How to leverage LinkedIn to grow that email list in 1 hour of work.
Ahhh LinkedIn We Got Your Number Now
A Newsletter, On Growth Hacking Newsletters.
Every week, we break down the best hacks to scale your newsletter, in real time and report on our fails and wins.
*Step number 1 – if you have the word visionary in your profile, we probably ain’t friends. And honestly does anyone ever hire someone like that?
LinkedIn Is Getting Weird But DOES Prove Fruitful
We’re about to get into it, but first, story time.
We realized that each week, we were giving you a to-do list, not telling you a story. Tactics compiled win the war. However, stories are equally if not more important. Otherwise the Bible would have been just the commandments, right? In newsletter land the secret to growth isn’t just the hacks, it’s WTF you write and how you get people immersed in it. So this week, we’ll begin with what some (Olman) call a story, and what others (Codie) call a rant.
Here it our truth:
Everyone likes to talk about their successes but they don’t share the grind. YET – the grind is what attracts people to you and to your company. Authenticity is in, shiny is out. So here’s the truth behind this newsletter. Each week Olman, Ilona and I have bigger to do list than Santa’s naughty list when delivering to politicians in the beltway. That’s A LOT of charcoal for the record.
We get on calls before everyone gets into the office (or, our pet name for it, bed) and after they leave. We see each other pre-makeup, while keeled over with food poisoning (@Olman, you the real MVP), and even in the sauna shvitzing on the computer trying (failing) to work and pretending we worked out.
We’re never done with the grind. We’re not making any money on this project… cough, cough yet. But ultimately, we want to help entrepreneurs (read: you) build things. So let us know how we can do that for you. If you have an idea, hit us up at email@example.com.
So let’s be real, we’re still on our grind. And quite honestly, we’ve never met someone who wasn’t. No matter the $$ in their back account, the exits they’ve had or the followers that trail them. No shame in our game, and all the honor in the world, to those who growth hack. Remember that as you build out your content. Real and gritty beats fake and shiny every day. Humans can spot a filter a mile away.
Side note: we’re trying new tech for GG #bootstrapping. Our whole point for this newsletter is how to grow organically without spending ad money, so we try to live by that. BUT it meant that some of y’all accidentally got an email from Codie’s other project, Contrarian Thinking, while we were trying to set up Viral Loops (stay tuned for that one!). We attempted to remove everyone because sliding into your email unannounced like that ain’t cool. Apologies. If you’d like to yell at Codie and rid her of her Catholic guilt, email her here: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Facebook’s Boring Cousin
Ok, now let’s get into it. This week, we are talking about LINKEDIN, “the boring older cousin” of Instagram in the social media fam. But don’t avoid it at the family reunion just yet — it’s an indispensable avenue for growth.
LinkedIn has two ways to connect with people: Groups and InMail. We figured that since our FB Group exercise was successful, we would have the same luck with LI Groups (spoiler: we did not). But we did see some repeatable success with the 1:1 outreach. Here’s a breakdown of what happened.
Method: The Great Connector, LinkedIn
Let’s start with Codie. First, she compiled a very fancy spreadsheet of all the relevant LinkedIn groups she should join and hit up. She focused on groups that were in her niche, aka email, marketing, growth hacking, and sales. Here are a few of the ones she chose:
From there, she put together a similar outreach message to the one we used in the Facebook Group, tailored specifically for each group. Here’s an example:
And after all that work, the results were….underwhelming to say the least. Basically, she ended up in a cricket field. If anyone has ideas on how to better use LinkedIn group to get engagement, please let us know. Our preliminary opinion of LinkedIn groups is one big fat 👎 – especially when compared to FB groups. The worst part? When you post in a group it shows up on YOUR feed, making it really clear if you’re in a promotional state of mind. Talk about annoying and optimizing for the wrong thing.
So because LI Groups were a dud, Codie pivoted her strategy to the one that Olman was testing out: 1 on 1 outreach using Meet Alfred.
