Why Most LinkedIn Lead Generation Tactics Fail

Sharing relevant content on LinkedIn likely will not get customers talking with you about what you’re selling. Nor will commenting on the updates of others. Connecting with potential buyers and sending them “relevant content?” Commenting on discussions in LinkedIn groups? No and no. The truth is most of what experts say works does not. These ideas may engage buyers, but they rarely help us net sales leads.

Sharing relevant content on LinkedIn likely will not get customers talking with you about what you’re selling. Nor will commenting on the updates of others. Connecting with potential buyers and sending them “relevant content?” Commenting on discussions in LinkedIn groups? No and no.

The truth is most of what experts say works does not. These ideas may engage buyers, but they rarely help us net sales leads.

I’m not going to waste your time preaching what I think will work for you. Instead, let’s quickly examine how many of my students are building their businesses using LinkedIn.

Why I Failed on LinkedIn
I’m not afraid to tell you I failed on LinkedIn. I was doing what most sellers are doing, on my profile, in groups and with email messaging. I believed that sharing relevant content on LinkedIn would create sales leads. But it didn’t.

Because being seen as a trusted expert by buyers is the reward … it’s the outcome of a successful LinkedIn lead generation strategy. It’s NOT the strategy!

So what is the strategy? At the highest level, it has two components:

  1. Problem-solving and
  2. Direct response copywriting.

Before we get into the details let’s agree on the goal. On LinkedIn, you need to:

Attract customers (get them to engage with you) and (the part most reps and distributors are struggling with) get potential customers to respond to you. Not engage, respond.

The Surprising Key to Getting Response
Successful LinkedIn lead generation takes more than relevant content. It takes a combination of sharing knowledge that solves a problem and causing buyers to react … to want more from you.

We need to provoke thoughts like, “I never thought about it that way. How can I get more advice like that?” or “I wonder what else this person can help me do?”

Because once you’ve tapped into a buyer’s fear or ambitions you’re able to help them navigate toward (or away from) what you’re selling. By getting them to act on the reaction you just created.

That’s the copywriting part.

Make Your Target Intensely Curious
Getting customers to respond on any social platform is all about getting them intensely curious about you. By piquing customers’ interest in what you have to say you’re able to lead a discussion toward what you’re selling.

Here’s where to start. Entice buyers to reach out and ask the questions you want them to ask you. This earns leads.

For example, if I’ve done my job in writing this post, you’re craving more details on what I’m describing. You’re primed to watch a video tutorial and take action on the idea. So please do!

In this LinkedIn Lead Generation Training video, I’ll get into all the details on how you can begin improving your LinkedIn lead generation success rate.

Questions? Let me know here in comments or shoot me an email. Good luck!

5 Tips to Identify Prospects in a Niche Market

Sources of prospective customers have evolved dramatically in the past decade. Today we offer ideas for direct marketers who are on a tight budget and searching for prospects in niche markets where they don’t require thousands of leads. They just need a few dozen or a few hundred qualified leads. The good news is that B-to-B marketers, B-to-C and non-profits now have easily accessible options, many of them

Sources of prospective customers have evolved dramatically in the past decade. Today we offer ideas for direct marketers who are on a tight budget and searching for prospects in niche markets where they don’t require thousands of leads. They just need a few dozen or a few hundred qualified leads. The good news is that B-to-B marketers, B-to-C and non-profits now have easily accessible options, many of them online, to identify a small number of highly qualified prospects.

Last week I spoke with two organizations that have the same dilemma finding qualified leads. One of those is a digital learning advocacy organization whose vision is large, involving elected officials at state-levels and requiring support from corporate sponsors in a niche field. Among the dozens of initiatives for this organization, a vital one is raising money.

Fortunately, the organization, the Digital Learning Alliance (DLA), already has the support of CEOs from the largest of multi-million dollar corporations who are the leaders in this niche. But CEOs and senior management from the next tier of digital learning organizations need to be reached. DLA knows some of the companies who are prime candidates for sponsorship, but not always the people inside. Before cold-call phone calls are made, DLA wants to identify these prospects and introduce them to their message.

As direct marketers, we know there are lists available to rent to reach these companies. But DLA is an organization who doesn’t want the volume of names that often come with a minimum order. Nor do they want to go to the expense of mailing or emailing an unproven list. They just want a few hundred qualified leads.

