Before we explore how LinkedIn can help you get more clients, it is worth taking a moment to highlight why your business should view LinkedIn as an important piece of your marketing mix. Here are some eye-opening statistics:
- LinkedIn has over 500 million members. (Source: Business Insider)
- 260 million LinkedIn users log in at least once a month. (Source: Fortune)
- 87 million Millennials use LinkedIn. (Source: AdWeek)
- 61 million LinkedIn users are senior level influencers. (Source: LinkedIn)
- 40 million LinkedIn users are in decision-making positions. (Source: LinkedIn)
- More than 50% of all B2B social traffic comes from LinkedIn. (Source: Sumo)
- 92% of B2B marketers include LinkedIn in their digital marketing mix. (Source: DemandWave)
- 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn vs. 13% from Twitter and 7% from Facebook. (Source: Kissmetrics)
- LinkedIn generates 3x more conversions than Twitter and Facebook. (Source: Hubspot)
When we crunch the numbers, the simple conclusion is that LinkedIn is a highly effective platform for businesses to generate high quality clients. Now, let us look how to reap the rewards of using LinkedIn to its optimal potential. There are 7 steps in the process, and we highlight each of these below.
Step 1: Create a Professional Profile
A quick glance at profiles on LinkedIn reveals a massive disparity between those that are professional and impressive — and those that are not! To ensure that your and your business makes the best possible impression (because you may never get a second chance), keep the following in mind:
- In addition to highlighting your business’s products and services, focus on the solutions that you enable and the problems that you solve. Always look at things from your ideal clients’ point of view, and answer the question “What’s in it for me?”
- While you shouldn’t make your profile too lengthy, it is important to include enough quality information. Yes, prospective clients are busy and have limited time. But they also want to be informed, and they get frustrated when profiles are succinct to the point of being cryptic. Also make sure that you use headings and bullet points to enhance readability and flow.
- Include a high-resolution photo. If you do not have one, then hire a professional. It is money well spent!
- Provide a link to your website in your profile. Even though clients can reach your website through other paths, putting it in your profile (likely at the very end) makes things easier for prospective clients — and the easier, the better!
Step 2: Identify Your Target Audience
It is vital that you have a clear awareness of your target audience (e.g. buyer personas), so that you know who you should reach out to — and who you should avoid. For example, if you sell a solution that is used by HR departments, then you likely want to connect with individuals who have titles like “HR Director” or “Leading and Development Specialist.”
Step 3: Connect with Your Target Prospects
Once you have identified your target audience (i.e. ideal job titles), then you can identify specific individuals through LinkedIn Advanced Search or LinkedIn Groups, and send out connection requests.
It is very important that you customize each request vs. send a generic request. It only takes a minute (or less), and it can make the difference between “accept” and “decline.”
Step 4: Start the Conversation
Once your connection request(s) is accepted, immediately send a little thank you note. It is very important not to be too aggressive here by providing a sales pitch or anything of that nature. Instead, try to find some common ground with each connection — what they do, the LinkedIn groups in which they are a member, and so on — and start the conversation. The goal here is to spark a relationship and get on the radar screen.
5. Build the Relationship
About a week after sending the thank you note described above, you can reach out again in order to build the relationship. One of the best ways to do this is by offering each connection a valuable tool, such as an ebook, white paper, infographic, article, video, report, checklist, app, or anything else that is relevant to their professional life.
Obviously, anything you send should be free (i.e. don’t ask the connection to pay for it!). Also, make sure that you customize your relationship-building messages. For example, use the connection’s first name, if it’s winter in their part of the world tell them something like “I hope that you’re keeping warm after the big snow storm in Denver yesterday!”, and so on.
It is also a great idea to engage with connections in shared LinkedIn groups. It’s like going to a workshop and sitting next to someone who you know and like. You can join dozens of LinkedIn groups spanning a wide variety of professional purposes and interests.
6. Try and Move the Relationship Beyond LinkedIn
While LinkedIn’s messaging platform is tolerable, it’s frankly not a good channel for meaningful discussions with prospects — it’s more like an instant messenger tool like Slack. As such, your goal is to try and move the relationship beyond LinkedIn, either to email or (even better) a phone conversation.
7. Ask for Referrals
Once you have established your credibility, built rapport with a connection and ideally had a conversation with them through email or phone, you should be OK to ask for referrals. This should not be done in an aggressive or urgent way. Rather, it should be done in a casual and collaborative way — e.g. “If there is anyone in your network who is looking for a professional and creative project management consultant, I would greatly appreciate if you would point them in my direction.”
To learn more about how to use LinkedIn to get more clients, contact the Noble Webworks team today. We can provide you with practical advice or handle every aspect of your LinkedIn strategy from creating your profile to customizing your outreach messages. Your consultation with us is free.