LinkedIn Lead Generation
Project Ignite Podcast by Derek Gehl LinkedIn Lead Generation Without Spending A Penny On Ads - With Jimena Cortes
00:00:00 00:00:00
  • Episode  62
  • Jimena Cortes


Learn how Jimena Cortes uses LinkedIn lead generation strategies to attract high quality, high value clients without spending a penny on ads.

To find out more information about Jimena:

Transcription: LinkedIn Lead Generation Without Spending A Penny On Ads – With Jimena Cortes

Welcome to the Project Ignite podcast. A podcast designed to skip the hype, skip the BS and just bring you the tips and strategies you need to grow your business and income on the internet.

This is your host Derek Gehl, and today we’re going to be diving deep into LinkedIn marketing and LinkedIn lead generation.

Today’s guest is just the LinkedIn expert we need to put you on the right path to leveraging LinkedIn lead generation to grow your business. She’s an online marketing consultant, and author who’s been quoted in numerous publications like, Inc and Forbes.

She is the founder of Wizard media, an online marketing agency that helps businesses significantly increase the amount of leads they generate through search engine marketing, and LinkedIn lead generation of course.

Providing an average ROI of 300% which is pretty spectacular. She’s grown her own company primarily through LinkedIn lead generation and has taught thousands of entrepreneurs and businesses worldwide her proven LinkedIn lead generation marketing strategies.

Without further ado, I would like to welcome Jimena Cortes to the show.

Now welcome, and so great to have you here.

Hey Derek, thank you for having me here.

Fantastic, before we get started. Just give me the run down, give me your story. I always love talking to entrepreneurs that are doing cool stuff, and just hearing how they got to where they got to.

How did you become this LinkedIn lead generation expert? How did you get started online?

It was really out of necessity that I became a LinkedIn lead generation expert. I started online, let’s see. I had my first business straight out of high school, this was like 12 years ago. This wasn’t an online business, we were selling hotel rooms for people that were traveling for conventions.

We used to be able to get better rates than what the show was offering. We literally were just cold calling these people and saying “Hey you guys are traveling for the show, we can get you the same room for x amount.” We did that for a while and that went really well.

That is where I started to think about wanting to do more online because we started to do some outreach through Myspace back in 2006 and I was thinking that this online stuff is pretty cool.

Long story short that business did not work out. Me and my partner stopped seeing eye-to-eye but I just really got interested in online, and so I went to work for several different online companies and really honed my skills.

Media buying is what I did at first and then taught myself SEO and in 2012 I decided that I really enjoy SEO so I’m going to go off on my own and I’m going to start this business, an SEO business.

Unfortunately at that point all I had to my name to show my results were 2 web sites that I had ranked myself. So getting SEO clients was really difficult, and I struggled the first six months. I only got one client.

Finally I was going back to look for a job, and as I was looking for jobs I was using LinkedIn to do this. I saw that my target audience for SEO, who were doctors, CPA, and attorneys were all right here on LinkedIn. So I wondered how I could use LinkedIn for lead generation to get these people to talk to me so I could do an SEO consultation for them.

Finally I tried different things, I read everything that I could on LinkedIn lead generation and I started to get clients. That worked a lot better both from a time standpoint since it was a lot faster and it was a lot more cost-effective than some of the other things that I was doing to get clients that obviously I was not being very successful with. I only had one client in 6 months.

So after that I just decided to get a lot of clients through LinkedIn lead generation and that is how I was able to grow my SEO company. Then in 2014 I decided that there is not really a lot of people that are actually out there showing people how to use LinkedIn lead generation to get clients.

Everyone is always talking about the other social networks like Facebook, and Twitter, and everything else. I feel like it gets a lot more attention, but LinkedIn lead generation was such an amazing gold mine for me that I decided to create my training program on it and I’ve also done a lot of campaigns for various companies for LinkedIn lead generation as well.

LinkedIn lead generation is an interesting one right? I think for a lot of people it really is a mystery. It’s funny you know…it seems like most people have a LinkedIn profile, but 95% of the people don’t really know what to do with it.

