josh-turner_0

Mastering LinkedIn Lead Generation Campaigns with Josh Turner

inbound marketing

When the company Josh Turner worked for went under, he decided to start his own company. He used LinkedIn to get clients, and then his clients noticed the results he was getting on LinkedIn, and started asking if he would manage their LinkedIn campaigns as well. And so LinkedSelling was born.

I’ve seen a lot of people use LinkedIn poorly, and not nearly as many use it as an effective prospecting system to grow their business. Josh decidedly falls in the latter group.

In this episode, Josh shares how he helps clients with their LinkedIn strategies. He shares a specific Linkedin lead generation case study where he helped his clients position themselves as industry experts and provide a steady flow of leads to their sales team.

Listen now and you’ll hear Josh and I talk about:

  • (01:00)  Introductions
  • (03:15)  What did you do for your last job and how did LinkedIn play a role in that?
  • (05:00)  How did you use LinkedIn to get your first few clients?
  • (06:30)  What goals do your clients have?
  • (07:00)  How should I use LinkedIn to attract clients?
  • (13:00)  Why and how do I launch my own group?
  • (17:00)  What kind of companies should do this?
  • (18:16)  How do you track all the activity in the group?
  • (20:30)  What are the biggest mistakes you see people make?
  • (22:15)  Is sharing your client’s content in other groups worthwhile?
  • (25:00)  What do you suggest your group owners do with the one email they send per week?
  • (27:00)  How much time does one need to invest each day?

Resources Mentioned

More About This EpisodeGroove Digital Marketing Podcast

The Groove Digital Marketing podcast is the podcast for entrepreneurs  who want to discover how to use online marketing and sales automation tactics to massively grow their business. It’s designed to help entrepreneurs discover which proven tactics and strategies  are working most effectively today – all from the mouths of expert entrepreneurs who are already making it big.

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Transcript

Trent:
Welcome to episode number 17 of the Groove Digital Marketing podcast. I’m your host Trent Dyrsmid and this is the podcast where we help business owners and marketing executives to discover how to use digital marketing, marketing automation and social media to dramatically increase revenue by attracting more customers.

So if you’re an executive and you’re looking for proven tactics and strategies to help you increase traffic or capture more leads or align more client; well guess what, this is the podcast for you to listen to. Because the way that I convey that information is I bring proven experts on to the show as my guests and then I get them to tell us all their secrets on how they are achieving success in whatever area they are and this episode is no different.

My guest is a fellow by the name of Josh Turner. Way back in 2006 he was the CFO of a construction company that eventually got shut down. He was using LinkedIn way back then and so he used LinkedIn to get his first few clients after he started his own business after the demise of the construction company that he worked for.

And he was a CFO for hire. A lot of his clients started asking him, “Hey you seem pretty good with this LinkedIn thing, can you help us out because we think we should probably be using it and would like to get more customers and out of that need his business was born.

And in this interview we are going to talk about a specific case study of his; a company called Swip Manufacturing and how he helped them to create a robust group which has produced and continues to produce a steady flow of leads for the sales team at Swip as well as positioning Swip as a leader within the industry.

So if those are two objectives that you have then you’re really going to enjoy this episode and we are going to welcome Josh here in just a second but before we get to that, if you are looking for all sorts of ways to increase your success with digital marketing, we’ve got all sorts of free resources and you can get to them at GrooveDigitalMarketing.com/resources. Our entire library of downloadable e-books is there and like I said, they are all free.

So with that said please join me in welcoming Josh to the show.

Hey Josh, welcome to the show.

Josh:
Hey thanks for having me Trent, great to be here.

Trent:
No problem, my pleasure to have you on, it’s been a long time since I’ve had anyone on to talk specifically about LinkedIn so we are going to dive deeply into that. But before we do, so people know a little bit about you and how you developed your LinkedIn expertise why don’t you tell us a little about your background in business, the construction company you were with and how you made the transition from regularly employed person to now an online entrepreneur?

