In 1995, a chance meeting at Stanford sowed the seed for one of the most influential and innovative companies in history. Sergey Brin was assigned to show Larry Page around the Stanford campus. Although the two reportedly disagreed on everything they spoke about during that tour, they struck up a relationship that would prove to be both long-lived and fruitful. Together, they created Google. Once a basement operation, the search engine would become the world’s largest and most powerful. It would fundamentally shift not only how we search, but how we interact with the internet and each other. Google has become so ingrained in our society; it is hard to imagine life without it.
There are nearly 5 billion Google searches conducted each day; we rely on Google to help us find answers to our medical and legal questions, to help us locate vital services, to look up showtimes and restaurant menus, to find out where we are and figure out where we are going. We don’t search; we Google. While Google has since created a host of groundbreaking products – Maps, Docs, Chrome, Android, YouTube, and Gmail to start – Search remains its best product, the one that changed everything.
It not only changed how people search; it changed how businesses operate. While there are many other ways to bring traffic to your website, and other search engines for which to optimize, Google is the major highway by which potential customers/clients arrive at websites. Consider these statistics:
- 58% of purchase decisions begin on search engines.
- 61% of consumers use search engines in product research decisions.
We use search engines whether we are shopping online or off. And, of course, Google is equally integral in non retail businesses and websites. Driving traffic to a blog, for instance, may be crucial in generating ad revenue instead of straight sales. In any event, Google is the main conduit to websites.
Changes and innovation from Google are no small matters. The Mountain View, California based company updates its algorithm 500 to 600 times per year. The majority of these are minor changes and tweaks, but others send shockwaves throughout the business and SEO communities. Panda and Penguin are two of those most famous, or infamous, of these updates, and countless blogs, presentations, webinars, videos, webcasts, and infographics have worked to explain, commiserate, and advice the sites which are affected by the changes – as well as those who wish to avoid penalization.
Given the amount of traffic and visibility Google can provide for search engine optimized websites, any obstacle that blocks that flow has a profound effect. As Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales said, “If it doesn’t exist on Google, it doesn’t exist.” What do you need to know about penalties, and how can you avoid them? If it is too late to prevent such a penalty, how can you find a cure?
What Are Google Penalties? Algorithmic vs. Manual Sanctions
Google’s goal is to improve search quality and experience for users. Penguin, for instance, rolled out in April, 2012 targeted “low quality” sites which violated Google’s Webmaster Guidelines by using techniques such as cloaking, keyword stuffing, link schemes, and duplicate content. Panda, the first iteration of which was released in February, 2011, took aim at “content thin” sites. Those with scraped, low quality, and/or copyright infringed content are impacted.
These sites have not been “penalized” per se. That is, Google has not imposed a penalty. Instead, its bots have crawled sites and have discovered factors that affect page rank. Scraped content, over optimised metadata, unnatural links, and other items send a red flag to Google, and as a result, a site can rank much lower for targeted search terms than previously. This is completely algorithmic; it is cause and effect.
An algorithmic “penalty” can be remedied relatively easily. If the penalty is, for instance, due to unnatural links, a website owner or manager can conduct a thorough link audit and remove bad links.
You cannot necessarily control which sites link to your site, so there may be links from low quality sources. To counter the harm that these can cause, the Link Disavow tool is invaluable. After you have submitted your request to disavow, or dissociate yourself from undesirable links, and clean up your internal links, the waiting game begins. Google must process the request, and, as Danny Sullivan of SearchEngineLand says, “Even if you’ve cleaned up your links with disavow, you have to wait until the Penguin Update is run again before you’ll see an impact.”
Regardless, the wait should result in a more favorable spot in the SERPs, or search engine results pages. Just as the penalty is assessed objectively, so, too, is it lifted impartially. It is, essentially, as though Google is saying, “Nothing personal; your site is fine now, so we’ll index it.”
Manual penalties, on the other hand, are assessed subjectively. A site trips some sort of alarm switch within the algorithmic system; it alerts human operators that a problem may be occurring, and it is sent for review. When you hear news stories – and horror stories – of Google penalties, you are hearing specifically of these manual penalties. The reason they inspire so much trepidation is that manual penalties are notoriously difficult to lift.
