If you're not developing a LinkedIn lead generation strategy, but complaining about poor lead volume, this 6-step strategy may help you.
When was the last time you looked at LinkedIn?
If you're like a lot of my friends, you haven't looked at, or logged into, LinkedIn in years. Your only interactions have been dealing with email notifications about things you neither want or care about. Am I right?
I've heard people call it a network for old people. I've heard people call it a network that doesn't know it's dead already. When I think about all the conversations I've had about LinkedIn, I realize I've heard a lot of negative characterizations.
Is that how you think about it too?
Are you frustrated with your current lead volume?
The same people I hear talk negatively about LinkedIn are the ones I hear talk about the struggle to find clients. The struggle to get qualified clients. They talk about their lead generation strategies and how things aren't working.
They're talking about Facebook Ads, Google Ads, pixeling everyone, and more.
But what they're not talking about is LinkedIn.
What is your LinkedIn lead generation strategy?
What if I told you that having a LinkedIn lead generation strategy could help you find the right customers?
Now, let me stop right away and say three things:
- I'm not selling a course or blueprint on this stuff
- There is no hidden secret I'm about to reveal
- Nothing I'm sharing is a quick fix
So if you stuck with me this far, I'd like to share some observations I have from LinkedIn that might help you with your lead generation problem. Your mileage may vary.
LinkedIn is filled with recommenders
There are a lot of social networks out there. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat all offer you a way to connect to people. But more often than not, those are more “social” than “network.” LinkedIn is far more “network” than “social,” and that changes who is there and what they're doing on the network.
Active LinkedIn folks are building networks for business purposes. Sure, it can translate into a lot of spam. But it can also be pretty spectacular.
What it means is that when you connect with someone on the network, especially through an introduction, you can have a direct conversation about business. While you may not be talking with the top executives of a company, nothing stops you from talking to the influencers. And you can evaluate their reach by published data (like their role or history with that company).
It's harder to create a Facebook ad campaign for decision influencers in the same way.
LinkedIn groups help you grow first degree networks
There are tons of groups on LinkedIn. These groups let folks have discussions around topics you care about. There's nothing special there. But what's powerful about these groups is that it can become a place where you transform third degree networks into first degree connections.
When you want to connect to someone on LinkedIn, one of the questions they ask you is how you know someone. The option of saying, “we're in the same group” is a great way to connect with people that you're loosely connected to via an interest in the same topic.
But when you combine this approach with highly networked individuals, you can group your first degree network dramatically.
LinkedIn folks are looking for answers
Whether you're in a discussion group or reading the articles on LinkedIn, you'll find that people have questions and are looking for answers.
To be clear, I'm not saying you should “sell” from the group discussion.
What I'm saying is that when you create content that answers those questions, and you provide it in a timely way, you create a soft / slow lead generation strategy that helps you build trust and authority.
The steps to developing leads on LinkedIn
If you're developing a LinkedIn lead generation strategy, this is how I would do it.
1. Start by joining groups and monitoring conversations. You have to be on the network to make the network work for you. That's the first step, and you can't skip it. You also need to pick a few groups where the right topics are being talked about, and by folks at the right levels of the organizations you care about.
2. As you see questions that you know answers to, jot them down. I'm not suggesting you jump in and answer them. There's a bit more work to do here. And I'll explain it in the next step.
3. Then go write thorough answers (that are helpful) on your site (blog). The trick is to write these longer and more complete answers on your own site so that you can use these answers for LinkedIn, but also for Facebook groups, Quora, and more.
Sidenote – if you want help writing more, sign up for this free four week course.
4. After that, take the URL and go write a shorter answer in the discussion. Once you have the longer article, take the link and place it in the groups, but not just as a link. Write a short answer and let folks know that if they want, they can dig deeper on your site with this article you wrote.
Alternatively, you can also publish the post's link on LinkedIn for general audiences as well.
5. As people click and read the article, end with a Call to Action (CTA) to learn more. I'm not talking about a contact form. I'm talking about more content that will help them navigate the challenge they're facing. My point here is that it should be clear that your goal is to help, not convert. And while you do want to convert in the long run, the goal in the short run is to be helpful and to develop trust.
So a link to an article that tackles a related or more nuanced issue is a great CTA at the end of the article.
6. As they spend more time learning, engaging, engage them with an opportunity to connect. Now we're getting to the final step in our lead generation process. It's not about the folks that come the first time. It's about the folks that are coming more regularly and with whom you're building trust. After they read a few articles, you can use products like Optin Monster to capture their details and invite them to have a conversation.
Like I said at the beginning, this won't pay off in a week or two. But over the long haul, this content-driven strategy, in the right network (among your prospects), for people who are eagerly looking for advice and solutions – in this context, it will work.