Collecting leads is always a challenge for small business owners, and it is even more difficult to do so on a mobile device. Consumers don’t like filling out forms and giving away their personal information, and they dislike it even more on a small screen. This creates a challenge for entrepreneurs who need that consumer information in order to collect data on leads; thankfully, LinkedIn has come up with a solution to make the process easier for both business owners and customers.
Their new Lead Generation forms will auto-fill the necessary information so that customers can quickly send the form and go on their way, making the process simple and easy for everyone involved so that entrepreneurs get the information they need. If you are a small business owner, you are definitely going to want to take advantage of lead generation, so read on to learn how to best optimize your profile to ensure that you are ready when lead gen is available.
What is a Lead Generation Form and What Can You Do With It?
There are over 500 million people who use LinkedIn, clearly a huge audience for entrepreneurs to target for potential business leads. Lead Gen forms make it easier than ever to access this huge group of people by providing a form for anyone who clicks on one of your advertisements. A form will automatically pop up that integrates with a customer’s LinkedIn profile so that all the customer has to do is click “submit” in order to send their information to the business. The form will include information like a person’s name, contact information, company name, job title, location, etc.
Instead of trying to type all this information on a small mobile screen, LinkedIn will use the information found in a person’s profile to automatically fill out the form for the customer. This is much more reliable than typical lead forms that people can fill out with false information. Consumers are happy and so are business owners, who can use the information provided from the forms to:
- Meet their general goals- the leads are a better quality than most sponsored campaigns.
- Measure their ROIs- in the future, LinkedIn plans to provide demographic reports that break down the number of leads you receive.
- Manage their leads- you can sync with your CRM system to manage and reach out to new leads.
Why Should You Use Lead Generation Forms For Your Business?
Whether you are talking about LinkedIn or not, Lead Generation, or "Lead Gen" forms help you earn more clicks and not have to play catch-up to your competitors. There is no additional cost to using Lead Gen Forms for Sponsored Content campaigns for advertisers, including with LinkedIn, so the sooner you can get started the better.
In addition, mobile optimization is more important than ever as users are preferring to search from mobile devices over desktops. Lead Gen forms automatically optimize your website and campaigns for mobile browsing and will rank higher than websites that aren’t. You can connect Lead Gen forms and lead information to other apps like MailChimp, HubSpot, ActiveCampaign, and more.
Read this article for more reasons why you should be using Lead Gen forms for your business as soon as possible.
How to Set Up LinkedIn Lead Generation Forms:
1. Log into your LinkedIn Campaign Manager, click on the account in which you would like to run the campaign, and create a new Sponsored Content campaign.
2. Name your campaign and then select “Collect leads using LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms”.
3. Decide whether you want to use an existing creative or create a new ad.
4. Select up to 7 fields that you would like to collect in your Lead Gen Form.
5. After someone submits the Lead Gen Form, you have the option to create a thank you message and display a URL that directs the user to your eBook, website, or landing page of your choice.
6. After you create your Lead Gen Form you can choose the CTA that will be attached to the Sponsored Content. Select the form you’d like to use and click Next. From there, you can set and launch your targeting, bid, and budget just like a normal campaign.
This article goes more in depth into the process with screenshots provided for each step.
How to Make Sure Your Business is Ready for LinkedIn Lead Generation Forms
1. Build a great profile and make sure it’s optimized.
A large part of using LinkedIn is to grow your network by connecting with others, so you want to make sure your profile is exceptional in order to prepare for the new leads you’ll most likely be receiving. You don’t want to go to all the trouble of drawing strangers into your profile only to have them be turned off by what they see.
Make sure you have a clear, professional photo (preferably a headshot) as your profile photo. Spend some time on your title, aka “professional headline” as this is one of the first things people will read to learn more about you. Your title should similarly reflect the titles of the people you are trying to target. Finally, make sure your profile is completely filled out with all past jobs, education, degrees, and experiences. The goal is to get users to read your entire profile, so you don’t want to disappoint them with large gaps in information.
2. Utilize the “groups” option.
A great LinkedIn tool to consider using is Groups. You have two great options to pursue with this- actively participate in current groups, or create your own group. Spending time in group discussions gives you the opportunity to connect with like-minded people who you might not meet otherwise. Social Media Examiner recommends only joining 3-5 groups at a time so you can concentrate on adding value to the discussions- quality over quantity is what could potentially generate new leads.
It takes more work initially to create your own group, and it is much more of a commitment, but once you get situated you should only have to spend a small amount of time each week on the group. Create and title the group so that it benefits your potential customers, for example marketers, and local business owners. Then post quality content and discussion pieces that are going to engage people and make them want to participate in your group.
3. Actively pursue potential customers.
It is not enough to simply attract new leads, you will want to actively pursue each and every new contact that you come across. This may seem overwhelming in the beginning, but it is worth it in the long run. Consider collecting all the users’ personal information in a spreadsheet to help stay organized. Then spend some time perfecting your connection invitation; other than your profile this is one of the first things that people will see, and you want to make a good impression.
If you have created a group, it is a great idea to include the contact information for it in your invitation. Your profile picture and headline should already be optimized, so all you need to do is create an engaging opening message. It should be short and to-the-point (the character limit is 300) and contain information about why it would benefit the user to connect with you (ie: you work in the same field, you are located in the same area, etc.) If possible, customize each invitation depending on the user with whom you’re trying to connect.
4. Stay the course!
You have put in the groundwork to optimize your profile, collect new leads, and reach out to them initially, but you are not finished! Just because you made a new connection (or several), doesn’t mean you are finished. Continue to update your profile when applicable, be active in your group(s), post new content, and otherwise engage with your new connections. Send follow-up messages, share links to content that you think is valuable and relevant, and invite others to join group discussions. Not only will you continue to build relationships with your connections, you will also attract new connections in this manner. Not all of them become leads, but some might!
For more information on ways to prepare your business to receive new leads, check out this article by Quick Sprout.
How do you intend to prepare your business for Lead Generation Forms? What do you predict the impact will be on small businesses and do you have any recommendations for how to best optimize your profile? Comment in the section below!
Image credit 1: media.licdn.com
Image credit 2-5: business.linkedin.com