If I had to list just the two most fundamental parts of a marketing program for creative entrepreneurs they would be PinPoint Positioning and Prospecting on LinkedIn. Of course there are many more than just two important parts to marketing a creative practice, but without a doubt the most critical concept is positioning and the best practical platform is LinkedIn. In today’s episode I’ll share even more practical advice for leveraging LinkedIn and organizing your marketing program.
If you listened to last week’s episode you know that LinkedIn is my number one recommended platform for OutBound prospecting. And I’ve already shared some important tips for using advanced filters and searching techniques to identify a perfect list of prospects for your practice. LinkedIn will help you get that job done. No questions about it. That said, and for as big a fan of LinkedIn that I am, I readily admit, that when it comes to organizing all your prospects, and keeping track of all the relevant information you need to have about them, LinkedIn is terrible.
While LinkedIn allows you can find prospects readily enough, and even save them to lists, adding extra information about prospects, such as where they are in your sales funnel, how warm or cold they might be to your outreach, what segment of your audience they might be in, or any other metadata you’ll want to keep, LinkedIn is lousy.
And so you’re going to have to make some extra effort to move your prospect lists off of LinkedIn and into another system to organize them, and work with them over time. In fact I would recommend that as soon as you have a list of prospects, having tweaked all your search parameters in Sales Navigator, that you set aside some time to simply copy and paste all the profiles from LinkedIn into a spreadsheet—or better yet an AirTable. If you’ve never heard of AirTable you may want to check out my BizCraft article “Marketing Demands Organization.”
As you copy names and LinkedIn URLs of each of your prospects into a spreadsheet you’ll want to begin to organize these contacts with additional information to facilitate working with them. Consider a few categories that will help you keep your prospects organized.
First of all you will want to track each contact’s prospecting stage. When you first add them to your list, and you’ve not even started to reach out, a contact should be tagged as “unengaged.” But once they have responded to you in some way (maybe simply by accepting a connection request) you should update that them to “engaged” and perhaps have another field to set their level of engagement (cold – merely having connected, warm, having engaged in some level of conversation, hot – someone expressing interest, or star – prospects who have an actual opportunity in the works). Once someone does express interest you might change that “engaged status to “lead,” and when an opportunity is being discussed—you might up their status to “opportunity.” And of course, once you win that opportunity, they’ve made it to the prospecting funnel finish line and they get tagged “client.”
Another piece of information you’ll want to keep is your prospect’s email address, if you have that available to you.
In my AirTable database I include fields that record the date of my last viewing of their profile, and how many times I’ve viewed it. This helps me to process my prospects through a few viewings – since not everyone notices all the people who have viewed their profile. I also keep track of each prospect’s connection status—if they are a LinkedIn connection I want to be able to sort my list by that criteria.
Marketing involves reaching out to a large set of prospects—your list ought to include at least 1,000 prospects, and might increase to upwards of 3,000-5,000. Managing a marketing list that large requires organization—and using other tools besides LinkedIn will become very important—if you want to run an efficient and sustainable marketing program.
Until next week: don’t let the business of creativity overwhelm your creative business.