Of late, I have been bombarded with a number of unsolicited sales messages from people I do not know on LinkedIn. And I am not even talking about the hundreds of generic “Connect with me on LinkedIn” connection requests from people I do not know that I get in a given month. This is straight up sales pitches via LinkedIn’s platform. I am talking “Buy now” stuff and “Hire our firm to do xyz”. And it is annoying to say the least. It makes me use LinkedIn less. I am growing tired of getting mail that I don’t want in exchange for being visible to people I used to work with. It is a dangerous place for LinkedIn. It is possible that this is happening because people see an opportunity to use the LinkedIn platform to go deeper within their marketing efforts and launch direct marketing via the channel. Sounds awesome in theory, but like the email channel, people do not like unexpected solicitation in their inboxes. No one signed up for your sales pitch and just because we share a group does not give blanket permission to directly solicit people. LinkedIn is supposed to be about relationships and networking. And too many of us are skipping that part and trying to go directly to the sale. We should not skip that step…it’s the whole idea of LinkedIn! With that, here are a few reminders for marketers to be better marketers on LinkedIn. There are five things you can do that will increase your chances of getting my attention and not getting marked as spam and ending up in LinkedIn Jail
Make it personal
This is basic blocking and tackling in marketing, people! Make it personal, mail merge my name in there and make it at least seem like you know something about my interests. Because without that, I click delete faster than you can imagine. I am like a Cyberman when it comes to LinkedIn messages: “delete, delete, delete” And since you have taken the time to find me, construct a message and so on, shouldn’t you at least get me to open your message?
Start a conversation
Since we are talking about LinkedIn and social networking, don’t you think we should have a conversation first before you try to close? Your messages should be hitting on things that are top of mind to me. Your notes should make me want to schedule a meeting with you because your insights are so powerful that I cannot live without you or your company. This is not at all what I am receiving today. People want to a conversation not a pitch. And I recognize this is a shorter sales cycle for you if you are always focused on closing, but I can tell you that you cannot sell someone something when they won’t even read your pitch. It’s like I used to say to my friends in sales regarding commission “0% of 0 is still 0”
Tell me what’s in it for me
When you want to sell me something, you’re going to need to tell me what’s in it for me. You know in a measurable and tangible way. Are you going to save me time? Money? Make me more money? What? Whys should I care? Oh wait; I don’t, because you never told me what I get out of the sale. Delete!
Do your research!
This one will make me crazier than anything else. I literally throw things when I get messages from people who did not do one iota of research into me, my background or my business. I have a lot of interests and a lot of projects that I work on. It is so easy to see what I do and yet, people seriously send me sales pitches for marketing automation, headhunting services and so on. And then I throw things. In fact, I have worked on various revenge scenarios for this level of ignorance! #BeAfraid
Curate your list
Too frequently I feel like the message went out to the entire group I joined. Which makes me go in and leave that group pretty much immediately. Unless of course you make it personal, do your research and tell me what’s in it for me. I understand the inner workings of the sales funnel. I get it. It takes a lot of eyeballs at the top of the funnel to get to the bottom of the funnel and convert into a sale. I totally get that, but, if you want to have better conversion on LinkedIn, let’s not send marketing automation help to agencies that do marketing automation or send headhunting services to recruiting firms. Knowing your target and making a really amazing list of people to message can create so much success. Blasting creates low conversions. It is plain and simple. LinkedIn is a great tool to connect and network. Direct selling is a stretch for the platform so, if you want to use LinkedIn in your marketing efforts focus less on direct sales and more on networking your way into sales. We need to stop skipping that step.