Have you built a profile but wondering how to effectively navigate the platform to attract qualified leads who want to business with you?
In this article, you will learn a proven 5 step process for effective lead generation on LinkedIn. But first, let us look at who LinkedIn is for and who it is not for.
The short answer is LinkedIn is best suited to B2B lead generation, however it is often overlooked as a source for B2C customers, which could be a missed opportunity.
B2C organisations with a higher transaction size, or personalised service could find that LinkedIn is an effective tool to generate leads.
It is also used to engage partners, distribution channels, media opportunities, influencers and many more avenues could work well other than direct to the consumer.
93% of marketers pick LinkedIn as the number one spot to generate high quality leads.
With over 700 million members and engagement steadily on the rise, it is no wonder most B2B marketers agree that LinkedIn is the place to be.
However, it’s one thing to know that the attention is there, but there won’t be any results without a proven, measurable strategy.
Based on 10 years of generating over $450 million leads for various clients using LinkedIn, here’s the 5-step process that you can follow to generate a ROI for your business.
There are 5 keys to LinkedIn lead generation.
The first thing you need to do is create an awesome profile.
Your LinkedIn profile is the cornerstone of your professional brand online.
Yet many sales professionals create a LinkedIn profile that looks like their résumé or CV. If you are using LinkedIn to attract clients, a simple list of your professional experiences could be the most boring content to have on your profile.
Instead, complete all the profile basics in a way that conveys your personality.
To start, make your first visual impression count by displaying an optimized professional photo.
LinkedIn is not the place to run a casual snapshot. Make sure you use a high-quality, well-lit headshot that’s at least 200 x 200 pixels.
Next optimise your Headline, which appears directly under your name. This is especially important because it is highly visible, as well as searchable.
The headline is limited to 120 characters so be sure to use valuable keywords that your target audience uses often.
You can add video to your introduction and other areas of your LinkedIn profile. Video is excellent for telling stories, sharing client testimonials, and explaining what you do.
Introducing yourself in a video with your own face and voice makes your introduction personal. You immediately stand out from the crowd, especially if most of your competitors are not including video.
Education is a core criterion on LinkedIn, so completing this field is important. If you did not go to university, reference your high school.
Some people have even put “School of Life” or “School of Hard Knocks,” which works if that informal style is right for your brand.
Continue to complete the steps LinkedIn suggests to you until your profile starts to fill out more than your competitors.
The more content you have, the more visibility you will have and the more opportunity to engage your ideal customer.
The 2nd thing you need to do is grow your network. Use the advanced search tool to make sure you are reaching members of LinkedIn with specific search criteria.
For example, job title, industry, location and make sure that you are only connecting with 2nd degree connections. 2nd degree connections are members of LinkedIn, that a connection in common with you.
When you do a search on LinkedIn, the results vary based on your network. Generally, you see first-degree connections, then second-degree connections, and so on.
Therefore, a great way to expand your reach is to simply add more connections. You can grow your connections on LinkedIn by employing a number of tactics.
Reach out to previous employers, teachers, mentors, colleagues, clients, and school friends. You can also include a link to connect in your email signature, blog, and website. Also, use the search feature to find people in your target audience.
Tip: If you have an email database, you can import customer emails or email marketing lists and synchronize your email contacts with LinkedIn.
This tool will give you an excellent foundation to start reaching out to people who share mutual connections with your current or former clients.
To find the feature that imports your contacts into LinkedIn, click the My Network icon. On the left, click More Options in the Your Connections area.
Now you can enter your email address or choose a service provider from which you want to import your contacts. If LinkedIn’s importer doesn’t support your email provider, you can still invite people to connect via email.
Click the Upload a File icon and navigate to a CSV or TXT file of your email contacts that’s saved to your hard drive.
The LinkedIn tool for syncing your email contacts with your LinkedIn account If you’re happy with the list of people, click Add Connections to send invitations to all of the people listed.
Next, you see contacts who aren’t yet on LinkedIn. Click the Skip link to avoid sending them emails from LinkedIn asking them to sign up.
LinkedIn groups are another great way to grow your network. LinkedIn has all kinds of groups so you can almost certainly find groups related to your target audience.
These groups give you access to more people who matter to your business. To find groups that reflect your interests and goals, start by researching which groups people in your current network are involved in.
If you’re connected, you may have some similar interests and goals.
To search for groups by name or keyword, use the search box at the top of your LinkedIn home page. Type keywords or group names of interest and click Search.
On the search results page, click the Groups tab. The search results on LinkedIn filtered to the Groups tab LinkedIn also recommends groups for you.
