8 Smart Ways To Boost Your Brand On LinkedIn

Are you missing out on leads and business prospects because your LinkedIn branding is stale and uninspiring?

LinkedIn is used by more business professionals than almost any other network and has become a top channel for marketers to find new prospects, employees to find new jobs, and researchers to take the pulse of an industry.

At 470 million users, you’re facing an uphill battle when it comes to creating a profile that stands out so people are willing to connect with you and so you open new doors to grow your business.

But, that’s exactly why you’re here. We’ve dug through the research and practical work to figure out what works and share it with you.

So, here are 8 of the biggest things you can do to simply, easily, and effectively boost your LinkedIn brand for more successful connections.

Why LinkedIn Branding Matters

Before diving in, it’s important to take a moment and realize that your personal branding on LinkedIn has a lot to do with your reputation and how much you’re trusted.

In the old sales days, you built your reputation in your territory with face-to-face interactions, phone call follow-ups, and a note asking how the kids were doing or a card saying, “Happy Birthday!”

Today it takes different work to stand out, and most of are working on a nearly global market, so people tend to first meet you online. And, they often meet you before you ever interact.

So, your LinkedIn profile is a way you’re going to make a first impression — and we all know those count.

Even if you’re reaching out through InMail and messaging to cold and warm prospects, they’re more likely than not going to look at your profile before responding to your note. If your profile is flat, blank, or overly dull, that prospect’s door is never going to answer.

A smart LinkedIn profile is the best way to wedge your foot in the digital door and start up a conversation with your next lead.

Now, let’s get to improving that profile of yours.

1. Don’t Skimp On The Visuals

There are two main visuals on your LinkedIn page that will set it apart from others: your headshot and your profile’s backdrop.

Your headshot is present everywhere you go, from search results and posts to group lists and even how you appear on other people’s profiles. For marketers, remember this also shows up when you message someone.

LinkedIn says you’re 21-times more likely to be viewed if you have a LinkedIn photo. Here’s a quick little visual aid to understand why:

This is the “also viewed” list from my profile. Who would click on next?
Research says it likely won’t be Jennifer or Paul.

There are a few elements of the profile photo that seem intuitive — we all know a bad headshot when we see one.

Your goal is to come off as competent, likable, and influential. That tends to mean a bright photo where you’re the main focus and it is easy to see your face. Smiling is good, but not necessary, and you need your best duds.

If you’re stuck in this somewhat subjective process, it’s a worthwhile investment to hire a professional photographer to get a great shot.

Struggling to know which of your best shots to use? Try signing up for photofeeler, a community project where you vote on people’s LinkedIn photo options, and then they’ll vote on yours, helping you pick the one that’s best.

Your profile’s backdrop is less stringent and has fewer requirements to be successful. The best thing to do is to make sure it is a landscape photo so it isn’t resized oddly or made to look out of focus. Keep it relevant to your industry and company.

And, if you’ve got the space, it makes a perfect place to put a company logo, slogan, or your #1 promise.

2. Avoid Boring, Unimpressive Headlines

It’s great that you’re a project manager at BigNewThings Inc, but it shouldn’t be the focal point of your headline because it doesn’t mean much to a lead who has never heard of your company.

The headline is a place for you to immediately share what you can do for the prospect who is looking at your profile. (Hint: they can see your job title just by glancing down, so don’t waste the space by repeating information.)

Tell your prospect what you can do for them and why you’re different. You can also incorporate keywords in your headline.

There is some debate over keyword usage, so we actually recommend you include a description or keyword of your target market, as opposed to the best descriptor of your business.

One glance and any B2B manager, owner, or marketer knows that I specialize in making it easier for their company to perform and grow.

3. Show Us What You Can Do

It turns out those LinkedIn pop-ups about endorsing the skills of connections are a pretty big deal.

LinkedIn says that users who put at least 5 skills receive roughly 31 times more messages and are viewed 17 more times than people who don’t have such endorsements.

For your prospects, it is an easy way to signal to them that you understand their industry and their need. You have a quick, visual option to say: “I get your problems, I can solve them, and other people agree.”

And hey, look what pops up when you recommend someone — yeah, it’s that profile photo again, and it looks so much better to have a real photo than that default silhouette.

The latest LinkedIn update has made these even more important because it adds some qualifiers around the people who endorse you, including skill levels and connection.

 

Having others who are highly skilled endorse you makes the endorsements more believable and valuable.

4. Have Other People Tell Us What You Can Do

Building on the endorsements is another extremely valuable piece of real estate: The Recommendation.

