The first thing you expect when you open your LinkedIn message center and find a few new messages in your inbox is to be marketed to. LinkedIn has always been a business and professional network, so everyone is definitely marketing something.
However, this is not necessarily a pleasant experience. If you’re even somewhat active on LinkedIn, you’ve undoubtedly received a slew of messages from individuals you’ve never met attempting to sell you something: app development, website development, or SEO services, to name a few.
Fortunately, there are better sales tactics on LinkedIn than pestering individuals who have recently added you to their list.
So, if you’re not going to be a spammer and you’re not going to pay for advertisements, how will you sell on LinkedIn? Let’s start with the fundamentals:
1. Create a Complete, Professional LinkedIn Profile
This advice applies to both business and personal profiles. Make sure you have a high-resolution image of your logo or a decent photo of yourself.
More importantly, do not consider any element of the profile to be optional. Fill out each one thoroughly, especially the sections where you may mention your talents or the services/products you provide.
For company pages, use the LinkedIn profile as an opportunity to pitch your services/products. In your description, ditch the usual “established in…” and opt for something that will catch readers’ eyes. If you received any awards, lead with that – or with any other kind of recognition you have received.
2. Maintain a Balance of Native and Third-Party Content (External Links)
The LinkedIn algorithm works differently than Facebook’s. If Facebook usually buries links to other websites on your feed because they want to keep users on their platform as much as possible, LinkedIn has no such mission. Thus, you can send users to your website to gain more traffic without fearing reach penalties. However, this doesn’t mean that you should solely focus on third-party links.
Balance is important in everything, so while you may write blog entries and links to your sales sites, I propose you also mix in some native content. Even if LinkedIn does not destroy your reach, people prefer to read native articles since they are easier to read and do not need them to leave the platform.
3. Join LinkedIn Groups
LinkedIn groups are the perfect places to find new leads. But don’t join dozens of them and don’t start spamming their members.
Most LinkedIn groups have tough anti-spam rules, so you won’t be allowed to publish sales pitches or links to your website. Still, you can always showcase your expertise in the comments section. Help real people solve real problems and you will start seeing add requests soon.
One last tip here: it’s OK to join groups for professionals in your industry just to keep an eye on how things are going. Sometimes, you may even find announcements looking for the services/products you offer. But if you want to get serious about selling on LinkedIn, those are not the groups to be in.
Zero in on your buyer persona – what are their top three professions? Got them? Good! Now, look for groups for people with those professions, not with your own.
For instance, my agency offers social media and content writing services. While my team and I are in a few content writing and social media groups, this is strictly for “fun” and news. We get a lot of leads from SaaS groups (SaaS is one of the main industries we cater to) and from generic digital marketing groups.
In other words: hang out where your potential customers hang out, not where your peers do.
4. Engage with Potential Customers’ Content
Look for company profiles or personal profiles of people that might turn into your customers. Follow them or connect with them and engage with their content.
Again: try not to spam. You shouldn’t leave comments showcasing your services below articles that have nothing to do with your area of activity. And, in general, you shouldn’t try to sell your services/products in comments unless someone specifically asks you what you do. Instead, read your prospects’ content and leaving on-topic, meaningful comments:
“I love your take on cybersecurity for cloud solutions. How do you feel about…?” “Your tips on staying sane when working from home are great! I’ll definitely try no. 3!”
The idea here is to get prospects’ attention, not to sell with a comment. In time, you can also message them directly, once you’ve established a rapport and know a few things about their business. This way, you’ll be able to create a personalized pitch that has chances of success.
Selling on LinkedIn takes time. Just like anywhere else, focus on building relationships first and leads later. Avoid spamming and create original, useful content – these are the two starting points for a successful selling strategy on LinkedIn.