Have you been successful at generating leads via LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is one of the most used and effective platforms for B2B marketing and lead generation.
Before I dive into the five lead generation activities that you can do regularly on LinkedIn to generate more business, I want to qualify what these opportunities are and what they are NOT.
Just to be clear, these lead generating activities are not to be used as another chance to sling your sales pitch at potential prospects. Quite the opposite, in fact.
These opportunities allow you to directly reach out, connect and build a relationship with your ideal clients, helping them to know, like and trust you. You must develop trust and rapport before you try and have a sales conversation with them.
If you make the mistake of pitching your product/service or come off as spammy, you will not only lose the opportunity, you will likely ensure that the prospect wants nothing to do with you in the future.
You must earn the right to have a conversation with your potential prospects. LinkedIn allows you to do this by providing a place where you can have one-on-one, highly relevant conversations with individuals.
Here are five valuable LinkedIn lead generating opportunities that business owners, entrepreneurs, and sales professionals should take advantage of.
5 Valuable Lead Generation Opportunities With LinkedIn
1. Connect Directly With Your Ideal Clients
Have you ever tried calling a company and asking to speak to the VP, CEO or other c-level executive. Did you actually get to speak to the person? It most cases…probably not. You quite likely didn’t make it past the gatekeeper.
Or perhaps you sent an email to a prospect and never received a reply.
This is a common situation for many people when they reach out to make contact with the decision maker.
That is what makes LinkedIn such a unique marketing and sales opportunity. When used correctly, it provides an effective way to by-pass gatekeepers and directly access your ideal clients.
“What makes LinkedIn such a unique marketing and sales opportunity is that when used correctly, it provides an effective way to by-pass gatekeepers and directly access your ideal clients.” ~Melonie Dodaro
So how do you find and access your very specific target market with LinkedIn’s huge number of members?
Features such as the Advanced Search make it easy for you to refine your search and narrow down to a very targeted set of filters.
2. Send Content To Your Hot Prospects
Another unique marketing opportunity that LinkedIn provides is the ability to easily stay top of mind with your hottest prospects, without coming across as pushy or salesy.
Hot prospects are the people you really want to stay in touch with, monitor, and continue to follow up with. Each week you should be making an effort to connect with some of your hottest prospects on LinkedIn. Have you found an article, stat, quote or whitepaper they’d be interested in? Send it to them with a short note saying you thought of them when you saw this.
“Every week you should reach out and share VALUABLE content with Hot Prospects from your list to stay top of mind with without coming across as pushy or salesy. Just remember that what is considered valuable is defined by your prospect and not you.” ~Melonie Dodaro
Not only will this help keep you on their radar, but it will also position you as a credible authority on your topic and a trusted advisor in the minds of your ideal prospects and clients.
But I will share a strong warning here. DO NOT share anything that is self-promotional. You are using content to help your prospects along their buyer’s journey, not pitching and trying to close the sale all in one step.
Don’t make it about you or you will instantly lose credibility.
3. Expand The Reach Of Your Content
LinkedIn Publisher provides you with your own publishing platform, which is similar to a blog on your own website. By using LinkedIn’s publishing platform (in addition to your own blog) you have the opportunity to reach a new audience that may not have visited your website before.
Publisher posts are displayed on your profile and your 1st level connections actually receive a notification each time you post a new article. If your connections interact with your post in anyway (like, comment or share it), it will become visible to their 1st level connections as well (expanding your reach to your 2nd level network and beyond).
Your posts also have a chance to reach even further if they are pulled into LinkedIn Pulse (shared directly within Pulse, on members homepage newsfeed or in the Pulse email notifications), greatly expanding the number of people who can see your post.
Keep in mind that there is no guarantee or formula to ensure this will happen for a post, as it is determined by an algorithm and other variables that matches the right content with the right professional.
4. Grow Your Network & Engage Your Ideal Clients
LinkedIn Groups provide several exceptional marketing opportunities that you can take advantage of.
The first is by expanding your network. It is important to note that when someone is searching for what you offer, you’ll only show up in the search results if you are a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd degree connection—or if you are a member of the same group. And the same is true if you are doing searches on LinkedIn.
The second opportunity is that groups provide you with the ability to directly message fellow group members for free, rather than having to send an InMail. LinkedIn has recently changed and has limited this to 15 messages per month.
As well as giving you access to your ideal clients and being able to message them for free, groups provide you with the chance to build a relationship with these same individuals and establish your credibility as an industry expert by answering questions, positively engaging with other group members and posting valuable content within the group.
The secret to making the most of these opportunities is by choosing the correct groups to join (you can join up to 100 groups). There is little benefit to joining more than a handful of groups in your industry, as they are full of your peers and competitors.
“The secret to making the most of the opportunities provided LinkedIn Groups is by choosing the correct groups to join. The majority of groups you join should be those that your ideal clients belong to. There is little benefit to joining more than a handful of groups in your own industry. ~Melonie Dodaro
The trick is to mostly join groups that are full of your ideal clients. Keep in mind that if your business is limited to a specific geographic area, you will want to search out and join all relevant groups in that area as well.
5. Use LinkedIn Ads To Reach A Highly Targeted Audience
If you have a LinkedIn Company Page you can also take advantage of another marketing opportunity provided in the form of Sponsored Updates or Direct Sponsored Content. Using this paid form of advertising allows you to raise awareness of your company as well as drive quality leads to a landing page.
Depending on the audience and your goals, you can sponsor an existing update (Sponsored Update) found on your company page or create new content (Direct Sponsored Content) that will not show up as a post under your company page or personal profile, but only as sponsored content in the homepage feed of your selected target market.
When you sponsor an update or other piece of content, these posts then appear in the homepage newsfeed of LinkedIn members who fit the targeting criteria you set up.
You can narrow your audience to include location (such as regions or large cities), companies (by company size or industry), job title (such as seniority or job function), groups, gender, age, skills or education (such as school, field of study and degree). Each of the categories also gives you the option to specifically exclude people.
Position Yourself As THE Option In The Minds Of Your Ideal Clients
Whether you choose to incorporate one or all of the lead generation strategies listed, used correctly, these unique marketing opportunities can position you as the first option in the minds of your ideal clients and provide your business with a steady stream of leads into your sales funnel.
What lead generation activities have you used on LinkedIn that have been successful? Let us know in the comments below.
Want a professional to build a result producing LinkedIn strategy for you that incorporates the marketing opportunities mentioned above? Check out our done for you LinkedIn Domination Service.