Developing Successful Direct Outreach For LinkedIn

By: Stuart Turner  

Stuart is a WeWork Labs Member in Sydney, Australia. He's the Chief Growth Officer at BinaryM, and co-founder of LINDA, the marketing automation platform for Sales Navigator. If you enjoy this article, feel free to reach out to Stuart on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn membership, 2020

Direct LinkedIn Outreach

Now is obviously the perfect time to turn to the world’s biggest *professional* social network to build your profile and promote your business.

But guess what?

Everyone is doing it. In most cases quite badly.

I’m a big fan of direct outreach. It works really well when delivered in a personal, relevant manner.

You can achieve several very useful things with this approach:

  1. Grow your network with relevant decision makers or customers across the globe - once you’re connected your can talk to them for free, forever!
  2. Generate inbound opportunities to engage your network, for communications, research, marketing or sales activities.
  3. Increase the efficacy of your wider growth activities by communicating at a one:one level as well as one:many.

So, before you start an epic article on ‘the new normal’ or why we should all be embracing #wfhlife forever, take a moment to read this article and consider a different approach to growth.

Before You Begin - Three Important Things To Do

  1. Define your Objective(s) and Key Results. I love this simple way of focusing your time and energy - if you want more info Felipe Castro has written a great intro with examples here. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to measure everything - especially when you’re a founder with little time and many tasks!
  2. Create a clear customer definition. Be it an ICP (Ideal Customer Profile), target account or just a straight up persona; you need to know who you are trying to identify and find on LinkedIn. This might sound obvious but you’d be surprised how many people forget or overlook this essential step before jumping in.
  3. Build your customer journey. Based on what you have put together in points 1 and 2, where does LinkedIn fit into your plan? What will it achieve alone, and what requires other tools, channels or people? If you’d like a simple template on how I approach this in my businesses then send me a note and I’ll share it with you.

I also suggest you get yourself a LinkedIn Sales Navigator seat. You can use free LinkedIn if you want, but Sales Nav will be well worth the money. It will save you time and create a rich view of your prospects and connections.

Be A Real Human To Get Results From Direct Outreach

Whether you’re automating or not, it’s not hard to spot Spray and Pray spam.

It’s crap, it’s lazy and it rarely works for long (if it works at all).

To create successful outreach requires a little more finesse, forethought and planning. It also requires you to focus on three core areas.

Relevance

Demonstrating relevance to your audience  in outreach is essential to create any level of interest from the recipient. This doesn’t have to be over engineered, it can be as simple as graduating from the same school. If anything, the simpler the better.

LinkedIn profiles give you a wealth of information about people, so make sure you take some time to see what your target audience is saying, and how you can create a warm introduction that isn’t all about you.

Cut the Fluff

Be clear about why you are getting in touch. No one likes having their time wasted, and no one likes to feel rushed or pressured. You don’t need to shave off your personality, simply make sure you’re communicating clearly.

For example; if you’re running a campaign purely to grow your audience, just connect and say thanks. You don’t need to blurt everything out immediately!

P.S. DO NOT try the old bait and switch – your audience will see it coming a mile away.

Be a Real Person

Be personal. I don’t mean that in the overhyped marketing sense, I mean that in the real human sense. Learn about your audience, understand their challenges, point of view and what they might like to hear from you, and weave that into your communication.

Putting your ego to one side and really adopting an alternative perspective can be hard, but you will find that honing this skill will enable you to reach out to people in a way that sets you apart from the crowd. You will be able to create empathy and understanding – a much overlooked by extremely powerful skill to develop.

Bonus Final Point – Have Fun

Most people are aware of the large game we’re all playing in the world of work (especially if you’re reading this and you have a commercial remit), and there can be a sense that LinkedIn isn’t very fun (conversation for another time) if all you read is the news and dry corporate chat in the feed.  

I however have had great success combining all three of the previous points with a bit of frivolity and humor; I’ve never taken work particularly seriously, and I find that mindset helps me to kick off relationships and conversations on a great note with people.

Finding your own tone and voice takes a bit of practice - especially as we’re often encouraged to button down our personalities and hide behind a brand in work life - but once you do you’ll unlock a whole new way of building your business.
Obviously it’s hard to squeeze everything into a short article, but hopefully this has given you some useful ideas for your next campaign.

If you're interested in connecting with Stuart directly, please visit the Member Portal or ask your Labs Manager for assistance.

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