Convince Prospects You Can Change Their Success Rates

Is generating leads with LinkedIn proving frustrating and difficult? Probably because you’re failing at tempting prospects to click more deeply and explore what you’re all about … in ways that help capture a lead. Here’s how to provoke response—get people to dive deeper into your blog post, explore your LinkedIn profile, register for a webinar or whitepaper download, email or call you.

Is generating leads with LinkedIn proving frustrating and difficult? Probably because you’re failing at tempting prospects to click more deeply and explore what you’re all about … in ways that help capture a lead.

Here’s how to provoke response—get people to dive deeper into your blog post, explore your LinkedIn profile, register for a webinar or whitepaper download, email or call you.

Success depends on your ability to prove to customers that you can change their success rates (before they purchase and in ways that earn you a lead).

The One Thing That Determines Success
Generating leads with LinkedIn depends on creating intense levels of curiosity in prospects. You’ve got to get them hungry for more information about solutions to their most urgent situations. But not the solutions you sell.

Your first meaningful interaction with prospects cannot be one they pay for. You’ve got to give customers a “taste of success” in advance of their purchase. This gets them confident in their own abilities and trusting you.

Here’s What to Say (to Get Response)
“What do I say to prospects when they don’t want to talk about what I sell yet?”

Whatever matters to them.

The best way to start generating leads with LinkedIn is to ask yourself, “What’s keeping my typical customer up at night?”

It sounds obvious, but are you doing it?

When interacting on LinkedIn, talk about answers to your prospects’ problems, methods to avoid risks or ways to achieve goals, but in ways that don’t immediately connect to what you sell.

Whether in a LinkedIn group or private email, present yourself in a way that leaves the prospect wanting more. This part will make or break your success.

Being provocative takes practice, but it’s the only way to earn a lead when using LinkedIn.

Promise to Change Your Customers’ Success Rate
No matter what you’re selling, you’ve got to give people a reason to start a focused conversation with you. Changing their success rate is that reason.

There are three “places” to converse with prospects:

  • LinkedIn groups
  • Email
  • Your blog

In all cases your challenge is the same: Be relevant and provocative enough to earn prospects’ clicks (to your blog).

Here’s how to begin:

1. Be clear, helpful, yet not 100 percent thorough. Lay out knowledge, tips and actionable information in ways that encourage more questions. Be specific but not so complete that readers become fully satisfied. Find ways to share actionable information in ways that make readers crave more examples.

2. Bust a myth. Few things attract and engage customers more than telling them “Let’s face it. What you’re doing is popular yet not effective. Here’s the secret on what actually works. I’ll prove it to you and show you how to get more of what you want.” By using this provocative technique you’ll create more response and a distinct voice for yourself. You’ll start generating leads with LinkedIn.

3. Make a clear call-to-action. You’re not selling. Instead, saying, “I have a cure for that” or “I’ve experienced that pain, suffered and here’s my three-step system to fix it.” Then make the pathway (to get that system, knowledge or quick fix) clear. Give content away free in return for a lead. Invite contact via LinkedIn’s email system or presenting a link to your website (if allowed in the group).

The opportunity standing before you is terrific. Giving prospects a way to better understand their problem or gain confidence over it can help what you sell become the obvious next step. In this way your product isn’t something to consider buying; instead it is a logical next step in a journey prospects find themselves on. Good luck!

5 Steps to Generating Leads From Your Blog in Just a Few Months

“How long should it take to start generating leads on my blog?” The answer will surprise you. In many cases we’re talking about just a few months. Really? Yes, really. Here’s proof and five steps you can take right now to make it happen for you.

“How long should it take to start generating leads on my blog?” The answer will surprise you. In many cases we’re talking about just a few months.

Really?

Yes, really.

Here’s proof and five steps you can take right now to make it happen for you.

A Few Months? Really?
Ed Worthington of Action Business Systems sells office copiers and service contracts—faster and more often with his blog. It took him just a few months to get his first copier sales leads from his blog, Ed Worthington’s Baltimore Copier Buying Guide. Prospects found his blog on Google and contacted him.

What’s his secret? Ed blogs in question-and-answer format. This helps him get found by clients searching for helpful advice. He also writes blog articles that give customers guidance-making sure they don’t get ripped off. He steers them clear of risks.

