After optimizing your LinkedIn personal profile for inbound marketing, where do you go from there? Regardless of the option you choose, it’s important to know there will always be an associated cost.
If you choose paid advertising, you’ll be paying LinkedIn directly. If you go the organic route, you’ll either be paying a consultant to engage on your behalf, or you’ll be investing your own time.
The moral of the story: you get out of lead generation what you put into it!
Paid LinkedIn Advertising
While this seems like the easiest — most direct — plan of action, leveraging paid advertising on LinkedIn can result in a great deal of frustration if you aren’t sure what you’re doing.
LinkedIn offers a few paid advertising options, but I’m only going to focus on two: Sponsored Content and Sponsored InMail. Other options — text, dynamic, and display ads — are all located on the right rail and aren’t ideal for service-based businesses to generate engagement, in my opinion.
With this option, you are paying for a spot in the LinkedIn news feed. You can pay to have one of your existing posts sponsored or you can create a post from scratch.
- PROS: You are gaining exposure to your specific target audience through the news feed. This is especially helpful if you target individuals based on their title, business type, or location.
- CONS: Compared to Facebook, which provides substantial results as low as $5 per day ($0.30 – $0.50 per click, ideally), LinkedIn clicks tend to run $5 each. To run a CPM ad (cost per impression) means you’re paying for every single view, which can also get pricey if you aren’t generating results.
With this option, you are gaining access to inboxes of your target audience, creating an email message that LinkedIn distributes.
- PROS: You can personally invite individuals within your target audience to an online or in-person event, to download promotional content, or to engage in a demo.
- CONS: You are invading the personal space of people you don’t know. I am an advocate of nurturing online relationships instead of slapping people across the face with an ask, which is why I am not a fan of this type of promotion. There are those who make it work, however!
My advice: if you are going to go the paid advertising route on LinkedIn, go in with a very specific objective, such as promoting a downloadable item in exchange for contact information. If you don’t, you will probably end up with a big bill and a lot of frustration.
Content and Engagement
My method of choice on LinkedIn is content and engagement. Write articles or post videos to showcase expertise and draw attention to your brand. You can also engage with others to increase visibility.
As I mentioned before, the cost associated with this is the consultant you pay or the time you invest. Premium consultants should be able to do all of this with little input from you. Those who charge less will more than likely need a greater investment of your time to ensure what you’re publishing is truly “you.”
A step-by-step process in engagement:
- Get your LinkedIn profile ready to be seen. Create a great headline, optimize for keywords, add multimedia, and make sure it’s readable. Dig deeper into this here.
- Like, comment, and share content of relevant individuals. The hope is that your headline and profile catches the attention of those individuals and they may reach out to learn more about what you provide.
- Strike up conversations. Search for individuals within your target audience and reach out to connect. Add a personal note mentioning why you’d like to talk further. If they accept, thank them, and don’t pitch! Take note of their name to follow up or mark them as a lead in Sales Navigator, a great tool ($79.99 per month).
- Generate quality content. Write blogs, post videos, or share relevant articles. You want everything to appeal to your target audience while showcasing that you are a great source of information and that you have great expertise.
No matter the option you choose, you will truly get out of lead generation what you put into it. Conduct research around what will work best for you — paid advertising, hiring a consultant, or engaging on your own — and then focus on it to the best of your ability!