Action #2 Bots w/o Being Annoying
Meet Alfred is a LinkedIn outreach tool that was originally featured on AppSumo, so lucky for us, we had a discount code laying around. Here’s how it works: Alfred, your friendly neighborhood AI bot, pretends to be or your VA. Its algorithm strategically mimics human behavior so that it goes undetected by LinkedIn. Codie and Olo employed similar tactics, but had unique experiences. Here’s Codie’s:
- Started on Meet Alfred’s 14-Day Free Trial (we didn’t have that many discount codes turns out)
- The tech itself was pretty glitchy, and wouldn’t let her post within work hours which was not ideal. But on the plus side, their customer service was lightning fast!
- The tool was very searchable, however! You can choose to send LinkedIn Messages only – or emails. Tbh, that latter option felt a little spammy so we stuck with the former.
- Started with her entire network (15K people) and then niched down by industry and profession with keywords like marketing, founder, & social media.
- Sent 354 connects over the span of a few days (I had a 25/day limit within the trial) and received 102 responses — that’s a 30% conversion rate!
- Alfred is continuously running in the background as my new go-to auto growth hack! 5/5 would recommend this tactic.
This is the outreach message Codie used:
Now, let’s mozy over to Olo. Here’s his experience with our new pal, Alfred:
- He had to hit up the Support team to get his access code activated and in the interim, he too, was on the free 14-day trial and experienced some of the glitchiness that Codie did. However, once he was upgraded, it was smooth sailing from there. (Do companies do that on purpose or what?!) Also, Olo would like y’all to know that Codie is a grandma when it comes to software.
- Like Codie, he chose to only message 1st Degree connections, of which there were thousands. Guess it does pay off to accept randos that are just ‘excited to connect.’
- He drafted a message that felt like whatI he would actually say to a friend. It’s far from perfect, but is authentic. Check it out here:
- In order to make sure there were no yikesy contact attempts made, he selected 100 or so people to fire off the outreach message.
- Since the app caps you at 50 messages a day, so the entirety of the outreach will take place over the course of three months. Sure, this isn’t ideal we also appreciate that Alfred is concerned about maintaining our LinkedIn reputations.
- On the first day of outreach, Olman had 8 replies and 10 new subscribers from just 50 messages sent! Based on his current trajectory, this effort is projecting to bring in about 400 new subscribers (when Alfred finishes doing his thing).
- Overall, responses were overwhelmingly positive:
Your single rule-of-thumb from this week? Skip the groups (or, please, tell us how to do it better) and focus on writing personal messages to your first degree connections.
Sometimes, you’ll get awesome responses that are constructive and encouraging. Other times, you’ll get to reconnect with old friends/colleagues and show them what you’ve been up to. And then occasionally you’ll get lucky, and get asked to speak at a conference and further promote your idea!
Although to be fair you’ll also 100% have some fails. Expect a slipped DM to an ex in there or a couple WEIRDOS to ping you some fun like this:
So – We’d recommend during a cursory sift through your contacts before you do any sending, and filter so you only get relevant subscribers — hi, everyone who joined our list from LinkedIn 👋 we love you!
If you’re using a tool like Alfred, the daily limit helps you both fly under LinkedIn’s radar and gives you data points to make your outreach messaging better over time. Tweak your messaging as you get new information. If someone hits you back and tells you you’re coming in a little hot, ask for feedback and adjust.
- Get over the fear of throwing your marketing out there, just do it. Maybe you too will get trolled on LK :).
- Check out Meet Alfred and give that free 14-day trial a spin
- Whip up a quick elevator pitch message for your community, pushing them to a call to action. The key here is to be as personal as possible, so you sound like the message is actually coming from you
- Supplement any automated outreach with personalized, dedicated outreach to people you have stronger relationships with
- Comment here with your success/fail stories so we can learn from you!
How’s That List Growing Baby?
This week, we crossed 1,670 subscribers — that’s 347 new subs since we last chatted! So funny how fun it is to grow something new, even though our other email lists are in the thousands or 100’s of thousands, don’t underestimate the fun of the firsts.
The majority of our outreach is still in Alfred’s hands, so fingers crossed, we’ll continue seeing the fruits of his labor in the coming weeks.
Btw – if you get a little DM slide from your GG crew, now you know.
Stay connected, friends,
Codie, Ilona, & Olman