Lead Nurturing on LinkedIn
Due to the onset of GDPR regulations in 2018, B2B marketing and sales has unequivocally been changed. Most notably, consent requires a positive opt-in, meaning that emails sent without the persons stated permission are not permitted. As a consequence, opt-ins must be maintained continuously and opt-outs must be included in all promotional emails. Therefore, newsletters are much less viable as methods to nurture audiences. Furthermore, outbound sales is severely limited by the inability to send emails to contacts without their prior agreement. These challenges are further exacerbated by the effect of Covid-19 on events and conferences, meaning that in-person meetings can also no longer be relied upon as a foundation for scalable sales or marketing. Moreover, due to the hyper nature of many B2B industries, large ad campaigns are not specific enough to bring sufficient returns. These obstacles leave many companies re-aligning in how they reach new targets but also in how they nurture their existing contact base within a manageable budget. It’s important to note that there are a large number of well-known lead generation alternatives for outbound sales and marketing, but less lead nurturing substitutes are similarly widespread. As for many other tasks, LinkedIn is an exceptionally effective tool worth considering. Before diving into some of the ways LinkedIn can be used to further your lead nurturing objectives let’s refresh what lead nurturing actually entails.
What is Lead Nurturing?
Lead nurturing involves building and growing relationships with prospects that haven’t yet bought your product or service. This is done with the objective of growing lead quality, increasing conversion and thus driving pipeline and revenue. LinkedIn is well established as a powerful tool for lead generation, but its effectiveness for lead nurturing is less reported. Below is a list of ways in which lead nurturing can be successfully carried out on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn Tactics for Lead Nurturing
Gathering data on your audience
On LinkedIn, one can find a breadth of data about any prospect that has an account. And through LinkedIn tools such as Sales Navigator, even more, information can be obtained. This information can go beyond their personal and professional background into their interests, skills and areas of knowledge. By using this data, one can nurture leads with content and conversations that are specifically tailored to them. Naturally, this makes it much easier to build relationships with these prospects and keep them engaged.
Network invites and direct messages
LinkedIn enables profile holders to invite other members to their network. If this request is accepted, starting conversations and sharing content becomes an excellent way to build relationships with these contents. Most importantly, adding someone to your network and messaging them is a completely GDPR compliant way to start a conversation, making it an excellent replacement for email and phone. Furthermore, messages can be kept short and natural, either sharing information or simply commenting about something you saw on their profile or news feed. The fact that LinkedIn is, in essence, a social network, means that it’s much easier to simply have a chat with someone without asking for anything in return, leading to much more genuine relationship-building than could otherwise happen with traditional lead generation tools.
Once someone has joined your network, you can interact with their posts through liking, comment and resharing. These should be viewed as touchpoints in the lead nurturing journey and efficient ways to stay in the prospect’s mind without taking too much of their time. Additionally, these small interactions can create the basis for an outbound message through the chat function, making the start of a conversation more natural and less intrusive.
Engaging in LinkedIn groups
LinkedIn groups can be a great way to engage with members and nurture leads over a specific topic related to your target industry. However, due to the high amount of promotions and spamming that commonly occurs within them, its crucial to focus on being helpful first and foremost before posting your own content and ideas. Start by focusing on answering questions and building on existing discussions, before starting your own threads and over time you’ll be able to become a thought leader within that chosen niche.
Beyond LinkedIn groups, thought leadership is one of the most constructive ways to nurture leads on LinkedIn. By sharing both original and reposted content consistently, you can keep your audience engaged with news that is relevant to their industry or interests. When choosing what content to use, it’s crucial to keep in mind the data you’ve gathered over your leads so far. Whether this is what kind of topics they have been commenting and posting about, or the type of content that has been garnering the most attention and popularity. While most posts should be informative and not promotional in nature, once you have amassed and nurtured a wide audience of leads that are engaging with your posts, you can begin to share content more directly related to your solutions. In addition, if you see a target lead interact with one of your posts either with a like, comment or reshare, that can be an excellent opportunity to start a conversation without being obtrusive.