From Personal Tragedy to Personal Business

My name is Tracy Enos and I have been working exclussively with small and medium sized businesses, entrepreneurs, other coaches, and some authors on how to use linkedin to genererate leads, brand themselves, and increase their annual ROI. And the reason I became an entrepreneur is because I was laid off twice in four years in corporate America.

So after I got laid off, I went home for Christmas because my sister had brain cancer. She passed away that following May, but she was an entrepreneur herself during her life, so I sat down with her. She was coherent and I asked her “what do I do?” She said “you need to start your agency, so that’s what I did the following February and I haven’t looked back since.

So fast forward to 2015, to July of 2015, I sustained third degree burns and I landed in the hospital for six days in the burn unit, and while I was in the hospital, day three in the hospital, I got a phone call. I don’t recommend that anybody answer the phone when they’re all doped up on morphine and oxycodone, but I did it anyway and I made $3000. I got a $3000 contract sitting in the hospital and so that kind of floated me for a few months while I went out to meet out with other consulting clients. Had it not been for the foundation of LinkedIn and knowing what I know about LinkedIn, I would not have sustained my head or business above water. I would have gone bankrupt or been evicted or whatnot.

Why is LinkedIn So Important?

LinkedIn has been a staple of my business and I love it. You don’t have to work at LinkedIn eight hours a day in order to generate income and to generate new leads. Depending on how aggressive you want to be, 30 minutes to an hour a day can get you where you need to be in your own business. Once you have a system in place and you’ve got that system rocking and rolling and it’s kind of on semi-autopilot at that point, you can go out and start taking strategy sessions, consultations, put them through a sales pipeline and whatnot and even hand it over to an assistant to do it for you so you’re the one out there making the
sales.

What Will LinkedIn Do For Your Business?

LinkedIn is probably the largest professional platform of all the social media platforms there is. So for most B2B industries, you’re going to find your clients there. You’re going to get past the gatekeeper, you’re going to start a relationship and a conversation. It’s a warm sell, because if you’re going to do any activities on LinkedIn, your profile travels with you.

99 percent of what you do in LinkedIn is through your personal profile. What people are going to see first is your profile photo right here, they’re going to see your name, they’re going ot see your headline and whether you’re linking, commenting, sharing content, and sending out messages. They’re going to go to your profile and this is where the foundation starts. This is the way to position yourself as the expert and authority in what you do. So first engineer a profile in a way that helps you edify yourself somewhat, but also allows you to pre-qualify a prospect who ocmes to your profile. By sharing about what you do, how you do it, what you do for them because it’s not always about you, it’s what’s in it for them, right?

Your profile also has to be rich with keywords because it’s got to have a little search engine optimization. People are going to use the engine to find people such as yourself that provide the products and services that you have.

Building Your Business With Your Profile

Remember you profile is your personal profile. Take a photo of your head and shoulders on a neutral background and attire that you would most likely if you’re going to go face to face meeting. So let’s say for example, you’re a realtor and you’re one of those kind of casual realtors that meets people rurally in a t-shirt and jeans, then wear a t-shirt and jeans because that’s what they’re going to expect when they see you personally. But if you’re based in Los Angeles and you deal in high end, luxury real estate and you typically wear a suit or business attire, that’s the kind of attire you want to wear in your business photo because people can expect that. That’s just branding.

The background photo is prime real estate, when people look at your profile and you don’t have a background photo, it’s not a bad thing not to have it, but if you could further brand yourselif like your website. Let’s say you have a sales team and you want everyone to have some sort of uniformity, then require everyone to have that same background photo, but if you’re more of an entrepreneur or coach, then have a photo that really positions your company or business. Put actions in there. They’re not clickable links but if someone sees it,they’re going to see it from any device you’re on whether you’re on a mobile device, tablet, or desktop.

As for your headline, you’ve got 120 characters to play with it. This travels with you everywhere, so you’ve got to put some type of benefit in it. Identify what their outcome can be. The summary is where it’s at. You’ve got 2000 characters here, and this is where you’re going to bring the human side to you. This doesn’t mean you’re not going to be all about me, me, me, me, me. Share a few sentences, a paragraph or two, about who you are, how you got into this business, but you should go into your profile stating who you want to work with because this is the prequalify process and then share a little bit about what you do, what the benefits are from working with you, and what is their outcome going to be after they’ve worked with you. And of course you have to have a call to action in there.