This lets other people speak highly of you and gives the impression of an unbiased opinion because know we wouldn’t begrudgingly recommend someone we didn’t like to work with — there’s no upside to it.

Nearly 90% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends and family. You’ve done this when you check out the Amazon reviews before you try something new.

LinkedIn recommendations are essentially the Amazon reviews of your business acumen, so start asking for them right away.

Statistically, the best time to ask for a recommendation is about 6 to 10 business days after the completion of a project.

5. Turn Your Slide Deck Into A Visual Sales Journey

LinkedIn’s purchase of SlideShare means you now have a completely integrated platform to upload your best presentation deck to share with others.

As an added benefit, search engines like Google are pulling information from these decks and returning them often on the first page of results because they’re targeted, timely, and are seen as coming from an authority site.

Your existing work can become a smart tool that shows you know your stuff and are doing well enough to present on important topics, data, and more. This section won’t necessarily get a lot of clicks, but having it on your profile gives you an immediate credence and credibility boost when people see it.

6. Publish On LinkedIn

LinkedIn’s Publisher blog platform is open to just about anyone and it is the best place to showcase yourself and your company as a thought leader. Your posts are shown on your profile, and a quick scan also shows if people are engaging with them.

The more you post, the more likely you are to drive higher engagement and get people familiar with you and your network. It’s an important part of being active on the service and making it easy for others to engage with you.

This section creates a snapshot of who you are and what you do on LinkedIn, which often translates into how helpful you are.

Again, Google is grabbing these posts as well, so you’ve got a clever way to introduce yourself and your company to potential connections that wouldn’t normally see you.

So, if they find you via a Google search and then read your post, they’ll likely click to see your profile and all the other elements we’ve reviewed so far will boost your chances for having someone else initiate the connection process.

7. Don’t Forget Other Relevant Media

Does your profile tell us how great of a speaker you are or how you’ve mastered all the leading equipment in your field?

Words often don’t equal proof. Connections and prospects want to see it to believe it.

LinkedIn now supports a variety of other media, like photos and videos, that can give your connections the proof they want.

If your skill is easy to demonstrate, grab a few photos of you doing it or record a video and share — videos are especially powerful for skills like presentations and team leadership.

They’re simple to add and allow prospects to judge what you say you can do fairly.

8. Build Out Your Group

While we often get advice about being present in other groups, it can quickly add up to a big commitment that leads to burnout. Groups aren’t always useful, and you don’t want to give up because it feels like you’re shouting into the void.

So, what’s a brand to do?

Start your own group and provide fresh content regularly. We always recommend crafting a group that targets your best audience and just aims to provide information.

You want to be the person with the answers, not the person with the annoying sales pitch.

If you spend just a few minutes each morning or each week to create something useful, people will appreciate it.

You’re not going to create a 100% conversion rate of group participants to customers, but you’ll likely answer someone’s question today and be on the top of their mind when they’ve got a question tomorrow.

Bonus: Create A Call To Action

Think about what you someone to do after they look at your profile.

Now, take a look at your profile and see if you’ve asked them to do that anywhere.

To get messages, connections, calls, website visits, or whatever else you need, you must ask. LinkedIn profiles are a personal landing page. And we all know that the #1 rule of a good landing page is to have a clear, direct call-to-action.

If you don’t have a CTA, you’re missing opportunities at every view.

All of this and more is covered in our full marketing and management platform for businesses like yours. But, I don’t believe in starting off with a hard sell because businesses deserve a little help getting started.

Let me prove to you that the 7 Figure Automation service really works by starting you off with a 55-Point Marketing Audit and provide the insights you need to run your business more efficiently, effectively, and profitably. Get yours now.

3 Simple Tools To Find Anyone’s Email On LinkedIn

Nothing beats having a lead’s email for your sales team, which is probably why most people treat them as secrets that need more protection than gold.

And LinkedIn truly is the Fort Knox of that B2B contact information you want.

There are more than 467 million users on LinkedIn right now, ranging from top leaders in the c-suite and small business owners to procurement managers and entry-level developers.

It’s one of the best places for you to find the right lead on a platform where they engage and try to make themselves known — LinkedIn says that 40% of its users check in daily.

So, it makes perfect sense that your business (and ours) relies on LinkedIn for prospecting and generating qualified leads to keep the lights on.

The big downside here is that LinkedIn’s InMail isn’t always the best place to establish a connection or send a sales pitch.

Some people views this as more of a personal connection than a company one, so you can reach out but it needs to be a soft touch.