But being helpful, transparent, honest and all that jazz is not the key. Ed explains solutions to problems customers have in was that creates clarity AND active curiosity in him.

This creates response! (leads)

Todd Giannattasio, of Tresnic Media, challenged himself to write 50 articles in 25 days. His results? 1,000 percent increase in targeted traffic to his website and, within a few months, business leads.

In some cases, it can take as little as two days to get listed on page 1 of Google … if you play your cards right. And if you have a track record of posting relevant, actionable content in ways the Googlebot can understand.

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Here’s an example of a video I uploaded, optimized for keywords and Google listed on page 1 in just two days.

How Can You Get Results Like This?
Let’s talk about what it means to “play your cards right” and start getting leads in a few months.

Here’s what to do:

First, I’ll be honest. I’m not getting leads from my Vimeo video listing that is 2 days old. But will I soon? Yes.

I know this based on my success with the below formula. Here’s what to do:

1. Do your homework: Understand how your prospects search on Google. I know many of my prospects are trying to start “using LinkedIn for sales leads.” Plus I see HubSpot has top placement here. This search term is important enough for them to be there, too.

2. Solve a problem. Ed Worthington knows people want to avoid getting ripped off when buying office copiers. And I know people need to find a way to start using LinkedIn for sales leads. Ed and I solve problems. This is essential for you to focus on when writing blog titles and articles. Right now, ask yourself: What pressing problem do I solve? What pain do I remove? What pleasure do I create? What freedom do I permit? What connection do I allow?

3. Create response. My videos and blog posts are structured to change the success rate of prospects. Materially changing prospects’ ability to move the needle was a game-changer for me. It will be for you too. Show prospects your “better way” and invite them to join you on a journey to teach them how to have that same success.

4. Keep it brief and ALWAYS make a call to action. My video (in the above example) is two minutes long for a reason. More importantly I go for it. I try to get a lead. Don’t be afraid to. You’re not selling-you’re helping prospects take a step toward solving their problem, learning a new skill or avoiding a risk. Make sure you don’t confuse your prospect’s strong desire to get some relief (for free) with their not wanting to be pitched what you sell. Short videos that scratch itches and contain calls-to-action (using URLs in the description and within the video) work. Period. Make sure all of your videos have calls to action.

5. Dominate. I’m currently dominating page 1 search results for this term. I’m not bragging. I’m saying, “Look … you can too!” Now, with this video, I have increased my chances of being discovered as an expert and engaged with. This leads me to … leads!

How long should it take to start generating leads on your blog? Yes, “it depends” but in many cases we’re talking about a few months. Good luck!

How Less Frequent Blogging Is Creating More Leads for B-to-B Bloggers

Showing your human side, proving there’s a face behind the cold, maniacal business you represent, frequent blogging and telling stories about our businesses—it’s a shame these simple ideas aren’t generating leads and sales often enough. Yet, there is a better way to start generating leads with blogs. Winning new business in this anemic economy means creating “dramatic distinction” and irresistible curiosity with social media—giving prospects a reason to get a focused conversation started with you. Sometimes that means blogging less often.

Showing your human side, proving there’s a face behind the cold, maniacal business you represent, frequent blogging and telling stories about our businesses—it’s a shame these simple ideas aren’t generating leads and sales often enough. Yet, there is a better way to start generating leads with blogs.

Winning new business in this anemic economy means creating “dramatic distinction” and irresistible curiosity with social media—giving prospects a reason to get a focused conversation started with you. Sometimes that means blogging less often.

Content Marketing’s Biggest Myth
Want to stand out in social media? Do you have something honestly new to say? Well until you do, say less. Why? Because it works. You’ll become known for publishing less on your blog and, when doing so, releasing remarkably useful content more.

Tom Webster (one of the few wise voices willing to occasionally dissent) says the surest way to fail at blogging for sales leads is to write to a schedule, “and not in the service of ideas.”

“The tyranny of the content calendar is responsible for a lot of weak content on the Web,” says Webster.

He says, “keeping up that pace out of deference to some kind of received wisdom about publishing frequency” may not lead you to intellectual dishonesty, but it often does. At best, Webster says, it places dangerous stress on the system.

How to Stand Out—Fast
The key to success is giving prospects a compelling, irresistible reason to discover something new—a way to solve a problem that is contrary to popular wisdom. In other words, mythbusting.

