Monday, April 7, 2014

Is LinkedIn an Effective Tool for Marketing in the A/E Industry?

An Interview with Dave Kahler, owner of GeoLabs, Inc., a LinkedIn expert, and writer/distributer of Strategic Partner mailings

Do you think LinkedIn is an effective tool for marketing in the A/E industry?
It has the potential to be a valuable source depending on how you use the tool. The networking effect is the ultimate purpose of the tool—yet, about 80% of people on LinkedIn don’t put their phone numbers on their profile! If you’re in a hurry, well, you still oftentimes pick up the phone.

There are a lot of people out there that are still struggling.  I’m currently connected to 5400 people, and of those people, there are upwards of 20% changing jobs each and every year.  That means there’s always a certain (large) percentage of people that don’t have jobs. So, I asked myself: what if the people I’m doing business with got some advertising?  I do what’s called “strategic partner mailings” to my groups—emails that are targeted to groups of people (such as women who own businesses)—and provide them with valuable content that in turn promote my business.   It allows me to advertise without having to do the phone calls, without having to chase the money.  It is very successful for me and for them.

What are your top three tips for people to be successful on LinkedIn?
Persistence, persistence, persistence—if you send something out, you’re among the noise; if you send it again, they’ll have to make a decision.   One piece does NOT take care of all the needs.  It’s imperative to spend more time dealing with all the communication avenues—phone goes on at 7, goes off at 9 (if you’re lucky), and you need to deal with the extra emails.
Ask yourself: how do you develop a brand—how do you get that message across to people that are in your network? I, for instance, stress finding work for the circle of people that I encompass. Work for them--then your life is extremely easy.  There’s zero cost associated with sending out regular emails and updates via emails, and such activity can help showcase your talent and offerings—so why not do it?

What should you NOT do on LinkedIn?
Don’t waste my space and time.  For instance, do I really need to know your birthday?  But, things like job anniversary dates are critical. When a person changes jobs, I give them my cell phone number and tell them if I can help them in any way, to give me a call.  LinkedIn helps me to stay current, relevant.

How does LinkedIn relate to the A/E industry?
In this industry, people are stuck in their ways; they think things are all or nothing.  People ask: “If I specialize in this, do I rule out everyone else?” Ultimately, it becomes about being what the end user wants. Put yourself in your potential client’s shoes; answer your client’s questions. Show them you’re the expert. Soon, you’ll find people coming to you—you’ll no longer have to do the chasing.

Connect with Dave Kahler on LinkedIn.

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