In the past I’ve talked about LinkedIn advertising for B2C. Weird I know, right?! But what about B2B marketing?
We spend all this time building personas, researching the content they search for and consume, compiling editorial calendars and finally crafting content to attract and convert b2b leads. We put together a killer content pillar, some ebook or checklist our target audience and future customers – no – evangelists – will love.
We put it out in the world and check our emails or CRMs religiously to see what kind of response we get.
BING! We got one. Oh wait, it’s an off shore SEO shop promising to get us to page one for every term we could imagine.
What gives? Unfortunately driving B2B leads with content can’t always rely on the grit of our organic and earned efforts. Especially in the short term. Take this data from Hubspot for example:
It usually takes 3 months before we start seeing the blogs we’re posting today really start picking up steam in attracting the contact volume that can start to scale our business.
So what do we do in the meantime?
While we wait, we can give our content a boost. Let’s look to the channels our prospects are in already. Where business is the name of the game and put together a smart strategy to boost efforts in the short run. I’m talking about boosting b2b lead gen efforts with LinkedIn Sponsored Content.
What is LinkedIn Sponsored Content
LinkedIn sponsored content makes it possible for company pages to promote content that looks similar to a post by a page to LinkedIn users. It’s a form of native advertising and from experience, is one of the most effective for B2B marketers in ad performance both in terms of ad unit engagement and final conversion metrics. Because it behaves like a native post you get the benefit of the engagement functionality resulting in brand awareness via the social nature of the network. This reach is extended beyond that of your company page with the assistance of an ad budget.
Because you can reach more than your page audience, you can also see an uptick in conversion performance as a result. So how do you go about capitalizing on LinkedIn Sponsored updates?
Look at your personas
As is so often the case in our marketing efforts, we start with our personas. Who are we trying to reach?
We look at our personas to make sure the content we’re promoting, the persona and the ad campaign are all aligned.
One of the unique features of the sponsored content campaign in Linkedin is that once you have built a campaign with all of it’s audience, targeting and budget parameters, you can easily add new posts to the campaign from the LinkedIn page without going back into the ad portal.
Making sure your personas are aligned to you campaigns at set up will make maintaining up feeding your campaigns with new content in the future a snap. Need some help building your personas? Check this tool out.
Test your audience targeting
Depending on budget capacity, break up your audience targeting. LinkedIn provides some interesting options for reaching your personas. Let’s say you provide services to the financial industry. One way to reach that audience is target the industry, function and seniority of relevance to your product or service.
But LinkedIn also offers the ability to target based on groups. Breaking up some of your campaigns based on audience targeting will help you understand performance nuances between directly targeting the segment whose job title, industry and size match your key audience definition and who may likely be members of groups of interest to them.
In the latter example you may be reaching additional people who are influencers, decision makers and other stakeholders. You don’t know the impact you could have by reaching that group until you try.
In the example above, we found that targeting groups resulted in a 71% increase in CTR and 86% increase in social activity meaning more brand amplification. The CPC was a bit higher but in the end we saw more leads coming through this campaign.
Optimize Your B2B Lead Gen Efforts
Once upon a time marketers had to tie the bottom of their LinkedIn efforts together with bubble gum and barbed wire. You’ll not above the absence of hard metrics on conversion rate variables between the two audience targeting campaigns. It’s not that they don’t exist, it’s that the campaign I’m referencing is from last year. In 2016 LinkedIn released conversion tracking and our world got a whole lot better.
There’s not much to say here other than use it. As with any ad endeavor, always try to track and attribute as low in the funnel as possible.
Power Up LinkedIn Sponsored Content With Retargeting
Some napkin math on the campaign numbers above you’ll realize that LinkedIn isn’t necessarily the low cost ad provider.
First, that’s ok if performance is good. As long as you’re getting quality leads and your product/service is high value. Of course, always run the ROI on any effort but we’re talking about filling up a pipeline of high value prospects that can sometimes be hard to reach. If you’re selling 50 cent widgets, LinkedIn might not be a good option.
Second, The sponsored ad offers available from LinkedIn isn’t the end of the road. If you spend $5 -$15 to get someone to your website and they don’t fill out a form or buy a product don’t stop there.
This is where remarketing is critical. Whether you leverage Google, AdRoll or a more sophisticated programmatic effort, it’s critical to setup a variety of audiences from those who engage with your landing page content but don’t complete, to those who return multiple times. Here’s a great list of remarketing audiences to consider layering in with your sponsored content efforts to make the most of your ad spend. Some of them are more B2C centric, but there are quite a few there that have B2B applications.
LinkedIn Ad Updates
LinkedIn continues to improve their ad product. When I first started advertising on Linkedin it was pretty archaic. If you wanted to do group targeting you had to go fast, the campaign builder would time out, there was no audience saving and the whole system was pretty buggy. Now, you can save audiences, easily add new content to campaigns, optimize inside the platform with conversion tracking and new, spring 2017 you can match audiences. Similar to Facebook and Twitter, advertisers with a list, say an email marketing list, can target based off their contact info really adding power to your CRM.
If you haven’t considered LinkedIn advertising or did and gave it a pass, it might be worth a second look for you B2B lead gen effort, if even for short bursts to get your content off the ground.
I’ll continue to update this post as the product evolves.
Over to you
What successes have you had with LinkedIn? How have you managed to leverage LinkedIn to drive your b2b business? Leave me a comment below.