Episode 012: Automated LinkedIn Marketing with Adrian Boysel
For a company to grow, it needs customers. In the old days, the best way to promote your brand and product was to announce it to the world as broadly as possible. These days, technology has enabled businesses to find their niche and approach a unique customer base. To do that, though, you need LinkedIn marketing.
In this episode of the SaaS CX Show, I’m talking with Adrian Boysel, founder, and CEO of Lead Butler. His software focuses exclusively on making LinkedIn marketing better for lead generation, and the approach he and his team have taken is already making waves. We discuss the pitfalls he’s experienced and how his team has overcome them.
Here are a few highlights from the podcast.
Time is a Resource Like Anything Else
One of the most significant problems with traditional lead generation is that it can take up so much time and energy. Automation can help, but you need to find a balance of automating certain processes and nurturing those leads the old-fashioned way.
For Adrian, one of the most noticeable elements of Lead Butler was that it saved his clients so much time. Rather than spending hours and days searching through LinkedIn for connections and circles, the software does it all and cultivates a list of leads in a fraction of the time.
Ultimately, it’s that time saved that makes Lead Butler so valuable (among other benefits), and that’s why his company is growing so fast. Also, it’s fortunate that he and his team are operating in a space with high demand and low competition.
Being Direct and Authentic
Another substantial hurdle that can come with LinkedIn marketing is the low capture rate. We all have busy lives, and you can’t expect your lead to dedicate a chunk of time reading your initial email or follow up message.
I remember believing that the best way to approach a lead was by doing a soft lead-in with conversational language before getting to the point. These days, if I receive a message like that, I delete it immediately without reading past the first sentence.
For Adrian, he learned that the best approach was a short, simple message – I’m looking for real connections, if you are to, connect with me. Otherwise, you can delete my contact info because I’m not interested. From there, you can start to build that relationship. Overall, the point is to establish contact and then take baby steps to turn a lead into a customer. You don’t need to make the sale in the first message.
Don’t Over-automate Your LinkedIn Marketing
On the flip side of that, you also don’t want to automate too much. Just like a four-paragraph message is a turn-off, so is one that was clearly copied and pasted from a template. Part of what makes Lead Butler so attractive is that the team replies to messages manually as much as possible. While automation does a lot of the heavy lifting of LinkedIn marketing, there are people on the back end, crafting unique and engaging messages that help create those bonds.
We talk a lot more about Lead Butler and Adrian’s experience going from a service-based company to a software-based one, so check out the rest of the episode here. Also, you can contact Adrian directly at leadbutler.io and adrianboysel.com, or you can find Lead Butler on Facebook.
Frank Bria (00:00):
The SaaS CX Show, Episode 12
From founders and CEOs to founders and CEOs. It’s the SaaS CX Show. You’ve found the one stop shop for all things SaaS. Each interview is an in depth analysis of a successful growing SaaS company, building a world class customer experience for their users. And now for your host, serial SaaS entrepreneur, founder, consultant and advisor, Frank Bria.
Frank Bria (00:31):
Hey everyone. Welcome to the SaaS CX Show by SaaS founders and CEOs for SaaS, founders and CEOs. I’m your host, Frank Bria. And today’s episode we are going to talk about lead generation websites. But first the SaaS CX Show is brought to you by the SaaS CX group. The number one reason for ideal customer churn, not getting value from your software. Find out how to fix that by downloading our SaaS churn checklist, we go over the seven things you need to have in place to ensure your ideal customers stay, use and love your software. Decrease churn by 10 to 25% in three, six months. Find out more to show some page saascx.show. That’s saascx.show. And now I am pleased to introduce today’s guest, Adrian Boysel. Adrian is a digital marketing trainer and keynote speaker and is also the founder of Lead Butler, a service to create lead generation websites. Adrian, welcome to the show.
Adrian Boysel (01:24):
Oh yeah. What’s up Frank? How you doin’?
Frank Bria (01:27):
Not much. Really happy to have you. Absolutely happy to have you. So, before we dig into to you and your story a little bit, let’s give a little background on Lead Butler. What is it for? What do you guys do?
Adrian Boysel (01:39):
So Lead Butler Connect is a LinkedIn relationship building tool that we built started about a year ago and actually kicked it off about six months ago. And what it’s designed to do is just to help you cut and save time. That was the big thought and the big aha moment that we had is, man, we’re spending so much time prospecting, meeting people, going through and trying to really build relationships with people on LinkedIn. There’s gotta be an easier way. There’s gotta be a faster way. And it’s not that we want to do the automated systems that drive people crazy, but we want to be able to add people faster. We wanna be able to get to the right connections and it will send the series of messages to make sure that we’re actually pulling the rope, not pushing it.