Josh:
Sure, sounds good, to go way back to the beginning I guess, 2006 is when I first signed up for LinkedIn. I was member number 6 million and something and LinkedIn has over 300 million members now it was fairly early on and at the time I was using it just for business development for the company that I worked for and building up my personal network and doing what most people are doing with LinkedIn, just using it as an online Rolodex of sorts.

And that construction and manufacturing company that I worked for; we went from five to about 23 million in annual revenue in about three years but then in 2008 the spicket just turned off; just went dry on us and our backlog just went straight to the floor and we were forced to shut our doors in November of 2009 and I had really been itching to do my own thing for a while and that was just the light shove I needed to say, “Alright I guess now is a good as time as ever to give it a go.”

And so what I started doing was working as a freelance CFO; really just a business consultant here in St Louis working for small companies that didn’t want or need to hire a full time finance guy and that went really well. One of the reasons why I was able to get a few clients under my belt and start paying the bills pretty quickly was that I had built a really solid network on LinkedIn and started tapping into it and continued to use LinkedIn to grow that business.

By 2011 I had two clients who had taken notice of what I was doing to grow my business using LinkedIn and they said, “Hey what ideas do you have for the kind of things we should be doing on LinkedIn.” And once I gave them some ideas they said, “That sounds pretty good would you do that for us because we don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.”

So I said “oh sure” well the first thing I did was I went and I looked to see if there is another company that I could refer them to because this isn’t really my business. And what I found was that although there are plenty of people out there that call themselves social media consultants and things like that. There was nobody that I could find that was clearly articulating a clear way to utilise LinkedIn to generate a consistent stream of leads and being done in a very high level professional manner.

I wasn’t looking for some cheesy type thing. I couldn’t find a single company that I could refer to my client and at that point I said, “Well sure I’ll do it for you.” And about the same time I threw up a website for Linked Selling and thought maybe there’s some other companies out there that would be interested in the same thing and turns out that thought was correct and the business has really exploded since then.

That was 2011 when we started Linked Selling and it’s really taken off since then. We have clients all over the world, the US, UK, Canada, Australia, a couple in Asia, that hire us to run LinkedIn campaigns for them. Typically the goals of our clients are to generate leads with targeted prospects. Some of our clients though are more interested in things like brand awareness and more general marketing objectives.

Sometimes it is just building an audience and driving traffic but we help them do those things and we also have a training program called Linked University for people that want to do it themselves and just want to learn how we are doing it.

Trent:
Alright cool, well here is the part that I enjoy the most when I get to do these interviews, I am going to make me the guinea pig or make my company the guinea pig.

Josh:
Okay sure.

Trent:
And so we’ll use that as a discussion. The people that I want to connect with are valuated resellers of a major technology company. The company that I am targeting is not Microsoft but for the purposes of this discussion we’ll just say that I am targeting Microsoft Partners. So there is a whole army of them out there. There are literally thousands of companies that are professional services companies that help customers to implement for example Microsoft Dynamics or Microsoft this of Microsoft that.

The company I used to own before I started my own agency was a Microsoft Gold Partner so I understand the space pretty well.

If I as a content marketing agency want to get Microsoft Partners as clients how should I use LinkedIn to do it?

Josh:
What you wouldn’t want to do is create a campaign that centre around yourself. So that is what most people think. They go on LinkedIn they think, “Okay I am a content marketing agency and I am going to build a campaign all about content marketing and I am going to throw this stuff at my prospects so that they can be impressed with my expertise and then want to hire me.”

Well the is even thought that might be a part of their life, a part of their business that they are interested in they don’t want to be bombarded with stuff like that all the time.
So the first thing you got to be thinking is who are the people you’re trying to target and you just told me who it is.

So you have a very clear definition of that which is great and then say, “Okay well where can I find those people within LinkedIn and what kind of a campaign could I develop that will really bring these people into my funnel for the long haul so that you can position yourself in front of them and keep yourself extremely top of mind. So that when they are in the market for what you do, you’re the one they think of.