Since many organizations share this same dilemma, today we share a solution to reinvent how you find leads. It’s in plain sight, but you may have overlooked how you can use it. With a reported 225 million users who have opted-in to connect with others, LinkedIn is a tool that can be used to reach out for prospective contacts to opt-in to messages. If you choose this course, here are five recommendations for you:

  1. Create Your Company Page: Do this first if you haven’t already!
  2. Friend-get-a-Friend: For DLA, they ask the leaders of well-known companies already supporting them to reach out on their behalf to their LinkedIn contacts. With this approach, there is built-in credibility with the initial contact.
  3. Search for Prospects: Using Advanced Search, you can filter results and invite people to connect from companies you know should be on your prospect list.
  4. Start a Group. For those who opt-in to the Group, it’s a way to make sure the news feed has updated information about what’s happening to fulfill the organization’s vision and mission. You can post discussions and questions to encourage engagement.
  5. Join Other Groups: If there is a group whose members include people in your niche, join it. Then pose questions, offer answers and demonstrate why you should be followed.

While the LinkedIn basic service gets you started, the upgrades may be worth the investment to reach deeper into possible connections and other features.

Of course the downside to this approach is that searching for people on LinkedIn can be time and labor intensive. But if you only need a few qualified prospects, don’t have money to rent a list or resources to pay for the waste of either printed direct mail or unopened email, and you want to connect with someone inside an organization where you can get a referral, what better place than LinkedIn?

Plus, if you have a PowerPoint presentation you can share, you can get it to your prospects seamlessly with Slideshare (owned by LinkedIn). Slideshare is a tool used by many executives seeking out information in PowerPoint presentations and videos.

We’ll keep you posted in a future blog about how this approach is working for DLA. In the meantime, if you have additional experience and recommendations about where to find leads for niche markets, please share them in the comments section below.

Blogging for Sales Leads: The No. 1 Reason Your Blog Isn’t Getting It Done

I used to believe in blogging authentically, transparently, telling good stories and being a thought leader, but these ideas consistently failed to generate leads for me. That’s because I was missing the one, essential piece that content marketing and blogging gurus don’t even know about: Use a blog to create confidence in the buyer—not me, my brand or my business.

I used to believe in blogging authentically, transparently, telling good stories and being a thought leader, but these ideas consistently failed to generate leads for me. That’s because I was missing the one, essential piece that content marketing and blogging gurus don’t even know about: Use a blog to create confidence in the buyer—not me, my brand or my business.

Today’s most successful B-to-B sellers are using blogs to do one thing really well: prove they’re worth investing in before customers pay a dime. They’re giving customers a few results and letting them experience what success feels like.

Blog to Help Prospects Believe in ThemselvesNot in You
The blogging gurus love to tell us to build trust with prospects using social media. Yet they never mention the best way to build enough trust to close a sale. (probably because they’ve never actually closed a sale)

I’m talking about helping a buyer get so confident in themselves—so sure that buying will give them everything they want—they can’t help themselves. They buy because they cannot argue against not buying anymore! (and of their own free will, of course)

Enter social media and all the bogus short-cuts we’ve been told will create trust. Telling stories, being honest, showing customers our “human side.” These things might help you foster trust but only if you apply them to help prospects get more confident in themselves.

Give Prospects Results In AdvanceNo Excuses
What’s the connection between convincing a prospect to buy through your blog and giving them overwhelming confidence? How do you execute this idea without wasting time? You create a process that manufactures “mini-successes” for prospects—in advance of their purchase.

This is the practical, tried-and-true strategy at the center of every blog that creates leads.

Start blogging in ways that prove your product or service is worth investing in. Start giving prospects a free taste of success before they purchase.

Help them do something that they really need to do, learn or accomplish. This gives them partial satisfaction (in themselves) and creates hunger for more. Not hunger for your product or service.

Hunger for more satisfaction in themselves.

Give It Away—All of It
If this sounds like a free trial you’re right but let’s say you’re selling a complex product or service. You’ll need to go further—convince prospects to buy based on what you’ve actually done for them lately.

I’m describing a situation where buying what you sell isn’t a point of consideration; it’s a logical next step for your prospect to take. Purchasing becomes part of the journey your prospect is already on.

By doing meaningful things for people that actually move the needle (solve a problem, teach a skill, etc.) prospects build a sense of achievement. Even if it’s a small one potential customers build trust in you based on this sense.

They begin to trust in your ability to deliver the FULL result if they were to actually buy from you.

Make sure your blog articles, video tutorials, white papers, ebooks and such are:

  1. Taking prospects on a journey toward (or away from) what it is you sell and
  2. creating confidence along the way by solving problems and/or teaching them new skills.