Manual Penalties Shake Websites Big and Small
Perhaps the most well known site to be slapped with a Google manual penalty for link irregularities is JC Penney. In early 2011, the US based retail giant was outed by the New York Times for shady links. The Times questioned why JC Penney was top ranked for hundreds of queries, from little black dresses to Samsonite luggage to grommet topped curtains. They achieved top spots in many searches for branded items, such as Samsonite carry on luggage, in which one would expect Samsonite would rank more highly.
JC Penney, or rather, its SEO firm, had created links from a variety of irrelevant, low quality websites to JC Penney’s site. The phrase “black dresses,” for instance, was found on a site called nuclearengineeringaddict.com and linked directly to the retailer’s black dress section. This happened thousands of times, driving JC Penney to the top of the search engine results pages for endless queries.
After the New York Times exposed the century old company, Google imposed a manual penalty, which lasted for 90 days before it was lifted. During that time in the penalty box, JCP lost visibility for scores of keywords. Samsonite carry on luggage, for instance, went from number 1 to number 71. TopRanked living room furniture fell to number 68. Remember, it is the rare consumer who will look beyond page two of the SERPS, so this is significant.
More recently, UK’s biggest web flower vendor, Interflora, and several UK newspapers, were penalised by Google for using “advertorials.” These thinly disguised adeditorial hybrids were placed by Interflora in several newspapers, and Google believed that this violated their link guidelines. Matt Cutts wrote:
Please be wary if someone approaches you and wants to pay you for links or “advertorial” pages on your site that pass PageRank. Selling links (or entire advertorial pages with embedded links) that pass PageRank violates our quality guidelines, and Google does take action on such violations. The consequences for a link selling site start with losing trust in Google’s search results, as well as reduction of the site’s visible PageRank in the Google Toolbar. The consequences can also include lower rankings for that site in Google’s search results.
JC Penney and Interflora rebounded, and they did so with relative speed and ease. But they have name recognition and customer loyalty on their side, as do other big businesses that have been busted for link schemes of various kinds, including Overstock.com, Forbess, and even Google itself!
The same penalty applied to a small web business could be devastating. Sites without the name recognition, infrastructure, and resources to combat a penalty may well never recover. In fact, Google’s webspam chief, Matt Cutts, said, “If you’ve cleaned up and still don’t recover, ultimately, you might need to start all over with a fresh site.”
Can You Recover from a Manual Google Penalty?
An algorithmic “penalty” is typically discovered when sites significant visibility on the SERPs. One day, they are literally off the radar. A manual penalty is different; Google sends warnings to website owners, indicating that a site has been found in violation of webmaster guidelines.
Your website can recover from a Google penalty; what is not likely, however, unless you’re an Interflora, JC Penney, or Google, is that your traffic will rebound to pre penalty levels. It is more probable that you will be, essentially, starting over. You will, though, be starting over fresh and clean – which is a much more favorable condition than you find yourself in now. There is no “back” button to deal with a Google penalty. You cannot undo that. Moving forward, though, you can create a stronger site that pulls in traffic on the basis of stellar content and design and which casts off the weight of unnatural and bad links.
Bad Things Happen to Good Sites
Taking a moment, we would like to reiterate that just because you have received this notification of penalty does not mean you did anything wrong, or that you did anything intentionally wrong. In some cases, as we saw with JC Penney, an outside firm was responsible for the link manipulation; in other cases, low quality links are attaching themselves to your site without your knowledge or consent, or you have been victim of “negative SEO.” And in some cases, you made a mistake or an error in judgment and are now paying the consequence.
Are there cases in which site owners are indeed at fault, intentionally manipulated Google, and deserve the penalty? Sure. This is exactly why Google institutes these penalties. If you have purchased links, used Dofollows to spam comment sections, or engaged in other deleterious behaviour, it is time to clean up your links and SEO practices.
Removing Google Penalties
This is a bit of a misnomer. You do not remove the penalty. Google does. The process starts with the letter from Google, as shown above. You will notice that there is a link that will submit your site for reconsideration. At this stage, you are not ready for this.
Forgo clicking on the link, and instead examine what Google is telling you. Your site is suspected of using unnatural or artificial links in order to manipulate PageRank. The only logical next step is to conduct a thorough link audit. Use Webmaster Tools to look at the links coming into your site, and use a tool such as Majestic SEO, Open Site Explorer, or Link Research Tools (all highly recommended by experts).
