How are you when it comes to being approached for sales? When someone walks straight into your space with a clipboard and a commission riding on you signing up here and now?
Very few people I know of would be okay with it. Me, I’m the kind of person who will spot that stall from afar and stick my phone to my ear. It’s a clumsy shield against social interaction, but about 80% of the time, it’s enough to get me past the table and the operator’s watchful eye.
It’s not like I’ve got something against them. It’s just that I don’t like being harassed to buy something I have no interest in.
This is a familiar story, played out a hundred times over traditional marketing media. It’s why we need inbound marketing. And it’s why we need to be mindful of how we approach likely customers, in any and every way. Including through social media.
Lead Generation Is Still Important
Don’t get me wrong here, I still think leads are important. Inbound marketing can’t survive without them either. It’s just that lead generation becomes something you can’t really force or nudge into happening. You can encourage lead generation; call readers to take action and convert, but if you walked up to a prospective customer with your end-product sales pitch, they’d probably make a quick excuse about ducking off before continuing the conversation never.
The challenge of lead generation vs pushiness is still a valid thing to think through when it comes to social media marketing, and in particular with LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a great opportunity to showcase your online business in a professional setting, to other professionals. With Facebook and a lot of the more informal networks, businesses that sell to consumers are the ones with the advantage. Here, in the world of networking professionals, it’s the businesses that sell primarily to businesses that have the advantage.
With that in mind, here’s two ways to go about generating more leads on LinkedIn, without the creeper element.
The direct approach works when you aim to convert leads on LinkedIn, using your LinkedIn presence. Here, you keep the majority of interaction on the one platform, instead of urging users to follow one of your links off-site. This makes lead conversion a smooth and easy thing to do. There’s a little more work involved on your end - it’s not like you’re moving potential leads to an automated system - but you have the opportunity to be building leads who have a direct relationship with members of the business. This level of personal interaction for the lead goes a long way towards securing business, as it establishes a trust bond first. If the user trusts you, they’re far more likely to trust your business and your solutions.
This method will work great, provided you don’t come across as the guy with the clipboard and the pushy attitude I mentioned earlier. When you come to interact with potential leads, ensure that you’re reaching out with their interests in mind; that you get to know them first before encouraging them to convert to leads. Your best way in with presenting your business is to be helpful. You can do this by offering advice, industry insights, and general information before you make the move towards conversion and eventually sales.
The indirect approach actually ended up getting a shoutout in the earlier section. Indirect approach converts leads with LinkedIn when you provide direct links to landing pages. This is different from, say, posting a link to a blog article in that it immediately calls readers to convert. It takes the conversion process to an area where you have relatively more control (your website, as opposed to a third party), which can make things much more clear and laid out, but also requires some effort, and therefore decisiveness on the part of the soon-to-be-lead.
In this circumstance, you want to have on offer information about products or services, and free advice or helpful information for the prospective customer. The process of lead converting could take place while you convince them to sign up for your newsletter or mailing list, for example. It isn’t much effort on the part of the lead, and gives you the opportunity to send them specialised, informative content.
Same, But Different
In both of these circumstances, the connection method with future leads is simple, informal, and non-salesy. You’re simply presenting relevant, useful information to real people over LinkedIn and inviting them to take further interest.
If these leads are going to become your customers anyway, you’re going to want to get to know them. You won’t be able to keep all of that information inside your head for each and every lead, but that’s okay - that’s what your buyer personas are for - typified, ideal customers with needs and questions matching the content you’ve built and market.
For all the similarities, direct and indirect approach have different ways of achieving the same task. For direct approach, you stay connected with the lead and your primary method of nurturing them is through LinkedIn. With indirect approach, you connect with the prospect on LinkedIn, and then aim to drive them to the landing page and respective offer. From there, the lead nurturing takes place through email marketing and your website’s workflows.
The Wrap Up
LinkedIn is a great place to look at nurturing leads, and there’s more than one way to make that happen using the social media platform. Engage and approach leads directly by converting them through your conversations with them on the website. This method is more time-consuming, but results in leads who not only trust your business, but also what you as an individual have to say to them.
Indirectly approaching your leads requires more assistance from your website, as you’ll direct prospective leads to an appropriate landing page and offer.
Both methods work, and should be initially approached in the same way - with the purpose of informing and assisting the people you’re reaching. This is much less like hassling someone with a clipboard and more like hearing their concern out and supplying an answer for it. You’ll get a higher success rate, better quality leads, and just generally, more business online.
Choose a method of engagement that works best for you and your business, or gauge which would work best in the given situation. And then go for it.