Generating B2B leads on LinkedIn is powerful way to grow your business, and increasingly business owners and freelancers are waking up to the possibilities. But managing your Linkedin presence and profile can be challenging task.
With over 675 million users and a focus on professional networking, LinkedIn is a valuable platform for businesses looking to connect with potential clients and partners.
The good news is that there are lots of great ways to win B2B leads on LinkedIn – and yes, you don’t need to pay. These are all free lead generation methods you can use on Linkedin for your B2B audience building.
1. Create a strong Linkedin profile
Creating a strong LinkedIn profile is essential for attracting and generating leads and showcasing your skills and expertise to the LinkedIn community. In fact, whatever your strategy when it comes to how to generate B2B leads on Linkedin, this is going to be an essential point.
Here are some tips for creating a good LinkedIn profile:
- Use a professional headshot: A professional headshot is crucial for making a good first impression. Choose a headshot that is well-lit, in focus, and shows your face clearly. Avoid using selfies or group photos for your profile picture.
- Write a clear and concise summary: Your summary is the first thing people will see when they visit your profile, so make it count. Use this space to highlight your skills and expertise and explain what makes you unique. Keep it concise and focus on the most important information.
- Include relevant experience and education: Under the “Experience” and “Education” sections of your profile, list your relevant work experience and education. Use bullet points to highlight your accomplishments and responsibilities in each role.
- Utilize keywords: Including relevant keywords in your profile can help you show up in search results and attract potential leads. Think about the skills and expertise that are most relevant to your target audience and include those in your summary and experience sections.
- Include a call to action: Use your LinkedIn profile to encourage people to learn more about your business or contact you. Include a call to action in your summary, such as a link to your website or a way to contact you, to make it easy for potential leads to reach out.
How does having a strong profile attract leads? Well, if you have a well optimized profile and you’re consistently active on the platform, people can often reach out to you.
As an example, I had my profile on Linkedin and didn’t post for probably 2 years. But I would log in weekly, interact with other people by liking or commenting and I would receive headhunting emails and approach messages regularly.
In short, optimize your profile for your audience, be active and see what happens.
If you have a company Linkedin page, you should also optimize this with up to date information too. If your lead generation strategy works well, you will see prospects reaching out to check your company page as well as your personal profile – so make sure they are both working for you.
2. Join Linkedin groups
There are tons of Linkedin groups, for everything from freelancers and remote workers, to SaaS business owners or eCommerce businesses. Joining these Linkedin groups is obviously free, but can be slightly tricky sometimes.
You’ll need to have a ‘reason’ to join them, so don’t assume you will be able to join a finance CEO networking group if you aren’t at least a C-suite professional in a related industry.
But… There are plenty of great groups you can join. Have a browse and see what you can find.
How can you generate free b2b leads from Linkedin groups?
- Participate in discussions (without selling your service)
- Share useful information and post relevant content regularly
- Be helpful, useful and build connections without being salesy
See a common theme there? Yup – not being salesy is a big part of building your Linkedin network, and this includes within groups.
Linkedin thought leadership means you can share your best performing posts in groups too. So maximise your reach for each post and be sure to post in groups and on your company page too.
3. Search for your ideal clients
Of course this is an obvious way to find your b2b leads on Linkedin. Linkedin’s search feature allows you to find profiles by job type, location, educational institution, even by subjects they talk about.
Browsing your Linkedin recommended connections is also a great way to find some potential leads.
Linkedin Search also allows you to search for companies in your specific niche, where you can then find the person you need to speak to.
But how can you harvest their contact details for your email marketing campaigns?
There are a few tools that can help you collect email and contact details.
Hunter.io is a useful Chrome extension that allows you to get email addresses from websites. You get 50 free contacts a month, and after that it is quite affordable.
ContactOut is a great tool that allows you to collect contact details including email and phone numbers from Linkedin, and to search for profiles using their search function. I use both Hunter and ContactOut and I personally prefer ContactOut. Their free level is good, and their monthly pro package is under $400 which is very worth it.