It’s the perfect place to identifying who would be receptive to a sales pitch at their work, but it’s often not easy to find their work email —directly asking for it can get a lot of doors closed in your face.

But don’t worry, we’ve put together a list of tools and techniques that can help you find the work email, phone, and other information on your top LinkedIn prospects, all with minimal fuss and effort.

Tool #1: Hunter Takes Aim and Mostly Hits Its Target

How It Runs

Few things are simpler and more effective than Hunter, a handy tool and Chrome extension that can help you find and verify email addresses from companies all around the web, with a special focus on LinkedIn.

By pairing an incredibly large database of company email domains and known addresses — from verified individual accounts to “info” and “help” addresses — Hunter applies pattern recognition to your lead’s information to build out the most likely email addresses and then verifies them for deliverability.

The best news of all is that you can start with a free account that lets you perform up to 150 free searches each month.

Using Hunter for LinkedIn Connections

So, to find your LinkedIn connections’ emails with Hunter you’ve got to take a few steps.

  1. Create an account and install the free Chrome extension.
  2. Navigate to the lead’s LinkedIn page.
  3. Click the bright orange “Hunter” button
  4. Review the results.
  5. With a paid account, you can also export your entire lead list through the “My leads” link.

You’ll get high confidence results but make sure you’re checking Hunter’s company selection.

And boom, you’re ready to contact your lead at an email address that tends to have a very high confidence rating.

The Hunter Caveat: Search Preferences

Hunter does show a preference for the companies you’ve already searched, so it’s an excellent idea to do a minute of research and find the domain of your prospect’s company. For example, when I searched myself, it initially provided my email address as mark@[company1] because I had just used Hunter to find an email address of one of my prospects at [company1].

Now, I’m sure their Mark is a good guy — with a name like Mark you can’t go wrong — but he definitely isn’t me.

Hunter gives us a good teachable moment: always do your homework and take a second to double-check your answers.

Tool #2: Contactout Is Simple and Ever-present

How It Runs

Contactout is a simple and effective browser extension that tends to deliver multiple email addresses for contacts, providing a mix of professional and personal emails. You’ll be up and running in just a few moments, and there’s a painless way to save profiles and export them when you connect the service to your Google Sheets account.

The upside is that it is powerful and very successful in the tests we ran for this post. You also will get a large number of credits for free use when you first sign-up, so you may not need to make a purchase for your first round of prospecting.

The downside is that sometimes you get too much information for the purposes of prospecting. Bulk import functionality isn’t available, and the Google Sheets import includes a significant amount of profile data for your contacts, which can make it hard to dig through without additional work.

Understanding Connections with Contactout

So, to find your LinkedIn connections’ emails with Hunter you’ve got to take a few steps.

  1. Create an account and install the free Chrome extension.
  2. Navigate to the lead’s LinkedIn page.
  3. Click the white arrow on the black background that appears in the top-right corner of your browser.
  4. If the prospect already provides an email, it will appear. If not, click “Find emails.”
  5. Verify the contact’s name and the domain you want to search, then click “Find work email.”
  6. Review the results.
  7. Click “Save profile” to export this to a Google Sheets document.

Prospecting is simple and direct, though you’ll need to give Contactout a variety of permissions.

In just a few steps you’re ready to reach out to your prospect. Connecting your Google Drive account is definitely worth the effort because it makes building your prospect list that much quicker.

While the company’s slogan says you can find anyone’s email and phone number, it returns phone numbers for very few candidates.

The Contactout Caveat: Always On

One thing to note about Contactout is that it starts off as a Chrome extension, but then immediately switches to being a program that always runs in the background of your computer. Once added, you’ll see a notification that says the program initiates at startup and will continue to run in the background even when Chrome is closed.

The extension also asks for permission to read and change all data on the websites you visit. While the developer team is good about responding to bugs, they haven’t clarified what this means.

Nothing seems nefarious, but it may raise some privacy concerns for you or your IT team.

 

Tool #3: SellHack for Bigger Players

More Power, Fewer Freebies

Rounding out our list is SellHack, which makes the cut because of its ability to integrate with a variety of other systems. While we’re big fans of Infusionsoft, if you rely on Salesforce you can integrate your prospecting directly into your CRM to build a number of additional contact points and options.

SellHack offers a free trial that gives you up to 10 free emails each month using its Chrome plugin or the prospect list builder tool. If you want to jump up to 150 emails (roughly equivalent to the free Hunter level), it will run you $19 per month.

This doesn’t qualify for our caveat section, but it is worth noting right away if you’re going to be testing out multiple options to find what is best for your team.

