November 8, 2019

How to use LinkedIn to generate leads

Lead generation is a fundamental part of building a successful business. In order to gain paying customers, you need a reliable stream of leads to send them in your direction. However, as simple as this concept is in theory, the reality often proves a little harder.

While you understand the objective, the actual act of generating traffic and leads can be more complex, with 65% of businesses citing this as their number one marketing challenge. The good news is that LinkedIn can be an invaluable tool in helping you to achieve this end. A highly effective method of targeting potential customers, research has shown that more than 80% of business-to-business social media leads come from this one website.

So how can you use the platform to your advantage? Here are a few tips and tricks you might find useful.

Optimise your profile for connecting

It sounds pretty obvious, but when it comes to connecting with people, your LinkedIn profile plays a big part in determining your success. In order to garner the interest of individuals that you don’t know in person, the content that other users see must appeal to them.

Let’s begin with the picture you use. Without a profile picture to prove you’re legitimate, no one is going to accept an invitation from you. Your best bet is to have a professional headshot done, but if this isn’t possible, find a solid coloured background, dress to impress, and have someone snap a shot of you.

The next thing to consider is your title aka your professional headline. This needs to give you a roughly equal standing to the people you want to connect with, so if you’re targeting smaller companies, for example, you’ll probably begin by approaching their CEOs. If you’re a CEO yourself, it’s easy – simply input ‘CEO of (your business)’. If you can’t lay claim to that role, try to find a term that suggests a similar spot in the hierarchy, such as ‘founder’ or ‘CMO’.

Once you have that covered, round out your profile optimisation by making sure that everything is properly filled in and that the text you include does a sterling job of talking you up.

Identify those who make the decisions

Once you’ve done a good job of selling yourself to any potential contacts, take some time to make sure that you’re targeting the right people. In order to do this, you’ll need to think about the sales cycle. In every company, there will be a decision-maker and/or makers. While this may be the CEO in some instances, in many others it will be the HR, marketing or sales manager. Take the time to work out who this person is, and your efforts are much more likely to be fruitful – quite probably, in a much shorter timeframe than you’re used to.

Follow up your leads

In order to generate leads, the likelihood is that you’ll target a large number of individuals. While widening the playing field certainly does increase your chances of success, you need to think very carefully about your strategy. You see, one of the most frequently made mistakes in terms of lead generation is identifying useful contacts, initiating contact, and then only following up with those who respond, before beginning the whole cycle again. What this fails to take into account is that 80% of sales require five follow-ups, even though 50% of people stop at one []. To prevent your message from getting buried, be persistent; if you haven’t heard back after three days, this is the ideal time to try again.

Position yourself as an authority

As well as actively making an effort to network, there are other highly effective ways to make yourself known. One of these is LinkedIn’s publishing platform. Giving you the chance to share content, it’s a great place to republish posts from your company’s blog. What this does, without any additional effort required on your part, is position you as an authority in your field. Demonstrating to potential clients and/or customers how experienced and expert you are, it may well prove enough to draw an interested party in your direction.

A wonderful and often underutilised marketing tool, LinkedIn Ads have the power to rival any social media platform, especially for B2B ventures in need of some new contacts. Isn’t it time you made the most of your profile and started using it to generate useful and potentially lucrative leads?

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About Shirish Agarwal

Shirish Agarwal is the founder of Flow20 and looks after the PPC and SEO side of things. Shirish also regularly contributes to leading digital marketing publications such as Hubspot, SEMRush, Wordstream and Outbrain. Connect with him on LinkedIn.