Infer Inc. Acquires $10M In Series A Funding

Infer Inc. takes the year’s second quarter by storm as they have recently acquired an impressive total of $10 million worth in Series A funding. This particular round was led by Redpoint Ventures. In participation as well were angel investors, Social+Capital Partnership, and Andreessen Horowitz. Sutter Hill Ventures also made an investment.

The company’s CEO, Mr. Vik Singh, shares more about this recent funding in this e-interview with Lead411: Read More

Writing Smart Web Copy

Next to design, web copy is what makes or breaks your website; it’s what keeps people on your site or sends them running to your competitor. Make it too long and they glaze over. Write over their heads and you make them feel stupid. It’s key to keep your audience in mind when writing copy and engage them with your words. Make them want to stay on your site and learn more. Encourage them to take action (preferably buy).

Here are some no-nos when it comes to web copy:

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How to Be a Better Listener

Here’s another tidbit from The Connectors, by Maribeth Kuzmeski. I reviewed it recently. In the book, Kuzmeski talks about being a more active listener. She provides some fantastic tips.

What Listening Isn’t

We’ve all been there. You’re in a networking event and someone asks what you do. As you drone on, you see them glazing over. Okay, maybe you could give a shorter answer, but the point is: why ask questions if you don’t intend to listen to the answers?

Another “fail” in listening is asking questions people can answer with a simple yes or no. After all, the reason you’re asking questions is to get to know this person better, to see how you can help them or connect them to others. So by asking a yes/no question, you block off the possibility of getting them to open up to you.

How to Listen Better

Kuzmeski gives these tips to become a better listener:

1. Full Attention. My pet peeve is when people check their phones, or worse still, answer them in the middle of a conversation. You’re there to engage, so get off your Crackberry. Turn it off. Put it away. Devote your entire attention to the person you are with.

2. Focus. In a world of multitasking, it can be hard to focus on someone, especially if you’re not too interested in what they’re saying. But do your best. If you find your mind wandering, make yourself aware of it, shift positions and refocus on what your conversation partner is saying.

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LinkedIn Enhances Company Searches

If you’ve searched for company details, former colleagues, or had wanted more information from industry experts, you’ve probably signed up for LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a huge network for business professionals who wish to stay connected with other people within the industry, and establish their professional identity online.

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Networking 101

One of the hardest thing for many entrepreneurs to do is network. Show up in a room full of strangers and start talking. But it’s absolutely key to the success of your business. After all, the old adage “it’s not what you know, but who you know” only works if you know people!

What to Expect

If you’ve never been to a networking event, here’s the rundown. First of all, there are probably dozens of networking events and leads groups that meet in your area. Start by choosing one that’s a good fit (i.e. is in your industry or otherwise relates to your business’ interests).

Most networking events start with everyone mingling. Here’s my best tip: you’re not the only one! Chances are there are many newcomers, and maybe some other newbies to networking, so don’t be nervous! They’re just people, and people who want to meet you at that. Read More

Are You on Vator?

As reluctant as I am to trying new things, especially in social media, I’m hooked on Vator.

Let me quantify that statement: I am often reluctant to try social media channels other than Twitter and Facebook because if no one else is on them, I’m wasting my time.

If you haven’t checked out Vator, which is a social networking site for entrepreneurs and investors, I suggest you do it. What I like about this site:

  • You can post your own press releases, news and interviews
  • You can include videos
  • Investors are there, so you can browse profiles to find a good fit for your funding needs
  • It’s “grown up:” none of the Facebook silliness. Read More

Marketing Through Events

Your company’s most successful marketing tool might not be advertising, press releases or social media marketing. Attending and hosting events can be a great way gain exposure of your brand and increase sales.

Get Networking

The easiest way to interact face-to-face with other brands and potential customers is by attending networking events and conferences. Larger cities usually have industry organizations that list their events online. Many host weekly or monthly mixers or networking events, and these are a great place to learn and share.

Be prepared to ask questions at these events. People love talking about themselves and their brands, and a smart marketer knows that the way to a sale is by asking the right questions. At the end of the night, even if you didn’t talk much about yourself, others will remember you, simply because you seemed so interested in them.

Conferences are wonderful for establishing good business partnerships. Even if you don’t exhibit at one, by attending, you still get to meet key players in your industry, chat about their brands, and brainstorm on how to partner together. Invest in attending two to three industry conferences a year. If you’re into public speaking, even better. Speakers are known to get sales just by talking on what they know.

Host an Event

Even better than attending an event is hosting one. By putting your brand at the forefront of a successful event, you get mindshare of those who attended (and maybe even those who didn’t).

You can host a public event, inviting anyone interested to tour your facilities, or you can be more selective and choose bloggers, social media players and influencers in your industry who you hope will talk about their experience at your event.

Make sure your event is:

  • Interesting
  • Useful
  • Informative

It’s not a live commercial for your product; it’s the opportunity to introduce new people to your brand or introduce those familiar with your brand to new products. It’s your chance to get feedback from customers on what you’re doing right, and what you could do better.

Plan your event well. Nothing will get a blogger’s attention faster than a poorly planned event. Set up a social network (Ning is free and easy to customize) or provide a hashtag so participants can connect on Twitter about the event. Provide plenty of information and resources so participants know exactly what they should expect at the event.

Analyzing the Event

Your event will have been in vain if you don’t bother to track results afterward. Give attendees surveys to help you plan the next event, and take copious notes if you’re opening the floor to suggestions and complaints. And then do something about them! Use customers’ ideas to make your brand stronger, and to show that you’re a company that cares.