Let’s be honest, business-to-business (B2B) lead generation can feel like a bit of a slog at times. The sales process can be complex – often involving multiple decision makers, longer sales cycles and more intricate purchasing procedures compared to business-to-consumer transactions. As a result, even the most seasoned of sales and marketing teams can feel frustrated and demotivated by its challenging and lengthy nature.
To speed things up, many turn to LinkedIn to boost their B2B sales and lead generation efforts. In fact, LinkedIn is the most effective social media platform for generating B2B leads, with its audience typically consisting of professional decision-makers with purchasing power. And, with 930 million members and 61 million businesses on the platform – sales and marketing teams can quickly feel like kids in a sweet shop. But, where to start?!
Here are some effective strategies you can apply to leverage LinkedIn specifically for lead generation:
1. Optimise your profile page
Let’s get the bread and butter sorted first. As a business owner, your personal LinkedIn profile needs to be optimised before directing attention to your company page. Your profile is a calling point for prospects considering your company, as they look to understand more about its origins, and the driving force behind it. Optimise your profile page by:
- Completing your profile. Ensure that your profile is fully completed with accurate and up-to-date information. Include a professional profile photo, a compelling headline, a summary that highlights your expertise and value proposition and a detailed work experience section.
- Keyword optimisation. Incorporate relevant keywords throughout your profile to increase your visibility in LinkedIn searches. Think about the terms and phrases your target audience would use to find someone with your expertise and include them strategically in your headline, summary and experience sections.
- Showcase your expertise. Highlight your skills, achievements and unique selling points in your profile. Be specific about your areas of expertise and use quantifiable results or examples to demonstrate your impact. This helps establish credibility and attracts potential leads.
- Utilise the Featured section. LinkedIn allows you to showcase specific posts, articles or external content in the Featured section of your profile. Use this section to highlight content that is relevant to your target audience and demonstrates your knowledge. This can capture the attention of visitors and drive them to engage with your profile.
- Engage with content. Regularly engage with content on LinkedIn, including liking, commenting and sharing posts related to your industry or target market. This helps increase your visibility, establish your presence as an active participant and build relationships with potential leads.
- Personalise connection requests. When sending connection requests, personalise the message to explain why you would like to connect and how you can add value to the recipient. This personalised approach increases the chances of getting accepted and initiating meaningful conversations.
- Publish thought leadership content. Take advantage of LinkedIn Pulse (previously LinkedIn Publisher – more details on this in #11) to share valuable and insightful content with your network. Publishing articles or posts on relevant topics helps position you as a thought leader, increases your visibility and attracts potential leads who are interested in your expertise.
- Leverage recommendations and endorsements. Encourage colleagues, clients and partners to provide recommendations and endorsements on your profile. Positive testimonials enhance your credibility and can influence potential leads to engage with you.
- Use a strong call-to-action. Include a clear call-to-action in your profile, such as inviting visitors to contact you, schedule a call or visit your website. Make it easy for potential leads to take the next step and connect with you.
- Regularly update and maintain your profile. Continuously review and update your profile to reflect your current achievements, skills and projects. This ensures that your profile remains relevant and accurately represents your expertise and offerings.
By implementing these optimisation strategies, you can enhance your personal LinkedIn profile to generate leads effectively. Remember to consistently engage with your network, provide valuable content and actively build relationships with potential leads to maximise your lead generation efforts.
(On a side note here, have you heard of your LinkedIn Social Selling Index (SSI) score? It’s a score that measures how effective you are at establishing your professional brand, finding the right people, engaging with insights and building relationships. LinkedIn updates your score daily, giving you opportunities to improve it and regularly track your progress.)
2. Optimise your company page
The next step is to optimise your company page. There’s no point reaching out to potential prospects if your company page isn’t informative or engaging. This step is crucial in making a strong first impression. (Company pages with complete information receive 30% more weekly views!)
Ensure you create a compelling and professional LinkedIn company page that highlights your business offering, unique selling proposition and key information. You can do this by:
- Ensuring your messaging resonates with your target audience and captures their attention by using concise language and relevant keywords.
- Creating an engaging banner and logo by using high-quality images that reflect your brand identity.
- Including a detailed company description including its mission, values and unique selling points.
- Showcasing relevant content by using LinkedIn’s Showcase Pages to highlight specific products or services. Share engaging and informative content such as case studies, customer testimonials, white papers or videos on these pages. This allows visitors to explore specific areas of interest and increases the chances of lead conversion.
- Including a call-to-action (CTA) button. Choose an action that aligns with your lead generation goals, such as Contact Us, Request a Demo, Download eBook or Learn More. Direct visitors to a landing page or a lead capture form to gather their information.