NOTE: As you go through your link audit, use a spreadsheet (preferably on Google Docs) to list all of the unnatural or potentially unnatural links you find. As you continue through the process, document everything you do to remove or disavow these links, and copy letters to webmasters and other communications to a file. You will need this later for your reconsideration request.
You may have several thousands of incoming links: how do you know if they are unnatural or artificial? You are going to have to go through the links (the tools make it easier) and ask several questions:
- Is the link from a domain that Google has not indexed or which has a low PageRank? This could mean there is a quality problem.
- Is it a nofollow link? If so, you don’t need to worry about that because Google doesn’t follow them. They have no impact.
- Look at the anchor text for over optimisation. This can indicate an unnatural link or an attempt to manipulate rank.
- Does the link appear with pay per click links, such as those for pills, pornography, gambling, etc.? This is guilt by association!
- Does the link come from a link network?
- Look for sitewide links, especially footer and blogroll links.
- Look for automated and paid links. Buying links used to be white hat practice; it is not any longer.
- In Webmaster Tools, go to Traffic>Links to Your Site>Who Links Most>>More. If you see that one site is responsible for a large number of links, it may indicate sitewide links, which may be unnatural.
Removing Bad Links
Here is a glimmer of light: you do not need to remove all the bad links. Google needs to see a good faith effort and significant progress. End of glimmer! Now, on to the work of removing or disavowing these links. The first step is to look at links that point to internal pages. These are easiest to deal with because you control them. There are a few ways to do this:
- Use robot.txt to request that Google not crawl these pages.
- Change the URL of the pages or move them to a new URL – and make sure to leave the bad links behind.
- Use a 301 redirect to point visitors from the old page to the new (and hopefully Google approved) version.
If you have paid a service for links, request that these be removed. If the service tries to get you to pay a removal fee, contact Google and let them investigate. They often take action against sites like this.
What if the links come from external websites over which you have no control? That is obviously a tougher nut to crack. Prioritise your unnatural links and select those that need to be removed. Any links which have been purchased should be at the top of your list.
You are going to have to start emailing webmasters now, and this can be a very unpleasant part of the recovery process. If you have spammed blog or forum comments, owners will not be eager to extend you the olive branch. You need to make your request humbly.
When contacting any webmaster, be polite, be respectful, and never threaten. You are, essentially, asking these people to do you a favor and take down the link. They do not have to; Google is not breathing down their necks, it is breathing down yours. That is, your desperation does not mandate action on the part of other webmasters. And remember, document your attempts.
There are tools that you can use to pull contact information, initiate contact, send reminders, and record actions automatically. Some good ones include:
- Remove ‘em
Some website owners will remove the links; others will not. Regardless, document your attempts and make every possible effort to remove as many bad links as possible.
For links that are completely unassociated with your website, you can use the Link Disavow tool to tell Google not to take these links into consideration when determining your PageRank. Use with caution, though; you don’t want to go right down your list and disavow 1000 links. Your site’s performance will suffer. And, as Google reminds us: “In most cases, Google can assess which links to trust without additional guidance, so most normal or typical sites will not need to use this tool.”
In other words, Google can tell which links are untrustworthy, and the search engine doesn’t want you to try to pull one over on them. Use this if you have a high number of spammy and unnatural links that are impacting your performance in the SERPs.
After work you have done everything within your power to clean up your link profile, it is time to on your reconsideration request. Be sure to include:
- Acknowledge the problem. We received Google’s notification of unnatural or bad links. These links are a result of…fill in the blank. Here is the place to take responsibility for spamming, paying for links, and other frowned upon practices. If an SEO firm did this without your consent, or with it, be sure to mention this to Google.
- Lay out the steps you have taken, from link audit to webmaster contact to remove these links.
- Mention specific URLs that were particularly abundant or problematic.
- After you have talked about what you have done to remedy the problem, discuss why it will not recur. You might have received training in proper SEO and link building techniques; you might have fired your SEO firm and retained a legitimate practitioner in its stead; you may have taken off your black or grey hat and put on a white one.