So now you can see only the first two lines of the summary so add your call to action in there. That way, if someone’s already sold on what you do based on your activities on LinkedIn, you won’t make them hunt for it. I call this drive-thru marketing. If you go through McDonalds or Burger King or whatever, you don’t want to wait an hour for food, you want to wait five minutes or less. It’s the same concept, give it to them right away. Show them how they can connect with you. Mine is schedule your breakthrough business and sales breakthrough strategy session and then my lead or a phone number to how they can reach me.

Communicating with Potential Customers

Everybody knows they can always reach you through your inbox, but sometimes you have to tell people what to do. I know it sounds elementary, but to be honest with you, tell people “ok, this is what you need to next” and then people will do it. There’s just a psychology to it, but it actually works. If you have any characters left, then you have to put it in there too because it shows you’re serious.

Put your experience and your current position and most people will turn around with I’m the CEO, director, managing director, whatever the title is. I reverse engineer that, put in a benefit statement and then use the experience seciton like a mini-sales letter. Again, you only get 2000 characters. If you’re really going to brand, and if their website’s really good, just take the information off your website and get creative and format it in a way that looks really good and don’t forget the call to action. LinkedIn likes to put in, here’s the tip, it says ‘where are you located?” or what not and you can put in where your office is or whatever, but I go one step further and I add my website address in there. You can add your website address also and your contact info, but a lot of folks won’t go there to check that out.

If you have room for testimonial, people like testimonials. They love testimonials. Add a testimonial that’s not on your website or on your reccomendations, or you can use one if you want, but if you’ve got video testimonials, LinkedIn allows you in your summary and your expperience sections to add media. I like the project section which is all bundeled with honors and awards in the acocmplishment section. Showcase some of the projects that you’ve done. If you’ve been on some really big podcasts, that’s great! People want to see that. Add the link to the podcast because you want to add a URL to there. That actually is hyperlinked so you hover over the headline. You use it the same way you use your keywords or statement.

I like to put the title or company as long as there’s no non-disclosure agreement. I put the title of the company I work with in there, so if you’re connected with them in LinkedIn, you can say I worked on this project with such and such person as well.

Market Yourself

Typically you want to connect with who your ideal prospect would be and you would want to identify that first. You want to dive deep because it’s more than just what the search fields are. It goes far beyond that because when you start doing other activities or even curating content from other sources that’s not yours for writing articles, this is information that’s going to be beneficial for your network or your audience.

You have to zone in on who they are, what their pain points are, what the solutions might be, something that might propel them in their business or personal lives. You want to start doing a connection campaign with those ideal customers based on what they search for in sales navigator or even in the original or the main user interface. If you’re looking to work with sales managers and people in the marketing and advertising industry, and they wwnt to work with a company that’s 11-50 or 50-200 employees, then that’s where you can get started and further refine your search.

Once you find them, start sending those folks a custom invitation. Believe it or not, people just send out one invitaiton, and if that person’s in your top 100 list and you don’t customize their inviation, you just lost a chance for a first impression. What I also tell folks, though, is that 92% of all CEOs of fortune 500 companies are on LinkedIn, but it doesn’t mean they’re active on LinkedIn. So people should connect directly with people in the same organization as that CEO. That person may be your biggest cheerleader who will get you past the gatekeeper and get your foot in the door. That’s how you start building your network. More often than not, I connect with people who aren’t my ideal audience, but if I look at their audience and see who they connect to, those people might be good connections for me as well and I wouldn’t have any access to those people had I not connected with them in the first place.

I also get referals from these folks because of my activity on LinkedIn. I’ve got sepaking engagements, I’ve got consulting appointments, and I’ve even got clients out of it, and I don’t even have to do the selling. Just because they see what I’m doing in LinkedIn and they’re my big cheerleaders. You’ve just got to be consistent and work at it every single day. You’re not going to hit a home run every single time, but each of these home runs are key and will teach you more about their audience such as the kind of content they post and their consumer activities. The goal is to keep finding and connecting with folks similar to that. Your goal shouldn’t be to get them off of LinkedIn and onto your own email marketing campaign whether your use Google or gmail or an auto responder like constant contact or mail chimp. More often than not, your inbox is going to get read because the LinkedIn app will let you know if someone’s going to connect with you and start messaging them.

Using LinkedIn to Engage with Your Audience

Start engaging with other people’s content. So the first content you’re going to see is your connections information. You’re also going to see ads that are called sponsored posts which are similar to
Facebook’s, but you can go in there and if you like something that they share, comment on it. That’s a front of line strategy that puts you on their radar. So if they’re your ideal prospect who’s not responding to your messaging and you want to stay top line with them, that’s a way to, just do it sporadically like when you’re sitting at the doctor’s office waiting or you’re sitting in line somewhere.

