Sources of prospective customers have evolved dramatically in the past decade. Today we offer ideas for digital learning companies 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 business-to-business marketers, B2C and non-profits now have easily accessible options, many of them online, to identify a small number of highly qualified prospects.
Since many organizations share this same dilemma, the Digital Learning Alliance marketing team shares 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, we ask the leaders of well-known companies already supporting us 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. Check out our small (but growing) Digital Learning Advocates LinkedIn group.
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.