Be specific in your reconsideration request, even if it is not complimentary to yourself or your company. Google would rather see, “I engaged in spam commenting,” or, “We purchased links,” than, “I am completely blameless, and someone is out to get me.” They also want to see, “We are not going to do this again moving forward. We are going to focus on high quality content and legitimate, proven SEO tactics.”
To that point, start on a content campaign. Write relevant, interesting articles and blog posts; produce videos on topics in which your audience is interested; use social media to engage with your target audience. This will help when Google lifts the penalty and begins crawling and indexing your site once again.
After the Reconsideration Request
It typically takes Google two to four weeks for Google to respond to your reconsideration request. Manual penalties are imposed by humans, and reconsideration requests are also handled by humans. If it is felt that you have removed enough links, or worked hard enough to remove them, the penalty may be lifted. That’s the best case scenario.
Google may deny your request, and this leaves you with a few options: continue your work removing unnatural links, or, if you feel you have done everything in your power, move to a different site. The latter is a last resort; if you can make a greater effort to clean up your links, try it, and resubmit. If even then your request is denied, then it may be time to cut your losses.
Many sites, though, have had their Google manual penalties lifted. The key is making a thorough, good faith attempt. Google doesn’t expect you to remove each and every link; it is impossible. What they do demand is that you do your damnedest, and prove it to them.
You will not see a magical boost in your PageRank, unfortunately. To recover and to build your visibility back up, it is important to stick to the straight and narrow and do a little old fashioned hard work.
- Make sure your code is clean. Check for hidden content, malformed anchors, bad canonicals, and other elements.
- Concentrate on content. Get rid of thin and duplicate content. For instance, retailers can write original product descriptions rather than relying on those supplied by the manufacturer. If you have more fluff than stuff, you need to go back and fill it out with relevant, high quality information.
- Implement Author Rank.
- Build and cultivate high quality links. Your solid content will help with this, as will a concerted outreach campaign. You could, for instance, ask B2B partners to link to your site; you could use social media; you could make sure you are listed in relevant business directories. All of these are legitimate means of building links.
A Google penalty can be frightening; it is certainly an email that no one wants to read. But it is one that you cannot ignore. Avoiding penalty is, of course, the best course of action. But if that is no longer an option, fight to regain your PageRank and ensure your site is not penalised again for the same mistakes.
Many other sites have incurred penalty and have worked diligently to address the problem. It takes time and effort, and it can be frustrating trying to appease the world’s largest search engine. But because so much of our traffic originates here, and so many of our customers and clients depend on Google, it is worth the effort. There is life after a Google penalty. The quality of that life depends on you.
A killer LinkedIn profile is mandatory if you want to grow your brand and company.
Although you are busy, LinkedIn is a place that you cannot forget. The more you put in, the more you get out.
Here are 22 top tips to effectively stimulate your LinkedIn profile.
1. Must-Do:Keep Your Profile Basics Updated!
Many people forget to keep their LinkedIn profiles up-to-date. Whether you are a total beginner, just starting a new job or exploring new opportunities, there is no excuse for having outdated information on LinkedIn. It will think badly about you.
Here are two quick and natural areas that you should check for up-to-date:
By doing these two simple things, more people can find you, and you can find more relevant potential contacts.
2. Use Only Professional Photos
LinkedIn profiles with a photo are viewed 11 times more often. So if you still show a silhouette, it’s time to make a change and reveal yourself.
Your LinkedIn photo is not supposed to be from 20 years ago. It should not look like it belongs on a dating site, stock photo site, or social network (for example, Facebook or Instagram). And don’t show your pet or another person. Only. No.
LinkedIn is for professionals. Be one.
3. Brand Your Profile With A Background Photo
Does your LinkedIn profile look boring and average?
Give your profile page a little more personality or branding, with a visually appealing background image.
LinkedIn advises users to use an image (PNG, JPG, or GIF) with a resolution of 1400×425.
4. Write A Ridiculously Good Summary
Here you sell yourself to potential connections. Your review should continue with what’s in your headline, with attention to your specialties, career experience, remarkable accolades, and ethical leadership.
There has been much debate about whether it is best to write here in a first-person versus third-person story. In the end, it doesn’t matter, stay in line with whatever you choose. Do not go back and forth between first-person and third-person because this is confusing and indicates a lack of attention to detail.
In summary of LinkedIn summaries: keep your ego under control, focus on the most relevant details about your career, avoid meaningless jargon, and make it easy to read.
