I’ve covered at length here in the blog how to maximize LinkedIn basics to stand out and kick start your LinkedIn sales and marketing efforts. From creating a custom LinkedIn URL to choosing the right profile picture to writing a powerful LinkedIn headline, you’ve learned a lot about LinkedIn marketing but now it’s time to dive into some more advanced LinkedIn strategies. So in this post I am going to share with you how to find your exact customer avatar using LinkedIn.
Here are 3 LinkedIn strategies to help you find your exact customer avatar
The secret is to put your time and attention into lead gen activities that connects you with your exact customer avatar. Follow a carefully developed LinkedIn sales system. There are three key ways to reach your precise target market (or customer avatar) using LinkedIn.
These are the methods I’ve used over and over again since 2007 to generate hundreds of customers and millions of dollars in revenue on LinkedIn:
Key #1 Leverage other people’s connections
Building your network is a critical component of LinkedIn sales success. Your network is generally considered “strong” once you’ve hit the 500 mark. If you’re not there yet, try these tips from one of my earlier blogs to boost your LinkedIn network but remember to focus on connecting with the right people or you’ll waste a lot of time chasing your tail.
Once you’re up to 500 connections, it’s time to add value for those connections. Sharing great content in your status updates is one way. Establishing yourself as a LinkedIn connector is another. You establish authority and build trust every time you make an introduction between two of your LinkedIn connections.
Now it’s time for YOU to leverage YOUR connections.
It’s time for the trust and value you’ve provided to work for you. Spend some time looking through the 2nd level connections of your existing customers and referral sources. Identify which of those 2nd connections are ideal prospects.
Or, you could take a list of target prospects you’ve already identified and cross reference them to see which of those prospects share one or more of your 1st connections.
Now that you’ve identified who among your connections can introduce you to your target prospects, it’s time to get some introductions. Craft personalized messages for your connections and be direct by simply asking them for an introduction to the prospect. To significantly increase the effectiveness of this strategy add value by offering to reciprocate with your LinkedIn connections!
Here is a link to a great article that shares 3 ways to introduce 2 people over email.
Once you’ve gotten an introduction, put the lead into your LinkedIn sales funnel (HINT: The system I teach in Linked Academy will give you step-by-step instructions for creating your LinkedIn sales funnel). Leveraging your 1st connections by getting highly targeted referrals will quickly escalate the number of leads and sales opportunities in your funnel. This is a simple but very POWERFUL strategy that should not be overlooked.
Key #2 Use ‘Advanced Search’ to its fullest potential
I’ve mentioned this here before, but LinkedIn is COSTING YOU MONEY if you don’t have a LinkedIn Premium account. The additional features and in particular, the targeting elements, multiply the results of your sales efforts exponentially.
The most powerful among those LinkedIn Premium targeting efforts is unlimited ‘Advanced Searches.’
There are over 450 million individual profiles on LinkedIn. The basic search functionality for LinkedIn users can barely scratch the surface for you, let alone provide you with a robust list of targeted leads to enter into your funnel. ‘Advanced Search’ allows you to get extremely granular with your search criteria. Hone yours, and LinkedIn will essentially drop leads into your lap.
In fact, LinkedIn Premium members can get even more ‘Advanced Search’ results sent to their Inbox every week. Yes LinkedIn will EMAIL YOU LEADS every week!
Detailed criteria available in ‘Advanced Search’ includes:
It takes time to identify the criteria most critical to identifying your ideal customer avatar. Once you’ve refined these criteria to find your client avatar, ‘Advanced Search’ allows you to save up to 7 custom searches. So rather than logging back in to remember those criteria and begin your search again, you can simply pull it up from your list of saved searches.
A basic LinkedIn account gives you 3 saved searches. Premium gives you 7. Free users get 100 search results per month. Premium users get unlimited! To connect with your target market on LinkedIn you first have to find them. ‘Advanced Search’ is the best native LinkedIn tool to get you there.
Once you’ve seen how powerful LinkedIn’s advanced search can be for free users, you should check out my post “4 Reasons Your FREE LinkedIn Account Could Be Costing You Money” to better understand what you might be missing.
Key #3 Put ‘Groups’ to work for you
Very few people take the time to invest in LinkedIn Groups. Ignoring LinkedIn Groups is a MASSIVE mistake that could cost you significant REVENUE.
Finding the right LinkedIn Groups is a crucial element to reaching your target market. One of the easiest ways to find the right groups is by looking at your existing clients’ profiles. Visit their profiles and take a look at which groups are industry related because your likely to find more potential customer there. If you meet the criteria simply join the group.
TIP: Groups that have at least a post or two every day and some consistent conversation are best.
There are some dormant groups around LinkedIn >> Those aren’t where you want to spend your time. You want to focus your efforts on those channels that are going to make you money and put targeted leads into your funnel so you can implement your LinkedIn sales system.
Okay, now it’s time to put LinkedIn Groups to work for you. Here are the most powerful ways to leverage groups:
- Use groups to message your prospects for free. That’s right – this LinkedIn hack is a bit off the beaten path, but it WORKS and it’s FREE. I break down the three, quick steps needed to send FREE LinkedIn InMails in this blog post.
- Build trust and provide value. This path can take a bit longer, but can result in very strong relationships with your client avatar. Since you’ve taken the time to focus your efforts on active groups with consistent conversation, it’s a matter of getting active within those groups. Provide value wherever possible. Ideally, you’ll answer people’s questions first. Share your experience that is willing to help. Then, share some articles or resources that you think will provide value to the group (identifying why when you post – these can be original articles or 3rd party). Once you’ve built up some trust and are having conversations with group members in your target market, take the relationship out of the group and send requests to connect so you can get those prospects into your funnel.
- Create your own niche group for prospects. If your search results have turned up some groups that aren’t as active or valuable as you need to reach your customer avatar, create one! Think about the problems you’re solving for clients and the issues that they’re facing, then create a niche group that addresses them. Share links to the group on LinkedIn, talk about it in discussions and ask others to promote. Neil Patel offers some excellent advice for growing a LinkedIn Group here. As the group owner, you can message group members regularly, although be careful not to overtly promote your business. This added tool can be extremely powerful for establishing trust and taking conversations offline while putting more prospects from your target market into your sales funnel.
Once you’re ready to start REALLY making money on LinkedIn, it’s a matter of implementing a system. I’m about to open up a VERY LIMITED release of my LinkedIn lead generation system called Linked Academy.
To get on the waiting list, download my free eBook here >> “The 7 Habits of Highly Successful LinkedIn Users.” My book takes some of the best advice from my blog and goes a step further, with quick, actionable steps you can take now to get your LinkedIn presence in shape before Linked Academy.
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“Stop the madness. There’s a better way!”
LinkedIn Marketing & Social Selling Consultant, Trainer, Speaker