Are you leveraging LinkedIn the right way to grow your business and brand?

I'm very excited to have my good friend Alex Pirouz on for an exclusive interview where we dive into some really valuable LinkedIn Marketing tips, and specifically the 3 steps to LinkedIn Mastery.

Alex Pirouz is a Sydney-based entrepreneur and founder of Linkfluencer, a leading online community for LinkedIn training. He loves playing basketball, traveling and covering the latest stories on entrepreneurship.

From failing in his first few businesses to running and exiting multiple successful start up businesses, one with over 35 staff; he’s the business advisor business owners turn to for strategic planning & business growth through his unique/innovative sales and marketing campaigns.

Alex's work has been featured in over 50 publications including: Channel 10, Forbes, Inc, Entrepreneur, The Huffington Post, he currently writes for several business publications and was one of the judges for the “Screw Business As Usual 2012 Competition” at the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship.

With that little intro… there's no one better to listen to than Alex Pirouz when it comes to mastering LinkedIn marketing.

I know you'll enjoy this one, let's get into it!

In This Interview, You'll Learn:

  • Why LinkedIn is such a powerful social media platform (and how Alex Pirouz got into it)
  • 3 steps to LinkedIn Mastery (Plan Stage, Connect Stage & Profit Stage)
  • How to connect with journalists on LinkedIn (so you can get featured in bigger publications like Forbes, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post…)
  • How to promote a virtual summit the right way using LinkedIn (without being spammy or annoying people)
  • How Alex is currently using LinkedIn groups
  • The power of the LinkedIn publishing platform
  • Ways to grow your email list using LinkedIn
  • And, much, much more!

3 Steps to LinkedIn Mastery w/ Alex Pirouz

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94.2 % of journalists are on LinkedIn!

1) Having A Plan

90% of the people Alex Pirouz speaks with have absolutely outcome or reason why they are on LinkedIn.

  • Do you want to generate more leads?
  • Do you want to generate more sales?
  • Do you want to get into the media and bigger publications?
  • Do you want to secure partnerships?

You need to have an outcome, and that outcome has to be very specific.

The next thing is coming up with your marketing objective.

What are you looking to achieve over the next 6-12 months and how does LinkedIn fit in to your sales cycle?

After that, you need to come up with your ideal client profile that fits in line with your marketing objectives.

Then, you need to build a LinkedIn profile that resonates with resonates with that ideal client profile.

Because at the end of the day, most profiles you see on LinkedIn look like resumés. If you want to apply for jobs, that's okay, but if you'r looking to connect with your target audience, you only get one chance to make a good first impression.

Before you even touch your profile, Alex has this process called the outside-inside approach.

It's a matter of sitting down and looking three key areas.

What are the common three objections you face every time when you sell your product or service? Is it time, money, you don't have the right expertise etc.?

Then, think about the top three challenges you solve for your clients with your product or service.

Once you have those two, the last piece, is thinking about what makes you unique in the marketplace and what helps you stand out from all the other competitors in your industry.

You need to spend a bit of time to think about that, but once you have all those components, then you go to your profile, and all the various areas like the experience, your summary, your headline, your recommendations, your skills and expertise etc.

You update all those experiences based on the information that you discovered with the objections, challenges, and unique point of difference. When you do that, what happens is when a new person views your profile, they can already see that you solved those challenges for someone else. Or you've handled objections in advance, rather than getting on the phone and handling those objections there.

That's what you should do before you even update anything on your LinkedIn profile.

How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile

The top 3 areas someone would look at first when they go to your LinkedIn profile is:

  • your profile picture
  • your headline
  • your summary

The summary has to be written in a story format, and in Alex's opinion it has to be written in third person! Because as you start getting more and more achievements in your business, it's very hard to say that you've been featured in 50 publications, sold two businesses without sounding arrogant if you were writing it in first person.

A lot of people focus on keywords so they get found on the LinkedIn platform, which is obviously important. But in marketing, whether it's LinkedIn or something else, Alex believes that you have to be proactive rather than reactive.

There's a lot of people telling you to optimize your LinkedIn profile, and then just sit back and people will find you. It's very similar to building a website and they will come. As you probably know, you need to go out there and work hard to make sure you get in front of the right people, connect with them and build those relationships.

So how do you create a compelling LinkedIn profile?

Because LinkedIn has become so big, your profile will come up very high in Google search results, sometimes even before your website. If you lost them at your profile, they are definitely not going to your website.

