LinkedIn is sort of like that social platform sitting in the far corner at the back during university lectures. Everyone is aware of LinkedIn, but no one interacts with it like they do with Twitter and Facebook. It’s somewhat surprising, since LinkedIn is a powerhouse, and can do a lot to help generate business leads – certainly more than Twitter and Facebook combined.
Part of the reason why the B2B social platform is good at generating leads is that it allows you to research your target audiences’ problems, challenges, motivators, and interests. The demographic and mood of your prospects can help you gauge their fit for your company or craft your pitches based on the knowledge you’ve gained about them. These and a host of other features make LinkedIn a tool for demographic research and inbound lead generation.
But like every other online marketing platform, it won’t generate leads on its own. A user/business needs to make an effort to attract inbound leads. So, without further ado, here’s what you need to do to generate business leads through LinkedIn
1. Join & Participate in Relevant LinkedIn Groups
If you haven’t figured it out, you can connect with like-minded people and introduce your business to them via LinkedIn Groups. Group threads offer a private forum to connect, discuss, and interact with other members who have shared experiences, skills, goals, and industries.
Also, you may not know that LinkedIn considers group members as the “2nd degree of separation connection,” which provides a significant opportunity to connect with more people. Hence, spend some time to add LinkedIn groups to your profile. As a best practice, add about 20 relevant groups to optimize your profile and expand your LinkedIn network.
However, joining groups is just half the battle. To generate business leads through these groups, you need to start meaningful conversations about what you can help group members with. Start discussions about the niche the group is focused on and solve issues by addressing queries (this is where you can make a subtle recommendation about your business).
The more you offer expertise in various groups, the more members will become aware of who you are (and what you have to provide), especially if you’re focused on solving the pain points of various group members.
2. Connect with Qualified Prospects & Send Them Messages
LinkedIn’s robust search engine makes it easy to search for qualified prospects and start building relationships with them. How do you ask? The answer is to see who is relevant to you, and ultimately learn filters. The ultimate goal is to create a variety of filter lists that are indicative of your target audience. Below is a breakdown of some of the most important filters.
- Connections: The 3rd+ option should be used when you’re searching for new prospects. Doing so will lead you to people you’ve never met before.
- Connections of: If you have a 1st-degree connection who has lots of connections in your niche you can use their profile to look for relevant connections.
- Keywords: If you don’t know who you are looking for, use the title keyword filter to search relevant prospects. For instance, you can enter “marketing manager” as the title keyword if your product/service is geared towards individuals who work at this position in their respective companies.
- Location: Where is your ideal audience location? Enter the name of the location.
- Existing companies: In case you’re particular about the company you want to reach, this feature can be used to reach personnel at that company.
- Industries: Write the name of the industry of your potential audience.
However, LinkedIn won’t let you send messages to just anyone. So how do you get in touch with people? You invite them to be a part of your network. LinkedIn members can send unlimited messages to their 1st level connections.
When you click “Connect” you’ll get 2 prompts: Send Now and Add a Note. Make sure always to use the Add a Note option. It can be 300 characters at maximum, so put some thought into it. Once the rough draft of the note is crafted, put it in practice and send out connection requests to all your qualified prospects.
Let’s say the target individuals got your request, and most of their profiles got added to your network. That’s where you have to follow up and communicate. Offer value right away.
Thanks for accepting my invite.
I see you’re selling x product on your website, here’s a free accessory checklist for this product. We developed it at Company Y, and we think it can improve product x’s usage.
This way, you provide the prospect with a way to get what they want or might be interested in (generate leads) without coming off as sales. And if you do it right, the prospect will develop the opinion that you’re both qualified and kind enough to help them out.
3. Optimize Your Personal Profile & Company Page
Your LinkedIn profile is going to be your first impression on potential leads, so spend time and energy in optimizing it. For instance, include a keyword or phrase that indicates what you specialize in helping others in the tagline/section below your name.
As for the photo, look professional, friendly, and confident. Make sure your appearance is appropriate for what you do, while also showcasing your personality (a manager might want to wear a suit, while a tech start-up owner would also do fine with a simple tee).
Perhaps the most critical section of the LinkedIn profile is the summary. It gives you the opportunity to make a pitch, so be sure to include the top keywords you want to be discovered for. Also, highlight your qualifications and talk about how your experience has helped companies in the past. While doing so, you can mention your business and explain how it can help the target audience/companies.
