If LinkedIn is a part of your B2B marketing strategy, here are a few lead generating tips to make the most of the platform.

LinkedIn currently has over 460 million members, a number that is growing daily. The platform is used by thousands of B2B brands as it’s one of the best ways to reach their ideal target audience.

When used correctly, LinkedIn can be a lead goldmine. Below are a few tips that you can use to start benefiting from platform as a B2B brand.

LinkedIn lead generation tips for your business

Spend some time working on your profile or group

Your profile is one of the first things that other LinkedIn members will view before they decide to connect with you. Include as many details as possible in order to make a great first impression. If possible, get creative with your profile by making it pleasant and fun to read. Some business owners even change up the text that would normally be used in the title field to give members a reason to connect with them.

The same goes for your LinkedIn group. If you want members to join your group, give them a reason to. Are you actively participating in discussions? Are you creating posts on a regular basis and providing members with useful information? Ask yourself why users would want to join your group and go from there. Your LinkedIn group is a great selling tool.

Recommended Read: Increase Your Sales Using Social Proof

Connect with people

If you want to generate more leads you need to actively connect with people on LinkedIn. This doesn’t mean that you should just connect with anyone and everyone though. Start by connecting with your current clients to start growing your LinkedIn connection numbers.

Next, start searching for people who meet your ideal customer criteria. When you do approach them to connect though, don’t send out a boring generic message that they’ll simply delete, make your message personal and relevant. Once you’ve connected with a potential lead, don’t send them a sales pitch right away either as it won’t work. Instead, start building a relationship with them by asking them questions, sending them links to content they might find interesting or invite them to join your group.

Don’t discount the advanced search feature

Make use of LinkedIn’s advanced search feature if you really want to find the right kind of leads. It will allow you to really narrow down your search as it offers options such as location, industry and company. LinkedIn’s premium members have even more search options available to them.

Take advantage of LinkedIn ads

If you have some marketing budget to spare, why not get the leads to come to you by running an ad campaign on LinkedIn? There are two advertising options for you to take advantage of, one being sponsored content ads that allow you to promote a post using specific audience targeting, and the other being text ads that appear on the left-hand side of a user’s newsfeed and include a call-to-action that will take them to a landing page on your site. You can find out more about LinkedIn advertising here.

Recommended Read: How to Build a Sales Funnel on Facebook

Position yourself as an expert

Investing some time in content creation is one decision you won’t regret. Creating content as a B2B brand is one of the best ways to position yourself as an industry expert. It also gives you something to post in your groups so that users can start engaging, asking questions and providing feedback.

Join relevant groups

Another great way to find more leads is to join groups that your ideal customer would have joined themselves. Spend some time engaging with group members so that they’ll either connect with you themselves or they won’t be surprised when you send them an invite to connect. Joining a group and taking the time to build relationships with members will help you build trust too.

Share in a client’s success

Keep an eye out for posts, articles or news about a client or prospect and share in their success. Spread the word about it to show that you care and are excited about their success. This will help your case when you offer them a relevant product or service that will add to their success later on.

The secret to being successful on LinkedIn is to dedicate a small block of time to it every day. When you’re consistent and you’re providing other users with value, you automatically increase the chances of members wanting to do business with you.

How social proof can help boost your conversions.

Humans hate missing out and when a crowd gathers, they are immediately intrigued and want to find out what’s going on. Curiosity, fear, uncertainty and acceptance are all traits that are ingrained into us as humans and it’s these traits that go hand in hand with social proof.

Social proof explained

Social proof is when consumers conform to the actions of others because they make the assumption that it’s the correct behavior. When we see a large group of people doing something we’ll more than likely want to do it to. This applies to everything from performing a specific action to watching a video or buying a particular product.

Social proof is used by marketers to put customers’ minds at ease. It helps them feel better about their decision to engage with a brand or purchase their products or services because other people are doing it too.

According to a report by Consumerist, nearly 70% of consumers rely on online reviews before they make a purchase.

Using social proof to boost conversions

Below are just a few of the ways that you can use social proof to increase your sales and show new customers just how much your brand is loved.

Customer Testimonials

Displaying customer testimonials is a great way to show new customers just how awesome your brand is.

Nielsen has found that 92% of people will trust a recommendation from a peer, and 70% of people will trust a recommendation from someone they don’t even know. This just shows how far a few good testimonials can go.