Recommendations are huge because it builds social proof around what you're saying on your profile.

So how do you create a compelling LinkedIn profile?

Because LinkedIn has become so big, your profile will come up very high in Google search results, sometimes even before your website. If you lost them at your profile, they are definitely not going to your website.

Recommendations are huge because it builds social proof around what you're saying on your profile.

2) The Connect Stage (Building Your Sales Funnel)

LinkedIn has a very powerful CRM system built inside the platform which means, very similar to your email marketing list, you can create tags and segment your contacts.

Alex has over 12,000 contracts on LinkedIn, but when he want to go and specifically target journalists, he has 440 in there. You can then go into that tag, commenting and emailing to them directly without running a chance of burning leads because you're sending the wrong message.

Alex's biggest takeaway from LinkedIn:

If your message isn't targeted and if it's not relevant, you just won't cut through. And that applies even outside of LinkedIn when your emailing someone for a podcast or virtual summit interview, getting featured in a magazine and so on. In marketing in this day and age, you have to be very specific!

The first thing you would need to do in this connect stage, is to segment your existing contacts on LinkedIn, then you need to create lead folders.

For example, if you want to target lawyers, you can create a folder called “Lawyers Sydney”, Lawyers Melbourne”, Lawyers LA”, “Lawyers Cancun”, or wherever that might be.

You want to create these folders, because when you go out there, connecting with people, you can put them into those folders.

There's two main strategies Alex has personally used to do that:

  • The advanced search feature
  • Going through LinkedIn groups

How do you start the relationships with journalists and reach out to them?

In order to build your sales pipeline, you would use the metrics around your ideal client profile in step 1. What industry are they in, what profession, who's the key decision maker, where are they located, etc?

You would use what we figured out in the plan stage within the advanced search feature.

You hit advanced search, you put in all those metrics, hit search and it will give you a search result of everyone in that search criteria.

For example if you search for “Lawyers in Sydney”, 14,000 contacts show up who are key decision makers you can connect with.

There's not any other marketing platform (as far as Alex knows) that allows you to connect with 1,000's of decision makers without spending a single cent (other than LinkedIn premium).

That's what Alex's what do in terms of building the sales pipeline. But then in terms of building the relationship, that's really the next stage which is the Profit Stage (see below).

3) The Profit Stage

Let's say you have 400 journalists to in a particular tag or folder.

How do you know build a relationship with them for them to feature you in publications or for them to refer you to other people etc.?

The first thing you need to do is that you need to think of a call to action.

One call to action is what you're going to ask them to do once you've built a relationship with them. Is it going for a coffee, is it phone call, is it a face-to-face meeting, or whatever that might be.

Once you've done that, Alex has a 4-step process called the report bank.

What you do within a report bank, you send targeted and very relevant content to these journalists for them to build trust and report with you before you promote your call to action.

That's essentially the profit stage, and that's how you turn connections into meaningful contacts and obviously opportunities and leads for your business.

Example how Alex Pirouz became a contributor for Entrepreneur:

Alex connected with many journalists, editors and columnists on Entrepreneur and built a relationship with them.

As a result of building a relationship with them, using the 3-step system to LinkedIn Mastery, he then started to get to know them. Alex came from the frame of mind, “what can I do for you” rather than “can you feature me in Entrepreneur”.

To this day, he has never asked anyone to feature him in any publication. He has been introduced and asked for intros, but he's never asked directly from the media because Alex knows the power of introductions and adding value to someone. When you add massive value to someone's life, they are going to feel compelled to help you anyway. He doesn't do it because he wants them to do it, but he just knows that's one of the laws of life.

To sum it up… this is a long term game. Connect with someone, build an authentic relationship with that person, be strategic of what you send them and sooner or later they'll start getting you featured in publications.

Build authentic, powerful relationships before you actually need them! 

The #1 Mistake People Make On LinkedIn

The #1 one mistake people make on LinkedIn is that they pitch when they connect with someone.

Come from the mindset, what can I do for this person and not pitch because everyone is doing it.

The whole thing with marketing is that it's 10% what you say and 90% how you say it.

If the majority of people are doing the same thing, do something different so you stand out, and that's how you become successful in marketing.

