If you are an avid reader of this blog, you know that I get my daily inspiration and motivation from the bees.
And do you know how many types of honey are there?
More than 300.
Yes, you read that right.
Each has a unique flavour and colour depending on the blossoms visited by the honey bees. This process is aided by beekeepers who strategically place their hives in an orchard or adjacent to a single type of flower and then carefully monitor the collection of the honey.
The percentage of fructose, glucose, amount and type of amino acids and the organic acids vary by floral source that in turn determines the honey’s flavour.
This means there are more than 300 ways to produce this delicious sweet ambrosia.
And, here’s another fun fact – not all bees produce honey.
There are only around 7 honeybees that carry the nectar on.
The honey-production process much like the outreach process is done in several steps.
I wouldn’t dive into the whole honey-making process since this is not a honey production blog post.
But I want you to know that bees spend tremendous time and effort in making that sweet substance.
Like carefully collecting the nectar, bringing it back to the hive for it to be passed from bee to bee and chemically changed. But that’s not it. The bees need to dry it out as well, and they have two methods for doing so. Once it’s all nice, dry, and finger-licking good they need to store it, nice and proper.
All these steps can’t be avoided, but they can be improved.
Not so different from doing outreach.
You need to find the right words that will yield the best results, just like the bees need to find the most nectarous flowers.
They work really hard and don’t ever stop at the first obstacle.
They optimise the honey production process and we recommend you to do just the same. Optimising your outreach campaign will get you a step closer to those sweet leads you so eagerly strive for.
Your whole outreach process must be thought thoroughly, all the ingredients have to be measured carefully. Only by measuring it all, we can know where the results come from and how we can work on getting even better ones, the optimal ones.
I think you are well familiar with our outreach strategy, but just in case, let’s go through it once more, so there’s nothing left unsaid.
What’s LinkedIn outreach and what’s the proper way to do it?
When I founded BizzBee Solutions, at the beginning we were doing email outreach.
But, somehow, it wasn’t enough.
I needed to expand, grow and find new, exciting ways to reach out.
What was the perfect platform for this?
The answer couldn’t be any more obvious.
It was LinkedIn!
LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network on the Internet. You can use LinkedIn not just for doing outreach, but also to find the right job or internship, connect and strengthen professional relationships, and learn the skills you need to succeed in your career. Since it’s accessible on any digital device, you can use it anyplace and anytime you want to!
A complete LinkedIn profile can help you connect with opportunities by showcasing your unique professional story through experience, skills, and education.
So, long story short, LinkedIn was the obvious, reasonable choice. Especially when it comes to B2B. As we are already here, let’s look at some statistics. Straight from the horse’s mouth: In Q2 of 2020, LinkedIn’s revenue increased 21 per cent year-over-year. In 2019, LinkedIn was voted the most trusted network, according to Business Insider. And when it comes to LinkedIn’s lead conversion rates, they are 3X higher than other major ad platforms, including Google Ads. And there are many more, but it’s not our goal to bother you with stats and maths.
Of course, back then, when we started using it for outreach, the stats were slightly different, but we all knew where all that lead. It became the most prominent business platform that ever existed. Ever since its beginnings, LinkedIn has evolved. It’s no longer a social corner for entrepreneurs and people with executive corporate roles only. Now, everyone, within any industry, can find their place on LinkedIn. The reason for that is because the network became so broad that you can easily find like-minded professionals, targeted industries, and key demographics that fit your ideal client profile.
Doing B2B outreach on LinkedIn is like getting trapped in a pot of gold. And everywhere you look there are some golden B2B leads, waiting for you to approach them.
But nothing can be as golden, not even sparkling, without measuring and reporting our steps.
Wonder why do I keep emphasizing this whole reporting?
It’s for a good reason, of course.
Let me first give you the template, so you can take a sneak-peak on how we at BizzBee are doing it.
We’ve done hundreds of outreach campaigns so far, realising the importance of decent reporting. And we’ve updated our reporting template with each lesson learned.