Ask your customers to tell you why they love your brand so that you can use the best testimonials on your website. There are so many creative ways to display your testimonials but do use customer photos if you can as this adds to the trustworthiness of the statements.

Case Studies

Case studies are effective because it helps people relate to an issue or need, and shows how your brand’s products or services managed to solve a particular problem. Case studies can be a little longer than testimonials as they generally outline a customer’s experience from start to finish.

Ratings and Reviews

When you’re shopping online, chances are you’re going to check out a product’s reviews before you make a purchase. Ratings and reviews not only help customers feel better about their purchases but they also provide you with valuable feedback as a business. Use bad reviews or ratings to improve your products or the way you do business.

Celebrity Endorsements

If you really want to prove your brand’s value, get a celebrity to endorse it. People admire celebrities and public figures so if they’re willing to place their stamp of approval on a particular brand, it automatically gives it a lot more authority.

User Generated Content

Encouraging user generated content is a great marketing tool. It helps spread the word about your brand and gives new customers an idea of what other people think of your products or services. Being present on platforms such as Instagram or creating a unique hashtag for Twitter are just some of the ways that you can encourage users to generate unique content. Get users to take a photo with one of your products or ask them to use a specific hashtag when mentioning your brand online to get your business noticed.

Badges

If your brand has any industry certifications or accreditations, display them proudly. It positions your brand as an expert in your field and gives customers even more reason to trust you. In fact, badges and certifications have shown to increase conversion rates by up to 30%.

Subscriber or Social Counts

Showing how many people subscribe to your newsletter and how many fans you have on your various social media pages is a great way to showcase your brand’s popularity. If you have content on your website, you can also show how many times each post has been shared online. People want to share useful, interesting content with family and friends so this helps position you as an expert and convinces people to engage with your content too.

Incorporating social proof into your marketing strategy is a simple, straightforward and effective way to bring in more sales every month.

Stop wasting money by not implementing a social media sales funnel.

With over 17 billion users as of the second quarter in 2016, it’s not hard to see why Facebook is such a popular marketing platform for millions of brands.

With the major advancements in Facebook advertising and targeting options, putting budget towards this platform has become an obvious and worthwhile move for many brands. As with all other marketing efforts, seeing an increase in conversions and turnover is the end goal, and using a social media sales funnel is now just as important as implementing one on your website.

What is a sales funnel?

A sales funnel is used to gradually move consumers through the buying process and eventually get them to convert.

The funnel allows you to build a relationship with your customers and get them to buy your products or services because they want to, not because you used hard sales tactics.

Applying a sales funnel to Facebook marketing

Facebook users are bombarded with online marketing every day, which is why it’s more important than ever for brands to take the time to earn their trust, create value and build relationships with them.

The following sales funnel model will help you do just that. Below are the steps to follow to increase Facebook conversions.

  1. Build

The first step is to build and grow your Facebook audience. Use around 20% of your Facebook budget to promote to non-fans in order to start growing your audience numbers. You will need a sizeable audience for the next two steps in the funnel. Building your Facebook audience will also provide you with the social proof you need to attract and convert new customers in the future.

As you create your campaign to attract new Facebook fans, consider the following targeting:

  • Fans of pages that are similar to yours
  • Fans with interests that are relevant to your brand
  • Lookalike audiences using your core email list

You can even use a lookalike audience and add the page and interest related targeting to the mix for really specific results.

  1. Engage

Now that you’ve built up a decent following, it’s time to engage with your audience and show them what your brand is all about. You can do this by developing interesting and unique content that you can promote and share with them. Aim to use about 20% of your Facebook budget here too.

By encouraging engagement you are also increasing the chances of your posts showing up organically in a user’s newsfeed going forward. These promoted posts should drive people to your website to read an article, watch a video or take a quiz. Creating high-value content positions you as an expert in your field, helps customers relate to you as a brand and gives them a reason to keep coming back to your website.

Engaging with your audience and providing them with something of value will help you earn their trust and start building a relationship with them in order for you to move into the final phase of the funnel.

  1. Convert

Now that you have increased your fan base and your website traffic, you can start promoting your products and services to these prospective customers. Use your remaining Facebook budget on sales related posts and remarketing campaigns.

Promoting sales related posts should be done in moderation in order to avoid driving people away. These promoted posts should click through to a sales related landing page that will tell the visitor what next steps to take in order to convert. Make sure that you write this copy in the same style as your engagement related posts so that your brand’s personality is being brought across anytime you communicate with your audience.

