Okay, so these past few weeks we’ve dealt with the LinkedIn basics (your profile, connecting with others, tracking), so let’s concentrate on five proven lead generation strategies, in depth:
1. Join Groups.
This in itself is nothing new: Nor is the notion that you should join Groups related to your industry. The big mistake too many people make, however, is in joining Groups whose focus is too narrow. Let me explain: Say you are a copywriter. You join six Groups whose sole focus is “copywriting”. And you stop right there.
That is not making the most of Groups as a lead-generation strategy. You need to ask yourself: “What else do all copywriters do?” You might find yourself musing: “Well… they’re freelancers. They are entrepreneurs. They are coaches. They need to know about project management.”
Just in those few seconds you’ve identified three types of Groups totally related to your field of interest that could also interest potential clients:
- Project Management
Of these three topics, Project Management is going to be important to your ideal client. He wants to hire someone who knows how to get things done on time – who is passionately concerned with Project Management (and saving him money). So if you have to make a choice, find that group on Project Management and add yourself to its membership… where project managers can find you and either recommend you to their employers; or contract your services directly, if they are business owners.
But wait: Once you’ve joined these Groups, you need to take it a few steps further…
- Keep your eye on each Group you belong to on a daily or every other day basis, as a matter of routine
- Read all posts
- Listen. Take note of, and be sure you thoroughly understand, all concerns
- Answer questions… but only if you know the answer inside out. (Never just answer for the sake of making a Big Noise.)
- Be truly helpful
- Provide links to resources on your site (this is a big deal!)
2. Create Your Own LinkedIn Group.
Once you’ve grown comfortable on LinkedIn, made connections and feel you really have a handle on what your potential clients or subscribers are looking for within its environment, it’s time to create your own LinkedIn Group – targeted directly to their needs.
Here’s how to make sure your Group becomes an active, growing success…
Give your group a clear, strong name.
Include your best keyword – the one that seems to get the most LinkedIn responses for you. Keep it short and avoid names that are obscure.
For example, if your group is all about self-growth and creating best choices in one’s life journey, avoid flowery names like “Architects Unchained” – because if you go with a name like that, I guarantee droves of really annoyed architects, renovators, builders and engineers will be clicking away in disgust… while the people on journeys of self-growth will remain happily unaware of your existence.
Make sure it’s a name that will translate well into an URL.
This means no names that:
- Are capable of having multiple or double meanings
- Can be pronounced different ways
- Are hard to pronounce
- Use initials or acronyms
- Consist of foreign terms, phrases or words
And do test your Group name out first – even if that just involves a Facebook poll giving people three to five choices. Even people with no intention of joining your Group can often be quick to point out potentially embarrassing or confusing aspects you’ve overlooked.
Create a logo for your Group.
Remember that it will be automatically resized, and end up small, wide and not very high. This is what a typical LinkedIn Group logo looks like, as far as shape or size goes:
LinkedIn specifies that your Group logo should be no more than 100kb, and suggests dimension of 100 X 50 pixels (“large”) or 60 X 30 pixels (“small”.) Keep your design striking and simple. Keep elements in it to a minimum. Your logo will help brand your Group within LinkedIn.
Create the Group around your Keyword – not your Company.
This one should be obvious, but judging by the company-based groups that try to reach niche members, it’s not.
If people see a Group with your business name – and especially logo – they will assume that it’s an internal group for your employees and/or shareholders.
Create a website for your Group
(or else create a section on your existing website). That way, you can post updates, resources – and helpful articles.
Having its own website or web page will strengthen your Group’s identity as an entity. And building a community is what it’s all about.
- Promote your Group. Blog about it. Talk about examples from it. Invite people to join it. But always remember content on LinkedIn is supposed to be strictly confidential, so never share anything that Group Members could object too, and don’t identify people by name unless they are okay with that.
- Reward your Group. Create special resources for your members that they can pick up from your website: Tip sheets, survey results, templates, “how to” lessons… If they need it – provide it.
- Add your Group to the Groups Directory, if it’s a “membership only” closed group. (If it’s an open Group – meaning anyone can join – it will automatically show up there.)
To do this:
- Click “Groups” in your Menu bar
- Select your Group Name
- Click “Manage”, then “Group Settings”
- From the Membership section, choose: “Display this group in the Groups Directory”
3. Use LinkedIn Rich Media Linking Capability
This has (for the moment) replaced LinkedIn Apps as a “limited rollout” feature.
Since this is currently in flux, your best bet is to click straight through to the new Help section and simply click on what you’d like to learn about in the right-hand, vertical menu.
4. Create a Company Page
Again, this strategy depends on your particular circumstance. In order to create a Company page, you have to have a dedicated email address on your Company’s domain: A Gmail address just isn’t going to cut it.
Consider again that you are branding you – if you are strictly a sole-proprietor, B2B, service provider you can put creating a Company Page on the back burner until:
a) You meet LinkedIn’s Company Page criteria
b) You have something significant to sell – that is, a sign-up page to drive LinkedIn traffic towards via your URL
On the other hand, creating a LinkedIn Company Page shares public information about your Company via LinkedIn and is searchable via Google (and other search engines).
You can also showcase individual products, rather than a generic whole.
And you can post URLs to your sales pages without worrying about whether or not you are violating some guideline.
Go to the Help Section to create a Company page.
The final big advantage to creating a Company page: It provides you with an “Insights” tab (formerly “Analytics”). You can display extra details and company profiles here. Just so you know what a well-designed-and-optimized LinkedIn Company page looks like, let’s take a look at one of LinkedIn’s “top ten” picks for Best Company Page:
Notice the use of Featured Updates to create engagement, curiosity and activity, as well as rich media (the video). You can also browse through their products and check out careers.
And on any of these pages, you can insert your customized links. And you can even add a banner to your Company page….
- Open your Company Page
- In your Home page, look for a gold horizontal bar under Page Insights
- Click on the “Upload an Image Now” link within that bar
- When the Image Text area box opens, click on “+Add image” underneath the empty box
- Select your 646 pixel X 220 image from your computer
- Press “Upload” and “Save”
Banner Optimization Tips
There are small tweaks you can do and details you can incorporate to give your Banner images even more power…
- Put your most important image first (people have to click on them to scroll through your collection)
- Create landing pages for each Banner image
- Include a call-to-action for your Banner image
- Make sure your image is totally relevant to your message
- Keep your image as simple as possible. Don’t use images with lots of distracting detail
- Make sure your Banner image is dramatic, with strong contrast
- Use a professionally-produced image. Your message is important!
You can upload a maximum of three banner images to your “Products and Services” section.
5. Consider LinkedIn Advertising
Once you’ve created your Company page, you can then add an advertising campaign.
This strategy isn’t for everyone. It can quickly become expensive, and should be used only if you’re looking to make big-ticket prices on product, membership or package conversions. Consider also your demographic. If your market is predominantly female, you should remember that LinkedIn statistics still show its users as predominantly male.
The younger demographic (25-34) is making a notice rise above the median, as is the 45-54 range, while the original LinkedIn typical age group of 35-44 has fallen slightly (though it is still over-represented).
To sum up:
- Use advertising only as a brief introductory campaign
- Be aware that advertising is often considered too aggressive and counter-productive among the online marketing community
- Only use it if you are actively selling a big-ticket item (otherwise it’s not worth your while)
- Make sure it fits your particular demographic