Specifically in your case it could be something as focused as a LinkedIn campaign that would include a group that would be all about a group specifically for Microsoft Partners and resellers of other major tech companies and such. So you have to position it in such a way that it really is attractive to them and then you just fill this LinkedIn campaign with all sorts of content relevant to these people.

Trent:
Sorry I’d like to interrupt you for one moment, try not to lose your thought. You use the word campaign and I think we need to define for people exactly what you mean by the word campaign.

Josh:
Sure so it’s a long term outlook to where you are going to work prospects through some sort of a multi touch process so that in a number of different ways you are going to staying in front of them with a specific objective to achieve at the end of the campaign.

Trent:
And that is all going to be on LinkedIn?

Josh:
For our clients a big part of it is. Also a big part of it is utilising LinkedIn to take it to the point where the prospects we’re targeting agree to talk to their sales team. And then of course it goes into the real world where business actually happens. LinkedIn is just the tool to facilitate the prospecting and the outreach.

Trent:
Alright so taking you back before I interrupted you; you said you found yourself a group you want to fill your campaign with content that’s going to be of interest to them. Did I get that right?

Josh:
Yeah, here is an example, we have a client and they run a software development company, they are out of Illinois one of their big targets is manufacturing. And so if the CEO of the client firm that I am working with comes to me and says, “What is the best way for us to utilise LinkedIn to get in front of these kinds of companies?” Think about it, the people they are targeting in these big manufacturing firms are typically going to be the CEOs, the CFO’s, the senior decision makers, sometimes CTOs and such.

If we create a campaign all about software development those people are going to tune that out, so what we did in their case is we created a LinkedIn group called Mid-West Manufacturing leaders. This campaign and this LinkedIn group and all of the content we are positioning in front of these prospects is very broad. And we put first and foremost the interest of the prospects.

Then because our client is the one facilitating this community, then when they start reaching out to these people to talk business the response rate is very high. Really simply that is one of the key ways that we are able to help our clients generate business of LinkedIn.

Trent:
So this broad base of content that is going into the Mid-West Manufacturing Leaders group; your client did not have to write all that content, they could just curate good stuff from all over the web, yeah?

Josh:
Yeah that is what we do. Our team goes and finds all the best stuff and yeah you nailed it. We are setting up our assess feeds, we are monitoring all the best industry sites, we’re monitoring discussions happening and encouraging engagement within the group so that there is lots of comments on things and things like that.

It’s very successful. If we started a group all about software development for manufacturing companies, would some people join the group? Yes. Would it be as many? No.
And would they eventually tune out and get tired of hearing about software development all
the time? Yeah you bet. So the best thing to do is have a balanced mix of content that you think will keep your prospects locked in for the long term.

Trent:
So when you start a new group you got to get some people in it. How did you balance, “Hey there is enough content there now” and “now we need to start inviting people” and then how did you invite the people?

Josh:
We will typically wait about ten days, so we’ll post something into the group once a day for ten days so that it looks like there is some stuff in the group. Sometimes if we’ve got multiple people involved in the campaign from the client we are working with. We’ll have some different people that just one posting in the group so that it looks a little varied; “Oh there’s more than one person here.”

The key thing is; you touched on this, this is basically what you were saying; that you don’t want to invite people to a group that looks like a ghost town because then they are going to look at it and think, “why would I want to join this, there is nothing in here.”

You want to make it lived in and look like, “There is something happening here and I get a
little taste for what it is going to be about.” And then what you want to do is just invite all your connections. With a couple of clicks of a button LinkedIn will automatically send out an invitation to all your connections and then from there how to continue to grow it on an ongoing basis that takes a lot of work. It really does.

That is one of the reasons why most people when they start LinkedIn groups don’t stick with it because it is consistently reaching out to new people and promoting the group to grow the membership is a very time consuming task. It takes a lot of effort. That is one of the things we take off our client’s plate; to make sure these campaigns are successful.

