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Outside voices and views for advisers

You've got mail ... on LinkedIn

Feb 28, 2014 @ 9:19 am

By Craig Faulkner

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(Bloomberg News)

I'm pretty sure that you have a profile on LinkedIn — nearly every business professional does these days — but are you utilizing the LinkedIn InMail tool to your best advantage?

InMail is a great service (provided at a small additional cost) where LinkedIn guarantees a response within seven days, or they give you a credit to use another InMail. Their website describes it as a means “to reach anyone on LinkedIn, no introduction or contact info required. It's professional, credible outreach — with your LinkedIn profile attached.”

Each InMail will cost you a few dollars, but many advisers find it is money well spent. If you want to give it a try, here are four things to do today to get that area of your digital marketing up and humming.

1. Jazz up your profile

Before you start sending out messages, get your house in order. We talk about this often with our clients, but one of the most important things you can do on social media is update and improve your LinkedIn profile. Since your LinkedIn profile is what your contacts will see after they receive a message from you, make sure that what they see impresses them and gives them confidence about working with you.

At FMG Suite, we've created a great little tutorial on our Social Media course called “Power Pack Your LinkedIn Profile.” It's well worth a few minutes of your time and effort.

2. Focus on specific people with whom you would like to work

InMail isn't for mass mailings. It is a means of reaching out to specific individuals, so use it to reach out to those special contacts that you would like to convert into clients. You can probably think of a dozen people right now who meet your target demographic, and that you would love to have as clients. Take that dozen and make them the center of an InMail effort.

3. Do your research

Social media makes it easy to find out quite a bit about potential clients. So take the time to see if there is a Facebook page, LinkedIn profile or Twitter feed connected to each prospect, and get to know that person a bit before you reach out. The effort will pay off. Identify two or three things that are unique to that person, such as career details or upcoming life changes.

In your message, show an awareness of their life situation (without being creepy) and offer some content of value that relates to their needs. Here is an example: “In your position as HR director for Acme Products Inc, I'm sure you are aware of the many investment options available these days. At our firm, we specialize in helping people optimize their retirement planning through careful investing. As you know, investing can be tricky with the ups and downs in the economy. You might be interested in this short video on the investment cycle. I would welcome an opportunity to talk more with you. If you like the video or have any questions, please get back to me and let's talk.”

Some advisers like to combine InMail with snail mail. For example, you could combine an InMail message with a white paper on the same subject or a brochure about your business. This reinforces your impact on the prospect.

4. Use life changes as InMail triggers

As your clients have life changes, such as new jobs, retirement, new babies or grandchildren, and/or divorce or death, send an InMail with some valuable content. For example, you might say, “Congratulations on your new grandchild! Can't wait to see some pictures. It's never too soon to start thinking about the future, so you might be interested in this short video on college tuition costs. I'd be happy to talk with you about creative ways to help plan for future educational needs.”

LinkedIn offers many great avenues for connecting with clients, prospects and new contacts, and our advisers are reporting that the cost per lead of InMail is far lower than more “hit-and-miss” tools such as Google or Yahoo Ads. Used with care and competence, InMail can become a valuable tool in your marketing toolbox.

Craig Faulkner is chief executive of FMG Suite, a company dedicated to creating digital marketing tools for today's financial professional. If you would like to learn more about how to use social media to grow your business, check out our free online course, Social Marketing Strategies for Success. You can also follow him @FMGSuite on Twitter.

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