Apollo.io is another useful tool which is made for lead generation and email marketing. This is a more expensive tool, at $99 per month. But if you’re creating B2C or D2C email campaigns then this is one of those essential tools. It is also good for B2B too.
Be careful not to be spammy though – make sure to check out guide to sending Linkedin connection requests that don’t suck.
4. Build your audience
If you want to attract attention, including B2B lead generation on Linkedin, you need to be active. And this means posting regularly and presenting yourself as a thought leader in your field.
Some people suggest posting daily, or twice a day. Some suggest posting whenever you can, whether that is weekly or twice a week. But one thing is true: posting builds an audience.
However these is a strategy and skill to posting on Linkedin to attract B2B leads – and that is:
- Identify your target niche
- Work out what their pain point is
- Position yourself as the solution to their problem
- Regularly offer your own advice, insight and thoughts in relation to these pain points
- DO NOT SELL YOUR SERVICE
The last point is pretty crucial. It’s fine to say that you are a content writer, or you are a software developer. But rather than saying ‘Hire me for all your software development needs’, you should be saying something like…
“In my experience as a software developer, these are the problems I see. And I have handled them by doing X, Y or Z”
“Businesses struggle with creating content writing because of A. But as a content writer I’ve used methods C and D to deliver great results”
There is a subtle distinction between selling yourself directly and mentioning your skills and experience. Thought leadership basically means giving away a lot of information and experience and potentially winning high paying clients.
How to hook those B2B leads on Linkedin?
Direct them to your own website in the comments, or get them to sign up to your newsletter or lead magnet.
The master of B2B Linkedin strategy is Justin Welsh, who is definitely worth checking out and following. I also highly recommend his Linkedin OS strategy course, which is well worth the price of admission.
5. The Linkedin Newsletter
A clever tool that Linkedin lets you create is the Linkedin newsletter. As a B2B lead generation tool the benefits should be pretty obvious: By creating regular useful and engaging content on a subject you can position yourself as a subject expert and attract high value clients.
I’ll be honest that this one sounds more like hard work compared to regular posting. But you do at least get to collect emails right there on Linkedin.
Be aware though that although anyone can set up a newsletter in Linkedin, you can’t setup more than one. So if you want to change it in future, you might find yourself limited by what you can do.
6. Use InMail
Using Linkedin’s own mail system to approach B2B clients is also a good way to approach potential customers and audience. However, you do need to be careful and not be spammy.
You can often make use of InMail for free for a 30 day trial, although it is a paid tool after this. If you use Linkedin Sales navigator, you’ll get 50 InMail credits to use. And if your InMail is read and replied to within 90 days, you get the credit back! So done right, you can get some good results from Linkedin InMail.
So how can you use InMail effectively to generate leads for your business?
Well, with InMail, people are expecting a direct sales approach. So this is probably the only Linkedin lead gen tool where your direct sales methods are going to be useful and even essential.
You have a 2000 character count for your InMail, plus a 200 character title.
So you need to be direct and to the point.
You will need to have done your research and identified your audience and target client. This is not the place for a spray and pray sales approach….
You will also need to be clear about your offer and the benefits of working with you. And, of course, you will need to make it very obvious how they can book a meeting, call or consultation with you.
Embrace the CTA! (call to action)
Linkedin is a powerful lead generation tool
And that is how to use a Linkedin lead generation strategy. In summary:
- Optimize your personal profile page and ideally your Linkedin company page too…
- Build a strategy to share useful information (thought leadership) with your target audience on a regular basis
- Be sure to research and identify your target audience so that you can correctly approach them and address their pain points
- Make use of the premium tools such as InMail which can be accessed for free
Want to become an Linkedin expert? Sign up for this excellent course from Justin Welsh.
Good luck with your Linkedin lead generation campaign. Let is know how you get on and share your thoughts in the comments below.