Trent:
Alright gang, just in case you’ve been wondering if all this stuff actually works, I am looking at the statistics for the Mid-West Manufacturing Leaders Group and the trend of comments and discussion is actually headed in the right direction and I would assume discussion is when you are posting to the group; comments are when other people are interacting with that post. Is that correct?

Josh:
Yeah, that’s right. And then I think as of right now in terms of the total size of the group (I don’t have it in front of me it sounds like you do) I think we are somewhere around 5000 members.

Trent:
4394

Josh:
There you go, yeah closing in on 5000. It’s been a successful campaign and really at the end of the day for a client like Swip Systems, they are the ones leading and running that group with my company’s help. They don’t need too many good prospects in that group to make it worth the while; they’ve got some pretty big ticket price points. You know what I’m saying.

Trent:
Yeah, a prospect list of 4400 people is huge; it is a massive prospect list.

Josh:
Yeah, the campaign has been very successful for them. One of the other things if you think about it too is that even if you are looking in the group, you touched on that comment to discussion ratio. To be honest with you I care less about the engagement happening in the group than I do with simply positioning my client as the founder of that community because then when my client is reaching out to new prospects they’re seen more as a peer than a salesperson that is coming to try and sell you something and that is huge.

Trent:
What do you charge a client to create and help them run a group?

Josh:
Our clients’ price points are all over the place. So typically though you are looking at $2000 to $5000 dollars a month type retainers to hire us to do that kind of stuff for you.

Trent:
Okay, so then what type of activities would they get? Let’s say they’re in the $3000 a month range; what kind of stuff are you doing for them and how often do you do it?

Josh:
We are running the entire group. We are helping to design the whole strategy behind it; we are curating all of the content, we are posting the content into the group, we are reaching out to new prospects to invite them to the community to consistently grow it.

We are reaching out to group members to promote discussions so that we can encourage engagement within the group. We are plucking off the best prospects and tracking them through a system that we’ve developed; that works them through the behind the scenes messaging campaigns and designing campaigns with our clients that will move the best prospects out of LinkedIn and into meetings with their sales team.

We’ve got the process dialled into the point that companies that hire us; if they are looking for lead generation we can pretty much tell them exactly how many people on a monthly basis will be able to line up calls for the sales team with.

Trent:
Which I am sure they like.

Josh:
Yeah, it works out for the right kind of clients. Now having a company like mine manage that process for you given those price points; doesn’t make sense for people that are selling a $20 widget. But the kinds of companies we are talking about Trent, it typically makes sense when you got a minimum five figure type sales and recurring revenue models where clients are worth a lot to you on the long haul.

Then it makes sense to invest and bringing them into the funnel and generating those leads.

Trent:
Absolutely, so if they are selling things for $50 000 dollars a pop and maybe you are going to generate a couple of hundred grand over the next three or four years then this type of thing really works for that.

Josh:
Oh yeah, no doubt.

Trent:
So you mentioned something, you have a prospecting system that you that I kind of rattled off you when I asked you do for your clients. You said you invite them, you curate content, you contact members for them, you build relationships with them and then you have a system of some kind. Can you just elaborate on that a little bit?

Josh:
Sure so if you got thousands of prospects that you’ve got in a LinkedIn campaign and you’re exposing them to all of this activity; it is essential that you have a way to keep track of it all. So that you know what every single prospect has been exposed to. And so that you can really communicate, and when I say you the client can communicate with our team as to what should or shouldn’t happen with any prospect in the campaign.

We’ve just developed some reporting; leveraging things like Google Docs and such that allows us to track all this data in a very precise way so that our clients have visibility into all of it real time.

Trent:
Is there anything that you would be able to send me as far as a screen shot or what have you that I could include in the post that we are going to publish with this podcast?

Josh:
Yeah sure, I could send you something like that. At the end of the day it is just our version of a CRM. There is nothing out there really that is great at managing the thing we do because this is such a customised process. No one else does this kind of stuff. Really it is just a matter of having a way to track all these people through the campaigns.