To browse these groups, click the Work icon on the far right of the toolbar at the top. In the panel that appears, select Groups. Then click Discover at the top of the page to view suggested groups.
Now it is time to start generating leads.
To do this we should start sending direct messages to prospects. Now there is 2 ways you can send messages directly to prospects.
1. You can send them an InMail, which is part of LinkedIn’s premium subscriptions.
2. Or you can message them for free, on the basis that they are a first-degree connection.
If you use InMail, which you need to pay for, a good campaign will convert at 2-3%. When you message existing connections for Free, you can get a 15-20% conversion rate.
The fact that somebody knows some of the same people as you, and they have accepted your connection request means they are much more likely to respond favourably when you message them.
You have probably seen the messages most marketers use in your inbox; they are all about themselves, rather than about the person they are writing to. They come across impersonal and salesy.
You want to make sure your message does not come across like this. Make it personalised, to the point and show interest in the person you are sending it to.
Mention the connections you have in common, or something you have noticed on their profile. Anything to build rapport and show that you have taken the time to learn something about them.
Always remember; the goal is to take the conversation offline not to try and sell something on the spot.
Ask for a phone call so you can establish whether the person you are approaching has the problem you solve, or not.
Never assume that someone needs your product or service; this is a common trap that salespeople fall into.
What makes the difference between someone who closes 1 in 3 prospects?
The secret sauce of social selling – social proof. Social proof is evidence that others have tried your product or service and had a good experience.
It builds trust with your audience which is more important now than it has ever been before.
Most professionals fail to do this effectively on social media, so you very quickly stand-out from the competition when you have a profile and content that clearly portrays that you are a safe bet.
Just like when you want to go to a nice hotel, you read the reviews and ratings on trip advisor…. People are doing the same on LinkedIn.
The 2 areas that build social proof on your LinkedIn profile. These are endorsements and recommendations.
You can get more endorsements by simply endorsing others in your network, LinkedIn will suggest that they endorse you back and they will naturally want to return the favour in any event.
To request recommendations, click the Ask to be Recommended link in the top right of the Recommendations section. Next, follow the on-screen prompts to fill out and send your request.
Help guide them on how to find the recommendation feature on LinkedIn by sending them a request for a recommendation.
If you do this, make sure you customise the wording you use in the recommendation request. The more recommendations and endorsements you have, the more likely you are to get leads from LinkedIn.
The next step will also contribute wonders towards not only your social proof, but every single one of the 4 steps already mention.
With more than two-thirds of LinkedIn’s users considering themselves regular consumers of news, the audience on LinkedIn is ready to consume your content.
You will want to incorporate LinkedIn into your daily posting habits. Multiple, spread out your posts every day will help you reach and engage with your audience.
I also recommend using all the different post types available on LinkedIn – videos and images, along with well-written captions should be posted at least 3 times a week. Once a month I recommend posting a long-form article, with more detail around a hot topic that your audience will relate to and get value from.
Do not just post any old content though. There are over three million long-form articles written on LinkedIn. You need to create content that will stand out from the crowd and cater to the needs of your audience.
Make use of hashtags to maximise your reach with people interested in the topics you are posting about. Posts with hashtags have almost 30% higher views than those without.
The biggest mistake people make with their content is they are focused on what they want to say, instead of what their audience want to hear.
Do not assume what your audience will find valuable. Once you have identified exactly the profile of the ideal audience that all your LinkedIn marketing caters for, start communicating with those people.
Ask them what their problems are, what keeps them up at night, what kind of content they enjoy.
You could even ask what time of day they use LinkedIn; do they prefer mobile or laptop, etc. If you post content to LinkedIn when most of your audience is not online, will you receive the amount of views and engagement you were hoping for? Probably not.
So, remember, if you want to build a brand on LinkedIn, it’s crucial to find out when your specific audience prefers to surf the site. Because if you do, you will nail the timing of your posts. This will give you a much clearer picture of how your content marketing plan should look so you can put together a proactive, targeted content plan.
Following this approach my agency Bibby Consulting Group has successfully generated over $400 million in additional sales revenue for our clients using only LinkedIn strategies.
With almost 720 million members and a steady growth rate of 2 members per second, there has never been a bigger opportunity to grow your business than there is right now on LinkedIn.
If you follow these 5 proven steps you will attract a consistent flow of high-quality leads on LinkedIn that will allow you to grow your sales revenue consistently.
Bibby Consulting Group are Australia’s leading provider of LinkedIn training and LinkedIn marketing services.
What strategies do you use to generate high quality leads on LinkedIn? Let me know in the comments below.
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