By Tina Hanson, Microsoft Pinpoint Lead, U.S. Partner Team

Tina Hanson (Parkhouse) 2011

I can hardly believe the summer is nearly over! I hope you have had the opportunity to enjoy some time off with family and friends before everyone gets “back to school” and “back to work.” I find that getting time away from work to relax, refresh, and recharge is a necessity for me, and lets me come back energized and ready to focus, get things done, and be the best I can be. 

Speaking of being the best you can be, how would you rate your Microsoft Pinpoint profile? Is it the best showcase of your company to potential customers? Or is it just okay, and needing some improvement to best reflect your company and solutions? How does your profile compare to that of your competitors? Here are five things that every Microsoft Pinpoint profile should have:

  1. Customer keywords and language – One out of every two customers who visit Microsoft Pinpoint at http://pinpoint.microsoft.com/en-US/home use a keyword to search for an IT provider to meet their needs. If your profile lacks the words that a customer uses, there is a strong chance you won’t show up in a customer’s search results and you won’t be contacted. I covered this extensively in a previous blog post that includes tips and tricks on incorporating customer language into your profile. image
  2. Customer reviews – This is an easy way to stand out from your competition, since a majority of the partners listed on Pinpoint don’t have any customer reviews associated with their profile. Customer reviews help potential customers gain a better perspective on how you service existing customers. Adding customer reviews to your profile will also help ‘boost’ your profile in certain search results scenarios. Download a customer-ready template.
  3. Market your services and applications individually – In addition to your front-page Pinpoint profile that describes in customer language what your company does, the vertical markets you serve, how you solve a customer’s business challenge, etc., be sure to also highlight your top 5 or so applications or services that work with or are built on Microsoft products or technologies. By not only integrating customer keywords into your front page profile, but also calling out those same customer keywords out in each of your applications or services, you increase your company’s likelihood of showing up in a customer search scenario. The Microsoft Pinpoint and Marketplace Profile Guidelines are a great resource for accomplishing this.
  4. Complete your profileThis may seem obvious, but many existing Pinpoint profiles are not complete and therefore aren’t generating a lot of views from potential customers. Our definition of profile completeness includes the three things above (inclusion of customer keywords, customer reviews, and listings of your applications and service), plus inclusion of a company logo with your profile and ensuring the profile is accurate and up-to-date. We all know that the cloud and many other emerging technology areas are changing the technology landscape and in order to remain relevant, a partners’ business will have to evolve. As your business changes, and you add-on new solution areas, make sure you update all of your online marketing materials including your Pinpoint profile so that this is the best representation of what you can do for a customer.
  5. Leverage marketing activities within your profile – Once a customer locates a partner’s profile on Pinpoint, there are eight different referral activities that a customer may click on in order to learn more about what your company does:
    1. The customer clicks through to your website
    2. The customer clicks the Learn More link
    3. The customer completes the online request form (Email This Company)
    4. The customer clicks View Phone Number
    5. Demo
    6. Trial
    7. Buy
    8. The customer installs your application

Take advantage of all of these activities in your Pinpoint profile to ensure that you capitalize on a customer’s attention once he or she has located your profile. Investing a little bit of time and effort and following up on these details in your profile can have significant impact on your business. I’ll be back next month with another Pinpoint Pointers post, and if you want to reach me with your great Pinpoint questions, contact me on LinkedIn.