Shutting-up until you have something honestly meaningful to say flies in the face of most content marketing experts. Sadly, many gurus over-emphasize the role of frequent blog posts, video uploads, etc., and point to keeping search engines busy crawling your site.

But having something new and useful to say works better and is the key to successfully using LinkedIn for sales leads, for instance.

Here is the mythbusting system in a nutshell:

  1. Make the myth clear up front: You’re dismantling popular wisdom to prove it wrong (just like I did in this blog post!)
  2. Offer proof of better way—again, up front
  3. Create a pathway for prospects to get more details (to create leads!)

The Role of Original Thought
No, no, no say the experts. Google demands a constant stream of content. Indeed, it does, but what those same experts avoid confessing is powerful:

  1. The role of original thought is becoming increasingly influential in search engines given how ranking algorithms factor in the spreading of thought-leading ideas by humans (prospects).
  2. Netting more and better leads means creating “dramatic distinction” and irresistible curiosity on your blow.

Ironically, infrequency of blogging and reaching beyond curating content is the it’s the key to getting found and making social media sell for you.

Follow These Steps: Take Action Now
Popular belief is powerful stuff. It’s what cements our habits … keeps them in place. Yet the status quo represents a big opportunity and always has. Social media gives B-to-B bloggers the chance to exploit the essence of truth-telling at the expense of every business’s enemy: mediocrity.

Mythbusting also works because it’s the story everyone wants to hear: “what you’re doing is popular yet not effective… here’s the secret on what actually works.”

This creates distinction in what you’re offering.

To generate a lead start blogging in a way that creates:

  • Confidence: Shine a light on the success your unique perspective brings; do it in a way that gives prospects clarity; help the customer feel like they can experience success too.
  • Curiosity: Explain your remedy in a way that creates clarity AND curiosity.
  • A Way: Give prospects a way to immediately act on the thought you just provoked; help them choose a pathway to make the needed change a habit in their everyday lives.

My clients and I are having a lot of success by focusing messages away from very popular (yet unproductive) beliefs that stymie our clients’ success.

For instance, I am currently mythbusting this false yet popular, positive-energy-filled belief that prevents success: “Storytelling and having a unique business personality/culture is what motivates prospects into engaging and doing business with you via social media.”

By calling into question what the elements of a good content marketing plan are on my blog (and amplifying it on other social media) I’m creating intense curiosity (about a more complete “way to get what customers want”) and presenting a clear way for customers to act on it (see the call-to-action half-way down the page).

Challenge yourself to go beyond messages and create tangible distinction by busting myths that stymie your customers’ success. Start today!

3 Ways Most B-to-B Marketers Get Off Track With Social Marketing

I get asked all the time, “Jeff, where do most B-to-B marketers go wrong with social media?” My response these days is becoming more focused and sharp: “They market on it rather than sell with it.”  There are three mistakes that most B-to-B marketers are making with social media marketing.

[For more of Jeff Molander’s insights on B-to-B marketing and social media, be sure to catch him on Thursday’s Multichannel Marketing for Business roundtable webinar.]

I get asked all the time, “Jeff, where do most B-to-B marketers go wrong with social media?” My response these days is becoming more focused and sharp: “They market on it rather than sell with it.”

There are three mistakes that most B-to-B marketers are making with social media marketing. They:

1. Have a very weak expectation of social media to begin with … they don’t expect it to produce leads nor sales.

2. Focus energy on finding effective ways to measure social’s effectiveness rather than finding ways to sell with it.

3. Make mistakes 1 and 2 because they’re looking to relatively inexperienced, unqualified people to decide what it is they should be doing with social media.

Expect Social Marketing to Sell
Your thoughts manifest reality. It’s a metaphysical fact whether you turn to new age gurus, the Bible or other philosophical belief system aimed at creating emotional, spiritual and financial wealth. What you think becomes reality and if you’re thinking about marketing outcomes (engagement, clicks, visitors, customer sentiment, etc.) that’s what you’ll get—by law!

Selling requires not only a change in expectation but a process mentality that generates tangible outcomes. Marketing usually involves a creative process with fungible, intangible outcomes like “good branding” that somehow results in sales. Marketing is faith-based.

If marketers could have anything they want when it comes to social media they want “better engagement” and better ways to measure it. The result is a world where B-to-B marketers continue to put today’s interactive version of branding before revenue.

