LinkedIn is one of the most powerful places to generate leads – but a lot of people are missing out on it. Many people are using LinkedIn as a means of staying in touch with former colleagues or friends. Or to say it more clearly: They are using LinkedIn as an automatically updating address book. And that’s it. Nothing wrong with it.
But there is so much more to LinkedIn than meets the eye at first sight. And especially entrepreneurs, freelancers or founders could be getting so much more out of LinkedIn.
Some of the ways to use LinkedIn to generate leads are more or less straightforward, but you should always keep in mind that there might be a more creative and more efficient way for your special situation.
Back in the times when we were building our publishing platform exploreB2B, we had a lot of success on LinkedIn with a unique method for targeting and inviting people. This process brought us a success rate of an incredible 30%. It only worked because we had figured out exactly where on LinkedIn to find the people who were desperately looking for a service like ours – and how to get in touch with them.
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When you are looking for LinkedIn as a social network to market your services or products the first decision you need to make is whether you are looking for traffic or leads. Many people, who try LinkedIn are trying to generate traffic to their site or content on their site by sharing their articles in the groups. While that may sometimes work – most often it is considered spam in the groups or the groups are degenerated from discussion forums to link sharing places – which are more or less useless.
To be honest: LinkedIn is much better for generating leads than generating traffic, although if you know what you are doing, you may even succeed in producing, at least, some traffic.
But since, most of the time, generating traffic is only one step on the journey to getting leads, you should consider heading directly for leads on LinkedIn instead of taking a detour with generating traffic to your site first.
Here are 7 ways to generate leads on LinkedIn, which you may want to try:
Utilize your network
Utilizing your existing network on LinkedIn is the most promising and probably the fastest way to find new leads or other people who can help you with your business. And it is one of the options, many people fail to use. So go for it and use your existing network!
1. Message all your contacts and ask for introductions
Most entrepreneurs ask all their friends in real life for contacts or introductions for their new business. But somehow people seem to forget about all the people they have in their online address book called LinkedIn.
Just write a message to each of your contacts on LinkedIn and tell them about your new venture (no sales pitch, no long story, keep it short). Ask them for introductions to anybody they think may be of interest to your new venture.
Some of them will hopefully react and introduce you to some interesting people or leads. It is up to you from here to start a conversation with all the leads or influencers you were introduced to.
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While many people do not like to be sold to, they do like to be asked for help. At least, if it does not include money or a lot of their time. You can even save them even more time, by adding a small introductory pitch, which they can use to present you to their contact.
Now, the above method is a little shot in the dark. But to be more specific will take considerably more of your time:
2. Ask for specific introductions
This method is much more time consuming but, in the end, it will most likely provide you with the best contacts you can get from your network. Here is how to do it:
Check the contact list of one of your contacts and choose a couple of his/her contacts you believe could be really interesting to you. Ask your contact for an introduction to these people. Do not choose too many, a handful is enough. If someone has many great contacts, you may repeat the process at a later time.
Do this for each of your own contacts.
To make it easier for your contact to introduce you to his contacts, you can provide a short text they can use for their introduction.
3. Search people and get introductions
This method is slightly the other way round: Search for people you want to be introduced to and then figure out who in your network can make the introduction.
Here is how to do it: Conduct a search on Google for people you would like to be introduced to and then see who from your network could introduce you.
For example, conduct a Google search like site: www.linkedin.com AND (“keyword 1” OR “keyword 2″) AND (Berlin)
This will only work well if you have a clear notion of your target group and know exactly the right keywords to search for the right people.
4. Publishing Content
LinkedIn allows you to publish content in so-called “Long-Form-Posts”. It also allows you to republish content, which has already been published somewhere else (as long as it is your original content – no need to say that using other peoples’ content is never ok).
Publishing on LinkedIn may not give you the biggest audience, but it has the power to give you a very targeted audience of potential customers and influencers from your niche.
Your post will not only be shared with your contacts and followers. Interested people can also find it via search either on LinkedIn or Search engines.
When you guest post or publish content in a magazine, you are limited by the regulations of the blog or magazine concerning links or call to actions within the actual post. Not so on LinkedIn. You can freely link back to your site or landing pages. And you should do it: Add a call to action, link to your site or a whitepaper. Whatever you want to achieve with your publishing efforts, make sure, you optimize your content for it.
Also, since you want your content to be found by your target group, make sure you use the right tags.
When you publish on LinkedIn: Do not miss the chance to connect with the readers of your posts in the comment section. If you get comments: Answer them! And if you manage to get into a conversation with some of your readers, consider to send them a contact request and take the conversation to the next level.
5. Discussions in groups
The idea is straightforward: Search for and join some groups where your target audience is present and active. The best groups for your purpose are most likely not groups from your interest area – often in these groups, you will find more of your competitors than your potential customers. Rather go for groups where your target group is present – and start the conversation about the relevant topics in the groups yourself.
Do not promote or only share your articles. In most groups, sharing articles is either not welcome, or it is not worth the effort because all everybody is doing is sharing content.
6. Check and Engage visitors to your profile
When you get a little more active on LinkedIn for instance with publishing and conversations in groups, most likely some more people will visit your profile on LinkedIn. You should regularly check who visited your profile and try to connect or, at least, communicate with the people that may be relevant to you and your business.
7. Announce events or specials on your profile page
Now, this article is about generating leads. A common way to do so is to use a webinar or other unique content. You build a landing page where people can download or register and where you collect email addresses in return.
When you have a landing page or are going to use a webinar, you can use the profiles section of your LinkedIn profile to make more people aware of your offer. Just announce it directly on your profile in the projects section. This makes especially sense when you are getting overall more active on LinkedIn and more people visit your profile.
Start to Generate Leads
These are only ideas for how to generate leads from LinkedIn. In most cases, there is more you can do, if you develop your creative method. Once you figured out your best practice, you may even want to consider LinkedIn advertising. This may not be the cheapest form of online advertising, but it certainly gives you a lot of possibilities to get in front of a highly targeted group of people.
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