How I Generated Hundreds Of Sales Leads Using Content On LinkedIn

This works, but it takes a lot of work. If you are looking for something easy, this isn’t the place. 

It starts with engagement on LinkedIn. Commenting on other people’s posts will work, as will sharing other people’s and company’s posts, but publishing your own content works best. 

In my case, I published articles and posts almost every week on LinkedIn for several years. I would send messages thanking people who shared or commented on my articles. Almost invariably, an online conversation ensued. After a few months of this it dawned on me that the percentage of people who responded to my outreach was very high. 

The key seemed to be that the other person had expressed an interest in something I had written. So I wondered if I could systemize this idea and methodically reach out to possible prospects that liked, shared or commented on my articles. I had a Sales Navigator account, so I could send them InMails (I will talk about free LinkedIn accounts in a bit). Whenever I found someone I was interested in, I sent them an InMail and started tracking my results (full disclosure: I sent InMails to all kinds of people, but I only tracked the ones that looked like future prospects). And I also started sending messages to possible prospects who had viewed my profile or had started following me. 

A year later, 268 of these people had responded to my 444 outreach messages. A response rate of 60%. 

I figured there were a couple factors behind this response rate: 

  • The person I was reaching out to was aware of me before I reached out to them. I think it is a fair assumption that this made them much more receptive to reading and responding to my message. 
  • When one of these five trigger events occurred, I was the only one responding to it. I was  not competing with everyone else. For example, I was not one of dozens of people congratulating them on their new job. 
  • I did not pitch them. They may fit the demographic of people I work with, but I don’t know anything about them or if they have problems I can help them with. People are a lot more receptive when, you know, you don’t bludgeon them over the head with a sales pitch.

If there is a downside, it’s this: it is time consuming. I don’t do boilerplate. Boilerplate is death. I hyper personalize everything. I make an effort. This approach eats minutes. While I have a framework for what I include in my messages, it can take me fifteen minutes to write a message I am happy with. 

If you don’t have Sales Navigator? Send connection invites. I tried it and it works, though not as well. The acceptance rate is about the same, but I have found that adding that connection step makes it harder than just responding to their first interest in me. So I think connecting works, but I still prefer InMail. 

I am not advocating you take the four or five hours a week I did to write and publish content, parse through the people who engage with you and reach out to them. You can do this on a small scale, even just to people who view your profile. Just be consistent, and keep at it. 

I suppose if there is a lesson in here it is: Build it and they will come, but you had better have a plan for going after them when they do.

Postscript: if you are interested in following me on LinkedIn, don’t. When you want to see someone’s content on LinkedIn, following them is a sure way to miss almost all of it. Get my newsletter instead. Every week you will receive ideas like this one on how you can be using LinkedIn for sales and marketing. Here’s the signup page: https://practicalsmm.com/contact/

To the 60 or 6,000 people that will see this post on my blog

When I write something and publish it, I have no clue how it will do. I don’t think any of us do.  

I have published observations and research into how LinkedIn works, and how people use it that I thought was really important. Stuff that I thought would really help sales and marketing people use LinkedIn more effectively. The response? Tepid. 

Then I write something that I am actually reluctant to publish, because it seems kind of obvious…and I get a huge response. 

Sometimes I post something that people find compelling and sometimes I post something that people don’t care about at all. But I won’t know which one it is until after I post it. I have seen variations on this from most people who publish on LinkedIn. I looked at thirty or so of the recent articles that Bill Gates published. The number of comments he got ranged from 400 to 3600. Bill probably didn’t know how his articles would do either, he just went ahead and published them.

After writing and publishing hundreds of my own posts and articles on LinkedIn and on this blog, the best advice I can offer is this: enjoy the engagement and interaction that results from your posting and publishing, regardless of whether it is with a couple people or a couple hundred. 

 

Your Single Most Important Activity On LinkedIn

What is the number one activity you should be engaging in on LinkedIn? If you only had ten minutes today on LinkedIn, what is the absolute best way you could invest that ten minutes?

Deepening your relationships with your connections.

No one is better positioned to help you accomplish your goals than your connections. They have  the knowledge and they are connected to the people that can help you. But if you are what I call a “thin” connection – for example, you connected three years ago and haven’t had contact since – then that connection may not be someone you can count on for that introduction to someone in their network.

If you have five hundred connections and your connections have an average of five hundred connections, you have a quarter million second degree connections. In that quarter million people are going to be prospective customers, suppliers, contractors, partners and resources.  

That’s a lot of doors your connections can open for you. But if you are a stranger they will be reluctant to do so. So get to know your connections. Offer your knowledge and your assistance (hint: offer to open some of your doors for them).

No other activity on LinkedIn comes close to doing what developing better relationships with your connections can do for you.