Do you want to generate more sales from LinkedIn? Wondering how best to use your profile, company page, and LinkedIn messages to promote your product or service?
In this article, you’ll discover how to sell on LinkedIn without ads.
This article was co-created by Judi Fox and Michael Stelzner. For more about Judi, scroll to Other Notes From This Episode at the end of this article.
Why You Need to Be Using LinkedIn for Organic Selling
One key difference between LinkedIn and other social media platforms is that when visitors log into LinkedIn, they expect to be sold to more than on the other social media platforms. They expect you to do business on LinkedIn, and therefore, when the pitch comes on LinkedIn, it’s not a shock.
Of course, you still need to work on building a relationship with your audience. Just because someone is expecting to be sold to doesn’t mean you don’t need to earn the right to do the selling by providing value first. But there’s a little less pressure, as the expectation has already been set.
Additionally, the LinkedIn algorithm handles links on posts differently from other social platforms. Facebook has said on record that they sometimes suppress posts with links that would take people away from the platform. Their goal is to keep people on their platform as long as possible. In contrast, LinkedIn has no such mission. They don’t suppress posts containing outside links, making it easier to provide value and resources to your audience.
And finally, the mindset and audience budget on LinkedIn are already primed for sales and services, partially because when people log into LinkedIn, they already expect to see you offering your services. This also means that branded promotional content can get much higher organic reach on LinkedIn than some of the other social platforms.
Best Practices for Selling on LinkedIn
We already know that it takes time to build up that know, like, and trust factor with prospects before they’ll decide to work with you. That means they need repeated exposure to you before committing to take the next step.
A few years ago, that average was between 7 and 12 touchpoints. Over the past couple of years — and accelerated during the pandemic — the average number of touchpoints between a brand and a prospect has skyrocketed to almost 30 in some cases. However, because of LinkedIn’s unique position, the number of necessary touchpoints is much fewer.
If a person has never seen or heard of your brand before finding you on LinkedIn, with a solid strategy and valuable content, you can prime that prospect to be ready to purchase your goods or services faster and with fewer touchpoints on LinkedIn than you could on other social channels.
But you still must first earn the right to sell and promote your goods and services by providing value and engaging with your audience.
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It’s important to remember that at any point in time, a visitor to your LinkedIn profile or company page falls into one of three buckets: a cold, warm, or hot bucket. As the names suggest, the temperature of the bucket directly reflects the temperature of the relationship between you and that visitor.
A cold visitor to your profile or page has little to no previous exposure to you or your brand, while a hot visitor has had several exposures to your brand already, and is, therefore, closer to being ready to take the next step and hop on a call with you, schedule an appointment, or purchase your services.
On LinkedIn, you need to remain mindful of where people are within the journey from the cold bucket into the hot bucket and prepare your profile and page to accommodate all three buckets.
#1: Tips for Selling via Your LinkedIn Profile
Showcase the Right Content in Your LinkedIn Featured Section
On your LinkedIn profile, you can speak to people at different points in the journey through the content you showcase in the Featured section, which appears right below your About section. In this section, you can share LinkedIn posts, link to off-platform content, and upload relevant documents or images.
Here are some tips for featuring content that speaks to people throughout the customer journey:
For cold visitors: Showcasing a link to a post or article you shared on LinkedIn that gained a good amount of engagement is great for a cold visitor to get to know you a little bit better without taking a huge time investment and getting off of LinkedIn. It allows them to stay on the platform and still receive the value and resources you shared in the form of a LinkedIn post or article.
Keep in mind that depending on the length of the article and the value you shared within, the article itself can warm up a cold lead.
For warm visitors: Warm visitors already have had at least some exposure to you and your brand, making them trust you a little more. For warm visitors, a link to another resource or something of value but off of LinkedIn — such as a link to a YouTube video or a blog post — can help further that relationship.
For hot visitors: Hot visitors have already seen and interacted with you and your brand several times so they already know, like, and trust you. They’ve also already seen and probably engaged with your content on the LinkedIn platform as well as valuable resources and content on other platforms such as YouTube.
Hot visitors are ready to take the next step and learn how to schedule a call or an appointment with you, hire you, or purchase your products. At this point, you can share your links off of LinkedIn to your opt-in pages, calendar pages, or other landing pages.
Curate Content to Share on Your LinkedIn Profile
LinkedIn doesn’t seem to value one type of content over another. Posts, videos, blog articles, links… LinkedIn appears to value them all and works to distribute the content as widely as possible to provide users with the intended value and resources. However, one thing that LinkedIn does seem to push out more is when the content is accompanied by your own thoughts and values.
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As you’re putting together your content strategy or curating articles to share on LinkedIn, along with the link, consider adding your own perspective or valuable thoughts to the information that you share, rather than merely sharing the link itself. For example, if you disagree with the premise in an article from a publication in your niche, you could post a link to that article and share your take.
The audience on LinkedIn will appreciate the added value of your perspective, and the LinkedIn algorithm will push your content even further than if you shared it with no added thoughts at all.
Another way to share a personal perspective is to simply tell stories. If you’re an agency, you could say something like, “I’m not going to name the client but this was their challenge…” and then explain how you helped them solve it.
#2: Tips for Selling via Your LinkedIn Company Page
On your LinkedIn company page, take advantage of the real estate at the top. The banner is your opportunity to position your business visually (a billboard of sorts) and your call to action (CTA) button — Contact Us, Learn More, Sign Up, and so on — gives people an easy way to get more information or connect with your brand on a deeper level. With an engaging banner that includes a CTA to click on the button, you can boost the number of conversions on your company page.
LinkedIn also allows company pages to feature the top three hashtags you want to be known for or be visible in, called community hashtags. Just as on other platforms that leverage hashtags, visitors on LinkedIn can follow and click on hashtags to see trending posts on the platform using that hashtag.
Pro Tip: To get more exposure for your page and your business, consider having your employees link their personal accounts to your page. Employees make some of the best company-branded content, especially on LinkedIn. So when their personal profile is positioned as an employee of your business and the featured section includes a link to your company page, it helps promote your business even further than relying on the page itself.
#3: Tips for Selling via LinkedIn Messages
One of the major complaints people have about LinkedIn is the number of spam messages they receive the second they hop onto LinkedIn and begin gaining any sort of attention. Plenty of well-intentioned businesses use LinkedIn direct messages to introduce themselves and their services to people, and sometimes those types of direct messages can feel a bit assertive.
But that doesn’t mean that direct messaging doesn’t work. It just means you need to pay a little more attention to the strategy behind your direct messaging.
Just as with the client journey on your LinkedIn profile or your LinkedIn company page, pay attention to where this person is in their journey or what bucket they fall into: cold, warm, or hot.
You don’t want to send a message with an attached commitment to someone before they’re ready, or you risk losing their business forever. So don’t send someone you just met a message asking them to schedule a consultation with you right away. Instead, send them to a link on LinkedIn that would be appropriate for a cold bucket visitor.
All in all, LinkedIn continues to be a powerhouse for B2B business and brand marketing. The higher organic reach, the mindset and makeup of the audience, the algorithms, and the values upheld by the platform all combine to make it a favorite among B2B businesses, coaches, and social media marketers.