- Encouraging your employees to link their profiles to your company page, which adds credibility and extends your reach. Provide guidelines and best practices to help them optimise their profiles and share relevant content. Employee engagement on the page, such as liking, commenting and sharing company posts, helps increase visibility and reach.
- Using rich media such as videos, images and infographics within your company page posts. Visual content tends to attract more attention and engagement, increasing the likelihood of lead generation.
- Posting regular content updates by sharing valuable and relevant content. From industry news to thought leadership articles – engage with your audience through comments and messages to build relationships and establish credibility
- Including testimonials and recommendations. Encourage satisfied clients and customers to provide testimonials and recommendations. Positive reviews and endorsements on your company page can significantly boost trust and credibility.
- Leveraging LinkedIn Analytics to gain insights into the performance of your company page. Monitor engagement metrics, follower growth and content performance. Analyse the data to identify successful strategies and optimise your content and approach accordingly.
By implementing these optimisation strategies, your LinkedIn company page will become more attractive to your target audience, generate interest and increase the likelihood of lead generation.
3. Ask for employee support
An often overlooked sales technique is the persuasive power of your business’s employee LinkedIn profiles. Encourage key employees (especially executives and sales representatives) to optimise their personal LinkedIn profiles to support your sales and marketing efforts.
As a professional social media platform, there are steps you need to be mindful of when asking employees to promote your company page. These include:
- Educating employees. Start by educating employees about the importance of promoting the company’s LinkedIn page and the benefits it can bring. Explain how it can increase brand visibility, attract potential clients or partners and enhance the company’s reputation.
- Providing guidelines. Offer clear guidelines and best practices for promoting the company page. Provide instructions on how employees can include the company page in their profiles, such as adding it to their work experience section or as a featured link.
- Sharing content. Encourage employees to share relevant content from the company page on their personal profiles. This can include articles, blog posts, updates or announcements that are valuable to their connections and align with their professional interests.
- Engaging with company page content. Encourage employees to engage with and interact with content on the company page. They can like, comment or share posts, helping to increase the visibility and reach of the content within their own networks.
- Employee advocacy programmes. Consider implementing an employee advocacy program where employees are recognised and rewarded for actively promoting the company’s LinkedIn page. This can serve as an incentive and encourage more employees to participate in promoting the page.
- Providing resources. Offer employees resources such as pre-written posts or content suggestions that they can use when promoting the company page. This can make it easier for employees to share and engage with content related to the company.
- Lead by example. As a business leader, you can lead by example by actively promoting the company’s LinkedIn page from your own personal profile. This can inspire employees and demonstrate the importance of the initiative.
It’s essential to provide clear communication, guidelines and support to employees when requesting their promotion of the company page. Ensure that employees understand that their participation is voluntary and that they should align their personal promotion efforts with their own professional brand and interests.
4. Engage with targeted content
Regularly share valuable and informative content that resonates with your target audience. Publish articles, industry insights, case studies and thought leadership pieces to establish your expertise. Engage with your audience by asking questions, encouraging discussions and responding to comments.
5. Utilise LinkedIn groups
LinkedIn groups are one of the most effective ways to generate leads, but only if you create quality content that stays active. Join and actively participate in relevant LinkedIn Groups where your target audience congregates. Share valuable content, answer questions and provide insights to show your expertise and establish your credibility. Engage in meaningful discussions and build relationships with group members, which can lead to potential leads.
If you have a specific passion or expertise, consider starting a group of your own! It’s a great way to build an engaged community around a topic and make connections.
6. Leverage LinkedIn Ads
Use LinkedIn’s advertising platform to target specific demographics and reach key decision-makers within your industry. Sponsored content, sponsored InMail, text ads, video ads, display ads and dynamic ads can help increase brand visibility and generate leads. Customise your ad campaigns to align with your target audience’s preferences and pain points. Consider split testing your ad content to see what works best and refine from there.
Sponsored content is a particularly subtle way to generate leads, as users will see your ads while browsing through their feed, and they’ll be able to engage with them precisely as they would any other post. When creating a sponsored content ad, you can choose from either an image or video format (or both). While you’ll have lots to say about your business, think less is more. Text-heavy posts can be off-putting, so consider leveraging the image / video feature of sponsored content to entice clicks.
LinkedIn further supports business’s lead generation efforts by providing Lead Gen Forms, helping collect even more quality leads from your LinkedIn ads. These forms help to generate high quality leads at scale, as they come pre-filled with accurate LinkedIn profile data, letting members send you their professional info with just a couple of clicks. They’ll also prove the ROI of your lead generation campaigns by tracking your campaigns’ cost per lead, lead form fill rate and the number of leads you’re getting from specific professional audience segments. Lead Gen Forms will also help you access your leads with ease. You simply download your leads from Campaign Manager or integrate with your preferred marketing automation or CRM tool.
Pretty handy, right?