Wouldn’t it be great if you could just collect hot leads by spending a few minutes a day on LinkedIn?
A member of our B2B Lead Generation Roundtable LinkedIn Group was likely dreaming about this when he asked the group for a way to generate leads through LinkedIn that “doesn’t require a lot of time, engagement and endless keyword searches.”
I posed this question to Ellie Mirman and Shreesha Ramdas. Mirman is head of SMB (small and medium-sized business) Marketing for HubSpot, and Ramdas is General Manager of LeadFormix, both are marketing organizations specializing in B2B lead generation.
Guess what? They said it is possible to generate hot leads in a few minutes a day.
But, here’s the rub: It’s going to take time, effort and content to reach that point.
(If you have heard the term “content” tossed around in marketing, but aren’t quite sure what it is, it’s just a fancy term for information. Content could be anything from a link to a newspaper article, to a blog post. Every time you see the word “content,” just think, “Oh, they mean information.”)
Here are their five essential tips to getting to the point where it’s easy to generate leads on LinkedIn.
1. Know and segment your audience.
Ramdas advised following groups, individuals and companies so information about them fills your LinkedIn stream. You’ll see what’s important to them through the information they’re posting, and the questions they’re asking. From that, you can determine what content they’ll value.
But, you only have so much time in the day, so he also advised being selective about the companies and people you follow, and the groups you join. To those ends, Ramdas suggested taking advantage of the advanced search option on the upper right corner of the LinkedIn page.
It enables you to search people by:
- Past and current employers
For groups, he advised using the keyword function to:
- Search by industries in your marketplace, e.g., “semiconductors”
- Search for the roles that populate the influencers and decision-makers in your marketplace, e.g. “semiconductors, marketing”
- Selecting the groups where they are most active – some will be open and anyone can join, others will require approval for you to join.
“Those that require approval will have very relevant members,” Ramdas said.
2. Proceed with caution if you don’t want to be perceived as a spammer.
Once you have a list of names or are a member of a group, take it slow and move forward thoughtfully.
“Build up your credibility,” Ramdas advised.
3. Post content to groups and your own LinkedIn stream that matters to your marketplace.
To do so, Mirman offered these tips:
- Don’t sell. “The main rule of thumb is speaking to your target market’s problems or common challenges without selling your product,” she said, “and offer content that can help them – regardless of whether they buy from you – at least once or twice daily.”
- Keep it current. “Latch onto anything around recent news and current industry events,” she advised. “Find ways to marry current events to your industry.”
- Stay within the channel. “Stay specific to your social network, for instance, LinkedIn news does well on LinkedIn. Facebook news does well on Facebook,” Mirman said.
- Be proactive with blogging. She advised posting at least once weekly on real industry issues that point back to your solution.“Sales and Marketing should work closely together. The marketing team should be creating blogs and other content, and Sales can help ensure they are creating the right content by letting Marketing know what their prospects care about,” she explained.
4. Is time of the essence? Consider a paid program.
They’re often the fastest way to get your message in front of your prospects, Ramdas said.
“So, for example, if I am going to target a VP of marketing and directors of marketing, I can run a LinkedIn banner ad promoting a white paper to all those members; it’s easier than joining groups and following discussions,” he explained.
But, those ads probably aren’t going to be as effective if there isn’t the groundwork of an existing relationship.
You can also pay for programs that can extract contact information from LinkedIn Groups so you can contact members directly.
“I wouldn’t advise doing this unless what you have to say is very relevant to the members,” Ramdas added. “Again, build up your credibility first.”
5. Message unto others …
Mirman believes there’s a golden rule to LinkedIn messages – contact others as you would like to be contacted.
“I get all of these LinkedIn messages from people I have no relationship with, maybe some sort of exchange at some point, but they have jumped way far ahead of the sales and marketing process by contacting me,” she explained. “They’re pitching me on an idea, solution or product that has nothing to do with my issues. It’s very irritating and I tune them out.’
The key, she said, is to share content your prospects will find interesting, share with their peers and motivate them to click through to your website and contact you.
“When you do that, you’re reaching more than just a few prospects, you’re reaching your prospects and their networks,” Mirman said. “The return on your time invested will increase exponentially and lead generation will become much easier – prospects will be seeking you out.”