Most people think of it as just a place where it is your online resume and a good place if you’re looking for a job. It’s so much more than that.

With that being said I wouldn’t see it as reaching more of a general market, it is more specific. Who is LinkedIn lead generation for? What kind of businesses are you seeing today having success with it?

You know that is a great question. What you said is very true, the majority of the people, a lot of people think that LinkedIn lead generation might not work for them because they are in XYZ business.

You have to think of business this way: When you have a business you are not you in this corner by yourself with this business right? People make your business grow so you need customers, those are people. Some other companies might be looking for investments. That is what they need to get their companies to the next level. Other companies might be looking for ways to get more publicity.

There are all these referral partners, joint venture partners. Who you can partner with that you guys can refer business to each other but you’re not in competition, but you serve the same market.

LinkedIn is a place where you can find the people that you need to take your business to the next level so it really works for any business. You just have to think about who is it that I want to reach, who do I need right now, and how can I best connect with them.
Linkedin for lead generation

Let’s talk about reaching people through LinkedIn lead generation.

Most people, we look at a Facebook and we understand obviously you can go create groups, and pages, and stuff like that. We know with Facebook if you want to advertise on Facebook today it’s really become pay to play right? You go out there you boost posts, you buy ads, you target audiences, and display your ads to the most relevant people you can find, and hope that they engage with you, and click buy whatever that may be.

LinkedIn lead generation though is a bit of a different beast. You’re not advertising to that general audience, so how do you approach LinkedIn lead generation? What are the different ways you are using LinkedIn to get business?

The main way that we use it is really using LinkedIn’s advanced search feature. With that we can really filter down to who we need to find based on their title and what they do.

You might be looking for CEO’s of hospitals for example. You might be looking for VP’s of sales at software companies. Who is the decision maker that you need to reach?

We can target them by their job title, their location, how big of a company they own or work at, their seniority level. All these different filters depending on the client or what we are looking to do. We will find people that way, we will connect with them and once you connect with somebody now you have the ability to send them messages for free.

Now, here is where most people mess this up. You find a prospect, you connect with them, they accepted your request, and then what most people do right away if they send this long letter of all the services that they provide. Do you want to buy it from me? The answer is no.

It is just like if you are at a networking event. You are not going to go up to someone and say “Hi my name is Jimena Cortes. I do LinkedIn, this is the price would you like to sign up right now?” It’s like whoa, whoa we need to have a conversation, get to know each other, there is some relationship builder that needs to happen.

It is the same thing with LinkedIn lead generation. You have to provide value right away. So what we do in campaigns for example is, we will really start to talk to the prospects. We will give them some content that we know that they will like, and that is our first message.

Only after we have provided them value will we say hey, based on what you do there could be some really big opportunities for us to work together. Why don’t we hop on a call and discuss some opportunities.

Now walking through that campaign, so we connect with somebody. You’re saying send them content that is of value to them right?


What kind of content, what are you going to send to somebody that is going to get their attention over LinkedIn? What kind of stuff are you sending?

For example we have this campaign for this medical company and they sell DNA testing kits to other doctors. Basically with the first article that we sent them is something that says hey how can you use your DNA to really tailor your meal and exercise plans to lose weight. I think this is something your patients would really find of value, and that you would find of value.

We send that first, from that first message a lot of people are like oh my God this is really great content, I totally agree, can we talk?

Those that don’t respond to that first message, we will message them again and a couple of weeks and say hey you know I would love to hear your thoughts on the article and I would love to see if there are some ways for us to work together. I’m available this or next week when do you want to talk?

Because it is LinkedIn, and because you have provided value, you’re not being annoying, and you are really saying hey we are connected, I like to get to know my connections, we should have a conversation. Then that opens up the doors for actually working together.

People are very apt to get on the phone with you because it’s LinkedIn versus if you did something like this on Facebook. It would be like who is this person I don’t know you, but because it is linked and they can read your profile, they can read your background, they can see if you’re somebody that they think there might be some possibilities with.

