Case Study: LinkedIn Direct Outreach
Over a few months, LinkedIn became our #1 source of new leads and revenue and showed a 6x ROI
Where’s my next lead coming from?
Service businesses often rely heavily on referrals.
That was the case for us, and throughout 2019 we experimented with a whole grab bag of lead generation tactics — writing guest articles, cold emailing, improving contact forms, creating new lead magnets, you name it.
Some got us results, others just took up our time.
In November, we started testing direct outreach on LinkedIn.
These efforts have been by far the most consistently worthwhile over the past 5 months.
We’re sharing our own results because we are confident this can work just as well for B2B integrators as it has worked for us (and many other B2B industries where this is more common).
I’ll begin with a caveat: there are lots of people who do this poorly. We’ve all gotten these messages. They look something like this:
No offense to the guy who sent me this. He’s trying to drum up business, which I don’t blame him for.
But messages like these use a “spray and pray” approach, sending tons of identical messages a broad group of people.
They’re also trying to sell me something right off the bat.
There’s nothing personal or helpful to the recipient (me, in this case), and therefore doesn’t motivate me to reply.
That’s not what we do, and that’s not what we’re suggesting you try, either.
Instead, what you’re doing is using LinkedIn to strategically network with a specific target audience.
To that target audience, you’re sending non-spammy, non-salesy messages, with the simple goal of starting a conversation.
The rest of it, you already know how to do. It’s networking and business development like you’ve always done it — by building relationships.
Except instead of going to conferences or waiting for good connections to fall into your lap, you’re identifying the kinds of people you’d like to meet and actively reaching out to them online.
Between November and March, this approach helped us in a number of concrete ways (by bringing in 25% of our revenue) and less concrete ways (by helping us build our authority as experts in our field by introducing us to hundreds of people whose problems we’re good at solving).
Our Results, by the numbers:
Connections & Profile Views
Increase in LinkedIn Connections
Connection requests sent per workday
Connection Request Acceptance Rate
Profile “Traffic” during the second half of this effort:
This is with an average of 1 post a week, so mainly due to increased exposure from viewing other profiles and sending connection requests.
- LinkedIn only shows you the last 90 days of profile views data. In my case, it was 825 between January and March (the second half of our campaign period).
- That's an average of 275 unique individuals viewing my profile. Of course, just like traffic on your website, profile views are just a leading indicator — not directly tied to leads or revenue. But it’s still hundreds of people getting familiar with me and building awareness around my business.
- And if you take the time to really optimize your profile to connect with and engage the right people, a small percentage of those profile viewers will reach out to you and start a conversation. Otherwise (just like on a suboptimal website) they'll move along and forget about you.
Email list growth
Hours per week invested
% of revenue attributed to efforts
Approx. Return on Investment
Conclusions on Using LinkedIn for Virtual Networking & Business Development:
We serve a B2B audience: AV and other technology integration companies.
This has been by far the most successful lead generation and network-building effort we’ve tested, and we are confident this will work well for Commercial Integration companies.
Historically, many B2B integrators have gotten lots of leads and exposure via conferences, most of which are cancelled right now due to COVID.
Conferences won’t be cancelled forever, but the way we network with each other will definitely change.
Businesses of all stripes are trying to adapt.
And right now, the internet is our main way of adapting, and LinkedIn is a place on the internet that's literally built for remote networking.
Using LinkedIn’s premium Sales Navigator, you can search for exactly who you're looking for, letting you directly reach decision-makers at almost any company.
Want to partner up with architects and connect with leaders of 1-10 person architecture firms around St. Louis?
Here are 338 potential partners who you can reach out to today (31 of whom have been active on LinkedIn recently):
Point is — it’s a powerful tool that we're confident can help B2B integrators start to fill in the gaps from missed conferences and in-person events.
It also ought to be at the top the list for residential integrators working to grow the commercial sides of their business — the top trend CEPro identified in their 2020 State of the Industry report.
So if you are concerned that your leads and other growth opportunities might start drying up, it could be worth giving this a shot.
Don’t expect instant results. It takes time and serious persistence, but it pays dividends.
Interested in trying it out?
We put together a free, step-by-step tutorial on how to set up and run a LinkedIn Outreach campaign on your own.
Learn how to set up & manage your own LinkedIn Outreach Campaign
We made this walkthrough to help you connect with the clients you’d love to do business with, rather than relying on inconsistent referrals.
Our goal is for AV Pros watching this to go from barely using LinkedIn, to strategically starting new conversations with their ideal prospects and landing new deals.