A guest blog by Angelo Sorbello (CEO of Astrogrowth)
LinkedIn is arguably the most effective social media channel for B2B companies.
It is being used by over 610 million people, including 46 million decision-makers, 17 million opinion leaders, and 10 million C-level executives.
Despite these numbers, many B2B marketers and founders are not seeing results in their LinkedIn lead generation efforts.
There can be several reasons for this, from short-sightedness in terms of their marketing objectives, troubles closing sales, to poor execution.
Read on to understand how you can leverage LinkedIn’s power as a B2B channel, so you can reach your business goals faster this 2019.
What Makes LinkedIn So Effective for B2B Lead Generation?
LinkedIn is such a game-changer for B2B lead generation because it has given sales professionals an easy and inexpensive way to reach their target market.
Whether through LinkedIn posts that catch your ideal customers’ attention, targeted cold outreach, or by following updates on your leads (whether they are mentioned in the news), LinkedIn enables you to reach your target audience at scale.
If you're selling a B2B solution, there’s a good chance your target clients are on LinkedIn and they are just a connection request or an InMail away.
To Succeed on LinkedIn, Focus on Building Relationships
The fastest way to fail to get sales on any social media platform is to ignore common sense when dealing with people.
Business is built on trust. But we all tend to forget this fact when we’re in front of a screen. Most of us would never approach a stranger and ask for a sale right away. Isn’t it weird how on LinkedIn, we all get unsolicited messages from people talking about how great their agency is or how many years of experience they have.
Such a mass strategy may get you a sale here and there. But you will never come close to grasping the real potential that LinkedIn is enabling us to reach.
The truth is, being active on LinkedIn over the past two years gave me beautiful relationships with people in my industry, speaking gigs on podcasts and conferences that helped me prove my expertise and create value for my customers. And most importantly, LinkedIn opened up fantastic ways for my target market to discover my offer.
Also, Get Consistent
Consistency is key when it comes to building relationships on LinkedIn.
Posting at least once a week and reaching out to interesting people in your industry will get you far in this game.
But how do you leverage LinkedIn for lead generation? There are two strategies you can consider: outbound and inbound.
LinkedIn Outbound: Outreach the Right Way
Something I like to do on a daily basis is to try to get to know new people with interesting job experiences in my industry.
I start by simply sending over a connection request presenting myself and asking what keeps them busy these days.
Truly listening to other people and trying to discover what they wish to accomplish before arranging a meeting in real life or over Skype, will truly help you move forward and grasp LinkedIn’s potential.
If you run a platform, LinkedIn can hand you feedback or new users. If you run a service-based organization, LinkedIn can provide you with new clients and referrals.
How to Create an Effective LinkedIn Outbound Strategy in 2019
Most people only send an initial connection request and a follow-up message. But the sales professionals who reap the benefits of LinkedIn are doing something different: They are implementing an outbound strategy with multiple touchpoints.
The strategy I’ve recently used for a B2B SaaS client looked like this:
- Step 1: Like, comment, endorse them, or share one of their posts.
- Step 2: Send a connection request with a humorous message.
- Step 3: Send a follow-up message. (If they reply, try to hop on a call with the lead.)
- Step 4: (if they do not reply to the follow-up message) Repeat Step 1.
- Step 5: Send a short email sequence with software like Lemlist or Mailshake.
Aside from creating multiple touchpoints with individual connections, broaden your outreach beyond senior-level executives.
Why? Buying decisions are no longer tied to senior executives. An article published by Google pointed out that 81% of non-C-suiters actually have some influence over purchase decisions.
Added to that, B2B buyers are made up of a team of decision-makers, not individuals. This makes it a must for you to nurture awareness and trust, and address the pain points of employees across a company’s structure.
Here is a good template for doing outbound on LinkedIn we’ve been using for one of our clients:
I’m Sal, Director of Ad Copy Central, we specialize in writing Facebook Ads copy that doesn’t suck so that you can stop losing money on your campaigns.
Click accept if you’re interested :)
Or not, and never hear from me again (gasp! :()
Up to you,
Follow up message:
Thanks for accepting!
I’m sure [COMPANY] has outstanding copywriters in your team however- I do still have a few techniques that I can implement in your copy to make your campaigns convert more.
