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How to Create a Profitable Business Using LinkedIn

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Did you know you can create a business from nothing with LinkedIn?

It’s true.

In fact, I tried to see if I could create a business from scratch using just a LinkedIn group so see if I could generate enough sales to consider it a respectable business.  I officially launched the “paid” part of that business model about 9 months ago and the results have been pretty cool.

Here’s what I did:

Step 1- Created a LinkedIn Group Around the Sports Industry.

I decided early on that I wanted to start a LinkedIn group in order to connect with others that worked in the sports industry.  (hint, most people try to create a group around their company, and this doesn’t work well unless you are a massive company.  Instead, create a group around a topic, niche, or idea you can build a tribe around).

Step 2: Created a Sports Marketing Blog Outside of the Group.

With this blog I posted daily content providing sports business tips, advice, “how to’s”, live networking events, webinars, and other ways for members to advance their career and goals in the sports industry.

Step 3: Delivered a Weekly Newsletter:

Some may not think this is important, but for me “top of mind awareness” is huge.  The more I stay in front of my audience with great content, the more willing they are to take action with an offer.  I created a simple newsletter template that featured the top articles of the week, a featured sports professional or “All-Star” of the week, and a brief recap of my thoughts on the week.  Collecting emails was a huge part of my success with the paid model, so the newsletter gave me a reason to capture emails.

Step 4:  Launched Partner Site and Paid Association:

I knew there was a big need for advanced education and training in the sports industry, and I didn’t think “normal” universities were doing the best job possible, nor did I believe you should pay that much for a piece of paper.  So I launched the Sports Executives Association where I feature interviews with some of the biggest names in sports (Bill Rasmussen, founder of ESPN for example) and members get inside insights, networking, and resources they can’t teach in school.

Creating a Business With LinkedIn

The results have been fun.

I now have close to 350 paying members from 15 different countries, and the membership continues to grow on a monthly basis.

This isn’t thousands of members yet, but it’s a good start to something I do part time on the side from my other business.

At this point, you may have a number of questions or some concerns (cough… excuses).

Lewis.  I see the power of your LinkedIn group, but my industry wouldn’t work the same as yours and they don’t have any money to spend.

Well you were only able to do this because you have a group with 33,000 members, and I don’t know how to grow a group that large.

Doesn’t this take a lot of time to manage a group?

How do I create a site like yours in the first place?

All of your questions about this can be answered (and if you have any, please post them in the comments section).  For the moment, however, let me share with you the system or flow of my process for generating leads on LinkedIn, driving traffic to my site, and getting members to sign up.

(Note- there are a number of things you need to do before this process, and I talk about them in both of my LinkedIn marketing books, so make sure you do them first before you jump right in)

The LinkedIn Group – To Profit Flow

  • New member joins your LinkedIn group
  • Member gets auto welcome message instantly to their email from you (the group)
  • Member is asked to join your newsletter
  • Member goes to your site, joins newsletter, browses articles
  • Member receives 1 newsletter per week with more free content
  • Paid site is mentioned in newsletter and on site, but no “hard pitch” yet
  • Member receives 1 groups message per week with a download, or different content
  • Member continues to read content often, and joins daily email RSS feed
  • Member begins to share your content on her social networks- driving traffic back to your site
  • Member gets 1 email per month with info on the paid model “Content of the Month” and is intrigued
  • Member checks out paid model site, and joins.
  • (If member does not join, she repeats the process, mixed with live events, free webinars and more until she finally joins)

That’s the main system (in a simplified nutshell).

It’s pretty simple when you think about it, and the hardest part is growing your group and creating the content.

Good thing for you is that LinkedIn is so viral that when a member join your group they automatically promote it to their entire network as it shows up on their home wall feed.

The content was hard for me to create at first until I saw how Brian Clark was growing his massive site with CopyBlogger by letting other experts guest post to the point where he was a minority blogger on his own site.

I realized if I wanted my site to grow and if I wanted to keep up with the content I needed to expose more of my members and let them share their expertise.

That turned out to be the right decision for all parties involved.  Here is a brief video that breaks down what I’ve been talking about above, and how I turned my group into a profitable business.

