Now that you have build a large, solid, and targeted network in LinkedIn, the big question is, “What’s Next?” This has been one of the popular questions we’re getting at Virtual Assistant Talent—what to do with the connections!
In this post we will show you exactly how to do that. It’s time to get savvy enough to sell to your connected world or to your 1st Level LinkedIn Connections. And to answer that question briefly, well, it all boils down to HOW you work with your connections and WHAT to do the moment you get connected with them.
LinkedIn prospecting can be both more profitable and easy enough that you can hand it over to a virtual assistant (VA). Now that you have made a great customer/client base, take a look at how you can market to them and build a relationship.
Marketing Within Your LinkedIn Profile
1. Send a Follow-up “Thank You” Message
Send your new connection a thank you for connecting message and add a personal touch. Start by briefly introducing what you do best, your services and how you can help them. Then proceed with how your business model is different from the rest and how your connections can reach you easily.
This works best if you had a positive interaction with them already, either in status like/comment, LinkedIn group, meet-up, or if you’ve already connected with them via email or phone.
Example message: “Hi Ken, thanks for connecting with me. Just wanted to say thank you for your input on the thread the other day on entrepreneurship, your response caught a lot of attention. See you around LinkedIn!”
2. Send a Follow-up “Free Resource” Message
The other tactic that could give you good results with is the casual “Here’s a free resource that could help you” message. We usually link people to “The Ultimate Facebook Marketing Blueprint” e-book.
Know your connections who are part of your target audience and give them something valuable and interesting for free as a resource such as an e-book, free report, PDF, podcast link, etc. It’s a win-win for both of you since you give them helpful information and in return they get to visit your website or landing page.
Remember, this can also build your mailing list since you get to capture their name and email in exchange for the free resource.
3. The Ultra Simple Question Message
Another message that receives a high response rate is the ultra simple question. An example would be, “Do you do both residential and commercial cleaning?” Once the person responds saying they do one or both, you can engage them further about how they can manage their tasks, calendars, employees, etc. by utilizing your services.
From there you can interact with your connections via this message sales process and it’s just a matter of time for them to click through your profile and then to your website.
4. Replying to and Tagging New Connections
LinkedIn Tagging makes it easier for people to group their new connections accordingly. To tag and reply to those people who have sent you a connection request, follow these simple steps.
- Go to Pending Invitations under “Grow My Network” tab (person icon with the + sign in the right corner of the top grey bar)
- Do NOT click Accept yet.
- Click the reply arrow on the top right corner of the box, for the person you wish to accept. Once you have replied to them, you can accept their request.
- Finally, go to their profile page where you will see the Relationship tab. Tag the person as appropriate and add any relevant notes and reminders.
Marketing Outside Your LinkedIn Network
5. Export 1st Level LinkedIn Connections
Want to transfer your LinkedIn connections to another emailing program or contact management system? Export your list via Connections >> Advanced Settings. You’ll have the option of either exporting them as a .CSV or .VCF file.
Use an emailing program like MailChimp or Constant Contact to import your database. You can then market to your connections if you have:
- An upcoming event that you want your LinkedIn connections to know about
- A promo, sale, or discount on your products or services
- Or, you want to wish your LinkedIn connections a happy holiday and stay top of mind
6. Send Weekly/Monthly Newsletter
One of our favorite strategies is sending out newsletter to our LinkedIn connections. After you have exported the list, start by planning out what to include in the newsletter–articles, infographics, featured team member, company event, and more.
Review what certain topics in your industry that your connections find interesting. Craft an article or two about these matters to encourage them to read your newsletter, respond to it or forward it to their friends or family.
7. Meeting New Connections In-person
Don’t be shy to ask to meet your new connections. Earlier we mentioned about sending follow-up messages. Well, a thank you message gives you a great opportunity to ask them to meet with you.
Meeting LinkedIn connections in-person is a great way for you to get to know them better and vice versa. You will have a chance to be a mentor or a friend that could possibly lead you to even more referrals in the future. Knowing them more on a personal level can be very beneficial. A growing social network called Meetup is also a great platform to meet new people and share insights.
If they are not in your area, you can still arrange to meet them by using an application like Skype or GoToMeeting. This will make your conversation more personal than just a regular phone call.
Used intelligently, these strategic ways can be very useful in using LinkedIn to manage and develop your sales pipeline.