5. Avoid Typos
Bad grammar, typos, and spelling mistakes are a no-no.
Avoid typos at all costs.
6. Use Keywords With Intent
Words are so incredibly important, especially when searching is a big part of the comparison. The use of the right keywords in your profile is the difference between being found and being invisible.
Identify the words for which you want to be found when people use LinkedIn searches and who use keywords in your headline, summary, and profile. Using the right keywords exposes you to more potential connections and opportunities.
7. Nice Trick: Choose The ‘Other’ Website Option
Under your contact details, LinkedIn allows you to link to a website or blog. But by default, the text in your profile is the incredibly dull ‘Blog’ or ‘Website.’ Everyone who visits your profile has no idea where they will end up when they click on it.
Do you want to use your actual brand or company name? You can! Here is a simple little trick.
When you edit the Websites section of your profile, select the “Other” option. Now you can add your website title and URL.
8. Personalize Your Linkedin Profile URL
When you created your LinkedIn profile, it had an ugly combination of letters, numbers, and backslashes that had no value for your branding. You still don’t have this, do you?
If you do this, it’s time to change your public profile URL. For example, someone custom URL is https://www.linkedin.com/in/XYZ. LinkedIn makes it easy to keep your profile consistent with your other social profiles.
9. Own Your Media
Visual content is only becoming more critical. Help pop your LinkedIn profile by adding documents, photos, videos, and presentations.
10. Add Shiny New Sections To Your Profile
With LinkedIn, you can add different parts to give your profile more visual appeal and depth. You can add elements for posts, volunteer work, languages, awards and awards, patents, causes you care about, and more.
All these sections offer you more options for making new connections.
11. Tidy Up Your Endorsements
People will endorse you for all kinds of skills – sometimes even capabilities that you don’t have. But just because you are approved for fire eating, chewing gum or showers (yes, these are all real areas of expertise, according to LinkedIn), does not mean that you have to show other LinkedIn users – unless, of course, eating fire plays a crucial role in your professional life.
With LinkedIn, you can remove all irrelevant skills and notes. You must avoid ‘lying’ about your skills, even if this is due to omission.
12. Connect With People You Don’T Know Yet
One of the biggest mistakes people make on LinkedIn is not getting in touch with people you want to know but don’t know yet. That is the whole point of networking: getting to know new people, not just established connections.
Building your LinkedIn network has many advantages. You stand for influencers. You get more notes. More people see your best content, share that content, and visit your website. And it’s great for personal branding.
13. Personalize invitations to connect
“I would like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”
The standard message that LinkedIn gives is so dull and impersonal.
When you invite someone to make contact, make it more personal – a state where you met or a topic you discussed in a LinkedIn group, via email or during a telephone interview. This personal touch increases the chance that they will accept your request.
14. Publish Amazing Posts
LinkedIn messages offer a different way to increase your influence, gain visibility, and attract new followers.
Your existing connections will be notified when you publish. New people can discover your posts via search.
Always think of the audience that you want to reach. Highlight your expertise and interests by posting great content. Make sure your posts are suitable for the 400 million business professionals who use LinkedIn.
15. Find And Join Groups
One way to connect with people you want to know is to join LinkedIn groups. Whether it is a group run by a significant publication, a group for people with individual job titles, or a group dedicated to a specific topic, there are millions of groups to choose from, so start searching to find groups that match your fit and join them.
Join discussions. Start interesting discussions. Do not sell your product or service or promote yourself – sell your expertise! That helps build your brand.
16. Find People Via Advanced Search
Searching on LinkedIn is your gateway to future connections. Search for people by name, company, or skills.
But you can go much deeper.
LinkedIn’s advanced search function helps you find people by job title, school, relationship, location, industry, current / past company, profile language, and non-profit organizations – with additional search options for Premium members.
17. Stalk Users Openly Or Insidiously
But sometimes you may want to be a bit more secretive before you connect. If this is the case, you must manage your privacy under Accounts and settings.
LinkedIn offers a few less revealing options. You can only reveal that “Someone at XYZ Corporation” or “Someone in the online media industry” has viewed the profile. But if that’s not enough, you can go wholly private, and users will only be told that a LinkedIn user has viewed his profile.
