We all know LinkedIn as the place where you go to make an online resume and congratulate people for work anniversaries. You could even go wild and publicly endorse the number-crunching skills of your favorite accountant.

Okay, so that doesn’t sound very exciting. But for founders, CEOs, and marketing professionals, LinkedIn can be so much more.

This professional platform is jam-packed with potential clients, and it actively encourages new connections. In other words, you couldn’t find a better place for lead generation.

In this guide, we’re going to look at the many different ways (free and paid) you can attract new customers via LinkedIn.

Why Lead Generation on LinkedIn Makes Sense

Imagine a place where every potential client is waiting for you.

It sounds like a weird vacation ad, but we’re actually talking about a virtual space known as LinkedIn. With 722 million users at the last count, this platform dwarfs Twitter. In fact, LinkedIn has the third most users of any social network.

More importantly, LinkedIn was built for business. Every profile contains information that you can use to identify potential leads and build a professional connection.

Rather than simply sending a cold email and crossing your fingers, you can easily interact with leads before making your pitch.

If that sounds like a lot of effort, maybe some numbers might convince you. 

LinkedIn’s own data shows that 80% of users are decision-makers, and the platform delivers lead conversion rates that are three times higher than Google Ads. 

If you want leads, this is definitely the place to be.

Free Tactics for Generating Leads on LinkedIn

Even if you don’t have much to spend on lead generation, LinkedIn is full of opportunities. Here are some top tactics for attracting interest that won’t cost you a dime.

Share Content Every Day

Just like any other social platform, LinkedIn allows you to share updates with your followers. 

“But who actually sees those posts?”, we hear you ask. Well, you might be surprised.

Collectively, the community offers up nine billion impressions every month, and engagement continues to grow.

In other words, quite a lot of people see LinkedIn content. By posting a little something every day, you have the opportunity to reach many potential leads. Here are a few pointers:

  • Infographics and videos do well
  • Post links and share updates from other users
  • Use hashtags to reach more users
  • Post between 8am and 2pm to reach more users
  • Tag connections and companies for easy likes/shares

Not seeing instant clicks? Be aware that the LinkedIn algorithm rewards active users. The more often you post, like, and share, the more eyeballs your posts will receive.

Publish Articles to Reach More Leads

One unique feature of LinkedIn is the option to share articles — longer-form updates that look like blog posts. 

Just like writing on your own website, you can use articles to reel in potential clients by publishing valuable content. For instance, thought leadership posts can help you establish credibility.

The other great thing about publishing on LinkedIn is that you have a ready-made audience. If your followers enjoy the article, they may share it with their followers. It only takes a few shares to send your post viral.

Once you have published two or three articles, you can use LinkedIn Analytics to work out what is resonating with your audience

LinkedIn Pulse

Another way to reach people with long-form content is through LinkedIn Pulse. Publishing short, snappy updates and opinions via this news platform lets you reach a larger audience. 

Pulse has a dedicated app, which pushes content to interested readers. If you’re lucky, LinkedIn might even feature your content on its own social media profiles.

Join Some Relevant Groups

If you’re fairly active on LinkedIn, you’re likely to pick up some followers and connections along the way. However, you can increase your reach much faster by joining groups.

These communities are usually based around specific industries or skills. Joining the right group is like walking into a bar full of your target customers.

In this hypothetical scenario, you probably wouldn’t jump onto a table and start shouting about your offers. In general, it’s better to control your urges and start some civilized conversations. Post useful content (e.g. your articles) or questions. Engage on posts from other group members, and provide help where you can. 

People will then start looking to you and your company as a trusted voice within that niche.

Engage With Likely Clients (and Existing Ones)

If you use LinkedIn search to your advantage, it’s pretty easy to find good leads. 

When you find the right contact, it’s tempting to go straight for the “Connect” button. But unless you already know the other person, this is no better than sending a cold email.

Instead, try to build some rapport with target leads by engaging with them. This means commenting on their updates, sharing content where appropriate, and maybe even reaching out through InMail. Put in the effort, and each connection will be worth more in the long run.

You can use the same tactics on existing and previous clients, who may be reminded about your product or services. You can start conversations this way, as well.

If you’re not sure what to write, keep it genuine. Messages should be personal, and the best comments add value.

Once you have built a connection, you can then start talking directly.  

Datanyze helps you find the perfect icebreaker for any LinkedIn user by presenting company information related to your potential client. You also get instant access to accurate contact details, without even leaving the page.

Turn Your Profile Into a Landing Page

Every day, millions of people search on LinkedIn. Some are looking for jobs or candidates, but many others are seeking solutions.

