Home » Running your own business » LinkedIn groups can be goldmines of help – if you ask the right questions

LinkedIn groups can be goldmines of help – if you ask the right questions

If you are keen on inbound marketing then LinkedIn groups should be one of the tools you are using.

I’m in a number of LinkedIn groups and I recently asked this question in several of them:

Written direct marketing – is there still a useful purpose in writing to prospects to introduce your company and sell your products / services?

The question must have interested a number of people in several LinkedIn groups because it provoked a wide range of very useful answers from respondents from a variety of backgrounds. I’ve included a selection of the responses below.

What I hadn’t appreciated was that as well as being able to see the discussions in the various groups, I would get the answers emailed to me. Each emailed response, whatever group it’s from, has the question contained in the subject field, so I simply have to sort my inbox by the subject field to get all of the responses to the question sorted in date order for easy reference.

Constructive, helpful answers in an easily referenced format – couldn’t be better.

As for the people who posted answers, firstly thank you very much for taking the time to help.

Secondly, all group members get to see the answers which, as well as being potentially useful for them, allows them to form a view as to whether the respondent knows what they’re talking about. This goes to build the respondent’s online reputation and acts as a quality control device to maintain a high standard of posts.

All in all this has been a very useful experience which I’m keen to repeat when I need some help in my company. The message to other LinkedIn group members is clear – if you ask the right questions then we can all benefit from the answers.

Since I posted this originally, I have also set up the QuickBooks UK user group in LinkedIn. If you have any QuickBooks questions, why not join us and hopefully we can help you.




Please comment on your experience of LinkedIn groups

We blog regularly and also have an email newsletter. Don’t miss out on the newsletter – subscribe here


Written direct marketing – is there still a useful purpose in writing to prospects to introduce your company and sell your products / services?

As with all marketing it has to be appropriately targeted. The main problem with direct mail is trying to say too much in one go, rather than just ‘dangling the carrot.’ The outcome must be our old friend AIDA. Getting the attention (the direct mail), leading to Interest (wanting to know more), leading to Desire (realising that having the product can make life better, etc) and Action (making the purchase). DM needs to be very selective, well targeted (not speculative), and followed up in a timely and progressive way.

A letter in the post still gets through, especially now that there are less of them being sent out, (people are too busy Tweeting to send sales letters) and can be very effective because they kind of prove that you are a real person who actually exists, rather than a spammer.

I think it important to touch someone at different times, in different places and in different ways to get your message across.

Written communications in the well-crafted letter are important. The trouble is, everyone is very busy, so you have to write something of relevance, even if it is an invitation to get a coffee together. Timing is also important – don’t write so frequently it gets treated like spam, but not so infrequently the recipient has forgotten who you are!

However, a high quality envelope containing a high quality paper with something really interesting and unusual contained in a properly formulated letter just might arouse enough interest to allow for follow-up by phone or e-mail to work. Direct mail is often best thought of as just a door opener, as a precursor to a telephone or e-mail approach.

I’d always recommend that people think about the wording on their website before they consider sales letters. A sales letter, like any other promotional activity, is likely to send people to visit your website. There’s no point spending money on a mailing if you lose credibility at the next stage.

From a marketer’s perspective if you link it with other activity you are doing, it really improves your conversion rates – so I think it does work – and in the case of customer acquisitions, I think it’s actually more effective than email at the moment.

If my prospects are anything like me, they will welcome receiving traditional snail mail. So little arrives these days via the postman that it’s almost a thrill to open that envelope or package…

The thing with any marketing, whether email or a letter, is that the title has to GRAB your attention and make YOU stop. If it is not doing this to you or anyone in the office then it is not right.

Absolutely – especially as cold emailing is getting ever more prevalent and increasingly blocked by prospect’s systems.

Michael, there is no useful purpose in writing to prospects to introduce your company and sell them your products / services. They don’t care about you or your company. What they do care about are issues and problems that they are struggling to deal with. Any communication must be perceived by the recipient as adding value to something they care about. Achieve that and they will contact you.

A well-written and carefully crafted letter can gain somebody’s attention and is there for them to refer to later. I put interesting mail to one side and read it in the evening, so it doesn’t interfere with my daily work. There has to be a well thought out message, request for information, or invitation though, otherwise it will be treated as junk mail.