most popular searches on Twitter Search is for “coupon codes” for specific brands or products.