Frank Bria (02:19):
Yeah, that’s really, you know, there’s a lot of movement around LinkedIn trying to figure out how to use it best. And it’s interesting because a lot of people want to use it for lead gen, but man it is not built for that very well. You know what I mean? It is. It’s really a pain in the neck. As you guys were looking at the space, what were some of the big problems you wanted to knock down with software out there?
Adrian Boysel (02:43):
I noticed that there wasn’t a lot of data out there of what connection rates should be and message responses should be and how many connections, you know, you really need to have to be able to get bandwidth. And so that was a big area that I wanted to focus in on is making sure that we had the data to back up. We were saying we could do and so part of the initial idea was to create metrics and analytics that went along with, okay, how many connection requests did we send? What was the response of people that actually connected and then being able to learn what people like when we’re sending a connection message and what they didn’t like and we’ve been able to analyze all that data and figure out what it is. That’s the sweet spot for really getting people to be like, all right, this is somebody that I want to connect with that’s not just going to pitch me as soon as I hit accept.
Frank Bria (03:25):
Yeah. Any insights on that you can share? What have you learned?
Adrian Boysel (03:30):
The the biggest thing I’d say I’ve learned is to keep it very simple. The longer your connection messages, the lower your rate’s going to be. And the more genuine, if you understand and get to know them as a person and look at their profile, you have a much better chance. And really, if you want to build a relationship with somebody coming at them with a really long connection message, you’re going to bore them to death and then they’re just going to disengage. So for me, what I do is I keep it very, very short. Hey, I’m looking for real connections on here. If you’re not a real connection, if you’re not looking at building a real relationship, please just pass me by. And that level of scarcity and interest in having a real relationship makes them accept.
Frank Bria (04:09):
Yeah, that’s interesting. It’s true. Even before LinkedIn came around and I was involved in a lot of lead gen for enterprise companies were trying to get into organizations. It’s really funny, there was people who just feel, you know, you have to do this flowery lead in and all of this stuff and you end up writing this huge long message. And I just know that when I get them if it’s more than a paragraph or two, I just hit delete. I’m not even going to bother to read if I don’t know who it is actually. It’s an interesting insight. So how’d you guys get into this? I know you, you’ve got a lot of businesses going on, a lot of different things. So why this? How did you get into this?
Adrian Boysel (04:52):
You know, I got pitched on LinkedIn lead generation and probably about a million and a half times over the last decade and as LinkedIn started to really evolve and grow into something that had legs to be a lead generation tool for businesses, I thought, how can I leverage just like I have with SEO and all the other things that I’ve done. And I got with a partner of mine and Wes and he just, we broke it down and kind of went through LinkedIn and what the potential was. And I showed him some of the pitches that I had been given and just everything. And he has a team of developers as well as I do. And he just came together and he started putting the pieces together. And next thing you know he had a very simple, very clean dashboard that was broken down into connections messaging, which is nurturing and the data itself. And it was just really powerful how simple he made it. And I was like, wow, this is freaking easy, dude. This is going to save me so much time when I’m consulting, I’m charging $600 an hour. So if I spend an hour doing this, is very expensive, you know, so I got to figure out a way to automate that process. And he really did. It was phenomenal.
Frank Bria (05:50):
Nice. And is this the first software project you’ve been involved in or have you done a few others as well?
Adrian Boysel (05:57):
Done a few others. We’ve done apps and other programs, but this was the first one that I’ve really seen that has true potential.
Frank Bria (06:04):
Okay. What did anything about this particular development exercises that surprised you or you weren’t ready for?
Adrian Boysel (06:12):
You know, I knew that there was going to be people out there that were competitors, but I didn’t realize that there’d be as many competitors and I didn’t think that we would have such a huge lead and advantage on them. I thought that they would, you know, between plugins and all the features and bells and whistles, we kept it so minimal. This was just a minimum viable product. You know, I’ve read dozens of books, you know, Tim Ferriss’s book and Noah Kagan’s book and Gary V’s book and they all talk about MVPs, you know, and over the years that I’ve been reading and I just, we wanted something that was just basic, that was simple, that wasn’t complicated to use and there wasn’t a big learning curve. I don’t know about you, but the last 15 years I’ve had plenty of learning curves come across my path and that was something I wanted to try to eliminate in this project.
Frank Bria (06:53):
Yeah. No, I mean the concept of MVP is critical and probably one of the best introductions into software development in the last couple of decades for sure. What did you use for your validation sample? I mean, did you have sort of a group of clients you’re working with you could test this out on or?
