Generating Leads with LinkedIn
Why Linkedin? There are more than
500 million users on Linkedin
, with 2 more added
- and 40% of them log in daily. It is THE place for business to connect with business. Linkedin is useful for personal branding, for establishing expertise and thought leadership. Linkedin also holds your virtual resume'. It's the place people go to check you out, to gauge your experience, to see what you have in common, where you went to school, your previous employers and job descriptions, etc.- so it's important to keep your profile as complete and current as possible.
It's not just for job searches....
While Linkedin is spending a lot of resources on job searches (at last count there were 3 million active job listings on LI), over 1 million users have published content on LinkedIn. Let's talk today about how to use LinkedIn to generate leads.
First, your message!
Before you reach out to a connection that may be a prospect, make sure you've got your message clarified. Craft a short message that tells why you want to connect and what you (think you) can do for them. (You're not looking for a sale at this point...you're looking to make an introduction and a connection).
To attract inbound leads, include a call-to-action in your Summary. A free eBook, checklist, webinar registration or other enticement that takes them to a landing page to collect a name and email is also very effective. A more proactive approach is outlined below.
LinkedIn doesn't make it easy:
We can search for people, titles, companies, schools and geographic areas if we are regular LinkedIn users. A Premium member can also narrow the search to past companies and specific industries. Unfortunately, LinkedIn doesn't offer a way to export a list or send a message to a selected group of people. Once you identify your prospect, you need to contact them individually. At least we're able to copy-and-paste a message!
- Identify your prospects: geographic area, job title, industry (if you can).
- Go into their profile to click on "connect", and make sure to include a custom note. Let them know why you are interested in connecting (there appear to be synergies between our companies...I'll be sharing articles that may be of interest to you or your customers, etc.)
- If you have a particular individual prospect in your sights, check LinkedIn to see if you have any connections in common, or 2nd or 3rd connections (friends of friends) that can introduce you. If so, send them a private message requesting the introduction and telling them why you'd like to connect with that person.
- Once they have connected with you, send a useful article or something that relates to their job responsibilities - no selling!
- After you've sent a few helpful items (or sooner if they engage with you), it may be time to ask for a brief phone call, and/or permission to add them to your mailing/newsletter/blog list.
- Once on your mailing list, you can still continue to send appropriate content to them via LinkedIn, but they'll now also be part of your regular customer relationship management program.
- If you do not have a formal CRM program, make sure to follow periodically with your LinkedIn prospects so that you stay on their radar screens when they're ready to use you or refer you to someone else.
Linkedin also provides an advertising platform that is relatively inexpensive. Ads can be targeted and run for a defined period; and may be just one component of a long-term strategy. The process above can help you identify appropriate prospects, grow your connections and mailing list for the future.