I know some of you may want to get more out of LinkedIn.  Right?  Well, a LinkedIn group is just one way to help you start or grow your business, but there are many other advanced LinkedIn tips and strategies to help you get more leads, traffic, and sales.

I’ll be posting more ways to build your business using LinkedIn here on my site, but I’m also coming out with a new course that covers this, and everything you could possibly want to help you achieve your business goals, all by using LinkedIn.

I’ll have more info on that soon, but in the meantime, I’d love to hear your feedback on this post.  Did you get a lot out of it?  Can you see yourself creating your own profitable business from a LinkedIn group?  Or do you think it’s not possible in your line of business?

Let me know by posting in the comments below.  Thanks.

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17 comments
HerTubeTV
HerTubeTV

This was a great post.  Thank you for sharing.  I've been on LinkedIn for over 5 years and couldn't really figure out how to make it work for me.   This article has given me some really great advice on making LinkedIn work for me.


Thank you.

MargieChavasse
MargieChavasse

interesting idea, Lewis. My business is taking out the headache of remembering to send birthday cards to people whether for families/friends, staff or clients. Could your LinkedIn concept work for me?

rowenasimpson
rowenasimpson

Thanks Lewis,

As ever you give detailed, valuable advice and share the benefit of the knowledge you have gained freely to help others.

Cheers

Rowena

suzyturn
suzyturn

Love your model. Very creative!! Groups around certain topics though seem to be more challenging such as around small business advice because there are so many.

JohnRaso
JohnRaso

Lewis,
If a website's only income is from google adsense, is Linkedin an asset? Or is Linkedin primarily for websites that offer products and services? Great article, by the way, I really enjoy your content.

jacobstoops
jacobstoops

Great info Lewis. Like @PhilipNowak said, LinkedIn is definitely a very powerful network but very underutilized. I recently did a Social Media series for a well-known recruitering company and they've yet to really dive into LinkedIn - which is so tailored to that industry it's not even funny. Definitely surprised me for sure.

PhilipNowak
PhilipNowak

Lewis, this is great information. LinkedIn is an amazingly powerful social network, but is very underutilized.

NickyKriel
NickyKriel

Thank you Lewis, this is very useful. In process of setting up a site for using social media to tap into the hidden job market for job seekers and I will take your tips on board. Fancy being a guest blogger at some point?

Kristi Hines
Kristi Hines

The "The LinkedIn Group – To Profit Flow" section is awesome! I was excited to start my first group last year which is growing steadily and pretty active. Now I need to get into that flow to start making great things happen, especially when I finish up my first ebook. Thanks for the valuable information - looking forward to the course!

Wordzopolis
Wordzopolis

Lewis,

LinkedIn is definitely oneof my favorite social media sites and one that I am not taking full advantage of, which I plan to this year. I thank you for your helpful LinkedIn post and hope to implement many of your ideas and useful advice.

Thanks,
Jenn

suzyturn
suzyturn

@LewisHowes Thanks so much, Lewis. Looking forward to future communications from you.

LewisHowes
LewisHowes moderator

@suzyturn There are many of them, but if you create a group around a certain topic and niche it to a certain location or area then it will help to differenciate from the rest.

LewisHowes
LewisHowes moderator

@JohnRaso LinkedIn can be an assest for any website to be honest, but it all depends on what your goals are. Let me know what they are and I'll respond accordingly. thanks.

LewisHowes
LewisHowes moderator

@NickyKriel Hey Nicky, awesome stuff! I'm having hard enough time writing for my own blog consistently at the moment, but keep me posted.

Kristi Hines
Kristi Hines

@LewisHowes It's around a niche. I really haven't promoted any products through it yet, although I did do a post asking for support of some of our group members that were in a contest, and that did get a lot of good response. So I think the results will be good - will let you know!

LewisHowes
LewisHowes moderator

@Kristi Hines glad you enjoyed it Kristi... just make sure your group is around a concept/ niche/ idea/ market and not your company name. Let me know the results you are getting when you have a moment.

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