Lots of Examples…
This strategy is at the heart of thriving companies like HubSpot. I, myself, apply the technique to generate leads for a social media sales training program. Sure, money back guarantees help us close, so do customer testimonials. But nothing works better than giving away my best knowledge and helping prospects begin to experience actual success.

Nothing creates trust like having a material impact on your prospects’ lives before they buy. Nothing. Because it proves you’re able to create success for them and willing to prove it up front.

Again, all you’re really doing is building prospects’ confidence in themselves that they cannot argue with.

Look at every one of the social media sales success stories I’ve documented on this blog, in the magazine or on my other blog. Each of these B-to-B social selling success stories are finding a way to give out samples of results in advance.

Every successful B-to-B social seller I’ve found ever (and I do this full time!) is helping prospects get confident in themselves as buyers—before they’re doing anything else.

Let’s be honest. Can you really afford to not blog in ways that give prospects miniature versions of what it is you’re so darn good at? Especially when your competitors probably are—or are thinking of it?

4 Methods of Maximizing and Monetizing Mobile Marketing Efforts

A recent study by Google showed nearly 75 percent of consumers surveyed said they want to see mobile-friendly sites. And if you’re site isn’t one of them, you may be losing leads and sales. The fact that we’re a nation that is on-the-go and pretty much living on our smartphones or tablets means that your website should be adapted to these mediums to help monetize your business. It also means that thinking about mobile marketing and how to incorporate various forms of that into your marketing strategy should be high on your list for 2013.

A recent study by Google showed nearly 75 percent of consumers surveyed said they want to see mobile-friendly sites. And if you’re site isn’t one of them, you may be losing leads and sales.

The fact that we’re a nation that is on-the-go and pretty much living on our smartphones or tablets means that your website should be adapted to these mediums to help monetize your business.

It also means that thinking about mobile marketing and how to incorporate various forms of that into your marketing strategy should be high on your list for 2013.

Mobile-Friendly Must-Haves

There are certain “must-haves” that consumers noted they are looking for in a mobile-friendly website. Such features include:

1. Being fast. This means having a site that loads in around five seconds or less.

2. Being user-friendly. Having large buttons, easy search capabilities, limited scrolling or pinching are key, based on consumer feedback. Something to consider is having responsive templates that adjust accordingly based on the user’s device, albeit template, desktop or mobile phone. It’s also important to have quick access to company information, such as easy-to-find business directions, contact numbers, product and purchasing information. Even better, consider adding a “click to call” access button to contact a customer service rep to take an order via the phone, as well as an option for users to visit a non-mobile site.

3. Being social. To continue bonding and viral marketing, don’t forget links to your business’ social media profile page.

If you’re a smaller business that may not have the staff or resources to include these features into your website, there are some free and trial mobile conversion websites worth checking out. These include: http://www.ginwiz.com, http://www.dudamobile.com/ and http://www.mobilizetoday.com.

The App Attack

If you’re pondering if your business “app worthy” or how you can leverage apps for additional sales or leads, here’s some food for thought …

Paid apps could be a great way to add ancillary revenues to your business and free apps could be used for collecting important data (leads), which can be used for cross-selling. Some businesses even obtain revenues through ads that are built in the app from sponsorship partners.

Whichever business model you choose, you still have to decide what your app will feature. Typically, content is king. For instance if you’re a financial publisher, you may consider having an app that has stocks alerts and ideas, technical analysis, commentary and actionable data that your end-user (investors) would find beneficial. Know your audience and decide what kind of content is “app worthy.”

Then, of course, you need to market and distribute your app for increased visibility. You can promote your app though affiliate and joint venture emails, press releases, content marketing, online classifieds, and guerilla marketing in related forums and message boards. You can also include your app in various marketplaces including: Play/Apps Store (Droid and iPhone), BlackBerry Appworld, Apple Apps Store/iTunes, and Amazon Appstore for Android.

Of course, fees and commissions vary, but some are more cost-effective than you think. Here’s a great article with more information: “App Store Fees, Percentages and Payouts: What Developers Need to Know.” I also found a free service worth checking out called Freeappalert.com as an alternate distribution channel for your app.

QR Codes

You’ve seen ’em, those little square bar codes on just about everything these days. But not everyone is using them properly and not every business needs them. QR Codes, used the right way, can be a great way to take offline marketing leads online. For instance, consider putting these little guys on your business cards, collateral material, fulfillment kits, promotional fliers, press kits, brochures and other printed materials. Why? It’s a way for a consumer to “scan” the barcode and be redirected to your sign up/”squeeze page” or promotional webpage to provide further information and, more importantly, collect valuable data on them so you can follow up accordingly.