I can send you something, when you look at it you’re going to be like, “Oh, that is actually not that complicated and sophisticated.” That is one of the keys to it though because people don’t really want that. They want something simple that gives them what they need.

Trent:
Yeah, it doesn’t need to be complicated to be good.

Josh:
Right.

Trent:
Alright what are some of the biggest mistakes that you see people making on LinkedIn?

Josh:
The biggest mistakes; one mistake that people make is they try and go for the sale too quickly. If you could just take the time to position yourself and take care of the relationship first, gain some top of mind awareness, position yourself as one of the good guys before you try and set up a meeting or call; you are going to get a much better response rate out of that.

So much of the literature out there and the things recommended by a lot of companies related to LinkedIn has to do with really direct approaches. And that can be really good, but anyone that has done that stuff knows that it can be a low percentage response type thing.

Instead if you try first to say let’s get these people connected to us first or get them into the group first and let’s take the time to get to know them a little bit before we ask them to marry us then you are going to get a better response out of it. Overall that is one thing.

The other thing is people that just don’t have a plan at all and their just logging into LinkedIn because they think they should be and almost every day just going back to the drawing board just based on what they feel like doing. And probably most of the time that is a waste of time; instead you want a specific plan for what you are going to be executing on and then see it through.

Look at the results, see what worked, see what didn’t work; tweak it and move forward based on that.

Trent:
The other question that I was going to ask and that I am going to ask now is what do you think about sharing content that your client creates in groups where their target prospect is likely to be hanging out but they don’t own or run those groups.

Josh:
Yeah, I think that is fine. Some groups moderate pretty severely so anything that looks like a blogvertisment right. So it is thinly veiled content that is nothing but promotional doesn’t stand a chance of getting through in those groups. The group managers are going to put you on moderation or block you and delete you from the group which then causes you problems in getting your content through in other groups.

You have to be careful about which groups you share the content into. So just get familiar with which of your groups it makes sense to share what kind of content in. And hey I wouldn’t be doing it every day, that is a little much but sharing something like that into your groups, the right groups, every couple of weeks or so is fine I think.

If some of the groups you are in don’t seem to be down for that, don’t want to accept your stuff, well then what good is it being in this group for me then move on to another one because there is over two million of them out there to get in.

Trent:
That is what I do. I’ve written about this; if you come to my site and search for the word Oktopost. That is a tool that I use. I really enjoy the tool. Every once in a while I look in the groups and if I’m not getting my content published I just leave the group. Let’s be honest, who has time; these people say that, “Oh I want you to sit and personally interact and bla bla bla.” Well if you are in twenty or thirty groups you don’t have time to do that.

Josh:
Sure.

Trent:
It is totally impossible.

Josh:
One little tip; maybe you’ve seen this too Trent but if you pose the title of the discussion as a question then it really increases the chances that they will let your article with the link into the group because it is kind of positioned as more of a discussion starter around the content and not just a pure promotional thing.

So that is something to do as well.

Trent:
Yeah, I actually do that on all of our stuff, I never ever use the blog post title as the start of the discussion. I always ask a question and in the comments I ask a few more questions. And I say, “Hey if you are new at this stuff and you don’t know the answers here’s a post that has some stuff in it that you might want to check out.”

In some groups the managers love me and other ones they ban me and it is just like you said. And it is just like you said, however much control that manager wants to have.

Josh:
Yeah, you don’t need to take it personally, just move on.

Trent:
No, couldn’t care less.

In a group that you have created for a client they can send one email per week out to every member of that group that is going to arrive in their actual inbox, correct?

Josh:
That’s right, an announcement.

Trent:
What do you get your clients to do with that valuable weekly email?

Josh:
We don’t necessarily send one every week. Most of the people in the group are getting some sort of a digest of activity depending on their settings. So we don’t feel the need to hit them every week with some announcement from the group. Often times it’s one a month.
That’s what we go with. Sometimes more sometimes less; it depends on the client, it depends on what kinds of things they have going on, and it depends on what is going on in the group.

