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Master Your Card – Missouri is a public education campaign from MasterCard, which helps consumers, small businesses, and governments get more from their money by using prepaid, debit and credit cards to their advantage. MasterCard uses its Missouri-based technology to run an electronic payment network that delivers instantaneous, affordable, and safe transactions though cards.
Linked University and Linked Selling was founded by Josh Turner. He’s worked with all sorts of businesses, in all kinds of industries. Big and small. He loves helping other businesses succeed, and understands how to leverage the right platforms to grow business on the internet, including LinkedIn.
His company Linked Selling is a firm specializing in outsourced LinkedIn marketing campaign management, as well as content, email and webinar marketing. With clients in North America, Europe and Australia, the company’s methods and strategies consistently generate both short- and long-term ROI. They also operate LinkedUniversity.com, the leading online LinkedIn training program for business professionals.
Gus: What inspired you to focus your attention on the LinkedIn market?
Josh: If your company is B2B, then all of your prospects are on LinkedIn. Yet most aren’t investing in LinkedIn marketing, which to me makes no sense. Before I started LinkedSelling, I was working for myself as an outsourced or freelance CFO. I was telling my clients that exact same thing….all of your clients are on LinkedIn, that’s where you need to be.
Having seen my success in building my own business using LinkedIn, and understanding that my methodologies work, one of my bigger clients asked me if I would manage their entire LinkedIn marketing effort. That’s when I started LinkedSelling, and since then the company has grown to include clients across the globe.
Gus: What are some tips for our readers to use LinkedIn as a better resource and platform for creating opportunity?
Josh: The best tip I can give somebody is to be proactive. The key word in your question, Gus, is “create.” What can people do to CREATE opportunities? The question isn’t, what’s the best way to be lazy and magically grow your business? The question is what does it take to be proactive, to hustle and create opportunities.
As long as somebody has the mindset that they have to create, and they have to be proactive in order to get results, then they’ll do well. More specifically, there are a couple things I can recommend that everybody do.
Everybody that wants to increase sales should be promoting their blog content in as many groups as possible. Install the LinkedIn Share button on your site (next to your facebook like and twitter retweet buttons). Doing so will allow you to quickly distribute your content into every group you belong to.
If you have more than one person in your company, get as many of your people as possible actively helping out with this content sharing or distribution. Think about the reach that this can give you. All of your content, distributed to hundreds of LinkedIn groups. It’s thousands of additional visitors to your site that too many businesses are currently missing out on.
Gus: What inspired you to launch LinkedUniversity? Can you talk about the process of tackling a huge undertaking and executing it in such a short period of time? What are some of the classes or lessons that you offer customers?
Josh: In the spring of 2012, we were doing a lot of webinars with the sole intention of attracting new clients. While this was successful, we found that 99% of the attendees were never going to hire us to do it all for them. These people were on the webinar to learn for themselves, and do it themselves.
But we knew that there was a ton of info that we didn’t include on the webinar. So, what could we do to assemble a training program to teach business professionals everything we do for our clients? Our answer was to create LinkedUniversity.com.
It definitely was an undertaking. The core training consists of over 12 hours of video training, audio files, workbooks, templates, and more resources. Just creating the content was a big undertaking, not to mention building out the site, the graphics work, the workflow planning, the free videos that we offer, all of the copy…the list really goes on and on.
All told, it took us about 3 months to build everything and launch. Having a small, nimble team allows us to get things done faster than most organizations. When we need to change, the decision is made quickly. There’s no long drawn out process for getting things done. It’s just a matter of being well organized, prioritizing the work, and having a good team that does high quality work.
In terms of lessons and curriculum, we currently have about 40 training lessons in the program. They range from prospecting and finding business, all the way to content creation. We have lessons on growing your database of connections that anybody can use to attract thousands of highly relevant prospects. Of course we also have training on profile optimization, as well as how to use LinkedIn groups for maximum benefit. We get a lot of great feedback on our “Sales Strategies” module as well, as most business professionals really care most about increasing sales.
We also have monthly group coaching that members take part in, monthly new releases and exclusive interviews and case studies.
Gus: Do you think LinkedIn is an under-utilized tool in the Midwest, specifically Missouri? And, if so, what are some ways to encourage users to use the platform in stronger ways?
Josh: Yeah, there’s no doubt it’s severely underutilized. This presents a great opportunity for those who step up and start doing something about it.
I have to tell you, I think it’s mostly a matter of comfort with using online tools to build relationships with prospects. Maybe that, and also that people still don’t understand that ALL of their prospects are on LinkedIn. Lack of awareness, plus unfamiliarity with the tool.
But keep in mind that there are still a large percentage of businesses that don’t even have a website! So expecting all business people to take full advantage of LinkedIn is probably too lofty a goal.
That said, I encourage people to take greater advantage of LinkedIn through tutorials, case studies, articles, and how-to’s. LinkedIn also does a great job of promoting the power of their platform, and there are plenty of others in the “social media” space who act as unofficial brand evangelists.
Gus: Can you provide some advice on the steps of creating a LinkedIn marketing strategy and why it’s important to have one?
Josh: The most important component is first understanding WHO it is you are targeting. Too many people have a focus that is really too broad. Be precise, clearly define what your ideal prospect or client looks like, and you’ll have greater results.
From there, determine what mix of activities are most likely to be most effective in reaching these prospects in a meaningful way.
The most common methods to reach prospects on LinkedIn include content distribution, messaging campaigns, strategies to directly connect, referral strategies to gain introductions to the right prospects, engagement in LinkedIn groups, and building your own LinkedIn group.
Gus: What are some tips for our readers to optimize their profile so qualified prospects find them and start engaging?
Josh: When people talk about “optimizing their profile” they’re usually referring to keyword optimization. In other words, putting keywords in the right places within your profile so that when somebody searches for that keyword, you rank highly.
Along those lines, there are a few key areas to make sure you include the right keywords:
• Position titles (within Experience)
• Education (yes, the keywords in your education section have an impact)
• Groups and Associations
That said, you still have to keep in mind that these are real people viewing your profile. Stuffing your profile with keywords to the point that it looks like a robot wrote it, that won’t yield results.
Another area of “profile optimization” that is equally important is structuring your profile so that when somebody does look at it, they convert to another stage in your sales funnel. We most often see this done effectively by using a “call to action” that includes an offer, in exchange for an email signup.
And at the end of the day, anybody who thinks that simply ranking highly for certain keywords will achieve great results is mistaken. Profile optimization can generate a lead every once in a while, in certain spaces, but it’s not a consistent lead generator.
To get the most out of LinkedIn, you have to be actively prospecting and executing strategies to stay in front of these potential clients. Contrary to what some of the supposed LinkedIn “gurus” will have you believe, it takes a consistent effort to generate consistent results.
To learn more about what it takes, I’d invite your community to sign up for the free training videos at LinkedUniversity.com.
Thanks very much for the opportunity and great questions, Gus. It’s been a pleasure!