Example: How to Promote a Virtual Summit Using LinkedIn

  • Look for partnerships on LinkedIn – find people who have a large community or database. Find the decision maker of that community and start to connect with them.
  • Find group owners who have a large database of members on their group and connect with them
  • Find people who write about online marketing (if you are doing a summit in the online marketing niche) – for example, media and journalists around that.
  • Connect with your ideal target market – For example if we wanted to find more people to come to the Self-Publishing Success Summit, we could go on LinkedIn and use the advanced search feature find people who published books before. If you have a list of people in America who published books in the last year, all you you do is to get your virtual assistant to go and find all the people who published a book on LinkedIn, connect with them on a one-to-one basis, put them through this rapport bank strategy which is the 4-step process (see above). You can do this on a mass level by sending 100's of invitations per week (if you upgrade to LinkedIn premium you can do it on a bigger scale). Your call to action at the end would be:

Hey (name),

We've been connected for a while.

We're hosting a virtual summit called the Self-Publishing Success Summit in 2 weeks time and noticed that you published your own book.

Here's 4 key takeaways: 

  • takeaway 1
  • takeaway 2
  • takeaway 3
  • takeaway 4

I would love for you to attend!

(link to summit)

(sing off)

Alex Pirouz grew his email list from 50 to over 12,500, all from LinkedIn through partnerships and generating one-on-one leads.

The sole purpose of marketing is just getting in front of key decision makers, and LinkedIn has 360 million people. 49% of that 360 million are key decision makers, and that's very powerful!

Are LinkedIn groups still powerful?

Alex doesn't hang out in LinkedIn groups as much as before because people usually just tend to promote their own posts, and they are spammy.

For example, if you wanted to host a virtual summit around self-publishing, you would find a group on LinkedIn of publishers or authors that are all part of the same group.

Now, you can go ahead and connect with those group members individually, but it would be even more powerful to go to the group owner and say “hey, this is what we're doing… it looks like you have a similar mission or similar reason why you started this group. How do we now work together to get these group members to the next level within their business, career and self-publishing journey.”

That's more powerful because you're getting in front of 1,000's of people but at the same time you can still connect with people one-on-one.

Look at your ideal client profile and join groups that match that profile rather than joining thousands of groups for the sake of just joining more groups.

LinkedIn Publishing Platform

You want to spend more time connecting with people on a one-to-one basis rather than blogging, going into groups posting. Blogging on the LinkedIn publishing platform, posting in groups etc., is great for building awareness, but rarely that awareness generate leads unless you do it on a mass level where you are going through people's databases. you're getting people to email their community for you etc.

Alex Pirouz's whole strategy with blogging on LinkedIn is to put up one blog post per week. That post has to have different call to actions within it to get them off LinkedIn onto your landing page, whether it would be a webinar, download or white paper.

Alex still write blog posts on the LinkedIn publishing platform, because from his blog posts alone, they generate anywhere from 50-75 leads per week. That's the posts he has written previously, and the posts he writes every week on LinkedIn.

That's not that many leads but for writing one blog post, generating 50-75 leads is pretty good.

Every time you publish a blog post on LinkedIn, what happens is, when you connect with someone, they form part of your network. Then there are people who are not connected with you, but they choose to follow your blog posts because they like your story, content and style of writing. So when they follow you, next time when you publish a post, even if they are not connected with you, they'll get a notification within their profile that says that you just published a new post. You can build your audience that way as well.

Ways to grow your email list using LinkedIn:

  • Media
  • Partnerships
  • Connecting with people one-on-one (leads)
  • Blog on the LinkedIn publishing platform (call to actions within the post)

Final Words

There you have it… 3 steps to LinkedIn Mastery. I personally learned a ton from Alex Pirouz, and I hope you found it valuable as well.

If you want even more in-depth LinkedIn training, don't forget to sign up to the free webinar below.

I need to revamp my own LinkedIn presence even more, since I do think it can be great for my business, and something I'm very interested in… generating even more quality leads and becoming friends with editors of bigger publications.

Execution is the key to business success! – Alex Pirouz

Is LinkedIn part of your social media strategy to grow your business and brand? What two things that you learned from Alex Pirouz's 3 steps to LinkedIn Mastery process will you take action on and implement today?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

If you enjoyed this interview (and blog post) with Alex Pirouz, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Until next time… stay inspired!

– Navid

  • Alex Pirouz says:

    Thanks for the interview Navid, anytime we get to share our mission of transforming how business owners market themselves is a privilege.

  • Kenneth Ashe says:

    Interesting read. Thanks