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5 ways to educate your prospects on LinkedIn
Okay, so let’s just admit it.
Okay, so let’s just admit it.
It’s harder than ever to market and sell.
With the turmoil of the last 3 years, buyers have become more cautious as the old norms have been unsettled by a pandemic, high inflation, interest rates and global instability.
That’s created a sense of uncertainty for all of us — including our buyers.
So, naturally, they are being more careful in how they spend their budget.
This also couples up with an over-saturation of marketing and sales messages everywhere we turn.
The average buyer is getting 5+ sales messages to their inboxes per day.
All of this has changed buyer behaviour. Buyers are doing more independent research BEFORE they ever make an enquiry. They are doing their home work on you and the alternative options.
This means, it’s likely that buyers will make an enquiry further into their own buyer journey. This means we have less time to engage the prospect and show them how our XY or Z is the best option.
But there is another factor too, buyers are consulting with more of their colleagues too. The buying committee is much bigger and as a result the decision making process is longer.
It makes sense, nobody wants to make a wrong call, especially in this economic environment.
Buyers are educating themselves
Whilst this may seem all doom and gloom, the reality is buyers are researching looking for two things… the solution that fits and solves problem AND the provider who gives the most CERTAINTY.
Yes, people buy from people they know, like and trust, but they also need a solution that fits their organisation and gives them the most CERTAINTY of a successful end result.
So, buyers are spending time educating themselves on products and services online. This is where your opportunity lies.
How do buyers gain certainty
You’re expecting me to say case studies, reviews and testimonials. Of course that is a given, but one of the most powerful tools you can have in your sales and marketing tool kit, is your own buyer education activities.
Buyer education is something every business should be doing.
First off, I don’t mean marketing disguised as education. I mean genuine education about the problems and challenges you solve.
This allows prospective clients to get to know you and your company at a distance and build up trust and belief in your expertise.
I see a lot of people having a go at this and totally miss the mark.
They are either propaganda webinars or whitepapers with no real substance or more industry focused rather than solution focused.
The later creates interest but no intent, the former captures intent, but delivers no value.
Over the past 5 years, I’ve been running buyer education events on LinkedIn and offline, these have helped me scale up from solopreneur to team working internationally.
Buyer education is must but it isn’t a one hit wonder. It’s a consistent process. Some of my largest won accounts for MAVERRIK® have been where people have attended multiple webinars, audio events or downloaded resources.
If we think of buyer education as a one-time process, we will miss the opportunity to build brand, educate our target market and position ourselves as the best option.
So, here are 5 simple ways you can use buyer education as a sales and marketing tool on LinkedIn:
Audio events have been around for a while now, yet many businesses aren’t using them. Think of an audio event as hybrid of a podcast and a call in radio show. I’ve had great fun doing audio events and connected with a number of prospects as a result.
I normally do them for an hour and cut them short if it’s quiet. Often they end up very lively and lots of discussions open up.
I highly recommend salespeople do them, as long as they don’t turn it into a sales pitch and actually deliver some value.
Gated or ungated whitepapers can be a great tool for you to share both in the feed, as an external link and through DMs. Offering a PDF helping prospects understand in depth some of the challenges of XY or Z can be useful in breaking the ice and starting your relationships with value.
I posted a whitepaper with 28 pages and tiny text, it was packed with value and it got more than 94k impressions and generated more than 40 inbound leads.
The key to whitepapers is ensuring you pick a title and topic that appeals to the prospect.
Without that, it’s another dusty old report.
Not for the faint hearted, LinkedIn live is powerful for buyer education, especially if it’s part of a co-ordinated campaign. I’ve helped businesses get hundreds and thousands of people to their LinkedIn Lives.
If you have prospects in a technical field, these can be great to educate and engage prospects who perhaps might be less responsive on LinkedIn. Unlike Zoom or Teams style webinars, with a live, you can watch and remain anonymous. You’re not going to be expected to chirp up or introduce yourself.
You need a bit of practice doing them, but they are a highly effective tool to build trust and open doors with prospects.
There has been a debate in the LinkedIn world about whether carousel posts or videos perform better. The data suggests that you’ll get more engagement by posting PDFs, however, the data is wrong.
I’m not looking at it from a likes, comments and impressions perspective, I’m looking at it from a sales perspective.
Video posts will connect you more deeply with your audience. Anyone can make a PDF and push it out, but prospects receiving value from you directly in a video post creates a longer lasting impression.
Pushing out a 1 or 2 video posts per week might take some getting used to, but once you find your vibe with it, it really is powerful.
I remember when I started doing videos, I was awful, but my philosophy is, I only get better by doing, so did the video and posted them.
A few weeks back someone reached out to me and said they had been following me for years, they had seen my journey from the early videos to today. They gave me a big ego boost and reminded me we get good at something through practice.
Video is something every seller should be doing.
I’ve added personal content as something you should be posting on LinkedIn because it helps buyers learn about WHO they are buying from. People buy into people before they buy from people. Showing a bit of your backstory and personal life can be helpful in building that trust piece.
Of course, you can go to far where every post is selfie and self-absorbed, but a personal post once a week can help build that relational piece which can put prospects at ease in reaching out and preferring to work with you because they ‘feel’ they know you through your posts.
In my workshops, I also warm people, that personal posts tend to perform better than most others, but if you do too many of them, you’ll develop the Paris Hilton Syndrome — everyone knows you, but unsure why.
I’ll just add here, consistent posting, has a major impact offline, when you meet prospects or attend events, people will recognise you and it opens doors.
Posting might seem like an optional extra, but it really is essential.
Buyer education is for everyone
We’re all selling something. Part of the process of building a brand is repetition and consistently showing up, in a previous article, I mentioned the Mere Exposure Effect and how familiarity can build trust. The more we see something or are exposed to something, the more we trust it.
That’s why, if you want to really succeed in selling, you have to think about the buyer education process. What are you doing today to educate your prospects and help them see you are their best choice.
I help solopreneurs, salespeople and senior execs to win on LinkedIn
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