18. Remember Where And When You Met What’S-His-Name
Once you have expanded your network to thousands, it can be a little daunting to remember each person or to stay in touch with a few essential connections.
Fortunately, LinkedIn makes this easy. In the Relationship section, in addition to the date you are connected, you can also take notes about your contact, including how you met or set reminders to check in at intervals of one day to every year.
Don’t worry, these comments and reminders are only visible to you!
19. Build Extraordinary Business Relationships
When someone accepts your request to connect, you don’t start pitching your service or product. This is a relationship killer.
Start slowly. Respond to, share, or Like their posts.
LinkedIn even makes it super easy to stay in touch and tell you when contacts celebrate anniversaries, or new jobs start. Again, these are opportunities to like or respond.
Build the relationship and trust before you ask for favors!
20. Use (but Don’t Abuse) Status Updates
LinkedIn status updates are your chance to highlight part of your recent work, share an article or book you’ve read, promote your presence at a conference or event, or provide inspiration through a quote or saying.
Because LinkedIn is a corporate network, it is best to use it during office hours. Stay active, but don’t go overboard.
Try to post an update at least once a day; strive for a maximum of three or four updates per day, as long as you share useful, relevant content. Every update is a new opportunity to strengthen or forge a connection.
a. Be Positive
What you say reflects on you. Never post negative comments about a person’s position or a previous employer.
Instead, pause and consider whether there is a way to constructively reconsider and rewrite – if you can’t, just click the delete button and do something else to shift the focus.
b. Ask For Recommendations
So you have not received as many LinkedIn recommendations as you would like? After all, it takes some time and thought that someone would write a proposal.
What can you do? Ask for it! LinkedIn makes it very simple, with a “Ask to be recommended” link, where you can specify what you want to be recommended for, who you want to support for, and write a personal message.
Choose specific people. Don’t just ask all your contacts if they can recommend you. Be selective.
Share details in your message with your connection. If there are specific skills that you want your contacts to emphasize in his or her recommendation, don’t be shy, tell them.
Another way to increase the chance of receiving an excellent recommendation: give a piece of great advice to someone you have worked with. This increases the likelihood that your contact person will feel obliged to return the favor.
c. Export Your Linkedin Connections
One last useful tip: do not forget to download your relationships occasionally. After you’ve made every effort to build a vast network, you don’t want to risk losing their contact information!
To do this, click on Connections and then on Settings (the gear icon), and the next page, under Advanced Settings, you will see a link to export your LinkedIn connections as a.CSV file.
Now you have a file with the first and last name, email addresses, job titles and companies of your contacts.
Now you know everything you need to do to renew your LinkedIn profile. Make yourself look great, amaze your future connections, and grow your influence. It all starts with a killer profile.
What Are You Waiting For? Edit Now!
A Blueprint For A Successful Prospect Outreach On LinkedIn – Let’s start with a cold and hard truth: you can’t sell your stuff on LinkedIn. It may seem strange that a LinkedIn sales coach says so, but it’s true. LinkedIn is about relationships and commitment that can lead to sales. It is a subtle difference, but it is crucial. If you expect to collect prospects and sell, sell, sell, you will be less effective than those who take the time to research and interact with personalized information.
My colleague, David, has a great strategy to communicate on LinkedIn that has served him very well in his sales career. I took their advice and filtered them through my experience to create this quick guide to reach potential customers using LinkedIn communication tools.
1. Know Your Tools
LinkedIn has three ways to communicate with members: InMail, Connection Requests, and Member Messages. With InMail, you can send a message to anyone with a LinkedIn account, whether they are on your network. It is a premium product (you will need a premium membership or a Sales Navigator account to send InMail), but it is worth the investment. Joel estimates that he has got a 300% return on investment by investing and connecting through InMails.
Connection requests place you, and your potential customers in each other’s networks and member messages are private messages that you can send to the people with whom it connects you. You can use the three tools in sequence to build a relationship:
- Use InMails to create the relationship.
- Use the connection requests to confirm the link.
- Use member messages to update the relationship.
2. The InMail Recipe
These are the ingredients involved in the elaboration of an InMail message that invites a response:
- A High Subject Line – Share enough on the topic to arouse the interest of your potential client and keep them reading.
