LinkedIn Lead Generation: How To Get Leads And Boost Revenue

12 min

Here’s one critical point to know about LinkedIn lead generation:

The 690 million monthly users on the network are not your ideal customers. In reality, only a few thousands of them are.

Chart showing LinkedIn users divided by countries.

For up-to-date numbers, check out these LinkedIn statistics.

For example, if you’re an agency or a consultant, there are companies you can’t work with because your team doesn’t have resources, know-how, or services to handle their projects.

And there are other companies/industries that you have the capacity to serve really well; those are the ones you need to go after and convert into leads.

So how do you do this? Here are two key strategies to get quality leads on LinkedIn:

Strategy #1: Build an engaged following and get leads for free

Strategy #2: Run LinkedIn lead generation ads targeted at your ideal customers

(And then we’ll share how to build a sales conversion funnel that helps you convert LinkedIn leads to sales)

You may also like: Beginner’s guide to lead generation

Strategy #1: Build an engaged following to get leads for free

The more engagement your LinkedIn posts get, the more opportunities you have to get leads from the platform.

And LinkedIn engagement is hot right now.

Each of your posts can reach thousands of potential customers within a few hours or days of posting.

For example…

Example of a highly engaging LinkedIn post.

But it’s not always easy to get this type of engagement.

For example, Dailius in the screenshot above has over 150,000 followers — and these followers are the reason he gets a lot of engagements per post.

Building this type of audience takes time and effort. But it’s not impossible either. 

To build an audience of potential customers, you need to be doing two things at the same time: 

  1. Build targeted connections every day
  2. Post daily or at least three times per week

Let’s dig deeper into these two:

I. Building “targeted” connections every day

If you’re already engaging on LinkedIn, you know how this works already.

The more connections you have, the more people in your network who would be seeing your content. Consequently, the more engagement and leads you’ll get.

And building LinkedIn connections is as simple as:

  • Sending connection requests 
  • Accepting connection requests

That simple? Yep.

The key factor to pay attention to here is the people you’re connecting with — since your goal is to get quality leads.

For example, if your target customers are in-house marketing managers in financial services companies, they’re the people you need to be connecting with.

And finding them is easy. Simply use the search filters on LinkedIn to search “marketing manager” (still following our example above). There are over 22M marketing managers on LinkedIn, so you need to narrow down your search:

LinkedIn search features.

To find your specific prospects, use the All Filters feature to get more specific about the people you’re looking for — which is marketing managers in financial services in our example here:

Applying filters to LinkedIn search to find the right connections.

Once you click the filters section, you can select your ideal customers’ industry, language, countries, connection degrees, and many more.

What’s more? LinkedIn Sales Navigator is another brilliant feature on LinkedIn that’ll help you further in reaching your target prospects.

It’s not free, but it does offer more targeting options so you can find connections by their years in current position, years at current company, and many more. 

LinkedIn filters available when doing search.

So with this, you can have a list of highly targeted connections who you can convert into leads.

All these filter options in LinkedIn and LinkedIn Sales Navigator allow you to reach your ideal customers and connect with them. 

But for the best results, there are some basic guidelines to follow.

Basic guidelines to follow when building connections on LinkedIn

  • Prioritize connecting with people in your 2nd- and 3rd-degree connections. These people are connected with the people you’re connected with.

    When you send them requests, they might consider accepting as they’ll see you both share connections. 
  • Use a clear headshot (preferably with a smile). This will help people see who they’re dealing with when you send connection requests and will you’ll get more requests accepted.

    Here’s a good example of a clear headshot from Rennie Sanusi — an editor for content writers and agencies:

  • Avoid accepting or connecting with every Tom, Dick, and Harry. As your influence increases on LinkedIn, you’ll be getting more and more connection requests.

    So if your goal is to get leads, you need to be specific about the people you’re connecting with.
  • Learn how your profile should look from an expert. Look for an expert who is doing really well on LinkedIn and learn from (not copy) how they’ve structured their profile. 

