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Have you been struggling to generate leads for your business?

According to a study by Venture Harbour, leads generation is one of the biggest marketing challenges businesses face at the moment. If you want to earn, you will need a consistent and reliable stream of leads. As a small business owner operating on a budget, it’s a challenge to generate a list of paying customers at the lowest possible cost.

The good news is, there are now more avenues to target customers who’d be willing to pay for your services. One of the leading yet underrated sources of leads is LinkedIn.

Why LinkedIn?

Everyone has known and used more popular platforms like Facebook, email and Google AdWords. But not many businesses have tapped into the lead generating potential of LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is a thriving social networking site filled with over 500 million regular users all over the world and 9 million business profiles from more than 200 countries. And it’s not really just about the numbers; the quality of LinkedIn users is pretty impressive, too. According to a report, 75% of LinkedIn users have an average income of over US$50,000 and 44% have incomes above US$75,000.

Users in this platform are also more engaged. According to B2B News Network, about 50% of LinkedIn users are likely to buy from a company they’ve engaged with on LinkedIn.

How can I generate leads from LinkedIn?

Lead generation in LinkedIn requires a tremendous amount of effort. If you don’t have a lot of time in your hands, you can work with your virtual assistants in creating a strategy and enlist his/her help in collecting leads.

We’re going to show you how you can grow your LinkedIn connections and subsequently, generate leads.

1. Optimise your profile

By “optimising” we mean not just creating a profile but making sure that it looks professional, has an engaging amount of content and that you are searchable to your target connections.

Headline: When filling up LinkedIn’s user information form, think about the buzzwords and popular keywords related to your niche. For instance, if you provide graphic design services, include important keywords like “digital design,” “graphics,” “web design,” and the like.

We recommend creating long-tail keywords to keep your targeted efforts specific. For example, if you are an SEO specialist doing business in Melbourne, you can use the keyword phrase “SEO Specialist in Melbourne” as your LinkedIn title. But be careful; don’t go overboard with keywords and keep your title simple and on-point.

Summary: Your LinkedIn summary is one of the first things your connections see when they visit your profile. This gives you the opportunity to address a LinkedIn user directly and share both your professional and personal accomplishments. Spend some time in writing a good summary. Make it clear what your job is and focus on your strengths.

 2. Engage with other users

Engagement is a key component in every social media platform, LinkedIn included. More importantly, engagement is the starting line of your lead generation efforts. Once you have your LinkedIn profile optimised, start building connections. In our previous blog, we talked about how your virtual assistant can help you build an extensive LinkedIn network. Apart from manual searches, you can also connect with other connections’ networks and join industry groups where your potential clients gather.

Here are a few engagement strategies you can do:

· Be an active voice. Don’t be a lurker. Once you’ve become a part of industry groups, post relevant and insightful information, questions and answers to queries being posted. This is a good way to spread awareness about you and your business as well as build authority.

·  Update regularly. Use social media scheduling tools and have your virtual assistant curate content to share on LinkedIn regularly.

·  Cross-promote on other social media sites. Share your LinkedIn content on Facebook or other social media sites to drive outside traffic to your LinkedIn profile.

3. Harvesting

The old way of doing lead generation is obtaining a list of random email addresses of people who may or may not be interested in your offering and sending out emails in bulk. This is not only a big time-waster but it’s also the best way to ruin your reputation and get flagged as a spammer. The people you’re talking to may not have a need for what you are selling, which means the chances of converting them into sales are slim.

LinkedIn is a great source of qualified leads—people who may have demonstrated an interest in what you’re offering, given their targeted profiles. They also have accepted your invitation to connect and are engaged with your content. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to effectively harvest leads in LinkedIn.

 · Step 1: Create a strategy around your leads generation efforts. Ask yourself these questions: What are you generating leads for? Do you want them to download a free resource? Do you want them to attend an event? Register for a webinar?

· Step 2: Create a profile list of hyper-targeted prospects. You can ask your virtual assistant to help you search for contacts. Use the filtered search option in searching for people to connect with. This will allow you to narrow down your search on a targeted group of leads. Your search results may be smaller but the quality is greater.

Step 3: Once you hit “Connect,” LinkedIn will prompt you to send a message to the user. Craft a personal and engaging message and use this as a template for your virtual staff to use when connecting with other users. Take a minute to go through your connection’s profile to know more about the person and how best to engage.

 4. Sponsored content

Engagement can go a long way when it comes to organically generating leads. But if you want to reach out to more people and increase awareness about your business, creating sponsored content is a great option to get high-quality connections. Sponsored content allows you to publish your updates to targeted users who are not your followers or visitors, and this will appear as an update on your company page.

There’s also direct sponsored content, which does not appear on your company page and allows you to personalise and test the messages your sending out directly to target users.

Here are some tips when crafting sponsored content:

·  Don’t hard-sell. This may be your first point of contact so you don’t want to come off as too salesy at first.

·  Make the recipient the center of your message. Focus on the individual receiving your message. Think about how your message will pertain to them and how your offering will benefit them.

·  Be personable. Keep your tone interesting and friendly. Make sure you tailor your message to your target demographic.

·  Keep it short and simple. Get to your point within the first 2 sentences of your message.

5. Go premium

If you’re serious about turning LinkedIn into your primary lead-generation tool, it’s best to sign up as a premium account. This will increase your efficiency and save you a great amount of time through features like:

·  InMail – lets you message users outside your network.

·  Advanced search – more in depth search for potential clients

·  Who’s viewed – allows you to access information about users who have viewed your profile.

LinkedIn is hands-down one of the best avenues to get a consistent supply of leads. But keep in mind that LinkedIn is not a selling platform; it’s a prospecting tool. Use it with the goal to engage and not to sell. Just following the strategies mentioned above can help you get off to a good start with your lead generation campaign and collect quality prospects ready to become paying clients.

The best part is that you don’t have to do all the work by yourself. Our team of virtual assistants from Outsourcing Angel is equipped with the technical know-how in social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and can follow your directions for prospecting and lead generation campaigns.

If you like to learn more about how to hire a virtual assistant to help you maximise your LinkedIn network, let’s chat today!

Charlotte Ramos

Charlotte is a Copywriting Virtual Assistant with over 10 years of experience in marketing content creation, search engine-optimised blog articles and website copy. She's one of our most valuable Angels with vast knowledge of the digital marketing landscape and business systemisation.