LinkedIn Automation: Genius Marketing Technique or Plain Old Spamming?
What can LinkedIn automation tools do for your company?
If there was a tool that could help you automate some of the more routine LinkedIn tasks while still providing a high-quality level of interaction with your connections, wouldn’t you use it?
That’s the promise of LinkedIn automation tools. As with anything good though, moderation is key. Going overboard with any tool or technique could cause you to cross the line from effective marketer to de facto spammer. Here’s everything you need to know about LinkedIn automation tools. Use what you learn here to avoid getting too close to that line.
To avoid spamming, keep the human touch
LinkedIn automation tools have all the bells and whistles you’d need as a marketer, from CRM integration to social media account management. Through them, sales reps can import personalized data from contacts, view email tracking, segmentation, analytics, and more. It can be very tempting to slough off as much as possible onto the automation process. However, being too overzealous with the automation may jeopardize your account standing with LinkedIn and may even mar your brand and reputation.
That’s why it’s vitally important to keep automation tools in their place. Strategic decisions that guide the business need to be made by real people. Use automation tools to keep your company name fresh in the minds of targeted clients and potential clients, relying on the computer to handle only a limited number of simple tasks.
Use automation tools to tighten up your sales cycle
Companies utilize automation tools for tasks like generating sales leads, collecting data via surveys, email nurturing and marketing, discovery, campaign tracking, and product promotion. LinkedIn automation tools have the power to reduce the sales cycle in both speed and time, resulting in lower per-customer costs and more efficient sales and marketing efforts.
Automating some outreach tasks makes it possible to capitalize on encounters with customers across channels, from website to social media to SMS. Each encounter has the potential to provide sales reps with information about the customer and vice versa. This moves the sales cycle along so that when personal contact is finally made, the customer is more receptive and closer to making a commitment. Plus, the sales rep is likely to have a better understanding of the customer’s needs and concerns.
Tools can also help you leverage a follow-up process using segmented leads. That’s important because segmenting your leads helps ensure strong connections as you go deeper into the sales cycle. This is where customer retention and loyalty are so important. Keeping close ties with customers via marketing efforts through specialized tools can allow the company to continue to meet customer needs as they evolve, and help spot trends, areas of weakness, or other elements of the business that require attention.
Another good use of automation tools in the sales cycle is to impose routine on the process of generating leads. For any business that has issues with time management, that can be a godsend.
It does require some training and staff time but with the right balance of automation and hands-on involvement, these tools can actually help generate leads that balance out the investment (and maybe even a return that’s greater than your investment).
Don’t go in without a solid marketing strategy
The difference between genius marketing and spamming is relevance. Are your messages meeting someone’s need? Do they provide information, a resource, etc. that makes the recipient’s life better? Are marketing efforts being targeted or is a blanket approach used? Use the automation tools at your disposal in a way that shows understanding of audience and facilitates tailoring your message to them.
Being relevant requires that a company has a highly edited strategy, contact list, and content. Create moments with care. Be genuine (not just sell, sell, sell). Use tools you trust, and tools that are trustworthy. Automate with supervision. Don’t just set up an automation tool and let it run. Check on it. Is it delivering as promised? What’s the quality of the leads? Is the performance consistent over time? Adjust the settings as needed.
LinkedIn has high standards with regard to automation tools. Some products have free and paid versions. There’s a fine line between being annoying and being highly attentive to customers. Use the analytics and reporting functions to ensure that your efforts are meeting leads where their interests and needs lay. Doing so will have them welcoming your outreach rather than ignoring your messages — or worse, reporting them as spam.
Use tools to deliver value, not spammy interruptions
Consider whether automating LinkedIn marketing tasks is even appropriate for your business. It may not be. In some cases, sales and marketing reps working for B2B models may find it useful. In other instances, not nearly as much. What are you selling? The perceived value must be high enough to warrant the interruption or it is likely to be seen as spammy.
Ensure that the automation system you choose can carry out the tasks you deem important for delivering value. Carefully edit your list of contacts before beginning. Choose thoughtful connections and pair the list with compelling copy that highlights a shareable fact, resource, or piece of interesting information that the recipient will find legitimate value in. This approach is less likely to be flagged as spam because it balances automation with a personal connection.
By engaging leads effectively (i.e. delivering what they need when they need it) you should find that prospects will pay attention to your message. A skilled marketer can speed up the processes of taking customers from the awareness phase to the consideration phase. At that point, they’ll be more open to making a purchase when approached by a sales rep.
Learn the best practices and follow them
Let’s get an idea of best practices for LinkedIn automation tools.
Sammy Spammer scrapes every contact possible through his LinkedIn automation program, scooping up all of the 1st-degree contacts, and as much associated data as possible. He emails all of these leads, repeatedly, with a hard sell technique. His approach is that if he can just get to these folks first, he can close the deal.
Amy Automation spends some time each week drawing up a list of likely prospects that have been collected and prioritized by her LinkedIn automation system. She tailors a custom message for this segment of her list and sends it out; this week, it’s a resource she’s created to help them overcome a common but challenging B2B issue. Next week, she’ll send a slightly different message to another segment, tailored to a particular demographic. Her list is smaller than Sammy’s. But it’s far more productive because she’s cultivating and building relationships instead of sweeping up as many leads as possible.
As you can see, when wielded with a soft-but-skilled hand, a LinkedIn automation system can provide serious leverage in building connections and sales among leads. Using what you’ve learned here, now it’s time to choose your tools and begin. Check back soon for our next post, which offers an objective review of the best LinkedIn automation tools. In the meantime, get your email lists ready, cultivate your strategy, and work on your marketing message. Good luck!
Author: Benjamin Shepardson is a web development guru and founder of NoStop Blog Writing Service. As the company’s leader, Ben brings to the table an innate ability to help small businesses compete with larger competitors through content strategies and SEO. You can find Ben on LinkedIn.