Now that we’ve covered how to build an audience, let’s look at how to engage your connections and convert them into leads — by posting every day or at least thrice per week. And keep in mind to continue engaging your prospects by sending them non-promotional DMs and commenting on their posts.

II. Posting every day or at least three times per week

Now get this: 

Posting frequently doesn’t guarantee you’ll get engagement and leads on LinkedIn. For the most part, your success on the platform depends on the type of content you’re posting.

If your content is really helpful to your target customers (assuming they’re the people you have as connections), you’ll be getting engagement and inbound leads.

There are several ways to get massive engagement on LinkedIn, but the most popular method is one where you’d ask people to leave a comment to get a resource or guide.

It looks something like this:

Example of a LinkedIn post that asks for engagement in return for content.

In the screenshot above, Ricardo tells his connections he has a Google sheet with the complete overview of all the targeting options they need on LinkedIn. And then asks them to comment “Ads” to get it.

How much engagement did he get:

The result of the highly engaging LinkedIn tactic.

But it’s not only this type of posts that get engagements; you can also share how-to posts and stories and they work well too.

Read more: How to promote content on LinkedIn

So how do you convert all this engagement to leads?

Well, a couple of ways:

  1. If you’re offering services, assuming you have ideal prospects as connections, leads will start trickling once you start getting engagements on your post. But this is only if those posts demonstrate your expertise.

    And once in a while, you can share posts that directly sell your services. But this has to be after you’ve built an engaged audience — i.e. when you start getting like 50 likes/comments per post. Just like what Chris Mitchell of Intelus is doing here:

    And the post got almost 300 likes in three hours; it’s not about the likes, but likes and engagements are a measure of the attention you get.
  2. If you’re selling a product, you may not have the luxury of waiting for people to go to your profile to find your product.

    After you’ve built your audience — i.e. when you start noticing you’re getting, say, 50 likes/comments per post, you can start talking about your product from time to time.

    For example, the VP of Content at Drift, Mark Kilens, would often go round their office – interviewing employees using Drift to do their work:

In his videos, he’ll go round asking them how they using Drift to run marketing and sales campaigns and then put a link in the post — driving people to go to the site and sign up.

  1. Send messages, too. But avoid sending sales pitches. Instead, ask questions about something they posted, congratulate them on a new job or position, thank them for sharing some helpful advice, etc.

    There are several ways you can engage your connections without being promotional.

    The main point here is that when you post on LinkedIn, there’s a higher chance they’ll want to engage with your posts. 

    And the more engagement your posts get, the more LinkedIn promotes it and the more chances you have to generate leads.

What we’ve covered above is what you need to build an engaged following on LinkedIn and convert them into leads.

Now let’s look at how you can take a faster approach to LinkedIn lead generation: running ads targeted at your ideal customers.

Strategy #2: Run LinkedIn lead generation ads targeted at your ideal customers

This one is pretty straightforward: run ads, get leads. Period.

It’s not that simple, of course. But it’s how LinkedIn ads work.

And — for the most part — when it comes to getting leads, LinkedIn ads are a shortcut to everything we’ve covered in strategy #1 above.

You don’t have to wait till you have engaged followers to start generating quality leads. Simply create ads and target your ideal customers, enticing them with offers they won’t want to refuse.

But again, it’s not that simple. For best results with your LinkedIn lead generation ads, you need to first:

  1. nail your ideal customer profile (ICP)
  2. know the right offers to present them, and
  3. know which ad creatives to use.

These three important factors will determine how successful your LinkedIn lead generation ad would be. Let’s address them one after the other:

  1. Nailing your ideal customer profile (ICP):

Your ideal customers are businesses or people who are a perfect fit for your product/service and can afford it.

Once you nail your ICP, everything else is relatively easy; you’ll be able to determine the right offers to present them and which ad creatives will get their attention.

