A little less than a decade ago Seth Godin popularized the term permission based marketing.
“Permission marketing is the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them.”
Opt-in email marketing is a seminal example of permission based marketing because users would opt into receiving information instead of just being blasted with it.
The metaphor I always think of when it comes to this topic is someone “raising their hand” to receive communication.
Whether we’re talking cold email or calls, if you’ve read this blog by now you know I’m huge proponent of outbound acquisition. The fact is most people aren’t actively looking for your solution which means you need to insert yourself into their world in a thoughtful way to even have a chance at engaging them.
Amongst the different types of cold prospects out there, there are is often a cohort of people that might be passively looking; if you tapped them on the shoulder, they would welcome a conversation, but they aren’t explicitly saying I’m looking for what you have like an inbound lead.
Identifying these people quickly can be a high leverage activity because passive lookers are more qualified than say someone who has shown no indication that they’d be open to having a conversation.
The trick is identifying passive lookers then engaging them thoughtfully isn’t easy…just asked Hired.com or the multitude of other businesses that have built businesses on connecting buyers and sellers who are passively looking for something.
One LinkedIn prospecting strategy I use is what I’ve come to know as “Linkedin Flirting.”
Within LinkedIn there is a feature that allows you to see who has viewed your profile.
When you see someone has viewed your profile, the next logical thing is to investigate by checking them out.
It’s not uncommon for me to stumble across someone’s profile, then they’ll see that I looked at them and ask to connect with me on or even start a messaging conversation with me.
To me this is like someone “raising their hand” to give me permission to start a dialogue.
If you’re recruiting and a target candidate does this or even views you back, you can have greater conviction that you should approach them about an opportunity. What does the fact that they’re spending their time on LinkedIn implicitly imply…
If you’re targeting a buyer and they’ve opted in to connecting with you, they’ve given you permission to start a conversation.
An amazing new chrome plugin I’ve been using to automate the first part of this LinkedIn prospecting process, or the “wink” if you will, is called Profile Hopper.
Profile Hopper is a script that visits the profiles of everyone that matches a particular LinkedIn search query for you in an automated fashion.
You simply define the criteria of people you want to wink at, click start and it will begin visiting all these people’s profile.
In the example above, I’ve ask it to visit 2nd degree connections in New York City who match the query “sales operations.”
What’s cool about this is you can get super granular with all the faceted search options more premium versions of LinkedIn offer.
Now all of these people who Profile Hopper checks out for you will see that you were looking at them. Some will either look at you back, friend you, or even message you like in the example displayed above.
I love this LinkedIn prospecting strategy because it helps me identify that passive cohort of people who might be interested in having a conversation automatically. This allows you to start a conversation in a more elegant way than bombing their inbox with cold emails (which can still be effective BTW). Anecdotally I’ve seen this change the dynamic of a conversation because your reach out appears much more sequential than something completely out of the blue.
Now similar to any mating call scenario, you need to have some game once you start engaging with someone to actually move things forward. This choreography is all based on the signal you’re receiving back and context ; )
I’ve used this automated LinkedIn prospecting strategy to drum up a ton of opportunities on both the customer acquisition and recruiting side at Troops with an incredibly minimal time investment. The main difference between the two is simply who I’m targeting (engineers vs. target customers).
Before you start going crazy, there are a few things you should do and think about in order to optimize this activity.
The first is change your profile visibility to display your full profile so when you view someone they can actually see who you are.
The second thing is take a look at your profile and make sure it is optimized for conversion.
What does your title say? Do you have any content you’ve published so when someone visits your profile they’d be intrigued to add you or even respond?
All of this should be congruent with whatever response you’re trying to coax and can be thought of similar to web page conversion optimization.
I think of “LinkedIn Flirting” as just one tool in a bag of tricks you can use to drum up business for your company. In no way does this replace other channels for me like cold outbound or inbound marketing through content generation. But for about 30 seconds a day of work to get a bunch of free leads…well that ain’t too bad : )
What hacky tools, LinkedIn prospecting strategies, and processes are you using to make the most of your time and drum up business?