Have you ever sent countless LinkedIn messages to prospects, only to be met with deafening silence? I’ve been there, and it’s frustrating.

In fact, I recently sent the same prospect eight(!) different 1-on-1 LinkedIn messages over a 12 month period … and was met with silence.

Then, I sent a different type of message, recalling a lesson I first learned back in 2012 … and got a near instant response.

The Incontrovertible Truth About LinkedIn Messages

Back in 2012, I quit a safe, 6 figure day job to open my own marketing agency (Nemo Media Group).

I had one client, enough money for 30 days, and my wife + our 3 boys under the age of 10 at home to support.

Here was my first “office” –

The power of Super Pretzel boxes remains undefeated! 😆

Humble beginnings aside, I had a plan – use LinkedIn to generate leads for my new business.

Since my one (and only!) client was a debt collector, I decided to test a longtime marketing truth: The riches are in the niches.

I changed my LinkedIn profile headline from CEO | Nemo Media Group (impressive, I know, especially with the pretzel box desk setup!) to Debt Collection Agency Marketing Services.

I also rewrote the first line of my profile’s “About” section to say this:

WHAT I DO: I help debt collection agencies attract new clients, increase revenue and enhance their brand online by providing industry-specific marketing services.

By the way, that’s a simple formula you can steal for the first sentence of your LInkedIn profile –

WHAT I DO: I help [Target Audience] get [2-3 benefits they want] by providing [Your product or service].

(Note: If you want to give your entire LinkedIn profile a quick overhaul and make it more client-facing, grab my Ultimate LinkedIn Profile Template here.)

In addition to making my profile client-facing and hyper-niched to debt collectors, I used LinkedIn’s built-in search filters to make lists of debt collection agency owners I could reach out to.

Then, I reached out with 1-on-1 LinkedIn messages that were niched to the key pain points / problems / etc. that debt collection agency owners face – and offered to help solve them.

Within 90 days, I’d generated $135,000 USD in new business.

I bought more soft pretzels to celebrate. 😝

Lessons Learned (And Returned)

Over the years, Nemo Media Group has grown from a marketing agency doing websites, copywriting, press releases, podcasts, videos, etc., into a “Done For You” LinkedIn Lead Generation Agency.

And we’ve worked with clients in countless different niches, from Business Coaches and Consultants in every imaginable industry to Small Business Owners selling everything from t-shirts to Intellectual Property research to printer labels.

As a result of getting broad in the type of clients we serve, so too has my own LinkedIn outreach and 1-on-1 messaging.

In trying to be “everything to everyone” with my LinkedIn outreach recently, I realized I was actually being “nothing to no one” and seeing a drop in engagement with my 1-on-1 messages.

Case in point: I’d sent a Business Coach I’m connected to eight(!) different 1-on-1 LinkedIn messages over the past 12 months offering a variety of free tips, free content, etc.

And all of them got ignored.

Then, as noted earlier, I remembered something from my earliest days generating leads on LinkedIn, and I got a near instant response.

(More on that in a minute.)

7 Steps to LinkedIn Lead Generation Success

My approach with 1-on-1 LinkedIn messages has always been as follows:

  1. Offer free content / tips / etc. that demonstrate your expertise in a certain topic (i.e. a free eBook, on-demand training, article, case study, etc.).
  2. Use a permission-based approach (meaning you ask the person if they’d like the free content or tips).
  3. If they say YES, that helps qualify this person as a potential lead since he or she is interested in your topic and the free tips / content you’re about to provide.
  4. Send the free content / tips to the person.
  5. Follow up (patently, professionally and persistently) to see what the person thought of your free content – Did it resonate? What did they find most helpful? Did they learn anything useful?
  6. If the person likes the free content / says it was helpful / etc., personalize your engagement more and ask qualifying questions – are they looking for help in this area? Would it make sense to send over more content or ideas about this topic? Would they want to learn more about our services in this area?
  7. If they say YES, move them further into your funnel – more content, a live call, etc.

It’s worked great over the years, helping us secure and serve clients who make 5 and 6 figure sales from the leads we generate for them here on LinkedIn.

However, as Nemo Media Group has gotten more broad in terms of the types of clients we serve, I’ve struggled to keep my LinkedIn lead generation as niched as it should be.

I forgot a key truth: I literally built my entire business off this quote from Dale Carnegie:

“People do not care about you. They do not care about me. They care about themselves – morning, noon and after supper.”

LinkedIn Riches? In the Niches.

Looking at the recent example of this Business Coach who was ignoring all my 1-on-1 messages, I realized something – none of what I was offering in those free messages was niched to what this Business Coach cares about.

So, I sent this 1-on-1 message next:

Hey [FIRST NAME] – can I send you a free digital copy of my new book “LinkedIn Lead Generation for Business Coaches and Consultants?”

I got a near-instant YES.

Think about it: If you’re a business coach, and you want to generate leads on LinkedIn, an eBook written just for you sounds WAY more appealing than something broad / generic, right?

This experience brought me back to what makes the magic on LinkedIn:

  1. Client-facing profile for a niche audience(s)
  2. Build lists of those exact niche audiences
  3. Reach out to each person 1-on-1 and offer free content / tips explicitly created for those niche audiences

It’s a lesson you can forget once you get too big / too broad, but it’s proven time and again to work on LinkedIn for one simple reason – people don’t change!

The more a prospect feels like you “get” their world, that your content / strategy / etc. is specifically built for people “just like” them, the more they feel like you “know” their industry with all its unique challenges, obstacles, etc., the more they can see you’ve helped people “just like” them have success, the more they’ll want to hear from you and engage with you.

It’s a formula that worked for me when I was starting with a MacBook perched atop a pretzel box, and it’s still working today.

Want More Free LinkedIn Lead Generation Tips?

If you found these tips helpful, I have even more to share with you!

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