Manual and Automatic Email Discovery with SellHack

Getting started with the free version of SellHack is easy, but there are more manual steps compared to the others on our list. However, paid accounts have a Prospecting Mode that automates a lot of the copying and pasting described below.

So, let’s dive in:

  1. Create an account and install the free Chrome extension (yes, there is quite a pattern here).
  2. Navigate to your lead’s LinkedIn page.
  3. Click the SellHack extension icon next to your navigation bar.
  4. Copy your lead’s name and paste it in the “Name” bar in the SellHack drop-down menu.
  5. Do the same thing for the company name and provide the company’s URL in the email domain you’re searching.
  6. Click “Run Search” and get your results.
  7. If you’re happy with what you see — and the company provides a confidence rating as well — you can choose among your prospect lists to add the information to with just one click.
  8. Lists can be managed within the service’s dashboard or through the other systems you have integrated with it.

 

The SellHack icon and the fields you must manually fill out in the free version.

Importing is direct and easy, allowing you to choose your lists right away, so there’s little editing as you go.

 

 

The SellHack Caveat: Scales Up Quickly

If you have a large team and a decent budget, SellHack can be a significantly strong tool. To make the most of it, you’ll probably want to move to a higher tier subscription so you can have the credits and prospect searches available when you need it.

As you spend more, you also gain more integration options and better plugins. The basic plugin is perfect if you want to add a single profile at a time, while the other options make it quicker to add a variety of targets and automatically add them to your lists.

You’ll get access to bulk email verification tools as well, which is good for those lead lists you’ve bought and are trying to verify. Email verification tools appear to perform well with incomplete data files, helping to fill in some gaps while also providing data accuracy and validation checks.

To make the most of it, you’ll need a decent sized team and need to be looking for a substantial number of prospects each day. If you’ve got a sales department with members who are solely devoted to finding prospects and passing along those they can qualify, you’ve found a good partner.

Ultimate Thoughts on Finding Who You Need with LinkedIn

Prospecting on LinkedIn is like working out at the gym. You’ll need to have the form down right and to do a lot of work yourself, but there are machines that can help based on your fitness level and what you’re trying to accomplish.

But, these machines won’t do you any good unless you’ve got a regimen you can stick to and are keeping up each day.

These are three of our favorite tools for getting the information you need to turn prospects into new deals and lucrative clients. They’re a top bet for figuring out how to reach people in a way they are receptive to — some research says you could see interaction rates of 40% to 60% higher compared to just reaching out via InMail.

So, make sure your daily workout plan is doable, grab the right equipment for your business fitness goals, and get to it!

7 Smart Ways To Create Sales Opportunities At Trade Shows


Are those business cards on your desk still collecting dust? Or perhaps that stack of flyers you passed out didn’t generate any leads?

At tradeshows most of us fall victim to the easy, but least effective, prospecting techniques: Handing out business cards, passing out flyers and collecting business cards for raffles.

And it gets worse.

We give prospects our business card, hoping that they’ll contact us… But they never do.

It should be your goal to break this pattern, stand out and create a compelling reason for your prospect to take action on the spot!

Trade shows have a culture of their own. It’s brimming with loud music, inspiring vision and hallways packed with world-class marketers creating a better future.

So, it’s important to capitalize on these once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.

This doesn’t mean you should look at everyone as if they’re a dollar sign – but let’s face it, sales matter.

And since it can be challenging to determine the ROI of your presence at these events, leaving without closed sales makes it difficult for your company to justify investing in future conventions.

That’s why on-site selling is not only important, it’s practical! People are there to see what YOU can do to set their business on fire (figuratively of course).

Capitalize on the emotional momentum that the trade show is creating for you. People are more motivated and open-minded here than they are at the office, surrounded by distractions. Use these seven smart ways to create sales opportunities at trade shows.

1) Reserve A Room Near The Trade Show Floor

Reserving a room can be a very important logistical detail. It eliminates distractions and creates an environment where decisions are natural.

Tradeshows are incredibly noisy and distracting. You may be able to rattle off an answer to a potential client or shoot them a quick sales pitch, but due to noise, you may not be able to thoroughly answer questions or get them to make a decision.

Having a quiet space and privacy can assist you in making authentic personal connections. It allows you to hear about your potential client’s problems, and genuinely discuss how they can be resolved—as a team.

In addition to having a booth, you should reserve a room that’s near the trade show floor so you can talk about prices, details and ultimately close the deal. This will give you a chance to pull aside folks that are genuinely interested and have a real, authentic, in-depth discussion.

