• Oleg Voronko

Findings from researching 10380 actions of 519 StartUp Founders on LinkedIn

Unpersonalized cold outreach had gone beyond returning.

The spam folder today is as real as never before.

Should you go that treacherous way of bounced emails or LinkedIn messages?

Not necessarily.

It leads to your social account banning someday.

The only successful way left: research first!

Commonly used information, such as names, company location, and the number of employees, are significant for marketing or statistical research.

But insufficient.

It's important to know:

1) What topics your audience likes or writes about.

2) When your leads are active on social platforms.

If they are at all.

(On average, 60% of the LinkedIn audience was inactive last week.)

Everything you need is just to make your research a bit more advanced.

A step-by-step guide to success looks like the next:

  1. Make leads research first by hashtags used and liked. Must have.

  2. Sort out inactive ones. They won’t respond to you anyway.

  3. Personalize your messages. A bit more than just by mentioning leads' names.

This time, we decided to research Startup Founders.

What topics matter for them and what behavior on LinkedIn is common for them.

Getting Started

I chose to look intently into the details of more than 500 StartUp Founders` activities.

That's 2% of the overall number of such leads on LinkedIn.

Statistically, significant sample to start with.

Date range analyzed:

November, 5 - November, 12

Mostly small startups (11-50 employees) or scale-ups (51-200 employees)

The ratio of geography we got:

It's time for the most amazing part - actual leads activities research.

Tools used

  1. LinkedIn. Find out your audience representatives, using embedded features and tools.

  2. Sales Navigator. Advanced Search options. Using it is optional. Regular search filters are quite sufficient.

  3. Norns.ai. Automatically collects activity-based data about the audience. Hashtags liked, posted, frequency of activities, etc.

  4. Google Data Studio. Get additional insights manually from raw data.


Processing steps were plain:

At first, I extracted links to profiles from LinkedIn Sales Navigator.

Ensured that they look like https://linkedin.com/in/profilename

Uploaded them to Norns.ai using a web application and waiting for a little (maybe it's a good idea to make a cup of tea while waiting).

Most of the insights became available right inside the Norns web application.

But I wanted a deeper, more detailed investigation.

So I sipped my tea, exported data from Norns.ai, and connected it to Data Studio.

How exported data looks like:

That's an aggregated piece of intelligence from analyzing 10380 actions - likes, comments, posts, and related content.

You can do the same if you’re as BI-obsessed as I am.

That's all!

Insights are ready.

7 facts about StartUp Founders behavior on LinkedIn

4 activity facts

  • 35% (183 of 519, to be accurate) of the leads perform more than 3 actions weekly on LinkedIn.

  • 40% (208 of 519) were inactive for the last 7 days

  • Tuesday is the day of the highest activities for most of them.

  • Friday is the most passive day.

3 content facts

  • The average post length of the most popular content they liked was 40 words.

  • 55% prefer images.

  • Hiring-related issues are at the top-5 of the most popular topics. Scale-ups, you know.

Avoid writing to StartUp Founders on Friday!

Not surprising.

But comparing to Lead Generation Experts we researched before, the picture is absolutely different.

Teaser: Thursday is the top-2 most popular for Startup Founders, but the least active day for Lead Generation Experts.

Audiences are very, very different.

So there are no general recommendations.

Narrow down and research each sub-audience separately.

So did I. And narrowed down my audience "a bit".

Identifying the Most Valuable Leads

Having all those useful data collected, I intended to come closer to my goal.

I narrowed down the number of contacts, using two parameters:

Parameter 1: Frequency of leads activity on LinkedIn

It is essential to know that people (I intend to write to on LinkedIn) are actually using LinkedIn.

Does it really make sense to get a response months later?

Nobody cares how beautiful and customized my messages are he or she physically can't read them.

Parameter 2: The relevance of my topic to these leads.

Hashtags were created for this purpose.

So I`ve chosen #marketing as an indicator.

They were both active at least three times through last week and liked content with the hashtag #marketing.

Only 51 of them fit.

10% of the leads I had on my list at the beginning.

These little, at first sight, tips helped a lot!

Without hundreds of sent emails or messages.

Without nights of composing emails or messages.

I just sent several dozens of customized messages, and... 76% of leads answered!


I processed data about my leads in the background for three days.

But all the steps I made took no more than 2 hours in total.

Outreach efforts converted into 18 call appointments.

It’s time for cold outreach actions to be replaced with cold-headed analytics.

Have you already explored your leads` activity?

If not - it's always the best time to get started!

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