After you obtain capital for your small business start up, the next thing you should be thinking about is which revenue generating activities you are going to implement. One of those revenue generating activities should most certainly be marketing, advertising, and sales. You’ll need to implement an effective marketing and advertising campaign so you can generate leads that turn into sales. Getting sales into your business quickly after starting your small business is the key to being able to service the debt and qualify for additional financing in the future. To get a head start on gaining exposure for your business, I suggest trying the social media site LinkedIn, especially if your small business start up is a B2B company.
LinkedIn is an online platform where business professionals from all backgrounds connect for networking purposes. It’s the “rolodex” for the new generation. It’s also a great way for prospective customers and clients to find you. I use LinkedIn as one of the primary ways of connecting with potential clients. Many people find me on the site and reach out to me for help. My first client found me this way and I generated nearly $6,000 in revenue! The same thing can happen for you if you use the site properly. The first step is to create your profile on LinkedIn by visiting www.Linkedin.com. After creating your profile, you can begin getting exposure from LinkedIn immediately just like I did. Here are some of the things you need to do to get going:
Create a Headline that Gets the Click – Your profile headline is the first bit of information a LinkedIn user will see (besides your name) when they come across your profile page. Since it’s the first thing they see, you’ll want create a headline that will immediately grab their attention and get them interested in what you have to offer. My headline is “I Connect Entrepreneurs to Capital Sources (Debt Financing Only). Go to CapitaLinker.com to Schedule an Appt With Me.” In my headline I clearly indicate what I do, how I can help my target market, and how to get in contact with me. Your headline should follow the same protocol.
Use Your Profile to Brag, Humbly – I suggest adding the most critical positions, projects, or deals to your profile and describe how you made each one a success by detailing everything you did down to the letter. This will make you look like a hard (and smart) worker to a potential customer or client. You’ll basically want to brag (in a humble way) about how well you handled your responsibilities and what result your client (or the company you worked for) experienced.
Connect with Your Target Market – Use the LinkedIn search feature to find and connect with your target market. To connect with individuals that are most likely to be interested in your services, search for connections using keywords that relate to the people you are targeting. You’ll be surprised how many people show up in the search results! When adding people as a connection, be sure to send them a little note letting them know why you want to connect. Some people on LinkedIn are sticklers about connecting only with people they know offline so if you send a message to a stranger, please keep that in mind. It’s always best to tell them why you are adding them as a connection.
Socialize with Your Target Market – After connecting with other LinkedIn users, I suggest creating a group and inviting your connections to join your group. The topic of your group should be focused around the type of product or service you are offering. Creating a group and posting engaging content will encourage your group members and connections to interact with you. Your group should be used as a tool to build a relationship with potential clients.
One Last Tip: Share Engaging Content
The key to successfully generating targeted, qualified leads using LinkedIn (and just about any social media platform) is to create engaging content that adds valuable to the lives of your target market. This includes helpful website and/or blog articles, videos, podcasts, infographics, ebooks, etc. Posting daily status updates on your LinkedIn profile and in your LinkedIn group that links to valuable content on your website will enable you to generate leads that can turn into sales for your small business start up. (Beware though, blatant advertising is a turn off on most social media networks so don’t just post ads. Be sure to post content that is helpful and engaging).