Close with a thank you note, an invite to connect, and a CTA (call-to-action) to visit your website, download your e-book, or get in touch with you via phone/email.
You’ve done the main part, but make sure to fill all the remaining sections. Add relevant work experience and describe each position you add. Show potential leads to how certain positions helped you grow as an expert and become more qualified to solve problems. It’s also wise to list all relevant educational degrees you’ve attained (who knows, your schoolmate who now works at a big company might come across your school name and say “hey, I know this guy).
Don’t get to include volunteer experience (if you have any). This can boost prospects’ perception of you. Lastly, make sure to include your skills (website development? E-commerce procurement?). These can help you rank well in the LinkedIn Search Engine.
Once you’ve optimized your personal profile, move onto the Company Page. Having a well-written, good looking one is essential to representing your company in the best way possible. Go to business.linkedin.com to make one. After making a page, give it a name, and upload your business logo. Then, begin to fill in all the details of your company. Post a Summary that best represents your brand and is also a pitch for your overall offering.
After that’s done, start posting regular updates, which could be:
- Company news
- Telling people about new releases
- Growth-related announcements
Also, ensure all your employees/co-workers/personnel are following the same process when it comes to optimizing their profiles, as well as listing themselves as part of the business. Doing so will help increase page authority on LinkedIn.
The primary goal of optimizing your personal and company profile is to generate organic leads. Think of these are a conversion-oriented landing page. Organic traffic comes from the keyword searches performed by various LinkedIn members, and your Personal and Company pages do the rest of the job at creating a lead. The better their visitors’ perception is, the more likely they are to contact you and ask what you can do for them.
4. Use Sponsored Content Ads & Lead Generation Forms
LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms can be accessed anyone who has created sponsored content ads. These forms add a call-to-action to the sponsored content ads, asking users to download your checklist, sign-up to your mailing list, or whatever action you want them to take.
Upon clicking the CTA, users are presented with a signup form in the app. However, they don’t have to fill in the fields, as LinkedIn automatically pulls in the data from their LinkedIn accounts – all they have to do is click the “submit” button after confirming their email address.
Then, they’re greeted with a “thank you” webpage and a link to your website or landing page, based on where you want to redirect them.
To create Lead Gen Forms, set up a sponsored content ad. That is the only format that accommodates the feature. Next, LinkedIn will ask you whether you want to drive traffic to your ad or generate leads using the Lead Gen forms. Select the second option at this point.
Once you’ve given a name to your campaign and chosen Lead Gen, you’ll be prompted to select the post you want to sponsor. There’s also an option to create new content from scratch. Those who didn’t know about this feature can also go to the Campaign manager and set up Lead Gen Forms for existing sponsored content campaigns.
Next, select the details which you want LinkedIn to collect from users’ accounts. Email address, first and last name is selected by default, but advertisers can also request location, additional contact and personal details that will be automatically collected by the Lead Gen Form.
Note: Users can see what information an advertiser is collecting from them, so it’s best to be considerate of how much data you think they could be willing to share. Also, you may be required to do some experimentation to maximize leads from these forms. We recommend A/B testing of two slightly different forms to see which converts better.
Lastly, select the thank you message you want people to see after they’ve submitted the form. After you’ve done, click “Save”, and that’s all there’s to it. Now ad targeting options can be set as usual.
Lead Gen Forms aim to make it easy for users to become a leader. All they need to do is click on a couple of buttons, which is a low commitment on the part of the users. In fact, it’s a significant improvement for mobile audiences in contrast to generally promoted formats of content.
Also, something to keep an eye on is the potential for double conversions when using LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms. Once users submit a form, they’re greeted with advertisers’ thank you message and asked to visit their website, where they could be targeted with another smart set-up offer.
Also, their email address would already be in your possession by this point so the goal can be to get yourself an even more valuable conversion – e.g. item purchases, signups for free product demos, Facebook shares or whatever you think can increase value to the lead.
Furthermore, LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms can integrate with third-party tools like Oracle Eloqua and Zapier so that they can be used in conjunction with other marketing applications. By doing so, businesses can collect their data from LinkedIn and automate the process of lead nurturing using the new feature.
For business owners, social media platforms like LinkedIn are a powerful resource that can’t be ignored. By taking a few simple measures, you can fill your pipeline with qualified leads for your business. Just remember to offer value, be approachable, and engage with your prospects for the maximum benefit.