From LinkedIn to leads
Being able to laser target marketing to very specific audiences has long been the holy grail of B2B marketers, which helps to explain the growing importance of LinkedIn as a way to reach targeted decision-makers.
With improved analytics and filtering, LinkedIn is coming into its own as a mechanism to support Account Based Marketing (ABM) and generate highly targeted leads. A huge number of B2B marketers (94%) say they are using LinkedIn to distribute content. But to take advantage of the LinkedIn opportunity you need a clear strategy that aligns with your broader marketing programmes. Otherwise you risk investing in lots of activity that doesn’t ultimately deliver sales.
So how can you maximise the potential of LinkedIn to accelerate your demand generation efforts?
A growing opportunity for B2B marketers
LinkedIn has become one of the best ways to reach your target audience, boasting the best visit to lead conversion rate of any social media site. Some 65% of B2B companies say they have acquired a customer through LinkedIn paid ads.
According to LinkedIn, there are now 630 million business professionals on their network, including 90 million senior level influencers, and 63 million decision-makers. This is an undeniably attractive audience for B2B marketers, but needs to be addressed in a compelling and structured way to get positive results.
Give them what they want
LinkedIn claims that 40% of members visit the site every single day. Their purpose is to consume a variety of content including industry news, expert advice, professional learning, peer insights and recommendations. Professionals on LinkedIn don’t go there to be sold to. Blatantly pushing your business and giving the hard sell will not be received well as it is primarily a networking site, and not a marketplace.
Marketing successfully on LinkedIn requires a carefully planned approach. Instead of using it to indiscriminately broadcast promotional content, you can maximise its lead generation potential by narrowing down your prospective market to those individuals that are most likely to have a need for your products or services, and then communicating with them about stuff they’re likely to actually care about.
A clear targeting strategy
One of the main advantages of LinkedIn, from a marketer’s perspective, is the ability to segment and target your audience and to home in on the most likely prospects. Don’t squander this opportunity with blanket messaging, but make the most of it by fine-tuning content to appeal to particular personas within specific segments.
Use demographic filtering to target the appropriate industry, geography, job function and level of seniority. Filter by interest groups to find those individuals who will be most concerned with what you have to say. Use member profile data and behaviour to search out the personas that are most likely to be interested in your business.
Compelling content is still king
Over 130,000 articles are created on LinkedIn every week, not to mention side-bar adverts, sponsored content and InMail messages. In order to successfully engage with your clearly defined audience, your content must capture their attention, provide them with valuable insight and it has to resonate with them.
Make use of stand-out creatives, perceptive points of view and opinion pieces, and clearly articulated propositions in order to capture the interest of those elusive decision makers. You will know that you are getting it right when people start to “follow” you and are prepared to trade their contact details for access to your content.
Once you have their attention – and those all-important contact details – keep them interested with a programme of compelling content that builds their level of interest over time.
Plotting the end-to-end journey
Once an individual has engaged with your social content via LinkedIn, and you have drawn them to your website, it’s important that you’ve thought through what the next steps on their journey are. You need to make sure there are clear paths for them to follow to build a deeper engagement with your business.
These paths might be different for each persona type but the important thing is to have clear objectives and appropriate calls-to-action (CTAs). Do you want them to sign up for a webinar, register for a trial or request a contact from a salesperson? Unless the next steps are clear you may end up with lots of traffic but few leads. The goal is to take them on a journey to becoming a qualified prospect, and eventually (hopefully!) a fully paid-up customer.
An integrated approach to maximise ROI
LinkedIn is just one tool in your B2B lead-generation kit which can be used alongside other methods such as email marketing, trade shows, search engine marketing, other social-media and blogs. It is also the perfect accompaniment to an Account Based Marketing programme allowing you to focus on specific decision-makers and influencers within your target account list. To maximise your overall LinkedIn ROI you need to think about its role within your overall mix, and you need to ensure that you’re talking about consistent themes and messages across different channels.