LinkedIn lead generation is when B2B companies use the content-sharing and lead-tracking tools available on LinkedIn to attract qualified potential leads back to their company website. Most people would categorize LinkedIn as primarily a networking and job-seeking forum. LinkedIn, however, has leveraged its position as the largest network for professionals to provide an influential, far-reaching platform for B2B lead generation. Working professionals now turn to LinkedIn for far more than just expanding their network. LinkedIn has become a resource where professionals can find industry-relevant content, thought leadership, and products and services tailored specifically for B2B companies. And still more B2B companies are discovering how a LinkedIn marketing strategy can aid their lead generation efforts.
Why Use LinkedIn for Lead Generation?
As social media gains traction as a valuable marketing venue, companies are learning that some platforms are better suited for certain target audiences than others. B2C companies are seeing greater success on networks like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. On the other hand, B2B companies, by an overwhelming margin, are turning to lead generation using LinkedIn methods. As you consider whether a LinkedIn social media strategy is right for your firm, take these LinkedIn lead generation stats into account:
- LinkedIn boasts a formidable 259 million users from across the globe.
- There are 3M company pages on LinkedIn.
- Out of surveyed marketers, 91% had used LinkedIn marketing.
- 65% of B2B companies have generated a lead from LinkedIn
How to Attract LinkedIn Leads
People generally visit LinkedIn for a two reasons: to network and make connections, and to gain industry insights. As you turn to lead generation with LinkedIn, there are a few recommended steps to optimize your strategy:
- Complete your account. Interested clients will want to check out your LinkedIn account. You don’t want them coming away from your profile with questions about who you are or what your company offers. For this reason, any lead generation on LinkedIn first requires that you completely update your account—both your personal one and your company page. Don’t leave any blanks in your profile because prospects will fill those holes with doubts that you’re the solution they’re after. Make sure your profile is both attractive and customized.
- Upgrade your account. Many LinkedIn users get by on basic accounts. However, most of LinkedIn’s lead generation tools are only available to those with a paid account. But the options for a paid account start at a very negligible $19.95 per month.
- Join Groups. Because of LinkedIn’s sheer size, you need to know how to reach your target audience. This is why any LinkedIn lead generation guide will advise you to maximize your use of LinkedIn Groups. These groups are collections of individuals who work in a specific industry. LinkedIn Groups gives these individuals a forum where they can ask questions and offer insights.
- Update regularly. It’s no secret what lies at the heart of LinkedIn lead generation: network marketing. A large part of any LinkedIn business strategy is going to require interaction with other professionals. The last thing you want to do is send out constant “check it out” updates on your latest blog post or infographic. Post useful and interesting updates that provide your followers with links to trusted third-party blogs, comments and websites in addition to plugs for your own content. As part of your LinkedIn lead generation goals, establish a scheduled time and allot yourself a few minutes to go onto LinkedIn and comment on others’ updates and announcements.
- Create a group. This step in your LinkedIn business networking allows you to create an industry group of your own, one where you can set the agenda and raise awareness on issues that will contribute most to your lead generation strategies. However, make sure the group is not directly linked to your company. Groups should always be built on issues, not on any one particular company.
- Send personalized messages. Once you’ve used your group to identify prospective clients, LinkedIn provides tools like InMail that allow you to send targeted, personalized messages that invite the prospect to take a closer look at your value proposition. These messages should address your prospect’s biggest pain point and then offer insight into how those pains can be alleviated through your offering.
- Lead the conversation back to your website. All LinkedIn lead generation strategies should be geared to gradually lead prospects back to your website. Your group, comments, profile and company page should all act as stepping stones, offering prospects links to your blog, or to a landing page, where they can learn more about the solutions you propose.
LinkedIn Lead Generation Tools
LinkedIn provides companies with a variety of tools that enable them to connect with interested prospects. Among these tools, the top ones to consider are:
- LinkedIn Groups. These forums allow for targeted interactions with other industry experts and those who are interested in your industry as a solution. Be selective of the groups you join and concentrate your efforts on them. As you get to know members in your groups, send them invitations to connect with you.
- LinkedIn Today. This content-sharing network allows you to both find and post content relevant to your market. You can read about the latest news in your industry or upload your own premium content.
- InMail. This tool allows you to send messages directly to a LinkedIn member you haven’t yet connected with. InMail helps you to identify who you should contact, and then all you do is create your message, insert your URLs, and hit send. And, according to LinkedIn, open rates for InMail messages are greater than open rates for typical marketing emails.
- Banner Ads. LinkedIn allows you to create free custom banner ads that link back to your company website. With them, you can direct visitors to the content on your website, including blogs, product pages and landing pages.
- LinkedIn Lead Collection Widget. Another advantage to LinkedIn’s business development tools is that they provide testing features to help you fine-tune your strategy. When you install the LinkedIn Lead Collection Widget, it creates a box at the top of your page that allows people to submit their email address to you.
More LinkedIn Lead Generation Ideas
In addition to these steps and tools, here are a few more ways to enhance your LinkedIn lead generation methods: 1. Strategically post updates. Most company activity takes place in the mornings when people are first checking their email for updates. This trend is changing, however, as mobile devices makes these updates more readily available. This has led to spikes of activity in the evening. 2. Use custom content options. LinkedIn company pages allow you to offer specific content based on the profile of the LinkedIn member visiting your profile. 3. Connect your social media accounts. One of the incredible advantages to social media marketing is how easily you can integrate your separate accounts, allowing you to better coordinate campaigns across social media channels. 4. Follow the competition. LinkedIn provides another means to follow companies of interest, particularly possible competitors. Observe their marketing strategies and take note of who they are hiring. Closely observing your top three to five competitors can give you an overall impression of where your industry is headed. 5. Use Slideshare. LinkedIn owns Slideshare, making it easier to integrate the two on your LinkedIn profile. Use Slideshare to display a presentation slide deck on possible solutions to your prospects’ challenges. Avoid blatant sales pitches or product presentation and focus on your potential clients’ needs.
Talk to a Sprint Marketing Expert to See How We Can Improve Your LinkedIn Lead Generation
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