Online-Marketing on LinkedIn and Xing
In 2018, Prime Robotics was a start-up company in the warehouse robotics industry. My good friend and CEO of the company approached me to help him jumpstart the sale. The company was so new that it didn't even have a website yet. In just a few hours, I created the company's first website. It was still a bit rough around the edges, but fully functional.
Prime Robotics had a pilot customer with a small robot installation in a warehouse in Prague. I took a few videos with my iPhone showing the robots moving through the warehouse, picking up racks to take them to a picking station, or returning them to their location. It was very exciting stuff and certainly a forward-looking technology for the time.
I put a few of the videos on the website, got a premium membership on Xing, and launched an online campaign. Spoiler alert: I repeated this on LinkedIn, with similar success.
On Xing, you can send a message to anyone, but the number of characters is limited and you can't include a link. You have to be connected to the person for that. Fair enough. So I started sending messages that looked like this:
Dear Ms Jones,
At Prime Robotics, we know that speed is everything in the warehouse. That's why we've also optimized everything in our goods-to-person system for speed. As a result, you can save up to 80% on warehouse operating costs at 300 to 700 picks per hour.
If you accept my contact request, Xing will let me send you a link to our product videos.
Every evening I spent an hour or two scanning resumes on Xing to find the right people. It was important to find out who would accept my contact request, because Xing allows a maximum of 100 open requests, which you can only delete after 7 days. I identified two main levers to increase the acceptance rate. One was creating a good first message. Typing the recipient's name and pasting the message takes a bit longer than just pasting it, but it adds up if you do it a few thousand times. Still, I think that personal address is very important, and that's why I did it every time.
Also, the message was relevant and promised something extraordinary. You need to understand that a human picker can do maybe 20 or 30 picks per hour. A solution that is many times more efficient must arouse curiosity in the right circles.
Identify the target customer
This is the second lever. Don't just send messages to anyone. Xing and LinkedIn both have great search and filtering features. You can even search your contacts' contacts, which has quickly become one of my favorite tools. When you send that first message to a CEO of a particular company, he's more likely to accept you if you already have five contacts in common.
There are large logistics companies where I have more than 20 qualified contacts. These decision makers go into a meeting and tell their colleagues about the robot video they just saw. And then you have 4 or 5 other people who know exactly what this guy is talking about because they've seen the video too.
A whopping 40% of the original addressees accepted me. To these I then sent a reply with the link and an invitation to come to the warehouse in Prague and see the robot system in action. Quite a few came.
After this success, I was asked to repeat the campaign in the U.S., where Prime Robotics had just installed a robotics solution in a Philadelphia warehouse. Of course, LinkedIn works a little differently than Xing, but I more or less followed my playbook from the Xing campaign. The adoption rate was a little lower than Xing, about 35%. Still good, though.
Rank 1 on Google
The intention was to bring customers to the demo sites in Prague and Philadelphia, and that worked out quite well. But as a nice side effect, Google noticed the many visitors to our site who also spent some time on it. Visitors with trusted IP addresses from DHL, Lidl or the like. Within 3 months, the still very unfinished Prime Robotics website was ranked #1 on Google for the search terms " warehouse automation" and "warehouse robotics", generating even more qualified leads.