Q&A With LinkedIn Expert Hillel Porath

Hillel Porath is the Online Marketing Director for IsraelExporter.com, a membership-based website for Israeli export companies. Hillel has generated thousands of leads for his clients by helping exporters connect with distributors, retail buyers, and sales reps.  He also consults for Skylimit, a leading business development and marketing company working with Israeli export companies seeking to open new markets. He also maintains a popular internet marketing blog at http://www.iyazam.com.

1. How do you use LinkedIn for lead generation?  What about companies that aren’t savvy enough to be using LinkedIn?

I’ve counted and there are about 30 ways I use LinkedIn to generate leads.

In a nutshell the two basic tools (+ #3) I use on LinkedIn are:

1) Pre-selling with articles via the Groups

2) Directly connecting with the relevant professionals

3) Following up with those professionals

In a nutshell: If a marketer wants to know how to use LinkedIn effectively it all comes down to this: I won’t promote a company until they define for me the ideal/exact profile of the lead they would like to see and connect with. Once I have this information I can then go on LinkedIn and start digging to find the person that fits this profile. All of the information is on LinkedIn already 🙂

If companies are not savvy enough I can only recommend two things:

1 -In a few weeks I’ll be launching a three-part online workshop via Live-Ed on Lead Generation. This online workshop will mainly be focused on LinkedIn. In addition I am launching another information product which will hopefully be ready very soon.

2- Read my answer in the last question and learn how it can work for your business.

2. How did you get into lead generation for Israeli export companies?

Skylimit, a company in Tel Aviv that provides marketing and business development services for Israeli export companies realized that many companies did not want to pay the high price for internet marketing services such as SEO and social media campaigns from outside companies, and many companies were very skeptical if it would actually work for them. On the other hand, companies knew that they simply cannot ignore the internet.

In 2009, Skylimit came up with the idea of creating a membership platform for Israeli export companies where they can enjoy the benefits of various internet marketing services without having to “pay the price”. I joined the team in June 2009 and it was more or less of a side gig (now full-time:). After selling this idea, we launched IsraelExporter.com in August 2009 .

For each company that joins the site we create a “mini website” and there they can upload content, pictures, a video, brochures and a Powerpoint presentation. In the beginning we were providing all of the various SEO and social media services for our members, but when we submitted to them reports at the end of the month, they didn’t understand them and for the most part SEO, Twitter and Facebook didn’t really interest them.

That’s when we focused our efforts completely on hard-core LinkedIn lead generation and to our surprise the results were coming in very fast. Over the last two years we’ve generated thousands of leads for our members.

Our change of approach allowed us to recruit many new members and today we provide via the IsraelExporter.com and mainly LinkedIn lead generation services to several hundred of Israel’s leading export companies.


3. What other features would you like to see on LinkedIn?

That’s a good question. LinkedIn as it is now is incredible. If you remember LinkedIn 2 or 3 years ago it was very frustrating and not user-friendly at all. In general I would like to see some improvements with the company pages but from what I hear it’s going to happen very soon.

4. Some LinkedIn groups and discussion forums, though valuable, also contain a lot of spam.  How do you separate the wheat from the chaff and find quality leads?

Spam exists everywhere on the internet. The spam that frustrates me the most on LinkedIn is when people present themselves in one way and they end up being something else. For example: Recently a guy presented himself to me as a retail buyer for a leading chain store in Europe. He told me where he was located and in it just so happens that next month is a huge exhibition for the industry that he is “involved” in that city. I asked him if he’ll be attending the exhibition and he never heard of it…sure enough this guy was off LinkedIn very quickly.

Now why would someone create a fake profile like that of a retail buyer? They usually like to do that for two reasons:

1 – They like to get friendly with companies and present themselves as the “decision maker” in the company and once they feel the time is right they will tell companies that in order to continue the process they must pay the ‘sign up fee…’

2 – They like to get friendly with companies and then eventually try to turn things around and promote their own products to the companies.


5. What other social networks do you use, and how do you use them?

I mainly focus on B2B networks such as LinkedIn, Traderscity and a little bit of Alibaba. I also like various niche B2B networks on Ning.com as well.


6. What techniques do you use to demonstrate value to prospective clients?

Three ways:

1 – Now that we’ve been online and active for two years and we have generated thousands of leads – any new company that comes to us or that we approach – we can basically offer them immediate access to our data base of warm leads – in just about any industry.

2- We have many testimonials from current members and these are very effective for recruiting new companies.

3- We have many well-known, large companies – like Sano Cleaning Products, Wissotzky Tea, Elcam, Carmit, Moraz, Dr Fischer etc.. and when new companies see this – they understand the value of the site and our services.


7. Which blogs and websites do you follow on a regular basis? 

  • Internet Marketing –  Ken Evoy from SBI
  • Attracting Clients and Closing the Sale – Brian Tracy via his newsletter and YouTube videos
  • Mindset – Jim Rohn videos
  • Above all: I really like Brian Tracy because I think that its critical to learn the psychology and science behind it all: It doesn’t matter if you know how to use LinkedIn, Facebook etc.. what matters is if you know what causes people to respond when seeing an ad, content etc.., how to write words that can sell, how to get people interested and really excited about what you are promoting….. it’s truly fascinating because when you discover the psychology and science of it all – you will know how to create a lead generation campaign that will do one thing: generate leads!

Hillel will be presenting next week on LinkedIn success stories as part of a Social Media Marketing Case Studies event sponsored by Jerusalem Web Professionals.

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