Running a remarketing campaign using Facebook ads will help you target people who have recently visited your website and have shown an interest in your products or services. Remarketing is a great way to keep your brand top of mind, grow your Facebook audience and potentially increase your conversion rates.

How to turn your customer referral program around.

Word-of-mouth marketing is still as effective as ever. According to a study conducted by Nielsen, people are four times more likely to purchase something if it’s been referred by a friend.

Offering an online customer referral program is one of the easiest ways to boost your sales, and while it might seem like a lot of extra effort, you’ll be surprised at the incredible results you’ll see if you do it right.

According to Texas Tech, 83% of consumers are willing to refer after a positive experience but less than 29% of them do. So what can brands do to change this around?

If you already have an online referral program in place and you’re looking to see better results or you want to get it right from the get-go, below are just some of the most common mistakes to avoid.

Mistake 1: Your Customers Don’t Know About Your Program

If the details of your referral program are not easily accessible from your home page then chances are your customers aren’t going to know about it and it won’t work. Along with placing the program’s details on your website’s homepage, it also helps to market your referral program on your social media pages as well as your newsletter if you have one. Greater awareness = More referrals.

Recommended Read: Getting Customer Testimonials to Work for You

Mistake 2: Not Giving Your Reward Proper Consideration

How are you rewarding the customers who refer new customers to you? Rewarding customers with just anything isn’t going to cut it. If you truly understand your customers, their interests and their browsing habits, you’ll know what’s most important to them and what reward they would find hard to resist. There are countless ways that you can reward your loyal customers but make sure that it’s something unique and relevant.

Mistake 3: Not Testing Your Program

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to referral programs. This is something that you need to keep a close eye on, stay committed to and most importantly, test. Just because your first approach to customer referrals didn’t work doesn’t mean it’s not for you. Try out different rewards and change up the way you present and promote your program before you call it quits.

Mistake 4: You Haven’t Laid a Solid Foundation

If your brand hasn’t been very active online and you suddenly decide to implement a referral program, you might find that the uptake is pretty slow. In order to encourage referrals, you need to have built a solid foundation with your customers to begin with. Customers need to see that you’re engaged and always there to assist before they’ll think about referring you to the people in their social circles. Having a good product or service is a great start but showing your customers that there are people behind your brand goes a long way.

Recommended Read: Landing Page Copy That Converts

Mistake 5: You’re Not Making Customers Feel Secure

A referral program generally involves a lot of personal details so it’s important for you to be transparent about what details you’ll require and how you will be using them before a customer will think about handing them over to you. Make your customers feel secure knowing that their contacts’ personal details won’t be used incorrectly if you really want to increase your referrals.

Referral marketing is so powerful because of the strong sense of trust we have in our family and friends. It’s up to you as a brand to build on that trust if you want to truly succeed at online referral marketing.

A guide to generating income from your blog.

If you’re a blogger that has recently set yourself up online, you might be wondering when and how you can start making some money off of your content. The answer is that it depends.

While creating a blog might seem like an obvious way to bring in some extra money every month, it will require some hard work on your part before you can get it to that point, so focusing on the monetization aspect of it shouldn’t necessarily be your first priority. However, some bloggers feel that you should start as soon as possible.

Before you think monetization

Before you start thinking about approaching sponsors and advertisers, you should spend some time doing the following:

  • Spend some time on your design. Make sure that your blog isn’t cluttered, has quality images and is easy to navigate. While you’re busy, you should also consider how you would like to incorporate ads into the site so that it’s already setup once you start approaching advertisers.
  • Build up your content. Before advertisers will even consider your blog, they need to see some numbers. This means that you need to create quality content on a regular basis in order to increase your website traffic so that you have some impressive stats to present to potential advertisers.
  • Get social. Along with advertising on websites with high volumes of traffic, most advertisers will more than likely want some social media exposure too. Get active on social and build your following as much as you can.

Ready to monetize?

If you feel that your content has a good following and that your traffic numbers are decent enough, below are just some of the ways that you can start monetizing your blog:

Advertising Networks

There are a variety of ad networks that you can sign up to that will place third party advertising on your site based on your blog audience. Ad networks generally work on a pay-per-click basis and work really well for those days or months where you can’t fill your advertising spots with banners from individual paying clients. Examples of popular networks include, Google AdSense, Chitika, Adsterra and Propellar Ads.