If you did your targeting right and you created your profile the right way, then people are like yeah why don’t we hop on a call.

They are there for the same reason that you are. To do business.

What I found is you just have to say the right thing from the right sequence and the response is positive versus if we talk to that same person and then like hey this is my offer, do you want to buy it. The first instinct is going to be to say no.

Right. Right. Here’s the question that comes to my mind immediately. So what you’re walking me through here is quite a manual process for LinkedIn lead generation.


How do you LinkedIn lead generation in scale?

You are really limited as to how much you can do this. I mean you can’t scale it to the way that you could for example a Facebook ads campaign where you can just say this is working at $20 a day let me go to $500 today.

We are limited to how many people that we could target. The way that you can really scale it out a little bit better is by growing your own group and building that group over time. You have the ability to message those people. However we don’t send out more than 75 requests to connect per day. That is the maximum. Where it is really valuable is getting sales appointments.

An example is a sales team. So doing this process that I have walked you down right now we are averaging anywhere from 16 to 26 sales appointments per LinkedIn profile.

So let’s say you have a team of 10 sales people and each of the sales people take an hour a day to process on LinkedIn versus whatever else they do that might be a little less effective. If they do this right they can book 16 to 20 qualified interested appointments every month.

Then how much of that business they close really depends on their conversion ratio. I think really where this works out the best is when you have something of high value. If your offer is just a few thousand dollars or if you are looking for a relationship where it could be just 2 relationships that make you a lot of money because it is a referral partner type of deal.

One of things that I’m hearing from you, which is interesting, and I think a big differentiator from a Facebook or a Twitter – It is really about quality, it’s not about quantity.


It’s laser targeting, finding a very specific profile and person that you know is your customer and then reaching out to them personally. That is just such a shift from what so many advertisers are used to, and business are used to working on the other social media platforms.

Now the other thing that has really stood out to me here, and talking to you is everything you’re doing here is creating real connections. You are not using, I’m not hearing that you’re using much in the way of the paid advertising tools on LinkedIn, or are you?

No we’re not. The reason why is we found that even though this process is manual and it’s very time-consuming the ROI has been so much better doing it this way than any time that we have tried to do ads.

I hate to say this because I want LinkedIn to do well and make a lot of money and all that, but their ad platform is just so expensive. You could be paying $5, $10, a click and we’re just talking about a click. We’ve got a lot more direction, and a lot of business by doing it this way. It just doesn’t compare to what we would have had to spend to get the same results with their ad platform.

Two things fast that hit me. The first thing is, is you get a much higher conversion result using LinkedIn for lead generation, because from my perspective, it’s really similar to if you look at organic vs. pay-per-click search marketing. If you get traffic from organic, that visitor is, I think something like 7 times more likely to convert than someone through a paid media.

When somebody clicks through an ad, they know they are about to be sold something right? There is definitely a higher level of push back on that. With the ad platform though, at that price who is advertising right now on that? Who are you seeing buying ads? Is it mostly big, big business?

You know what because I don’t do that and paid as at all, I don’t even pay attention to that. The way that we use LinkedIn lead generation as myself and my clients – we all have premium accounts.

So you definitely want to have the premium profile for LinkedIn lead generation. They are probably like $60 a month. That pays itself many times over. I don’t really mess with the ads too much, and I don’t even really look at who is doing what because I don’t even know if the campaign is successful or not.

I have seen in the past some women’s organizations targeting me to join their membership and stuff like that. I did click on this one ad and I filled out my information and everything.

I personally didn’t convert even though I was interested, and now that I am thinking about it I feel like if they had kind of nurtured that relationship with me a little bit more. Like the way that we do, I might have been more open to signing up for their membership.

So yeah that makes sense. You said something there that I want to dig into a little bit deeper, and that is premium profiles for lead generation using LinkedIn. You said you sign up for premium profile, and it is about 60 bucks a month.

Why go for a premium profile? What is the benefit to that with LinkedIn lead generation?