Adrian Boysel (07:13):
So between my partner and I, we had I had about a dozen and he had about probably close to the same amount and he ran it by them. And we immediately onboarded like 24 people into the system and those people just had almost, it was almost overnight success. It was pretty unbelievable between graphic designers and project managers for painting companies and all the different uses we have from prospecting PR side of reaching out to people who write content for news articles and creating a targeted list to go after that. And then recruiting, just recruiting alone. So between those clients we saw results in all of those areas and we’re like, wow, I mean between getting meetings with GE and some of these huge companies through this tool, it’s been kind of phenomenal. It’s just been like, wow.
Frank Bria (07:55):
Nice. Did you find that those varied groups had different requirements, different needs? I mean one of the things that people have a hard time with when they’re putting MVP together sometimes is that, you know, person a wants this list of features and person B wants that list and you know, they overlap a little bit, but not always. And so people have a difficult time figuring out this balance between minimum and viable. Did you have that issue or did you feel like everyone really kind of centered around the same needs?
Adrian Boysel (08:21):
I feel like they all had in terms of what the real need was, to build a real relationship with somebody. They all had that same need, but the method and how we got there and how we built value with the people was completely different. And for somebody like me that’s scientifically minded in terms of marketing and how I look at marketing and psychology and all those things, I wanted to make sure that there was people behind it that it just wasn’t another automated tool link. What was that? The one, Leonard LinkedIn or whatever it is. I wanted to make sure that it was actually truly had people behind it that were creating the messages that were being authentic, that it just wasn’t a bunch of spammy programs running on the back end, so that’s the big differentiator I feel between what we have and a lot of people is it isn’t fully automated. There are people on the back end actually looking at the messages, crafting messages for you, doing a lot of that stuff to make sure that things are moving in the right direction that messages are being responded to, which is honestly one of the biggest challenges that we had even even till this day is people actually getting back to the volume of messages we get in response.
Frank Bria (09:20):
Yeah, I mean essentially it’s a solution because it’s a mix of services and software.
Adrian Boysel (09:25):
Frank Bria (09:26):
Yeah, that’s great. We want to pivot a little bit to the customer experience a little bit. So as you get people to go through the process and use the software what were some of the things you guys were thinking about as you were designing the user interface? So one of the, as you mentioned earlier, is that your partner kind of boiled it down to some simplistic pieces. Talk a little bit about your thought process and how you decided, you know, what the flow would be and how people would be best onboarded onto the system.
Adrian Boysel (09:59):
Yeah. So we knew that the starting place point was going to be building connections. So that was the first piece and we had to figure out, okay, well who are those connections? You know, you’re going to start with the who. So finding out who they were and what their problem were. So I had Wes go in and he actually built out, when he went in and built out this dashboard, he built it with that in mind as the targeting has to be very specific. So instead of actually creating some sort of fancy targeting software within the system, that is part of the software that we don’t have incorporated is you actually go to your LinkedIn profile itself. You go up to this top search bar, you hit people, and then you bring it down and you find out who exactly who you want and then you paste that URL into the system and that gives you your targeted list. Now that’s your people that you’re going to build those relationships and you want to get as targeted as possible. What’s their job description? Are they second level connection? Where are they located, what company do they work for? All the different data points that you can put in there. So that was point A that we started with and when you have all the information and it’s so similar for every single person, it makes it easy to craft that actual messaging. And so within the connection campaign, we have a series of messages that happens, you can do three steps, four steps, however many steps of building value once they’ve actually connected with you. If they don’t respond to that initial connection message, we can just send a sequence of messages to them. That’s really neat.
Frank Bria (11:16):
Nice. So what it sounds like one of the principles is, you know, don’t duplicate what already exists.
Adrian Boysel (11:23):
Frank Bria (11:23):
As far as functionality is concerned and that’s really critical. I think a lot of people, especially when they’re trying to do the MVP, they’ll start out thinking that that, okay, well we can do this better. Sure this is out there, but we all want it in one place? And a lot of times that can really bog you down, you know, in a development effort to try to duplicate something that’s already there and it’s not very MVP ish.
Adrian Boysel (11:45):
Yeah. They’ve already perfected that process. Why would we have to recreate that wheel? It just didn’t make sense. So from there it was just, okay, now that we’ve built a connection and we’ve got kind of a message and a dialogue going, then it’s just nurturing those relationships and having campaigns that can go in and just add value to them. You know, the 90/10 rule or the 80/20, whatever you go off of just continuing to add value. So that was the, you know, letter B in this scenario for us was just making sure that we were going after and building the relationships on a consistent basis with these people over, whether it’s a 90 day period, a six month period or a 12 month period. And that made it very, very effective.