Need any help to get results? I can offer you a free call this week to discuss ideas.
Here are some results I’ve had using a similar template:
LinkedIn Inbound: Helping Your Ideal Customers Find You
Posting valuable advice, relevant written or video content, and some professional and personal stories will help position you as a field expert and keep you top-of-mind for your prospects. Below are a few ways you can strengthen your LinkedIn inbound strategy.
1. Share content that addresses your ideal clients' pain points.
Think about the business problems your ideal B2B customers have, and generate content that addresses those. Provide solutions and recommendations. Design your content such that it clearly explains how a particular strategy, service, or product can solve their concerns.
Doing this allows you to begin building trust with your audience. Some of them may start seeing you as someone who is very interested in helping them achieve their goals and solve their most pressing concerns, instead of selling them a complicated or expensive solution that does not match their priorities.
2. Follow the 4-1-1 Rule
The 4-1-1 Rule was first applied to Twitter by Tippingpoint Labs and Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute. But as LinkedIn points out in their Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide, the same rule applies on LinkedIn.
“For every ONE self-serving tweet, you should retweet ONE relevant tweet and most importantly share FOUR pieces of relevant content written by others.”
As I mentioned above, LinkedIn is about building genuine relationships and the best way to do this is to provide your audience with relevant content that helps them achieve their goals.
3. Use photos and videos.
As in other social media platforms, posts with images or videos perform way better on LinkedIn. In fact, LinkedIn posts with images have a 98% higher comment rate while sharing YouTube videos that play on LinkedIn generate 75% more shares.
Videos are very important in moving your target clients through the buyer’s journey. In fact, 70% of B2B researchers may be watching videos at any point before they finally make a purchase.
4. Your people are your first fans.
An easy but effective way to get more visibility for your posts is to have people in your company or industry engaging with your posts as soon as these are shared.
LinkedIn’s algorithm will value your article as relevant because of this initial engagement. If it’s actually noteworthy, it will show your post to your 2nd and 3rd connections. (That’s where the gold is!)
5. Post consistently.
Try to post or generate content regularly. You don’t have to write time-consuming posts. Just make sure these contain information that adds value to your target clients.
When deciding what to post, I try to have a mix of stories and relevant content about my industry. I share these at least twice a week, i.e., on Tuesdays and Fridays.
You can create a schedule based on the hours or days your company’s LinkedIn posts have the highest engagements. You can also use these weekday schedules from Sprout Social’s findings on the best times to post on LinkedIn.
Another great way to maximize your efforts is by using a link tracking tool to easily track your results and gain more insights on your target market. This kind of tool usually allows you to retarget those who clicked on your links on other platforms allowing you to reduce your cost per acquisition and generate more leads.
The Inbound-Outbound Mix
LinkedIn inbound and outbound strategies are not always independent lead generation methods. Rather, they tend to support each other, helping you build your credibility and bring you in front of the right audience.
For example, you may use an outbound strategy and send a connection to invite to LinkedIn users. Before accepting your invite, they check your profile and see that your articles speak to their needs and align with their business interests. Because of this, they may feel more inclined to accept your connection request.
Or potential clients may be searching the Internet for a product or service and come across your content or landing page. They may be looking for solutions but are not yet ready to speak with you or make a buy or hire. They may start engaging with your content or even follow your company on LinkedIn. This opens up an opportunity for you to reach out to them and send them an invitation to connect.
LinkedIn’s potential as a lead generation channel is endless, and sending a connection request to B2B leads is just scratching the surface of this platform. Start pursuing both inbound and outbound strategies, include multiple touchpoints, and generate quality leads by providing real value and building trust. Linking up your CRM with LinkedIn will help you keep everything organized and tracked.
Are your LinkedIn lead generation efforts paying off? What LinkedIn strategies work and don’t work for you? What are you struggling with? Let me know your thoughts.
A little about Angelo:
Angelo Sorbello is an Entrepreneur and Growth Marketer. He started and later sold his first online business at 13 years old. He then started and contributed to the growth of other online companies like Astrogrowth, JotURL, and goedle.io. You can easily get in touch with Angelo on LinkedIn.