With almost 500 million professional users, LinkedIn is a goldmine of potential sales leads. Getting the process started can be a challenge. Discover how you can start an effective LinkedIn lead generation campaign.
Finding LinkedIn leads
LinkedIn provides marketers with plenty of tools that can be used for lead generation. The first tool that you can utilize for your Linked lead generation efforts is the search bar itself. By using terms that relate to the kind of prospects you are looking for, you can get a quick list of potential leads. Use various Boolean operators to refine your search terms for specific results.
The search filters found to the right of the results are also going to help you narrow it down to specific prospects. Some of the options that you will use are:
- Connections of
- Profile language
These options will help you narrow down the search results to only those leads that belong to a specific demographic group.
LinkedIn also lets you save your previous lead searches. This is handy if you plan on doing the same searches later on. To save a search:
- Run the People search you want to save. Choose the filters to be applied to that search.
- Click on the “Create Search Alert” button at the bottom of the filters section.
- Choose to receive either a Daily or Weekly alert. Click on the email checkbox if you want to get email alerts.
- Click on Save to finish creating the search alert.
You can edit the preferences of your saved searches anytime.
LinkedIn Groups for lead generation
LinkedIn Groups are also great places to look for potential leads. Joining the right groups lets you both discover good leads and engage them on the spot.
You can take this a step further and create your own group for the same purpose. Make the group relevant and beneficial to the initial leads that you want to invite. Aside from increasing the chances of those leads converting, you can also attract more leads through the people they invite.
Increasing the number of leads you capture
When doing a lead generation campaign, a good baseline target for the number of prospects to gather is around 500 -1000. This number is sizable enough for you to get good results by the end of the campaign.
Having a visible LinkedIn profile will help you attract more potential leads and reach that baseline number. Optimize your profile to make it more relevant to the searches made by your prospects. Potential leads will be more interested in you if they see your profile more often.
Your LinkedIn profile’s social proof also plays a large role in your ability to attract more leads. Prospects are more likely to reach out and connect if they see a lot of people networked to you. LinkedIn Global Content Marketing head Jason Miller has more than 500 connections, making him very attractive to potential leads.
Getting quality leads through mobile devices is another excellent way to grow the number of prospects you have. LinkedIn makes this task easier with its Lead Gen Forms feature. The feature automatically pulls out profile information and puts it into contact forms from potential leads through your LinkedIn ads. This cuts out the manual work that often dissuades leads from submitting their details.
Doing initial engagements
Once you have compiled a list of prospects from your initial lead generation campaign, you can start engaging them. Publishing content relevant to your leads’ interests is an effective way to draw and focus their attention on you. Use the pieces of information you gathered about your leads to determine the topics that would most interest them.
Your content should have a distinct identity for you to stand out from other marketers who are also trying to capture your leads. This could be in how your content delivers the information prospects are looking for, or how authoritative you are on the topic. Use LinkedIn’s Pulse Publishing platform for content marketing right on LinkedIn.
Get leads moving from that initial interaction to direct engagements by ending your content with the right call to action. Your CTA should be relevant to your leads. They are more likely to respond when they know exactly what to do next, and how they’ll benefit from that action.
Connecting with your leads
When finally contacting your prospects, personalize your initial messages to them. This will make them feel more valuable and get them to respond. The Conversation Starters and Smart Replies feature in the LinkedIn app provides ideas on how to open that initial communication, like the one below.
You can go ahead and create a custom opening message based on the information you gathered about your prospects.
Make your initial message more effective by telling your leads about the value that you can provide to them. Connect that values proposition to the current concerns of your leads to make it more relevant to them.
Leveraging the connections you have with influencers within your industry adds more credibility to your offer. Mention those influencers that your prospects look up to and use their work to support your own statements. This will give your leads a better first impression of you and increase their interest in engaging with you.
Bringing leads into your sales funnel
One of the challenges for any LinkedIn lead generation effort is bringing prospects from initial engagements further down into your sales pipeline. To achieve that, create a continuous conversation between you and them. Each succeeding round of engagements should bring more focus towards a potential conversion.
Plan out these conversations by creating a ‘next action’ plan. This describes the general flow of actions that should be undertaken to close the deal, like:
- Scheduling your followups
- Demoing your product
- Sending a detailed proposal
- Meeting up with the client
Customize the general next action plan you made for individual leads. Base it on the accompanying messages from initial engagements you have with leads and how far down they are already in your sales funnel.
Evaluating your initial engagements
Assessing the initial engagements that you had with prospects will help steer your lead generation efforts better. Monitor these engagements by setting up a dedicated email account for your LinkedIn. The email will help you compile messages and notifications in one place for review later.
Tracking URLs are also handy for monitoring the flow of traffic from your LinkedIn to your website. Link shortening sites like Bit.ly provide tracking features you can use to map out where the traffic that is brought to your page by these channels comes from.
Re-engaging your LinkedIn leads
Getting old prospects back into the engagement table will boost the success of your lead generation efforts. Before re-engaging these leads, study their past activities first. Look for signs that show that they are still very much interested in your offering. For instance, they might frequently post or share social media content that is relevant to you or your brand.
Alternately, you can gauge your old leads’ interest by sending out feelers. These feelers could be:
- Content: Look for new resources that match up to their interests and send it over to them. You can also take the initiative and create that resource.
- Invites: Send semi-personalized invitations to your old leads for seminars or other events about their topics of interest. Track the number of signups and of those who actually attended.
- Requests: Ask them if they want to guest post on your blog or LinkedIn page. This will deepen your connections.
Those leads who respond to your feelers are the ones that you can reach out to again.
Reconnecting with old leads
Make sure that your old LinkedIn leads know about any new features that your leads can use to deal with their concerns. You can also talk about the new ways that they can get your products or service. By connecting your brand’s development to your prospects’ needs, you can convince them that you are growing company.
In some cases, your attempt to re-engage an old lead might still not be fruitful. If this happens, it maybe time to walk away. Here is an example of how to back out gracefully.
While you likely won’t get any response soon, this still leaves room for that prospect to take the initiative to connect with you again.
Attract more leads and increase sales with LinkedIn
LinkedIn lead generation can bring in some great results if you know the right way to do it. To get the right prospects, you need to:
- Know how to look: Use the various tools LinkedIn provides to search for and compile a list of leads that will most likely convert.
- Drive them to your sales funnel: Create a good first impression in the eyes of your leads and sustain it with continuous engagement that leads to your sales pages.
- Recapture old leads: Convince old prospects to rethink their decisions by highlighting the new things that they can get from your brand.
Follow these steps and you can quickly convert cold leads into actual sales for your brand.