Frank Bria (12:20):
Nice. Nice. It sounds great. And so now you guys are in growth mode. You’ve launched and you’ve gone past beta and now you’re…
Adrian Boysel (12:28):
Correct, 97 or 98 users at this point.
Frank Bria (12:31):
Great. That’s awesome. How are you finding the lead generation process for yourselves? How’s that going as the software company?
Adrian Boysel (12:41):
Well, it’s funny, I woke up this morning and we sent out, I don’t know, probably 100 messages over the weekend that were automated, you know, and after those messages went out to people and they were crafted by me and Wes together and after they went out to people, we probably had 16 to 17 people that replied over the weekend. And I got a text message from Wes this morning like, Hey man, you know, my pet peeve is when people don’t respond and get back to those as soon as possible this morning. So, or like we’re in the system, you know, other than when I’m busy with family on the weekends, we’re in the system almost 24 seven around the clock. It’s crazy. So the amount of messages that go out and the times even that they go out is, it’s hard to even keep up with even for ourselves.
Frank Bria (13:19):
Nice. Well that’s a good problem to have. You know those folks who could remember times in their business when it’s been crickets, it’s better to be rushing around trying to answer questions for folks. That’s great. How have you felt, has it been a different experience for you as founder as a software company versus a service company? Does that feel different? Are there different things you’re worrying about or having to do?
Adrian Boysel (13:48):
Yeah, I mean there’s always the worry when you have a software and something that is automated, you always got to worry about LinkedIn catching on and saying, Hey, we don’t want that. But because we’re cloud-based and because of some of the, all of the precautions that we took, we did so much research upfront of what is it that LinkedIn likes? What is it that they don’t like, what are the requirements? How many people can we send? If you have a hundred connections versus 500 connections, what’s the difference to LinkedIn and are they going to flag you? So all those things went into consideration. So there were so many of those moving parts versus something that’s very manual with a customer base or with, you know, a solutions based system where it’s just like we’re going in there manually doing it and you can’t send out a hundred connections requests yourself for 96 different people. You know, there’s just no scalability in that. So it has been an interesting thing to watch and I love just watching the amount of time that it’s saved for so many people. That’s been the biggest takeaway is as watching, you know, when I do graphics or doing websites for people, I mean a month to two month process depending on the site that we build versus something like this where it’s just almost instantaneously overnight they’re seeing messages in their inbox.
Frank Bria (14:53):
Yeah. That’s nice. Yeah. The leverage that I think a software solution brings, not just to you as a company, but to your clients. It is a big difference. It’s funny, one of the things that you kind of hinted at a little bit earlier on that I always hear people say when they’re running a service business and things are kind of, you know, going wrong as they always do in everyone’s business. It’s like it’s a person you can kind of follow up on process. You know how to fix it in a software company, if there’s a glitch or you’ve got an outside connection or you know, LinkedIn as you say you’re trying to integrate with and a lot of times you can’t really control it very much. It’s like this technical glitch and at least as a CEO, if you’re not a technical person, you’re kind of waiting around for somebody to figure out, you know, debug it, figure out what the issue is. That can be pretty frustrating for me. That’s always, you know, when it’s software, I’m always waiting around for somebody to tell me what’s wrong and I feel a little bit out of control.
Adrian Boysel (15:48):
It does. Right. I know that feeling. It’s like having other people in play in terms of it’s all riding on them and their skill sets and their abilities when, as a service. I mean if I come down to it and somebody’s sick for a week, you know, or it goes down cause they have a baby or something and they’re gone for a few weeks, I can jump in there and whip out an amazing logo or build an amazing website, but when it comes to software, it’s like, are you talking about, you know, Layer Vel and things like that. It’s completely different language. You know, I understand the end goal and what the objective is of what I want, but the road on how to get there and the process and everything, man, that’s a whole other beast.
Frank Bria (16:21):
It is. That’s, that’s funny. So what’s next for you guys as you look forward, you know, this year next 12 months? Is it product roadmap, is it growth, is it adding features?
Adrian Boysel (16:32):
Yeah we’re probably gonna add some features. We’ve talked about the targeting side of things quite a bit of trying to get even more specific with when you build the list and you pull that list in from LinkedIn right from your search tool and you bring that in. How do you scrub out the people that you know for a fact are not going to be. So if I’m going after San Francisco attorneys that are in personal injury, or let’s just say, I mean any San Francisco attorney, if I have that strategic list of 600/700 how do I get rid of the people that are government workers or that I’ve changed or maybe haven’t even updated their profile and scrubbing through that list. So we’re working on a system and a tool within that to help scrub those people out of the list that you can look real quick what their job description or the company they actually work for and then just quickly remove them from the list one at a time.