2) Rehearse Your Elevator Pitch

At any event, you really have about 30 seconds (or less) before you lose the attention of your guest.

That’s why it’s incredibly important to nail down your 30-second elevator pitch before you arrive. An effective pitch is a short overview of what your product or service does, and how it can help the individual or their business.

For example:

“7 Figure Automation is a digital marketing company that helps B2B companies fill their sales pipeline so they can focus on running their business.”

You want listeners to be informed and interested, but you also want them to engage and ask questions too. Which is why a private room can come in handy.

3) Attract Attendees With Unique Content

You only have about 10 seconds to capture the attention of people passing by before they become disinterested.

Every company wants their spotlight and many will pay thousands of dollars to achieve it. But most company booths look the same.

When planning your event look beyond boilerplate videos and run of the mill brochures. Find something that’s going to grab their attention and hook them right away.

For example, at a recent sales conference, we knew that we only had a short amount of time to grab people’s attention. There were many other companies at the trade show, so we needed to figure out a way to stand out from the rest. To do this, we displayed a giant white elephant at our booth (which was connected to our problem-solving campaign of addressing the white elephant in the room).

This alone slowed foot traffic to our booth, especially when combined with large screens displaying funny, interactive videos that also tied in with our campaign message. These two pieces of content kept people’s interest long enough so that we could have in-depth discussions with them.

Making sure your content leads to a sale is your next step!

Once your content draws people in – whether it’s a video, fun display, unique signage etc. — it should grab people’s attention enough to slow them down so you’re able to show how your service benefits their end goal. This also gives you an excuse to bring up even more content as well.

Testimonials, content, pricing information, case studies – you name it! Prove to them that you can provide outstanding value.

4) Research Companies In Attendance To Leverage Sales

Knowing which people and companies are attending is incredibly beneficial. Checkout RSVPs on Facebook events or the trade show website to learn who’s going to be there.

If you’re a B2B company that sees a lot of professionals from the same industry are joining, ensure that your sales pitch, or even your materials speak to that niche.

5) Use Calls-To-Action To Maximize Engagement

In your trade show marketing you should always be asking attendees to complete some form of action. To increase sales on-site, you need to make sure you connect the call-to-action in all of your marketing to something they can do AT the event.

Don’t have them just leave their business card in a fish bowl – have them do something ASAP—right then, right there.

Getting a business card is great, but it’s not going increase your chances of getting a sale. Rather, schedule their meeting on the spot or have them enter their contact details into your CRM system – instead of sorting through dusty business cards on your desk the following week.

6) Develop Connections Before, During And After The Event

To get the most out of your sales presence during trade shows, let people know that you’ll actually be there.

This could be a simple series of social media posts, or something more intricate like an email campaign.

The more people you can connect with beforehand, the better! For some people it’s easier to answer emails, or write messages on LinkedIn.

Connecting beforehand can prime them for potential sales opportunities. You could even prepare something specific for their industry ahead of time.

After all, hard work is what it’s going to take.

During the event you should continue the social engagement – post on social media using the event hash tag, and look for people interacting with that hash tag as well.

But remember to be authentic.

The last thing you want is to come across as too pushy and seem like a sales robot. Simply make a connection. If they aren’t interested, don’t try and force them into something that they don’t want.

The best you can do is deliver your message and let them know how you can benefit them. The rest is in their hands. If you come across as polite, professional and convincing, they might just come back when the time is right.

7) Ask Yourself These Questions

Trade shows are an opportunity to learn and network with your industry leaders. After the event, ask yourself the following questions to get the most value:

What did I do well?

We’re often too hard on ourselves, but there’s likely something you’re proud of, so understand your strengths. This could be your visual presentation, or maybe the way you handled a certain potential client.

Nonetheless, this is a very important way to do some self-reflection.

What did I learn?

Teachable moments are everywhere, you could be a conference veteran, but there still will be things you learn from each one.

This could be something as deep as how to dispel common myths about your industry or something as simple as the new automation trick you learned.

Even the small things add up. Whether it’s big or small, focus on the “aha” moments during the trade show.

What could I improve upon?

Could your collateral have done a better job explaining your service or product? Or maybe you could have done a better job scheduling appointments on-site.

These three questions will keep you on track and move you forward. Self-reflection is an important part of growing, learning and improving.

These tips can work for any conference that you find yourself attending. Securing on-site sales is not only key, it’s incredibly rewarding!

Making long-term connections and growing as a businessperson, is equally fun, adventurous and satisfying. So, use these tips to grow and leverage experiences with world-class marketers.

7 Smart Ways To Create Sales Opportunities At Trade Shows