When you are on a free account you can’t see everyone who has viewed your profile. So viewing your profile is a great way to see who is checking you out, and if there is a potential good prospect in there then you can reach out to them.

With a free account you can only see the last 5 people that viewed your profile, but with a premium account I can see for the past 3 months. That is really helpful for Linkedin lead generation.

Additionally, and this is the feature we use the most, is searching so when you have a free profile you can’t do as many searches and you don’t see as many search results. With the premium we are able to see up to 1,000 results which is really useful for us because we’re using that tool all the time when doing LinkedIn lead generation.

Right. Will you ever pay for the inbox messaging so that you can message people you’re not connected to you or did you always want to connect with somebody first?

So with the $60 a month we get 15 inmails, so that is what you are talking about right there. We’ll only use the inmails if there is somebody that we have requested to connect with them, they just have not accepted so we just send them a message. For the most part we are messaging people who have accepted to connect and they are our first degree.

That is interesting, so if you send somebody a connection and they do not connect with you or if they don’t accept your connection. Do you find that you still get a response if you send them in an inmail?

In some cases yes.

5 step system to 6 figures in LinkedIn lead generation

 In some cases. Yeah, that’s an interesting one. You have a 5 step system to 6 figures in LinkedIn lead generation. Tell us about that.

Sure so the first step, this is a more important step than most people really realize is optimizing your profile.
Lead generation using linkedin
It sounds so cliché and so simple but what most people do on LinkedIn for example, is they will have their profile that reads like a resume? That is how LinkedIn intended for your profile to look, all of your work experience. The challenge with that is that just tells people what you do and not why they should do business with you.

So one of the things that I teach my clients and my students is you want to write your profile like a sales letter. The first thing you want to do is figure out who is my target audience, and who do I want to connect with on LinkedIn. Then when you write your profile copy, you write it in a way that those prospects would be interested in working with you.

Just to give you an example of lead generation using LinkedIn, I will take my own profile. My company does SEO and we do LinkedIn marketing services. So in there if you look at my headline it says, “Hey, I get clients a 300% ROI using Google and LinkedIn lead generation.”

So that right there is telling you the results that I provide, how I do it, and what my clients experience. That little sentence right there gets a lot of people saying, hey how can you get that for me as well. Now I’ve got that conversation opened up right?

You want to be very results based in your copy, and we always expand it from there. For example, instead of using all the jobs I have ever had and all of this in my experience section. I have put case studies of clients that we have worked with because that is what my prospects care about. What they are going to get when they work with me.

I explain all that in the profile and by the time we connect them, by the time we get them on the phone, once they have read that, they are more pre-sold. I have actually used my profile too whenever I get a referral from a client or something.

I say hey read my profile, this gives you an idea of what I do and what people are saying because there are testimonials on there too. If that looks good to you then let’s talk. That saves me a ton of time in our sales conversation of having to prove why we are better than the competition.

Got it.

Step number 2 is using LinkedIn advanced search. You want to find and connect with your ideal prospects. After that then once they have accepted to connect you want to message them, and you want to first provide value, and then only after you want to ask for a meeting.

Even if they don’t say yes to the meeting, you can still continue to follow up and provide value because they may not be ready to talk to you right now, they might be ready down the line. You just don’t want to be annoying with your messages.

The next step is you want to track everything especially as you are having a lot of conversations with people it is so easy to let leads fall through the cracks.

Some people might say hey yeah let’s talk at this point I’m not ready right now but hit me up in two weeks or something like that. Then you forget about that lead and that could have been a client. So we keep track of all the leads that we are talking to, what has been going on with the conversation, where they are in the process, and if they say hey don’t message me anymore then we just don’t message them anymore.

Then really the last step is get that person off of LinkedIn and into your sales funnel whether that be watch a webinar and book an appointment or just get on the phone right now kind of thing.

Something that is interesting there is, you are walking them a long way through the process on LinkedIn and not capturing an email address, until you get to that point where you’re putting them in the sales funnel.

