Whether you’re using search, trade publisher relationships, email marketing, telemarketing, or advertising to generate leads, most marketing is indeed a “needle in a haystack” approach. You hope to reach someone at the right time, with the right need, and at the right budget. If business development were easy, we’d all excel at it, but it’s not. It’s hard.
That’s why content marketing has taken off; it’s a way to communicate a problem/solution to a prospect. If that prospect, reads, engages, or downloads, he or she has shown interest in a topic. Once interest occurs, here come the follow-up calls, the lead nurturing emails, webinar reminders, and more.
Which brings us to social media, and, more specifically for this post, LinkedIn. Let’s take social media advertising out of the discussion and talk about generating leads via content sharing and curation. Social media lead generation is the focus. As you consult clients on social media, it’s important to gauge whether your prospects are on LinkedIn at all, and if they are, how long they stay, and how frequently they visit or participate.
For an overall picture of LinkedIn usage, I urge you to check out this Marketing Prof Infographic. LinkedIn surveyed just under 900 users, so you can take it with a grain of salt, but one stat that I found interesting was that only 26% of users credited LinkedIn for generating business opportunities. Most use it for research. As a lead generation firm, however, we at NuSpark help clients put together advanced searches to develop a targeted list of contacts. We use Boolean searches to hone in on the audience most likely to be interested in connecting with us or in the content we produce. This is the first step to building relationships that can lead to business.
Below is an example of an advanced search targeting three industries using the NOT Boolean search keyword. In this case, “NOT” excludes consultants and retired people from our results. You need to have a premium account to do these kinds of saved searches.
Of course, once you filter further, searching just for 1st and 2nd connections, your list will be much smaller, but now you can take advantage of the shared connections.
It’s always best to link in to the prospects most interested in what you have to offer. We discovered a tool recently called Kickfire, which “appends” email and other data to LinkedIn from 3rd party sources, and lets you add them to a list for email marketing. Just be careful and make sure your emails are focused on good content. Below is what you can get out of Kickfire.
Many times we use Sidekick for Business, a tool from HubSpot that lets you send custom email templates to email addresses (see top-right of the toolbar). The tool even fills in the subject lines as below. Just do your best to customize and personalize the messages please.
Let’s talk about generating leads via curated content you wish to share with connections. Content curation is one of these conundrums. It’s ideal to share content with prospects and give insights. In doing so, we allow prospects to click on other thought leaders’ websites/blogs. We’ve discovered two tools that can assist you in content curation, but also create “content portals” whereby the curated links are surrounded by your brand rather than someone else’s, and allow you a call-to-action as well. Without going into detail, check out these links:
Roojoom. An interactive presentation of relevant articles, links, and PDFs, categorized by theme. Prospects can click on your curated link, and send them here instead, where your own CTA pop-ups can appear for a lead capture.
Journey Sales: Another tool that allows a mix of content to be organized in a theme, called Smart Rooms. Bringing prospects here allows you to tell a more complete content story on a topic, and again, build in lead generation elements. Smart Rooms work only with Salesforce CRM.
In summary, LinkedIn is a great social network to build relationships, but sometimes it helps to optimize your lead generation efforts and test various approaches, like Kickfire, Roojoom, or Journey Sales. There’s no harm in trying to sell on LinkedIn, just do it the right way, with good helpful content that contributes to problem-solving. You never know, your offer may reach a prospect with the right need, at the right time and with the right budget. Needle found.
Speaking of lead generation, we have a new program called Quick Spark, where we can help jump-start a stagnant business by creating two white papers for lead generation, optimizing your paid search and social profiles, and creating a comprehensive lead generation program, all within 30 business days. More info on Quick Spark.