Frank Bria (17:16):
Yeah. Nice. That’s nice. I mean, you know, the old style, list by process, you knew you could do some of that cleansing and those are things you can’t really do in LinkedIn very well. Especially, you know, people who have not updated their profile forever and things like that.
Adrian Boysel (17:32):
Haven’t been on LinkedIn in six months and they work for the state of California now and you’re like, I had one guy that was like, I’m a district attorney for San Francisco. I’m like, Oh yeah, so you’re probably not going to need my services then. So things like that, it’s just part of the learning process as we’ve been testing it out, we realize we’ve picked up some fishes in the net that we’re like, Oh, this is not it. You got to go put it back in, you know?
Frank Bria (17:52):
Right. That happens. That’s great that you guys are looking at that. That’s exciting, it’s a hot area. A lot of people working in this area and…
Adrian Boysel (18:00):
So much potential…
Frank Bria (18:01):
And there’s a lot of potential and there’s a lot of unmet demand. I mean, one of the things that has absolutely frustrated me about LinkedIn is that they don’t seem to understand what they are. And they, in some sense, seem to be putting up roadblocks to prevent them from being the powerful thing that they could be. It’s just bizarre. I just, every time they come out with a new policy or a new announcement. I’m like, who is running this?
Adrian Boysel (18:27):
Right? Yeah, no, I’ve thought the same thing, and some of the implementations of allowing automations and just, you know, they don’t want people to take advantage of the system. I understand that. But man, the amount of time and length of the process that they’ve made with some of the systems, it’s like, dude, are you kidding me? And then they want you to pay, you know, the premium for being able to have access to other features of it. And I think it needs to be more of an open platform. I’m a big proponent for open source, more open platforms and I understand they got to generate revenue, but they’ve already got the ads platform.
Frank Bria (18:59):
That’s the thing is I think they generate more revenue when they become more usable as a platform. I think the thing that’s holding them back right now is that a lot of the stuff they’re doing to try to prevent it from becoming a bad experience, which I get, I totally understand, is actually preventing them from being a viable, longterm revenue generating platform. And if they don’t fix it soon, someone else is just going to come in and eat their lunch and come up with something better, you know, so.
Adrian Boysel (19:27):
Well, we’re taking a piece of that pie from them that they could be making themselves. Hopefully nobody from LinkedIn gets to hear this, but this is a big opportunity for somebody like LinkedIn to go in and build a lead generation side to their system that can help people really save time. You know, time is such a valuable resource. People don’t understand.
Frank Bria (19:45):
Yeah. Well maybe they are listening and eventually they’ll buy you guys out.
Adrian Boysel (19:48):
Yeah, there we go.
Frank Bria (19:51):
Adrian it’s been great talking to you. Unfortunately. We’re out of time and you’ve been really gracious with your time this morning. One more question before we go. If people want to connect with you, find out a little bit more about Lead Butler, what you guys are up to, what’s a great place for them to start? So they can look us up, leadbutler.io. That’s our website. They can check us out there. We’re also on Facebook. We can message back and forth if they have any questions there or they can look me up personally. They can look up adrianboysel.com. I’ve got a contact form there or they can email me. My best email is [email protected] so I’m pretty easy to reach.
Adrian Boysel (20:23):
Great. Excellent. And we’ll put those links here in the show notes. If you’re out and about listening, come on back to the show notes page and we’ve got links you can click directly through.
Adrian Boysel (20:31):
And an offer, right?
Frank Bria (20:34):
Yeah, absolutely. So we got that here on the show notes page as well, so…
Adrian Boysel (20:38):
Awesome. So if anybody’s interested in that, we can throw that out there. I’ll give them a super cool deal on the setup side because there’s an onboarding part of it. I’ll give them a huge discount on that.
Frank Bria (20:47):
Great. So yeah, you definitely need to come to the show notes page then to grab that. I appreciate that, very generous. Thanks so much, Adrian.
Adrian Boysel (20:54):
Frank Bria (20:54):
And thanks for taking time and being on the show today.
Adrian Boysel (20:57):
Absolutely. Thank you, Frank. It’s been a pleasure.
Frank Bria (20:59):
Absolutely. And thank you so much for being with us on the SaaS CX Show. I’ve been your host, Frank Bria. Just a reminder, if you want to reduce customer churn 10 to 25% in the next three to six months, check out our SaaS churn checklist, which covers the seven things you need to have in place to ensure your ideal customers stay, use and love your software. Download it at sasscx.show. That’s saascx.show. We’ll see you next time. Make it happen. Bye bye.