- A Unique Personal Perspicacity – Follow your intriguing subject line with the concept of your research.You can also congratulate the recipient for a recent victory or compliment an article he wrote. Write something that lets you know you did your due diligence.
- A Specific Reason To Connect – Briefly mention why you want to take part and then propose some dates and times to combine.
- A Clear Call To Action (CTA) Approach – Your personalized message can generate warm feelings, but without a CTA, you can miss an opportunity. Make sure you have a clear next step for your perspective.
Many professionals hesitate to connect with strangers on LinkedIn. An effective InMail is an excellent way to increase the level of familiarity with your potential client. Show that you know what they care about, what their struggles are, and what they need. Instead of just another seller trying to sell on LinkedIn, you can establish yourself as someone looking to build mutually beneficial relationships. This social selling is an effective way to use LinkedIn for sales.
If You Want To Grow Your Business Book, Use LinkedIn.
Are you looking for new employees, new customers, or are you just trying to raise the profile of your brand? Anyway, prospecting on LinkedIn is comfortable with a little dedication.
Cold prospecting is to contact someone you don’t know to tell them about your company’s services. It is, in fact, the equivalent of LinkedIn as cold calling. Although cold calling has a bad reputation, people still see good results. (Or else we would not have adapted cold calling to the internet, right?)
LinkedIn urges its users to make connections to stimulate professional relationships. Users expect people to approach them, so don’t worry about bothering or annoying someone.
There Are 10 Best Practices For Prospecting On LinkedIn:
1. Optimize Your Profile.
The number#1 activity on LinkedIn is viewing member profiles, so make sure your profession appeals to decision-makers. Before you send your first message, you must enter each field in your profile. We recommend writing in the first person to increase authenticity and build trust from the start. Avoid mentioning generic skills. Be specific about how your skills position you as an expert in your industry.
Further, consider going premium. It is worth the monthly investment to upgrade to LinkedIn’s premium service. There are four options to choose from – career, business, sales, and recruitment – and each membership offers different benefits. For prospecting, we recommend LinkedIn Sales or LinkedIn Business.
2. Use One Outreach Method Consistently.
Many experts have developed methods for successful outreach on LinkedIn. Whatever LinkedIn guru you trust and follow, be consistent. Use that scope for at least three months before you try a different approach.
3. Search With A Purpose.
Take advantage of LinkedIn’s search options. View the functions and how you can get the most out of the platform. (Tip: LinkedIn supports Boolean searches and filters; if you use them correctly, you increase the quality of your search results.) There are many ways to automate LinkedIn searches; however, this violates LinkedIn’s user agreement, so do this at your own risk.
4. Check Out “People Also Viewed.”
Browse the users listed under “People also viewed” to the right of your profile’s homepage. Although these people are not prospects, they might be your competitors, so it is worth checking if they use profile enhancing tricks that you may have missed.
5. Leverage Search Alerts.
Determine your search criteria and click on “Create search alarm.” LinkedIn then sends you a weekly overview of all new results for that search. Don’t forget to be as specific as possible. Quality over quantity.
6. Alumni Search – Use It!
Use this tool as an easy way to introduce yourself to fellow alumni. It is a massive pool of potential connections, and sharing the same alma mater is a useful ice breaker.
7. Prospect People Who View Your Profile.
As soon as you start your reach, you notice that more people are viewing your profile. Enjoy their curiosity and try to attract their company. Although not everyone will be your ideal prospect, they may know a perfect fit for the services you offer. Be brave; you miss every shot you don’t make!
8. Synchronize With A CRM.
After following these steps, notice an increase in leads from LinkedIn. Make sure you have set up software that records your leads. By synchronizing your LinkedIn with a CRM, you ensure that you reach your new customer funnel.
9. Use In-Mail Wisely.
Use the In-Mail messages you receive as an example of how you cannot structure your messages to potential customers. They are notorious because they are impersonal, intrusive, and not strategic. Study their copy and think of their phrasing. What makes them pushy? Which words feel uncomfortable and forced? Work backward to make a copy for your company that is polite, strategic, and justified.
10. Join Groups.
Connecting and creating relationships on LinkedIn is vital in the prospecting process. Treat groups like any other forum: be friendly and offer great advice. Don’t be sales – you don’t want to push your services in the throat of others. The idea is to build trust and a reputation for quality. Groups are great for referrals and word of mouth.