Friday, April 19, 2024
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Everything You Say Matters

This week I got an invitation from someone to connect on LinkedIn and I noticed a change in the text they are using.  The previous invitations I received had the subject line that said: “Join my Network on LinkedIn.”  The latest one I received said “John Smith wants to stay in touch on LinkedIn.”

The difference might not seem like much on the surface but from a product marketing perspective this seems like a big change to me.  There are the obvious benefits to putting the person’s name in the subject line, thus making it easier to figure out who’s doing the inviting, but the more interesting change in my view is the change from “joining a network” to “staying in touch”.  The first is passive and lets me draw my own conclusions about what the benefits are of joining someone’s network.  The second subject line is much more active and attempts to articulate the specific value of why you might want to join that person’s network – i.e. so you can stay in touch.  If you do a lot of networking and have used LinkedIn for ages  the change probably doesn’t mean much but I suspect for people who are new to LinkedIn and perhaps even new to networking in general, the new subject line makes a whole lot more sense.

In your own company you can probably think of a dozen messages like the LinkedIn subject line, that you are putting in front of your customers everyday.  Do they all reflect your company’s value as much as they could?

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  1. I think the shift in the way LinkedIn is positioning themselves is interesting. They are moving away from that whole “person I can trust” thing.

    • Thanks for the comment. I wonder how much they are just in the testing phases of this new messaging – the shift doesn’t seem to be reflected anywhere else in their marketing yet.

  2. I’m not a product marketer – I lack your theoretical insight – but I’ve long had similar thoughts on twitter’s “new follower” alerts.

    Since its inception, the new follower subject line has read “So and so is now following you on twitter!” I’ve always found this interesting, and sift through my auto-filter from time to time to see if twitter’s changed their messaging.

    Through this line, they brand their service as a non-reciprocal relationship. I think a subtle shift to “So and so likes what you have to say” or “Start talking to so and so on twitter” might be a fresh move – it’s not just a semantic shift, either.

    I’ve also hoped for twitter to introduce an optional text field to explain why I’ve chosen to follow someone. An initial introduction – “Hey! I love some of the links you’ve shared on accessible design” or so forth would likely lead me to reciprocate a follow. Twitter could send this message with the email notification or as a one-off DM.

    Thanks for this post.


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