But it is either going to be something that is promoting some special piece of content the client has put together or it is going to be promoting something else happening in the group that we want to bring people’s attention to. So what you don’t want to do is just every single time you send an announcement to all your members have it be something promotional about your company.

You got to balance it because you don’t want people to unsubscribe from that.

Trent:
And if you were having a webinar and what have you, you could just make an update in the group. You wouldn’t have to send out a specific email saying, “Hey for those of you that are interested in this topic we have a webinar, bla bla bla.”

Josh:
Yeah, you could put it in the group as a discussion. For most of our clients they are not doing webinars so often that it would become an issue of overly promoting too many.
Typically for companies we work with when they are doing a webinar we will send an announcement out to the group about it.

Most small businesses don’t have the wherewith all the webinars once in a while.

Trent:
Alright, before we rap up Josh, what have I not asked you about marketing and building relationships on LinkedIn that I should have?

Josh:
Good question. Let me think about that for a second. One of the things that most people are thinking about is, “What kind of resources do I need to devote to this?” Outside of hiring a company to do it for you, I already shared with you pricing and stuff, for the companies that are going to try and do it themselves people should be thinking about what they are going to be putting into this.

The kind of campaign that we just described, doing this stuff the right way, you’re going to need somebody that’s spending thirty to forty hours a month on it. It is really what it takes. And I am just thinking in terms of approximately the amount of time our account manager spend on a given client account in a month. If you’ve got the resources internally to do that or bring somebody new on and make that one of their things then that’s kind of the way you need to be looking at it.

If you are the person doing it you’re probably crunching that number in your head, “What does that break down to?” An hour and a half or two hours a day; so if you’re the one that is planning on doing that work then you got to figure out how you are going to find that time. A lot of people are going to say, “Well I don’t have anyone else to do it for me and
I don’t have that time. One option is then to hire someone to do it for you.

Or try and design a campaign that won’t require as much time. The kind of campaign that we just walked through; there is a lot of moving parts there and it is very effective but it takes a lot of time. Our online training program Linked University; we’ve got over 30 lessons on different types of LinkedIn approaches.

The game plan that we just discussed is one of about ten approaches that can be effective and some of them can take as little as twenty minutes a day. It’s about figuring out how much time and resources you have available to allocate to these things and I guess that is probably true of any new marketing initiative.

Trent:
Alright Josh thank you so much for making some time. If people want to get a hold of you there is two ways to do it from what I can hear. One of them is LinkedSelling.com and the other one is LinkedUniversity.com. Is there any other way to get a hold of you personally?

Josh:
Those two places are great or feel free to send me a connection request on LinkedIn as well. You can find me there. Just look for Josh Turner and you probably would be able to find me.

Trent:
Alright Josh thanks so much for being on the show, it’s been a pleasure to have you.

Josh:
Yeah same here Trent, thank you.

Trent:
Alright to get to the show notes for this episode go to GrooveDigitalMarketing.com/17 and if you really enjoyed this episode and want to help other people to discover it, go to GrooveDigitalMarketing.com/love where there is a tweet that you can just click your mouse on and it will automatically blast out into the tweetosphere. Is that even a word, tweetosphere?

Maybe it is, if it isn’t send me an email, I’m just kidding. Anyhow that is it for this episode, I’m Trent Dyrsmid your host thank you very much for tuning in, I look forward to having you back for another episode soon.

Take care. Bye-bye

About Josh Turner

joshtpicJosh Turner has had a laser focus on LinkedIn for the past few years; he’s created a whole business out of it.

Josh calls himself a “B2B Marketing Expert Specializing In LinkedIn,” and as the founder of Linked University, which offers webinars and trainings to get the most out of LinkedIn, and LinkedSelling, which has done work with LinkedIn marketing campaigns since 2010, it’s a well-deserved title.

 

 

Leveraging_LinkedIn

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