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LinkedIn Growth Marketing for Small Businesses (SMB), Startups, Solo-Entrepreneurs and Bloggers

LinkedIn has 546 million users as of March 2018 and continues to remain one of the fastest growing social media platforms. With such an incredible audience base, LinkedIn is undoubtedly a goldmine for businesses. A study by HubSpot shows that LinkedIn is 277% more effective in lead generation than other social media networks. LinkedIn growth hacking, if planned and implemented right, can make your business reach astounding heights. 

In this post, we will be explaining a step by step process to target, identify and reach out to potential customers on LinkedIn and use LinkedIn as an effective growth hacker for your lead generation strategy. 

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BUILD/ENHANCE YOUR CORPORATE PROFILE ON LINKEDIN 

Before you start sending out connection requests to potential customers as a part of your LinkedIn growth marketing, it is mandatory to have an attractive and informative LinkedIn profile. Users would accept requests only from profiles they find authentic. A poorly built LinkedIn profile wouldn’t lead you anywhere. So, the first step is to invest the time in building your personal profile on LinkedIn.

Provide a detailed history – education and profession details (i.e. work experience, accomplishments, projects delivered etc.). You should add various awards and achievements that would prove your credibility. Also invest in creating a good cover image for your profile such that it best represents yourself and your business. 

Once you have a complete profile, understand your existing connections. Set aside around 500 to 1000 connection requests for your existing customers and acquaintances that you are not currently connected to. 

If you want to build your connection list quickly, then choose acquaintances and customers based on their connections. This will help you have great 2nd and 3rd-degree connections on LinkedIn. Users tend to accept connection requests more often when they see mutual connections.

Work on getting endorsements and LinkedIn recommendations from your existing customers and acquaintances to improve your credibility.

Post your high-quality articles from your company blog on your LinkedIn profile/page and link them back to your website. This would not only showcase your skills and thought leadership knowledge but would also contribute towards driving traffic to your website and aid in lead generation.

Join LinkedIn groups where you expect your target audience to be present. Being part of the same groups can be a motivational factor for users on deciding whether or not to accept your connection requests.

 

UNDERSTAND YOUR BUYER PERSONA AND GET YOUR TARGETING RIGHT

The next step in your LinkedIn growth strategy is to dig deeper and understand the demographics and other details about your buyer persona(s). This initial analysis would prove to be extremely beneficial when you’re searching the LinkedIn platform for relevant connections.

List the set of possible designations your buyer persona could hold and the companies that would employ them. Certain businesses could target Vice President level cadre from Fortune 500 companies while certain others could target mid-level managers from medium businesses. So, making a list of possible designations and organizations will  make things more targeted in your efforts.

 

UNDERSTAND THE LINKEDIN LANDSCAPE

One can add up to 30,000 connections on a single profile on LinkedIn. If you are a solopreneur, then that’s the maximum number you can have, so when you are increasing connections ensure you are adding the right audience. On the other hand, if you have a co-founder, this number doubles and if you hire an employee it triples and so on. 

While making your list of potential customers, add a set of designations for each company you are targeting. This way you can ensure that you connect with at least one person from your target organization. Based on your buyer persona, perform an advanced search on the LinkedIn platform to get an estimate of the audience numbers. 

 

SEND AUTOMATED CONNECTION REQUESTS AND MESSAGES TO YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE

Now that you have a great LinkedIn profile and you have a clear understanding of the landscape, the next step is to start sending connection requests to your target audience.

Sending connection requests manually can prove to be a tedious process and it may take forever to add your potential customers. There are quite a few tools which could automate the process for you. Here are a few:

LinkedAutomate – Their algorithm allows you to auto connect with you target audience based on the advance searches you perform on LinkedIn. It also allows you to send welcome messages for new connections as well as personalized auto messages.

LinkMe Tool – The tool allows you to auto connect with your target audience, set up initial and follow up messages at your preferred sending schedule. It also automatically tracks your usage and adjusts your sending queue to stay within the LinkedIn daily limits. 