SMS Texting

Recent studies show that 97 percent of text messages are read within minutes of receiving them. SMS text message marketing allows you to communicate directly to your target market by sending a simple, quick text message. This permission-based program is perfect because your recipients have opted in to receive your messages. If you choose SMS texting for either bonding (editorial) or marketing (promotions), in addition to your standard anti-spam and privacy policy verbiage, make sure on your sign up form it’s clearly stated that subscribers who elect to be contacted this way will receive important messages and special offers from the publisher and select third-party partners, as well as may be subject to text messaging fees from the phone carrier. This article shows a good example of a text message disclaimer: “What Details to Include in a Mobile Marketing Call to Action.”

In my experience, this medium has been most effective with premium-type services where members rely on critical real-time alerts from the publisher that are pure editorial. The marketing aspect is ancillary.

So if you’re looking to be a leader in your industry and not a laggard, it pays to conduct some “due diligence” on your website and think about which mobile marketing strategies may be right for your biz and audience. With our social and communications landscape always changing, staying abreast of the latest tools, trends and is imperative for businesses to survive and thrive.

How ADP Is Netting Big Leads With Twitter and LinkedIn

Business process outsourcing (BPO) provider ADP is leading the way in creating leads and sales with social media prospecting. ADP’s sales force is using social media to discover and then solve prospects’ problems in ways that break down barriers and bypass those doggone gatekeepers. Once they’ve broken though the noise salespeople are quickly moving the discussion off of social media-DIS-engaging. Here’s how they’re doing it and how you can do the same.

Business process outsourcing (BPO) provider ADP is leading the way in creating leads and sales with social media prospecting. ADP’s sales force is using social media to discover and then solve prospects’ problems in ways that break down barriers and bypass those doggone gate-keepers. Once they’ve broken though the noise sales people are quickly moving the discussion off of social media DIS-engaging. Here’s how they’re doing it and how you can do the same.

ADP’s sales staff is getting more first-time meetings, more often, by giving prospects distinct reasons to invite them in for a presentation. They’re proving themselves as being worthy of consideration by giving prospects a high degree of confidence in their ability to offer value.

Breaking Through Barriers with LinkedIn and Twitter
Doug Plourd is a major accounts sales executive at ADP who is successfully using LinkedIn for business leads. Yes, his approach uses a relatively new social platform (LinkedIn) to research key decision makers but how Plourd is netting leads and accounts isn’t new at all.

He also is using Twitter—another relatively new social platform. Yet, again, the reason Twitter is so effective at generating new business leads for him is not technical nor new.

Plourd is using relatively new, “social” tools in combination with a very old, effective idea.

Solving problems for customers.


In the above 2 minute video you’ll hear how Mr. Plourd is gaining access to key decision influencers and decision makers by:

1. Listening for his prospect to express a pain he could remedy (or a scratch he can itch)

2. Acting—actually proving that he can provide relief to the prospect; thus, transferring confidence to him/her

3. Asking for the appointment (the opportunity to demonstrate his ability to eliminate other, related business pains)

None of the above ideas are new and that’s precisely the point. Don’t let all the hype-and-spin of social media marketing get you off-track. Yes, the digital tools are changing rapidly but what works is not revolutionizing sales and marketing despite all the bluster!

Give Customers & Prospects Confidence with Social
The best way to get more business appointments with social media is to avoid what most “experts” claim works. Trying to grab attention on Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs and Twitter won’t work. Instead, the best way to earn appointments is to exploit social media’s greatest strength: Its ability to create emotional response.

Do you want to start using LinkedIn for business leads? Start giving your prospects the confidence they need as buyers. The trick is to do it in ways that increase their ability to feel emotionally grounded and intellectually stronger—fully equipped to do what they want to do. Talk more with you about buying!

How to Generate Leads With Education Marketing

If you’re into content marketing these days, then you probably know a bit about using education to generate leads. But what makes an educational marketing approach actually work?  How can you be sure educating clients will ultimately generate leads worth following up? Today, I’m profiling Hubspot, B-to-B company that’s making social media sell and following the principles I preach in each of my columns.

If you’re into content marketing these days, then you probably know a bit about using education to generate leads. But what makes an educational marketing approach actually work? How can you be sure educating clients will ultimately generate leads worth following up? Today, I’m profiling HubSpot, a B-to-B company that’s making social media sell and following the principles I preach in each of my columns.

