LinkedIn: just another networking tool or the new hero of lead generation?
LinkedIn shouldn’t be seen as just ‘another’ networking tool. It has the potential to become the hero at the heart of prospecting activity. Here, Mark Fones, Client Strategy and Creative Director at Wyatt International, explains how this is delivering impressive results for clients – and not in terms of just sales growth.
Three things surprise our clients about the way we use LinkedIn for lead generation. First, that we advocate it as the ‘hero’, not as just another tool. Second, that we make such strong claims for its potential. And third, that it works so effectively. At its most basic level, it enhances brand reputation. At best, it engages cold contacts, builds deep one-on-one relationships and generates impressive sales leads.
We all know the attractions of LinkedIn. It’s targeted, relevant and allows individual users to build a professional network with which they can communicate on a one-to-one basis or in groups. Like many agencies, we’ve used it effectively as a tactical tool within integrated campaigns. But both in our LinkedIn Masterclass and as part of our wider social media offering, we make the case for using LinkedIn as a strategic tool that can help engage with cold leads and nurture long-term relationships at a more emotional level. And that, critically, delivers other key benefits including brand-led marketing communications and thought leadership focused PR. Our recent work with a major international blue-chip proves the point.
We’d been talking to our client for a while about harnessing LinkedIn more strategically, and were waiting for the right opportunity. That came with the launch of an innovative product for the oil and gas industry. Our brief was to promote this product and generate warm sales leads from a cold start – in other words, to find and engage with new customers. Despite a global footprint, our client couldn’t be physically present everywhere.
Furthermore, although they were a thought and practice technological leader, they weren’t universally known in the sector. By using LinkedIn to connect the campaign, we were able to address these issues cost-effectively, and with impressive results.
As the product’s technical specialist would be fronting the campaign, we began by reviewing his LinkedIn profile and optimising it to best effect. We also wrote a detailed white paper, outlining the industry case for the product, and developed a range of other content tools. We then worked with our client to identify 500 prime targets by job title, each of whom was individually engaged with utilising the content tools and white paper. We supported this direct activity with other channels and rich content, including video, Twitter, international PR and webinars. All content was available in Spanish, Chinese and German as well as English, so we were able to eliminate any language barriers. Of the top 500 targets, some 30 per cent engaged positively to the approach, and 10 per cent of the total became active sales leads – an incredibly powerful conversion rate.
This has resulted in significant sales and, equally importantly, in a huge reputational leap of the business as a thought and practice leader.
The difference in this approach, of course, is that rather than overtly selling products, we are ‘selling’ the credibility and authority of the lead specialist and the business. This uses LinkedIn for what it does best – making influential connections which can then be developed by a whole range of tools. Capable of winning the hearts and minds of the ideal audience, it’s a selective, credible and targeted approach which nurtures prospects, and holds their hand every step of the way. By using LinkedIn as the focus and catalyst for content marketing, it becomes much more than just another string in the marketing bow. In the right hands, it can become the bow itself.
Client Strategy and Creative Director
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