Now, at what point is it that you then reach in and get that email address and try to move them over to that platform?

It all depends on how your sales funnel works. You can’t tell somebody hey you know the value that you provide can be a webinar. Then they will have to opt-in for it. Some people might not like that but you will still get email addresses.

The other thing to is you can get their email address when you connect with them however you don’t want to add them into your auto responder or anything like that unless you ask for permission, because people will get really mad even though you are connected on LinkedIn.

Really the majority of our campaigns are basically looking for sales appointments. That just happens once they have agreed to book the appointment.

Right, right. One of the things that you just mentioned there is make sure you are managing your leads so you’re not losing leads, following up and stuff like that. Just out of curiosity how do you track all of that for LinkedIn lead generation?


All done in Excel?

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

I love that. No fancy systems, it’s all there. That’s brilliant. Now if somebody’s just starting out with LinkedIn lead generation, how long does it take before people really start to see results with it?

Usually within the first 30 days.

Yeah, it’s that quick huh?

Yeah, because let’s say you start connecting with people today some of those people are going to accept by tomorrow. You can start your messaging process tomorrow and then the more messages that you send, the more leads that you will get.

Typically within 30 days we are seeing results. There is a campaign that we started about 2 weeks ago and the offer that they had is a $10,000 offer and what we’re doing is same process, we optimize the profiles and started connecting with the target audience, started messaging the target audience and up to this day 2 people have already signed up for their program.

So in two weeks the client has made $20,000.

Wow, okay. So it’s a $10,000 offer. Now I would love to dig into this a little bit deeper and understand the whole sequence and funnel for LinkedIn lead generation. You obviously have created a profile which is step one, you optimize it. You are reaching out finding potential clients, using the advanced search. Then you’re sending them what?

This one is a little bit different of a LinkedIn lead generation campaign because of what it is but basically in the first message we say hey we are looking for people that meet this criteria, let me know if that’s you, and I’ll send you more details about how we can work together.

So then the people had said yeah you know I would be interested then we send them and say okay look you need to watch this video first, and then that is going to explain everything about this. If that looks good to you then we should get on the phone and talk if we feel like we are the right fit.

So then we send them the video, then the people watch the video and then they have applied at the end to book an appointment. Those that we sent that to that may have not watched the video yet, then we also follow up with them and said hey did you watch the video we would like to see if we are a fit. Doing that we have already had 2 sales, high ticket sales.

Wow, yeah I mean, that’s a good ROI for that little of time to go into it. You’re pre qualifying people and then they are moving into a telephone sales process.

Exactly, and because it’s a $10,000 offer no one is just going to buy that off a webinar, just online. It does require that personal touch in that phone call, but they have been very much warmed up prior to that phone call.

Right, right fantastic. Now in this day and age we’ve got so many things coming out as a marketer, as a business owner. We’ve got all the different social platforms all these different things. How much time … To make LinkedIn lead generation work how much time does somebody need to be spending on it if that is where the market is?

You know it depends on how much activity they want to do each day. For us because we are very hyperactive for our clients this is about a 2 hour process a day.

So you are spending a couple of hours a day on it per client. There is not much in the way of automation.

There are some softwares that you can use but even then you are still having conversation, so you still have to go in there and check and personally respond back to people that have responded to your messages.

Right, right. Excellent.

Additionally I do want to say this, because we talked a lot about getting clients and getting people on the phone. Another LinkedIn lead generation campaign that we are running right now that is working really well is inviting people to your live event. Then at the live event is where they sign up for your offer.

We just signed a campaign for somebody, and again this was a two week campaign that we went to get them to an event and it was only 2 weeks because that is when the event was. From that event this person was able to generate $19,000 in sales. He is a very good salesman however the LinkedIn lead generation customers bought some of the higher packages that were offered.

What is interesting about that and I think for everybody who was listening is to realize the quality of customer that you were going to get off a LinkedIn lead generation campaign is going to be much higher than any other network out there.