What Is Education Marketing?
The main idea here is to show, not tell, customers that investing in your product or service is worth every penny. But to be successful you’ve got to be willing to prove it for free, up front, by giving your customer a small but meaningful “win” right out of the gate, free. Why is this important?

When customers experience a success, no matter how small, they gain confidence in themselves (that they can reach the ultimate goal—one that relates to the itch your product scratches!) and at the same time trust of the educator (you). This confidence-plus-trust formula builds trust and persuades prospects that your paid product might just be worth it by giving them results in advance. Yet there’s more.

Education removes the “sales barrier” by transforming your product from a transactional consideration to an obvious “next step” in a problem solving sequence (the path to purchase). It all but removes the need to prove or persuade customers of your product’s effectiveness. You’ve already given an actual result in advance so why wouldn’t the product do the same?

Case in Point: HubSpot
HubSpot serves customers that are sales-focused online marketers of B-to-B and B-to-C goods and services. They’re probably a lot like you: everyday business people who need a better way to manage sales leads. No surprise, HubSpot sells a suite of software tools that helps them do that.

As a way to create sales leads for itself, HubSpot offers various “toolboxes” that solve common problems. Think of them as easy-to-use, educational utilities that can be quite addictive. How so? Well, it’s how HubSpot designs these tools empower customers with knowledge—practical information they can use to grow their business.

HubSpot’s free Web Site Grader tool allows a business owner to instantly understand how well their Web site stacks up against others. The Grader passes critical judgment on criteria like how many inbound links are coming into the site or how many of the site’s pages Google has included in its index.Yet HubSpot’s tool wisely scores qualitative Web site aspects too. It gives valuable, actionable feedback to site owners on things like readability level. It scores the Web site’s content … in terms of its ability to effectively communicate messages to target markets.

The best part of all is that the Grader’s scores are designed to induce more questions and expressions of need from the user. It is designed to help customers self-select themselves as business leads for HubSpot’s software product.

Never, Ever Outsource Your Content Marketing Strategy

Should you outsource your content marketing strategy? Don’t—unless you want your blogs, whitepapers, videos or webinars to blend in with those of your competitors. Good, effective content marketing cannot be outsourced. No matter how much you’re struggling to create a constant stream of content that effectively generates leads, keep it in house.

Should you outsource your content marketing strategy? Don’t—unless you want your blogs, whitepapers, videos or webinars to blend in with those of your competitors. Good, effective content marketing cannot be outsourced. No matter how much you’re struggling to create a constant stream of content that effectively generates leads, keep it in house.

Let’s be honest. All of us are racing to “produce quality content” and distribute it on blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social platforms. But what does “quality content” really mean and why is so much of it failing to generate leads for B-to-B marketers? And what can you do to make sure your articles, videos, white papers and webinars (content) produce leads? Keep it inside.

Despite what “the experts” say, effective content marketing has less to do with frequency or how often you produce it. Blogging often (and getting that blog retweeted) earns the fleeting attention of prospects at best. Content that generate leads:

  • Solves problems and/or dramatizes the emotional end benefit
  • Is designed to induce behavior (sometimes addictive)
  • Translates customer need (analyzes and feeds it back into design)

Eschew the “Experts”
Relative to these key success principles, having a constant stream of content emanating from your business will not produce sales. Despite what “the experts” keep saying, the most effective content is not that which gets discovered in search engines and gets people to your website. Nor is effective content that which has “your voice” or “reflects your culture” or “is authentic.” These qualities do not define effective content because they never have.

Content marketing is about as new as custom publishing (it’s not new at all). The most effective content produces measurable outcomes—leads and sales. Period.

I can hear the social media gurus screaming. OK, OK. Are all those things I just mentioned important pieces of the puzzle? Yes. But over-focusing on them will cause you to put far too much faith in them.

For instance, take frequency. Making content marketing produce sales is not purely (or even mostly) a numbers game, nor a matter of how much attention you earn from search engines or blog visitors. Believing this to be true will only cause you to—that’s right—outsource it!

The Key to Success
If leads and sales are what you’re after with content marketing, then you’ve got to come to grips with the truth: Effective webinars, blogs, videos, etc., take your target market beyond the realm of useful information. Sure, providing information is essential but you’ve got to go the extra mile—you’ve got to provide new, previously unknown knowledge that tells customers how to avoid risk or exploit opportunity.