This worksheet from Terminus shows what an ICP looks like:

Once you’ve nailed your ICP, sign in to your LinkedIn Ads dashboard, create your campaign, targeting the people who match your ICP.

And more than any other advertising platform, LinkedIn excels at providing audience targeting options that help to make sure your ads reach the right people.

Next, you need to show them the right offers in your ads. 

  1. Know the right offers to present in your LinkedIn lead generation ads

There are two main types of offers you can present in your ads to generate leads:

Offer #1: Content or lead magnets


Offer #2: A free tool

Either of these two works really well — because they help you build trust with prospects. And trust makes them comfortable buying from you.

But what types of content or free tool should you offer in your LinkedIn ads?

This is where customer research comes in. 

Through customer research, you get to understand your prospects’ needs and create content that addresses those needs. 

And there are several ways to do customer research. If you have an existing email list, you can do a survey using the GetResponse online survey tool.

But if you don’t have an email list, go into any industry community where your target customers are and ask a question like this (or any variation of it): 

“[Enter target customers’ name], what’s your #1 struggle with [enter specific topic]?”

When you start seeing certain topics pop up frequently in their answers, note them down; those are the ideal topics you should create content or tool about. 

And once you’re done with your content creation, your next step is to ascertain the types of ad creatives you’ll be using to run your LinkedIn lead generation ads.

  1. Select your ad format and build ad creatives specific to your ideal clients

After you’ve nailed your ICP and decided on your offer, it’s time to select your ad type and build your ad creatives.

If you’re not sure what these are, LinkedIn offers different types of ads — so your ad format is the ad type you prefer. 

This could be text ads, conversational ads, InMails, sponsored ads, display ads, conversational ads, lead gen form ads, etc.

You can learn more about these ad types and how to set them up effectively in this post on how much LinkedIn ads cost from Adam Yaeger.

What about ad creatives?

Your ad creative is your ad design, and it can look and feel however you want it — as long as your preferred ad type supports your style.

You can make a video Sponsored Content ad creative…

LinkedIn video ad - highly engaging format.

Or a single image Sponsored Content ad…

LinkedIn sponsored content example.

Whatever ad format and creative you use, make sure you’re targeting the right people with offers (content, a demo, or a free tool) that are relevant to them.

And how do you know what’s relevant to them? Again, customer research is your best buddy to knowing what offers to present your target customers.

Bonus tip: Build your sales conversion funnel

At the end of the day, the reason you’re doing LinkedIn lead generation is to net sales. So you need to make sure you’ve built out your sales conversion funnel properly.

If you’re not sure what it is, a sales conversion funnel is the process you set up to attract prospects from LinkedIn and convert them into leads.

You can build your entire funnel and guide prospects to sales using the GetResponse Conversion Funnel

Check out the image below to see how it works:

(P.S. You can replace Facebook Ads in the image below with LinkedIn Ads)

So this funnel helps you manage the entire process of a prospect going from your ad to becoming a customer.

And sometimes, their journeys aren’t even this long. It’s why our Conversion Funnel tool is fully customizable. You can build it for a short or long customer journey — depending on your type of business and service.

You’ll get 40+ conversion-optimized scenarios written and designed by industry experts to sell, build contact lists, showcase your offers, and help you grow.

Conversion Funnels are perfect for local businesses, ecommerce shop owners, ebook writers, coaches, designers, photographers, event planners, and more. 

There’s a free trial you can grab now, get it here.


There’s a lot to take away from this guide, but here are a few major ones:

  • If you’re looking to get quality leads for free on LinkedIn, connect with targeted prospects using strategies we’ve shared above.
  • And if you’re running ads, nail your ICP first and understand what’s relevant to them. Then create relevant content (or lead magnets) and offer it to them in your ads.
  • Finally, build a sales conversion funnel, a clear strategy that’ll help you convert leads to sales.

Victor Ijidola
Victor Ijidola
Victor is an expert content marketer for B2B and SaaS brands. He runs Premium Content Shop , alongside being published by Entrepreneur, Forbes, and many more.