Without further ado, here is our reporting template.
If you want to use it to your advantage, simply press the “make a copy” button on the google spreadsheet, and you’re ready to go. Or if you prefer to work locally on your PC you can always download it as an Excel file.
Got you curious, haven’t I?
Then keep on reading.
Why do we need reporting for?
What we need good reporting for, one may ask.
Well, for many things, to be fairly honest.
To start with, without a good campaign report, optimisation is impossible. You can’t improve the campaign if you don’t know how it is performing. So at this stage, focus on monitoring your metrics.
Let me tell you about the case when reporting saved our great outreach campaign which was about to go to waste. We created a LinkedIn campaign for a mindset coaching business from Ireland, targeting self-employed business owners in Ireland. We did everything right – great profile, great messages, fantastic target. But we only had a 7% acceptance rate.
We had to figure out what was wrong. That’s why we needed clear and concise reporting.
Since the only thing that was going bad was the acceptance rate, we decided to make a small tweak on the client’s LinkedIn profile. We changed the headline. Just a tiny tweak that upped the acceptance rate to 30%.
It was such a valuable lesson – a clear reporting will tell you what exactly is wrong with your campaign.
Before diving into reporting, let’s establish some common-sense ground rules.
The sole purpose of reporting at this point is to provide insight into your campaign’s progress.
So, needless to say, you don’t have to measure every single thing. It’s so exhausting and time-consuming. Instead, focus on the most important aspects. And measure them constantly. But also, do act on those metrics. Reporting without improvement equals wasted time. Reporting is just the first step of campaign optimisation.
When it comes to LinkedIn optimisation, it’s of the utmost importance to measure a couple of metrics first. At BizzBee, we mainly focus on the following:
- LinkedIn invitations sent: Establishing a predictable number of invitations that are sent daily/weekly/monthly. This is the starting measure for any LinkedIn campaign – how many new people are you adding to your funnel?
- Invitations accepted: The number of cold prospects who accept the invitation message and will then receive the outreach sequence. You can’t send any follow-up until your invitation is accepted.
Then we look at the conversion rates:
- Response rate: How many people engaged with the campaign. This is the starting point for nurture based on the following types of responses:
– Negative responses (not interested): The number of people who say they are not interested or don’t want to stay in touch.
– Positive responses (interested): The number of people who were excited and wanted to hear more from you.
– Neutral responses (other): The number of people who were neither positive nor negative, but continued with the conversation. These need to be nurtured towards positive responses. And of course, some of them will opt-out as well.
- Meetings: the number of people who schedule a meeting with you, as well as the quality of meetings scheduled.
The conversion rate is associated with a lot of variables. Even if you have the most amazing service, LinkedIn profile and messages, there will still be some people that would want to opt-out. And that’s okay. There will also be the ones that would want to hear more or come to a meeting straight away. What we need to focus the most on, are the neutral ones. And this is where our nurture bees shine. If you want to work on the nurturing process yourself be sure to give our comprehensive nurture guide a read.
But in order for the nurturing process to start, your connection request needs to be accepted.
So let’s see how we can work on those numbers.
LinkedIn invitation and acceptance rate
You must send new invitations on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. It is the only way to have a stable stream of new leads every week.
Our target is to send from 70 up to 100 invitations per week. You can send them manually or automatically, but the key point here is consistency. You do the maths. Sending 100 invitations per week is 400 invitations per month, which is 48,000 invitations per year. That is the capacity of a single LinkedIn profile. And you can use several profiles.
There was a time when we were able to send 100+ invitations per day, but people started abusing the platform, making it hard to genuinely reach to people. Linkedin introduced restrictions just to ensure that quality relationships are nurtured.
The invitation sent is a metric that will tell you whether your funnel is slowing down, or whether you or your team are forgetting to do the key entry step. I check this key performance indicator (KPI) every week. Have we sent approximately 100 new invitations? If not, why? What happened?
Bear in mind that LinkedIn limits the maximum number of pending invitations. This means that you should remove the old pending invitations at least once a month, to make space for new ones. Not everyone on LinkedIn checks their profile every day, and they are hardly waiting for your invitation.