By optimizing your profile page or company page, you can pick up this passing traffic. It’s SEO, just not for Google.

The single most important part of your LinkedIn profile is your headline. 

This short text snippet provides keywords for LinkedIn search, and it acts as a one-line summary of your profile within the search results. As a business owner or full-time marketer, you should use this space as a tagline for you and your company.

The About Me section lets you elaborate more, but it’s still better to avoid writing out your life story. 

If your aim is to generate leads, consider using this section for an elevator pitch — and include some keywords where possible. You can even insert links to lead magnets and full-length landing pages on your website. 

However you choose to optimize your profile, always keep your ideal lead in mind. Consider what would appeal to them, and sell your company as the solution to their problems.

Paid Strategies for Generating Leads on LinkedIn

If your company is no longer bootstrapping, it’s definitely worth exploring some paid lead generation strategies on LinkedIn. Here are some tried-and-tested methods that can work for any business.

Promote Yourself With Sponsored Content

With the right promotion strategy, good content will always do well on LinkedIn. But sometimes, your posts may not reach their full potential organically — particularly if you have only just started posting regularly. 

To make your articles and updates reach the maximum number of potential clients, you might want to try Sponsored Content.

This feature lets you pay LinkedIn to push your content to more users in your target demographic. There are many different formats, and you can choose between two publishing methods:

  • Sponsored Content – Posts shared via your company page that are pushed to relevant users outside your network
  • Direct Sponsored Content – Custom-made ads that don’t have to be published on your company page

You can promote both types of content in various parts of the LinkedIn platform, from the newsfeed to notifications. 

One of the best things about Sponsored Content is that you can add a nice big call to action. If you’re trying to push a lead magnet or start conversations, investing a few dollars here could be money well spent.

Buy Some Dynamic Ads

Whereas Sponsored Content is often found in the newsfeed, LinkedIn’s Dynamic Ads generally hang out in the sidebar.

The key feature of these ads is personalization. They use profile photos, user names, and other profile data to catch the eye of scrolling users.

Examples include “follow me” boxes, Spotlight Ads that encourage users to visit a landing page, and Sponsored Content suggestions. In each case, LinkedIn will use relevant data to promote your ad. You can easily customize the design of Dynamic Ads, as well.

Rather than highly targeted campaigns, this paid strategy works best for growing your audience and promoting lead magnets. If set up correctly, Dynamic Ads can make a significant impact on your inbound marketing.

Deliver Some Sponsored InMail

You know when you go to check your LinkedIn messages, and at the top there is an unread message from someone you’ve never heard of? That is Sponsored InMail.

This feature allows you to pay to send messages to people you’re not connected with. 

Some businesses use Sponsored InMail to spam people randomly. If you use the platform regularly, you will probably have come across such messages. This approach is usually a waste of time and money.

That said, carefully targeted Sponsored InMail can be extremely effective. It’s like cold emailing, but your message stays at the top. This form of advertising is also quite affordable compared with others mentioned here.

As with cold emailing, the key is to craft a great message and pick the right targets. 

Personalize your message using background information from Datanyze, and test different drafts to find the optimum version. Most importantly, include a powerful call to action that pulls leads in your direction.

Set Up Lead Gen Forms

All of the ads we have looked at so far are designed to get potential clients to visit your site. From there, you might hope to catch their details using a lead magnet. 

To complete this process, users need to invest in a couple of clicks before typing in their details. 

But what if leads could sign up without leaving LinkedIn? That is what Lead Gen Forms are all about. 

Designed to be integrated with Sponsored Content and Sponsored InMail, these contact forms make it super easy for clients to provide their details. LinkedIn even prepopulates all the fields, so the user only has to click once to take up your offer.

If you combine Lead Gen Forms with the right content or messages, it’s possible to send your conversion rate through the roof. As always, the key is providing a good reason for people to submit their email.

Use Good Old Display Ads

Just like every other site in the past 20 years, LinkedIn also offers regular Display Ads. These are clickable images, often containing text and graphics, that appear in the sidebar.

You might think this old-school type of advertising would be less effective than the more advanced options mentioned above, but it actually does pretty well. Just as importantly, Display Ads are very affordable.

The best way to use them is in conjunction with other types of LinkedIn advertising. While they can drive results on their own, they are better used as an ever-present reminder rather than the primary pitch.

Boost Your LinkedIn Lead Generation Today

No matter how you decide to approach lead generation on LinkedIn, using Datanyze can improve the process.

Sign up free today and install our browser extension to get one-click access to contact details and icebreaker intel for any LinkedIn user.