Direct Advertising

Selling banner advertising to individual companies or brands that might be interested in talking to your specific target audience is another way to make money as a blogger. You can charge advertisers a fixed rate per day or per week, or you can charge per thousand impressions aka CPM.

Affiliate Advertising

There are a number of companies that offer affiliate advertising programs. Basically you will run their banners on your website in conjunction with a unique URL and if they derive any sales from the campaign, you will receive a certain percentage as compensation. Just be sure to only run affiliate ads that would appeal to your target audience in order to keep driving relevant traffic to your site and keeping your readers happy.

Sell Your Services

If you’re looking to take on some additional freelance or consulting work, your blog is the perfect way to advertise your skills. By posting regular content and focusing on SEO, you shouldn’t have a problem attracting targeted traffic, including some potential clients.

Paid Articles and Reviews

Another way to generate content and bring in an income is to offer articles or reviews for other brands for a fee. Writing the articles or reviews yourself is always a better alternative to accepting articles written by a company as they often turn out to be glorified sales pitches. By writing the content yourself you can make sure that it will be relevant to your audience and that it’s of a good quality.

Bonus Tip: Why not start a newsletter in order to spread your content far and wide? Once you have built up a large enough email database you can even start offering advertising opportunities there too.

Give your brand a boost with these online strategies.

Leads are the lifeblood of any business. It’s the reason marketers pour so much money into creating brand awareness, customer loyalty and sales. Simply put, you need leads if you want to keep your business up and running and an important part of generating quality, qualified leads is keeping your marketing fresh and exciting.

An interesting study done by Ascend2 showed that the top five most effective online lead generation tactics focus on:

  1. Email marketing
  2. Website or landing pages
  3. Content marketing
  4. Search engine optimization
  5. Social media marketing

Before you start developing a few new approaches to lead generation in your specific sector, it might be useful to relook at how your target audience spends their time online so that you can build your strategy around that. Online behaviour changes so it’s important to stay abreast of any new studies or stats that could help you better cater to your audience’s needs.

Lead generation tactics to consider in 2016

Create a Video

According to a study by Insivia, 64% of users are more likely to buy a product after watching a video about it. With so many great video tools available out there, anyone can create a video about their brand or their offering. Videos don’t have to be long or complicated so don’t let the thought of coming up with a compelling script or the fact that you’ve never made a video before put you off of trying it. A video can also be spread far and wide by including it on your website, in your emails and on social media.

Offer a Freebie

Everyone loves getting something for free and if you have the expertise to create something like a white paper, a free eBook or a podcast series, offer this to online visitors in exchange for their details. You could also offer a discount coupon to be used with their next online purchase in exchange for signing up for your newsletter or simply filling in a lead generation form. Whatever you choose to offer though, it should be something that your audience will find appealing. Use these details strategically though and don’t spam them with countless emails or phone calls.

Use 404 to Your Advantage

Everyone has landed on a 404 page at some point or another and it’s likely to happen with your company’s website too. Use this error page to your advantage by turning it into a lead generation opportunity. Promote one of your products, direct users to a popular page on your site or add a contact form to the page.

Use that Call-to-Action

How are you using your core call-to-action and does it stand out enough? You need to make it as easy as possible for online visitors to know what steps to take next. Make sure that your call-to-action stands out, that it’s easy to understand and that it’s simple to action too.

Don’t Forget About Content

While content marketing does take some extra effort, the rewards are worth it. Creating unique content that isn’t necessarily always a blog post can do wonders for your brand. It positions you as an expert in your chosen field and it can be shared in countless ways such as in a targeted email campaign or on your social media platforms. Incorporating good SEO practices into your content creation strategy will also drive additional, targeted traffic to your website.

Utilize Social Media Tools

There are countless ways to generate leads on social media and using tools such as Twazzup is one such way. Twazzup allows you to analyse your followers and tells you which of your followers are potential leads that you could approach. Twitter also has a lead generation card ad that can be used to gather leads on social media.

Answer Questions on Quora

Quora’s stats have gone through the roof of late and it’s a perfect way to not only find people who might be interested in what your brand has to offer but you get to position yourself as an expert in your field by answering questions that are related to your offering. Posting links in your answers will also help you drive traffic to your website and hopefully convert new visitors into paying clients.

Setup Social Media Alerts

By taking the time to setup a few social media alerts using tools like TweetBeep, you can listen out for tweets that contain specific keywords relating to your brand that you can reply to. By practicing social media listening you can easily gain access to people who are potentially interested in what you have to offer.