Depending if your market’s on LinkedIn, and you can reach them on LinkedIn that is going to be a more affluent crowd. Do you have any of the demographics data on the average LinkedIn user?

I do so the average LinkedIn user earns over $83,000 a year, the largest demographic earns over $150,000 a year and has gone to, has completed an MBA program.

So one of the reasons that I believe LinkedIn charges so much for their paid as platform is because their users have a higher education and they make more money. That is also why LinkedIn lead generation traffic converts higher than other social networks.

Now I don’t do media buying on other social networks, but HubSpot, who does a lot of marketing and a lot of testing, they ran some tests and they saw that LinkedIn traffic converted, I believe it was 7 times higher than Facebook and four times higher than Twitter.

The target audience is great that is why people are always saying “spending an hour or 2 a day just doing this, I don’t have that kind of time.” But I mean you can make $20,000 in 2 weeks. Will you spend 2 hours a day to make $10,000 a week? I don’t think that’s asking for very much.

No, no, absolutely not. The fact is if you wanted to you could effectively have a VA doing some of that front end stuff and sending out initial messages for you. To get that process going or engaging an agency as well who is going to obviously work at a much higher level like yourself creating the actual campaigns.

You brought up a really interesting point there. We are sort of grumbling about the cost per click on LinkedIn but the cost per click is only unreasonable if the conversions are terrible, and it’s not profitable.

I guess for the listeners out there if your market is on LinkedIn I wouldn’t write off spending more for that click assuming that it is going to convert at a better level. Also know you got to have the campaigns in place to do that.

Again, I think one of the interesting points that you keep highlighting here is that there is a real personal touch element to LinkedIn lead generation and I really wonder how well generic or mass marketing, even as targeted as you can make it but sort of the general ad that you might see on a Facebook or something, will ever be LinkedIn. I’m not sure if they will ever be the same as a Facebook.

I’m not sure because I don’t have enough custom data for that. But at the end of the day let’s say you have a funnel that converts and you have this webinar that you are running people to, and you know that if 100 people register, two of them buy. If you know your numbers LinkedIn lead generation can be very profitable ads wise.

You can also get the same people through the organic ways that we do it and converting them higher, because they are more warmed up. So you could do both.

A good friend of mine said that they were doing those messaging systems that I am doing but they were also doing ads at the same time and it also helped them and their campaign because people were getting the messages but then they were additionally seeing the ads too. So that helped overall with their branding.

Of course getting your message in front of them more often is good. Very, very interesting. Okay so we are running out of time here my last question for you though is where can people find out, more about you, your courses, your LinkedIn lead generation agency, your services?

So I have a LinkedIn lead generation workshop that we run several times a week. If you go to you can sign up for it.

During this workshop I take you step-by-step through a six-figure LinkedIn lead generation campaign that we are running right now where this particular client is getting about 9 to 10 clients a month and one client to them is worth five figures.

So I take you through the entire process of what we did from step 1 to the end and how you can use LinkedIn lead generation in your own business as well. If you want to sign up for that it is You can also always connect with me on LinkedIn. It is just LinkedIn/in/ my name which is Jimena Cortes.

Wonderful, alright Jimena and many thanks for sharing your LinkedIn lead generation wisdom and expertise with us today. I much appreciate it.

Thanks for having me, I really enjoyed this.

Absolutely. All right everyone that was Jimena Cortes and as always any links mentioned in the interview will be included in the show notes. Including the link to the workshop that was just mentioned there.The entire transcript of this episode will all be available as always at

Don’t forget if you haven’t done so already you can have all these episodes automatically delivered to your smart phone or device. For Apple just use iTunes and if you are an Android user head on over to SoundCloud or get it using the SoundCloud app.

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Now it is time to take the tips, the tools, and strategies you’ve learned on LinkedIn lead generation here today and start making them work for you by applying that final ingredient which is action.

So go for it, take action, apply what you have learned, and stay tuned for more info packed episodes of the Project Ignite podcast.

This is your host, Derek Gehl, signing off.

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