When LinkedIn first came out, it was just for job seekers. Users would post resumes and only connect with people they already knew. Since it felt like a more professional version of Facebook, it was awkward when you received a connection request from someone you didn’t know.
Today, it’s become a content platform for professionals to engage and connect with people they know and don’t, similar to Twitter. With over 100 million active Linkedin users and 40 million users in decision-making positions, it’s clear to see why LinkedIn is a potential goldmine for commercial insurance agents.
Here’s a five-step strategy to help commercial insurance agents make LinkedIn an integral part of their marketing mix:
1) Upgrade to LinkedIn Sales Navigator. I’m not affiliated with LinkedIn or getting paid to say this, but out of all of the business-to-business (B2B) tools available, Sales Navigator has to be the absolute best. Although your free LinkedIn profile has a ton of unpaid features, you have to upgrade to get the most out of LinkedIn.
For as little as $64.99 a month, you and your team can search far and wide for potential customers, contact 20 people every month through inMail—a service that allows you to email anyone on LinkedIn whether or not they’re already in your network—see everyone who’s viewed your profile and receive recommended leads based on your preferences.
2) Define your outreach strategy. After you commit to using LinkedIn, it’s likely your profile needs a makeover. But turning your LinkedIn profile into a viable marketing channel is a process. Start slowly by scheduling 15 minutes a day to develop your profile.
Before you overhaul your profile, you should decide whether you intend to develop channel partners or sell directly. Your profile and outreach strategy will largely depend on your overall objectives, so align it accordingly. If you’re an agent that loves to network and form referral partnerships, build your profile around seeking partners. If you’d like to go direct-to-market and reach prospects, then optimize your profile with your buyer in mind.
3) Develop your campaign. Your LinkedIn campaign has two facets: your sales proposition and your outreach strategy. In developing your campaign, your first goal is to go beyond a digital resume and create a digital landing page. This means designing your LinkedIn profile page to attract the clients you want to reach.
Start with your headline and work your way down. By clearly conveying your intentions to the open waters of LinkedIn, you’ll be surprised how many prospects will begin to find you.
The second part of your campaign is to determine your outreach strategy. Your outreach strategy boils down to campaign messaging, your sales cadence and calls-to-action. As you start to develop your campaign, work backward from your goal and break down the steps to achieve it.
4) Identify your targets and build a database. Did you know that the Sales Navigator section of LinkedIn enables you to search for your ideal contacts or company targets? The Sales Navigator search function is easily 10 times more powerful than the free version. You can filter people by geography, relationship, company name, industry, headcount, seniority level, function and title. You can also filter companies by headcount growth, revenue, technologies used, job opportunities and relationship to break your way into accounts.
Furthermore, when you save these prospects and target companies in your database, LinkedIn will suggest similar prospects and will alert you about their activity on the platform.
5) Connect and engage. Now that you’ve developed your strategy and identified who you want to target, you’re ready to reach out. Connecting and engaging with new people involves daily tasks, such as adding new contacts to your network, building your database of leads and accounts or simply scrolling up and down your timeline to find new opportunities.
Use the 20 inMails a month to send targeted messages to professionals outside your network. And, if that’s not enough, you can stay busy by building your online network with relevant groups, discussions and LinkedIn recommendations.
If you’re a commercial agent, your next customer is probably on LinkedIn. That’s why introducing LinkedIn outreach to your marketing mix is a no-brainer. By following this step-by-step process, you can transform your outreach and turn your LinkedIn profile into a B2B lead generating engine.
Cam Bob III is founder of Infinity Leads, a customer acquisition agency for independent insurance agencies. In 2018, Bob III was named Young Innovator of the Year by British private equity firm CVC Capital in the development of a cutting-edge digital lead generation system for insurance agencies. Bob III is also the author of “The Digital Insurance Agent,” a step-by-step guide to generating exclusive leads online.