Get Off of Social Media and on to a List
What if we cast aside such marketing aspirations and replaced them with dreams of creating leads? For instance, changing the goal from engagement to leads means changing what we do all day long—and how we do it. What if the goal was to get prospects OFF of social media?!

I’m noticing how B-to-B marketers who create revenue (and think about it all day long) think this way. They don’t care to spend five years wondering, “What’s the value of a Facebook fan?” only to find out that the question is as pointless as the half-baked answers self-appointed experts cook up.

Successful social sellers ask different questions like, “Can we use what we already know works to start generating leads sales with social marketing techniques?”

For these companies, the answer is, “yes, sometimes” but only when the social platform can be used in a way that moves sales prospects off of it and onto a lead nurturing program. In the end they rely more on traditional, process—driven database marketing—telemarketing, direct mail, email—and not johnny-come-lately metrics like “return on engagement.”

Believe in Yourself, Ignore the Experts
In many cases the reason why marketers are making mistakes 1 and 2 is because they fall victim to the uncertainty created by self-appointed experts.

In a moment of remarkable candor, former Apple brand evangelist, Guy Kawasaki announced his secret to social media success: Do not have any plan whatsoever for it. Because you can’t understand these oh-so-new technologies, he says the smartest way to approach them is to just do it.

You can understand Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, blogs, etc., if your context remains founded in business principles that are not revolutionizing—no matter what the experts say.

Resist the urge to hire who you know are ambitious, bright yet inexperienced, unqualified people to decide what it is they should be doing with social media (and how to do it). The truth is most social media experts have one main qualification: “I use it more than you do” and (my favorite) “I ‘get it’ because I study other companies that ‘get it'” (when “it” is largely hot air).

So if you want to avoid the three most common mistakes, expect social media to sell start learning a systematic way to make social platforms serve your business, stop trying to measure social’s effectiveness in intangible terms and trust your business instincts more than young social media experts.

A Deeper Dive into LinkedIn Leads and Sales Creation

The key to netting leads and sales using LinkedIn Groups is thinking differently about engagement and changing your habits—getting prospects off of social media and onto a lead nurturing program. In my last blog post I revealed the three-step process to making LinkedIn sell for you: Step 1: Create Content That Provokes; Step 2: Locate Qualified Discussions; and Step 3: Tease Prospects Into Action.

The key to netting leads and sales using LinkedIn Groups is thinking differently about engagement and changing your habits—getting prospects off of social media and onto a lead nurturing program. In my last blog post I revealed the three-step process to making LinkedIn sell for you:

  • Step 1: Create Content That Provokes
  • Step 2: Locate Qualified Discussions
  • Step 3: Tease Prospects Into Action

The Details: How I Did It
Now here’s how I’m generating leads and sales on LinkedIn Groups. I’m taking my best quotes from interviews I record—with subject matter experts—and chumming the water with them. If you want to catch fish you’ve got to attract the jumbos. Here’s one of the actual quotes I recently used:

“What social media does is allows access to buyers. [But] then the strategy is to take them off of the social media. Next you put them into a process. This is where we get into emotional-driven, direct response marketing routines … where they find you through relevant content via social media and you put them into a campaign. Dealers can leverage marketing automation technology to deliver more content that nurtures them along toward a sale.”

The other quote I placed told my target audience what they really want to hear: Success is about getting back to basics, that design (a value-added service that is being commoditized lately) still matters and how social media can be used to become known, liked and trusted in very practical ways if you focus on a simple, easy-to-do process.

Most importantly I provided no link to the content!

A Simple System to Get Sales
What did I do here really? I provoked my target market into contacting me. I already knew this approach works outside of social media and figured why not leverage LinkedIn Groups in a way that tempts group members to email me for more details or click over to my profile and then onward to my blog to acquire the knowledge? It worked.

So can you execute this same idea? Sure, you’ve got to trust that this will work but give it a shot. For me, the results rolled in: A dozen or so industry-specific leads and a handful of immediate sales. I love using LinkedIn for business leads because it’s so simple and time effective.

Again I followed a simple, practical system:

1. I created valuable content (answers to burning questions).

2. Monitored for people demonstrating need for it (in LinkedIn Groups).

3. Revealed answers in ways that created cravings for more of what I have to share (provoked interaction).

How many of you are doing the same? Surely there are more success stories out there. Let’s hear some!