LinkedIn Helper  – Allows you to send personalized invitations to thousands of 2nd and 3rd degree connections. It also has an auto-responder, sequential messaging and an invites canceller among many other features. LinkedIn Helper’s powerful lists manager helps you build your own lead generation funnel to avoid campaign intersections. 

Social Lead Machine – This is a Chrome extension that allows you to auto connect with connect with up to a maximum of 1000 LinkedIn profiles per day and allows you to auto endorse up to 150 per day. Unlike the above tools, this is a free tool and you could download it right away and start using it.

By using one of the above mentioned auto connect tools you could add your target audience and build your LinkedIn connections. These tools not only make the tedious and lengthy process of building a high-quality list of relevant connections easier, but they also ensure that you stay within the connect request/ messaging limits prescribed by LinkedIn.

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EXPORT YOUR LINKEDIN CONNECTIONS

Now that you have a built a growing list of contacts by actively sending out connection requests using auto connect tools, the next step would be to extract these connections so that you have their contact data (emails and phone numbers).

You could either use one of these auto connect tools listed above to extract the CSV or XLS files. Even LinkedIn allows you to easily export your connections in either of the aforesaid formats.

This contact information can be used to set up email campaigns in your marketing platform.

 

SEGMENT YOUR LEADS BASED ON GEOGRAPHY AND UNDERSTAND EMAIL MARKETING POLICIES

This is an extremely important step in this entire process. If you do not read the latest email marketing policies (they vary based on countries and regions) and act accordingly you could land yourself as well as your business in significant trouble.

CAN-SPAM Act – LinkedIn growth hacking strategy passes the CAN-SPAM act as your connections implicitly agree to be contacted by you while accepting your connection request on LinkedIn.

But be sure to include clear opt out or unsubscribe buttons and do not send mailers to individuals who have unsubscribed.  Every single email you send in violation of CAM-SPAM act could result in a fine of $16,000, so if you send 100 emails violating the policy you could have a fine of up to $1.6 million. You can find the do’s and don’ts of CAN SPAM act here.

GDPR– General Data Protection Regulation, the policy that imposes data protections within the European Union, is a stricter policy and LinkedIn growth hacking may be affected by this. According to GDPR businesses should explicitly state the reason they are seeking contacts for and have clear messages about how they would be using your contact details during the lead gen sign up process.

While accepting your LinkedIn connection requests for contacts based in the European Union, this does not mean you are getting full permissions for your business to send email newsletters to them.

Solopreneurs and budding SMBs usually take risks and send mailers overlooking these policies without considering the repercussions. Businesses should understand that if they fail to comply by the GDPR policies they could be fined up to €20 million.

Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL)– You need to be very careful if your target audience is based in Canada because this is one of the toughest laws of its kind. The law has strict policies on how you should take consent from your target audience before sending them marketing emails. Read the FAQ’s here.

Certain nations have very strict policies while others may prove to be very difficult. Before planning your email campaigns using LinkedIn growth hacker strategy ensure that you are thoroughly aware of the policies concerned with the location of your target audience.

 

LAUNCHING THE ACTUAL EMAIL MARKETING CAMPAIGNS

Here comes the final stage in the LinkedIn lead gen strategy – sending the actual emails. You can email your contacts  individually or send bulk email campaigns with marketing automation tools like MailChimp or HubSpot.

Share informative content to your target audience to improve your brand perception. Be certain to include clear call to actions in your emails to lead your audience down the buyer’s journey. Ensure that you have a well-structured landing page, so as to achieve a great conversion rate. You could also design a custom landing page specifically designed for your LinkedIn audience.

Track your mailer performance through statistics like open and click-through rates and analyze the kind of content your target audience prefers. This would aid you in deciding the content strategy for your future marketing emails.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

All effective marketing and sales strategies start with building a high quality and relevant list of leads.

A well thought through LinkedIn Growth Hacking plan can identify thousands of new prospects and drive them towards becoming high quality leads.

LinkedIn is known to be a goldmine for finding professional contacts. But effective targeting, careful planning, and execution are what will help you achieve your desired results.

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