Setting expectations: what to consider before launching a LinkedIn campaign

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If you're thinking about starting a marketing outreach campaign on LinkedIn, you're going to adore our blog section - we live and breathe this stuff! Before we launched this service we thought we knew a lot about cold outreach in general and a LinkedIn-specific campaign in particular, but the last months have shown us that there's still a lot to learn. Not always about the campaigns themselves, but also all the little things that set up and help a campaign be successful.

Nowadays, when we start our collaboration with a new client, we know that setting expectations and defining a clear framework for our campaign is almost as important as the outcome itself. With this type of service being so new, it's important to know what you're getting into - even if you choose to run these campaigns yourself, instead of relying on someone like Legendary Leadgen.

So before you start running your campaign, set your expectations accordingly. Here's a quick rundown of what you should cover:

How long is your sales cycle?

Cold outreach campaigns generate leads not sales. If the leads are great, the likelihood of you closing them is high - but the fact remains, what you're getting are leads, not sales. One of the most common misunderstandings we encounter is when people misjudge how long it will take to start converting leads.

So ask yourself this: normally, how long is your sales cycle? Are you selling a physical product that can be delivered the next day, or a complex process that usually needs approval way up the food chain?

If your sales process usually takes 3 months, allow 3 months for the LinkedIn campaign to run, and allow yourself that long to work those few early leads.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't evaluate the campaign in those three months: are the leads you're getting of high enough quality? Are you counting as leads people who aren't quite that interested?

A close eye on the campaign is still required, but as a rule of thumb, these leads won't convert earlier than any other prospect put through your sales cycle.

How big is your network?

All of our clients fall into one of two categories: people who run these campaigns themselves, and people who delegate to a more junior member of the team.

While both methods produce results, it's easier to get there if your network is already established. It's simple: you want to target your 2nd degree network, and the more connections you have, the more people you have in your 2nd degree network.

The expectation you need to set here is that if your network is relatively small to begin with, you're going to need a while to "ramp up" the campaign. In our experience, by sending a standard number of connection requests per day this would generally take a week or two.

So don't panic if you've been at it for a few days without any results so far. Give your message time to spread!

Who's in your network?

It's not all about how many people are in your network, it's also about who they are.

Let me give you an example of what I mean. If you've been working in advertising your entire life, chances are that's who a good chunk of your connections are on LinkedIn: people generally associated with advertising. But if for your campaign you set a target to connect with people working in Computer Software, your network isn't going to have that many people working in your target industry.

So we're back to "how big is your network, really?". If you have 1000 connections, but 3 developers working on software, for all intents and purposes for this campaign you have 3 targets in your network - plus however many those open up in your 2nd degree network.

The solution? Again, don't panic if results don't come immediately, and allow the campaign a week or two to ramp up.

What's your end goal?

As is the case with any endeavour, with cold outreach campaigns on LinkedIn you should begin with the goal in mind.

Are you just looking to add another source of prospects to your roster? Do you want to establish yourself as an authority figure in your niche? Do you want to generate buzz for an upcoming product or service?

This article has been full of questions, but the reality is that it's these questions that lead you to a successful campaign. Knowing what you want to accomplish will allow you to set a clear path for your campaign, and to ensure that you won't get sidetracked along the way.

To give you a few examples of how knowing the answer can change a campaign: if you're interested in launching a service in 6 months, it would be a good idea to start growing your network now, and offering prospects free advice/materials that would help their day to day activities. When you're ready to launch, run a campaign to your existing network and let them know; to your prospects, you won't be just after the sale, and your words will carry more weight.

If, on the other hand, you're looking for more immediate results, you'll want to start pitching your product or service straight away. Change the type and content of your messaging to fit your needs, and make it clear earlier in your contact with prospects that you want to sell to them; some of them will show enough interest so a quicker sale will be likely.

Working with pros

Little by little I'll give away most of our "secrets" in this series of articles. I think it's to all our benefits to share what knowledge we have, and it's only by collaborating that we'll discover new knowledge. In time, this section should be filled with enough information that you'll be able to run a months' long campaign on LinkedIn like a pro.

The added benefit of working with someone like Legendary Leadgen is experience. It helps us course correct by allowing us to spot issues early on, it helps us think outside the box when it comes to difficult approaches, and to figure out new and innovative ways to get the right message out there.

If your expectations include a steady stream of leads and they don't include you working too hard for them, give us a call. :)

Andrei Maguleanu