Think about it this way: It’s difficult enough to hire an employee that a) understands this concept; b) knows enough about your competitive environment to know how and where to find what your customers truly need to know; c) can actually execute the research needed to produce effective (behaviorally provocative) content—and produce it over time. Good luck finding someone on the outside who can do all of that well enough!

Want your content to look like your competitors? Just outsource it to people who repackage information your customers already know. They’ll take your money and in return pass off what they create as thought leadership or insightful information. And then you’ll pass that junk on to your customers.

The Honest Truth
Ninety-five percent of content marketing is generating worthless information that everyone already knows surrounded by buzzwords. Need proof? Search the Web for whitepapers and give them a scan.

“I’m a huge fan of earned attention,” says Edward Boches, chief innovation officer at Mullen. “And owning content. And being in the publishing business. But the one downside of everyone and anyone—and that includes brands and companies—being a content creator is that just like cable television, the good stuff becomes a smaller and smaller percentage of all that’s out there.”

Want your content to produce leads and sales? Hire people who know how to produce written or multimedia materials that make readers/viewers say, “Hmm, I never thought of it THAT way … that’s scary” or “I see the opportunity in that, I better get in touch with these people to take action!”

This is what good social media marketing and content marketing does—induces responses that you can nurture toward an eventual sale.

How to Convert LinkedIn Contacts into Qualified Leads

Answering your customers’ most commonly asked questions opens the door for discovery … and for brands to make relevant suggestions. You can offer prospects a friendly tip or useful trick or, if appropriate, outline benefits of taking a trial, downloading a whitepaper or attending your webinar.

Turning LinkedIn contacts or LinkedIn Group members into leads rarely happens using what I call passive engagement. It takes something more than occupying prospects’ time. You’ve got to convince them to sign up for your webinar or download your whitepaper.

Luckily, converting LinkedIn contacts to leads is easy. Just start by solving your target market’s problems in ways they find irresistible. Then plan engagement—carefully map it out to connect your target customers’ questions to the answers your content marketing devices (webinars, whitepaper) deliver.

The Engagement Myth
If you’re like most B-to-B marketers, you’re struggling to turn LinkedIn contacts and group members into leads. But getting it done is easier than you think. After a year of interviewing B-to-B and business to consumer businesses experiencing remarkable success using social media I found the common success principle: Ditching passive engagement—and giving contacts, friends, followers and such a reason to offer more than a “like” or merely consume content.

Many LinkedIn gurus claim awareness, reach and influence leads to conversion. They say, “regular online participation in LinkedIn Groups and with followers on other social platforms can convert them from followers into leads and on to customers.”

Yes, it can but this belief isn’t much different than the “reach and frequency” promise of advertising. Namely, if we beat the drum loud enough (reach) and often enough (frequency) it will cause people to perform an action—register, attend, download. As Dr. Phil likes to say, “and how’s that working for ya?” This is what I call passive engagement.

But there is a better way: Designing engagement to produce actions by solving customers’ problems in places where questions often get asked—like LinkedIn Groups.

Solve Customers’ Problems
You’ve probably heard that posting a certain number of times, on certain subjects, on certain days inside LinkedIn Groups where your target market congregates is the key that unlocks success with LinkedIn. Or maybe you’ve heard that frequent posting of blogs you’ve written in LinkedIn Groups will generate leads. These ideas don’t work. The key to success is solving customers’ problems in provocative ways.

For instance, use LinkedIn to generate questions among customers that your webinar or whitepaper gives answers to. Creatively bait customers to communicate or complain about problems (in LinkedIn Groups) that your content marketing device provides solutions for. Next, provoke actions—exploit those complaints by enticing, “ethically bribing” prospects to register for a webinar, download or perform an action that helps you qualify them as leads. It’s a snap.

Scratch Customers’ Itches in LinkedIn Groups
For instance, grocery store Harris-Teeter pays customers to ask its dietician health-related questions on Facebook. Why would a grocer—or you—do that? Because helping customers put out a fire or scratch a bothersome itch is powerful. It can be done on any social platform where your target audience is engaging, like LinkedIn.

Answering your customers’ most commonly asked questions opens the door for discovery … and for brands to make relevant suggestions. You can offer prospects a friendly tip or useful trick or, if appropriate, outline benefits of taking a trial, downloading a whitepaper or attending your webinar.

Always beware: leads don’t “just happen” passively using LinkedIn. You need to solve problems with a plan in mind. That said, using a question-and-answer technique takes much of the work out of the process. It can even be fun. What do you think about giving this a try?