An accepted connection request is the first grand metric that you can actually analyse. How many people have accepted your request on a weekly or monthly basis?
As this is the starting point of the LinkedIn funnel, the more people connect with you, the more they will be exposed to your follow-up messages. It is such a waste of time to spend hours writing messages just to get only a few prospects to whom you can actually send your message sequence.
Our benchmark for the acceptance rate is around 30–50%. This means that one out of three or one out of two invitations results in a prospect becoming part of the network. I have managed to get a 75% acceptance rate for some clients, and others have only had 20% acceptance. But a benchmark shows you how you rank compared with other campaigns. Don’t treat this number too seriously, because it varies quite a lot, depending on the target, solution, profile, etc. You need to make your own benchmark.
There are variables that can be adjusted to improve the acceptance rate. Whenever we get worse results than the average, we look at three variables that we can affect and control:
The invitation message: If you have a low acceptance rate, the first thing you need to revisit is the invitation message. Is it spammy? If it is spammy even the tiniest little bit s then you need to reframe it into less intrusive, short, fairly generic invitation messages.
The LinkedIn profile: The real question here that you need to ask yourself is whether your profile conveys the right message. Remember that an average person who receives your invitation will spend a total of five to ten seconds deciding whether to accept you. In that small window, if your profile seems salesy, or spammy, or off, that is it. It has to be not only perfect, but perfect for your target audience.
The target audience: Even if you have the perfect profile and the perfect invitation message, these are worthless if you are not talking to the right target. If your acceptance rate is quite low, perhaps you need to look at a different target audience? Or perhaps you should narrow the target filter – by focusing on second-tier connections and people active in the past thirty days.
Once the reporting is established, with a simple A/B testing you can measure two variables and the feedback from both, and understand what yields a better result. You can do A/B testing on the target, profile, messages, nurture etc.
By looking at the number of LinkedIn invitations, you ensure that you have consistency in the outreach process, as well as a consistent inflow of new leads.
By looking at the LinkedIn acceptance rate, you look at potential improvements to the target, message and the profile – because improving the acceptance rate improves the overall success of the outreach campaign.
Let’s catch on those conversion rates a bit more. The response rate will tell you if you need to change the message sequence or target. However, the quality of responses is also a key aspect.
Having more positive responses, and fewer negative responses, is the main focus. Also, nurturing the neutral towards positive responses.
The meetings are the last metrics in the outreach sequence. You can work on how to get more meetings from the campaign and how to adjust your nurture process to get better quality meetings.
You did it – congrats! You crafted a beautiful and functional reporting system as well as a rock-solid optimisation plan.
And you are on your way to measuring and optimising your LinkedIn outreach in the best way possible.
Now pour yourself an ice-cold drink and watch your new prospects come pouring. Hope you have an umbrella!
As a consultant, I know how it feels to sell a premium service. But if you got the right hook, people will bite. It also feels exhausting endlessly demonstrating how companies can benefit from your solution. But once they do get the message, they will retain it.
I truly hope that you’ll find the optimal approach.
Risking to sound like bragging, I did use this same approach and brought many clients the results they desired.
Long story short, LinkedIn outreach works.
But nothing happens overnight.
You need to work on improving yourself.
Improving your target, your messaging, your campaign, maybe even your approach.
And in order for us to become our best selves, we need to know what we work with.
That’s why metrics and reporting are essential.
There’s no improvement without this first step.
Without measuring and optimising your LinkedIn outreach, you’ll just be shooting in the dark.
If you are unsure how to do so yourself, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Our bees are eager to get you those optimal results.
And we are just a click away.
Danco is a serial entrepreneur, founder and CEO of BizzBee Solutions, proud father of a 3-year-old and a burger enthusiast. He is inspired by growth and goes above and beyond to make it possible – whether it comes to his 300+ clients or his people. Eager to learn more? Follow Danco on LinkedIn and Facebook.