You also want to share your own content, your company’s content, and other content that is relevant to your audience. I go out, and I find content that other people have written. Not necesarily my competitors but what other people have written and even whatLinkedIn has written and I will go share that content with them. That sparks engagement which puts me back on the radar which means they’re going to check out my profile.

People reply sending me a message that says, “hey, that’s really good stuff, would you mind sending out a consultation or can we grab coffee sometime?” We can go in and see those comments or likes and we can see the message straight from the homepage, which is cool, and if that’s shared and you see other comments and you find their second or third level connections, send them a connection request. When LinkedIn said today that they hit the half billion mark, they also said that there’s 100 posts a week going up, that says it’s pretty popular.

Publishing is also huge. So one of my colleagues got laid off from a corporate position after 30 years, so I said “you ought to try this publishing platform” because he was looking for an executive coaching position, so he has written every single day like clock work since june 2014. He’s in his 60s, he’s retired, he’s got a pension plan so he doesn’t want to take it to the next level, but he’s generation between $10-13k a month by only using LinkedIn long form publishing and gmail. That’s it. He doens’t have a website, he doesn’t have a smartphone. It’s pretty powerful. He only has 600 or 700 connections. You don’t need thousands of connections to make a lot of money.

What Kinds of Content to Publish

In long form publishing, you don’t have to write your own articles. There are some services you can hire a ghost writer. You’ve got to stick to your brand. It’s not always about you, articles should be abouw “how-tos.” Listsicles like 5 steps to success or what not. They should find what a pain point is or what a solution is. You’ve got to have a call to action in there. You’ve got to ask people to like it, comment on it, share it, and of course you want a bio of the author and how they can get in touch with you, and some value they can get from you. Google and LinkedIn are cold friends right now, so if you do that right in a way that’s keyword rich, your article in 24 hours or less will land on LinkedIn for its key search term. One of my articles even over, I was hired by Richard Branson for the same two terms. So pretty cool, it’s really cool what it can do for you.

Joining Groups

I’m starting to see a decline in group activity. People are still posting stuff, but there’s just not any engagement, but I still go in and groups to find potential audience members hanging out there. Now I can probably have another search feature that you don’t have in the usual user interface and I can go in and search by the group and then the rest of my search terms that I want are what I search for. That’s why I really like groups. I’ll say you’re going to get more activity on your company page than anything else.

I’m not trying to dissuade you from joining groups because I still see some value in it. Whether you’re a solo entrepreneur or part of a larger sales team, it’s important to follow company pages. If you follow a company page, you can see all their activity on their newsfeed. Anything that they post, and you can actually go in the regular newsfeed, anyone that engages in there, they like or comment on it whether they follow the page or not. There are insights and analytics in there so you can guage what type of people are following you, what their industry is, what their position title is or what not, you can’t do it with a personal profile. Then you can really gain a lot of business using company pages.

For right now though, the only way you can throw sponsored posts and text ads is through your page. The core issue is the foundation and if you don’t have the foundation, any effort that you’re putting into LinkedIn is not going to pan out and you’re not going to net the results that you want. So if you’re going to go out and do a direct outreach campaign and your profile sucks, you’ve just wasted time and you might get some low hanging fruit in there, but you’re really wasting valuable time in doing that.

Building Your Foundation

You’ve got to build that foundation first. that foundation is taking the time to identify who that prospect is and building that profile so it doesn’t show you as an expert in your industry and that you’re pre-qualifying that prospect throughout the profile. I think most people get stuck at the foundation. All the rest of it is just like any other marketing that you do; you’ve gotta set it up, you’ve gotta test it, you’ve gotta tweak it, track it, make it better. You may hit a homerun earlier, but more often than not, you just have to test your messaging and that takes time and s not something you do overnight or in 30 days. It’s a constant. Any marketing that you do, whether it’s facebook ads, direct outreach, or a messaging campaign in LinkedIn, Twitter, it’s all about engagement, but at the end of the day,it’s about getting leads in the door.

However, you first need to lay that foundation. Like I said, I wouldn’t have made any money sitting at the hospital for six days. I didn’t know what I was going to do. It was a very traumatic experience. Had I not laid that foundation prior, that’s what kept me afloat was the foundation.