Find below a ridiculously succinct guide to LinkedIn lead gen and a few other methods for my fellow freelancers and B2B heroes:
Read time: 8/9 minutes
You’ve prepped your sales decks and growth strategy, you’ve built a stunning website and optimised the hell out of it (guide to SEO here), now time to stick your feet up and wait for the flood of customers to storm the gates, right?
Wrong! Of course! If only life was that bloody easy for us freelancers/small business owners. Nono. If you want custom sir/madam, you must hustle. On that note, find below a brief guide (to be updated) on how to get your freelance business some shiny new clients.
You should be using Linkedin no matter what. Use it to network, use it to learn more about lead gen (LI learning here) and of course: use it to reach out directly to people you think would be interested in your services. Here are some key stats:
- Linkedin has over 560m users
- 61 million of which are senior level and 40 million are in decision-making positions
- 44 percent of LinkedIn users have incomes over £60,000
- 75 percent of LinkedIn users have incomes of over £38,000
- LinkedIn is the #1 channel B2B marketers use to distribute content
- 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn vs. 13% on Twitter & 7% on Facebook.
- LinkedIn generates 3x more conversions than Twitter & Facebook.
I use LI often for a lot for my own lead gen so this is what I’m going to focus the post on. There are of course loads of other ways to generate leads for your business, some of which I touch on v. briefly later on.
Right so, LinkedIn lead gen. Go:
First, get a free trial of LI Sales Navigator. You don’t HAVE to have this but if you can afford it, it’s actually a badass tool. (They’re not paying me to say that) The free trial will do for now.
- Go into sales navigator from your LI dashboard, click create a new search.
- Identify your target prospects – At this stage, you want to narrow down your key clients by as many criteria possible. Where do they live? What job titles are they likely to have? What size company are they? Is it a specific industry or audience? How far from you would you be willing to travel to meet them? Apply these criteria and you’ll be presented with a targeted search.
- Refine your lists and bring them down to manageable sizes, removing companies/people who aren’t relevant. (Maybe split by Industry/location/tags) Remember, it’s better both time and conversion rate wise to target fewer more relevant parties than just including anyone/everyone.
- Right, you’ve got your lists – it’s time to create a messaging/content strategy.
- The messaging and approach will differ depending on your target market and the way you’ve split your lists.(Seniority of targets etc) focus on value add.
- We want to be building long term relationships here as well as landing more immediate sales.
- Thus the best tactic I suggest is to first offer some free value. Maybe some advice, maybe an article you wrote or maybe a relevant video. Lead the conversation into your service and don’t be pushy.
- Now optimise your profile. Many people make the mistake of having a LI profile which looks like a CV. Your LI profile should be client facing and working hard for you 24/7. Your bio shouldn’t list your achievements but should talk about how you can help potential clients.
- When optimising your profile remember to add your skills. Not only can others endorse you for these skills, but they also function as keywords so recruiters/clients can more easily find you using LI’s search tool.
- Start reaching out to your prospects. Remember not to marry on the first date.
- Make a note of where you are in the conversation in an excel doc or your CRM system and make use of sales navigators ‘tags’ to manage within LI. Make sure you make a note of these off the platform for when your trial runs out.
- Join groups + get involved in the conversation – This will help you learn, meet potential clients and build future business relationships. Research groups that are relevant to you by searching for them in the search bar within LI and using relevant keywords.
- Remember to follow up and continue to nurture leads over time, be professional but also be yourself – people want to buy from real people.
- Write articles about your audience/product/service and post these on your LI profile. Establish yourself as an expert and include a CTA (call to action) at the bottom of the post to simultaneously create a lead magnet. Here’s a guide: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/quick-easy-guide-writing-linkedin-article-robert-knop
Ah, the classic. Find local business directories in google (Literally, google local business directories, lol), build yourself a list of potential customers and ring through (politely) asking relevant companies if they’d like to talk about the product/service. (Put some thought into your pitch but remember to play the long game. Don’t be too pushy and try to add value)
Bonus tip: Use google spreadsheets for free with your google account to track all those leads: docs.google.com/spreadsheets
You can get leads by hosting free (or paid) events, workshops and webinars and promoting these. Here’s a nifty site for easily hosting your events/workshops, Eventbrite found here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/
You can use loads of different services to host, some of the good ones are: Gotomeeting, Livestorm and Everwebinar.
Free consultation calls
You can promote free consultation calls to generate leads and host them free of charge on Skype, Whatsapp and various other platforms. Alternatively, you can cough up the dough for Zoom and you can record calls for team training / to remind yourself of conversation specifics.
Your own website
Make your website a lead gen machine. Have a clean, simple user interface. Include CTA’s (Calls to action – ask for people to take an action: buy/book a call, sign up for a newsletter etc), allow customers to book a call/meeting directly through the site, have a form so customers can enter info for a callback. Build trust on the site with quality content. Offer incentives.
Don’t have a website? Build one yourself easily with Wix, Shopify or WordPress. You could throw together a half decent lead gen site with any of those options in a couple of hours.
- Landing pages – Create well-designed landing pages to drive lead acquisition. Remember your CTA’s, keep it simple, keep it smooth. Make sure to gain trust and prove security.
- Forms – Create surveys/forms which offer an incentive in return for contact information
- Content – Create quality content – more on. this below
Definitely an option if you have a trusted source. Largely I’d say this is a bit risky though and that we should be cautious as a little fish. From what i understand many of these big lead databases are sold to many parties simultaneously or are pre-rated for quality with bigger companies getting first dibs and acquiring the best at volume.
Referral marketing is when you offer an incentive for a customer to refer your services on to others. An example would be to offer a 10% discount on a month’s services for both a client and one of their contacts if their contact also takes on your services.
It’s not all about LinkedIn you can also gain leads through facebook, twitter and instagram. Different industries should pick different platforms. Here’s a detailed guide: https://www.brandwatch.com/blog/social-media-lead-generation/
I’ll post a longer content specific article later. For now though it’s worth saying quality content is a fantastic lead driver, especially if used alongside paid methods. Quality is more important than quantity, but try to be regularly producing value add content for your audience… Remember to include CTA’s, not to appear too pushy and try to start conversations.
You know this already but there are a million ways you can produce content, follow what already works in your industry then put your own twist on it, or break the rules entirely. 😀
- Podcasts – Guides, interviews, reviews, behind the scenes
- Blogs – Go to Buzzsumo or google alerts and see social media trending pages for ideas. Blog ideas: https://foundationinc.co/lab/b2b-blog-ideas/
- Videos – Guides, reviews, case studies, behind the scenes
Email is long from dead! Build a database for future lead gen opportunities. Send out an email offering a discount / announcing a new service to your database. Don’t spam though, make sure you get GDPR right and nail your copy.
Adverts & retargeting
If done correctly paid advertising can be a fantastic source of leads. Paid search is a beast of it’s own and out of the scope for this post. Here’s a great guide by the good folks at wordstream overviewing how to get leads using PPC: https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2013/09/23/get-more-leads-with-ppc
Bonus point: Message bots
Write compelling sales copy for a message bot script and this automated powehouse could become a lead generating machine. 😮
And that’s a wrap for the time being. Hope you found this useful. See you next Saturday!
Banger of the week: