With more than 750 million members, LinkedIn has quickly grown into the number one website for business. If the sheer volume of business professionals all collected in the same place isn’t enough to convince you to expend some marketing effort on LinkedIn, we’ve compiled 5 more reasons to include LinkedIn in your B2B marketing plan. Keep reading, we’ll have you convinced.
5 Reasons to Use LinkedIn for B2B Marketing
On LinkedIn, B2B marketers like you can find their next business partner, introduce their company to potential customers, and attract star talent to join their companies as employees. Want to get in front of more decision makers? There are over 46 million of them on LinkedIn. Need to introduce your company and impress someone in the C-Suite? Over 10 million C-level executives are here too. From entry-level professionals to influencers, to experienced decision-makers, everyone you would ever want to target is on LinkedIn.
This is why LinkedIn is a critical channel in our B2B Lead Funnel Framework. After the Planning Phase, when you determine your goals, audience, USP, and topics, is the Activate Audience Phase. During this second phase, the goal is to engage prospects where they spend the most time online. In the B2B world, the most relevant place buyers spend time is on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is a vital demand generation marketing channel tool if you want to help your potential buyer narrow down their options while they are still in the buying journey. Many of your potential customers are vetting and ruling out options on their own before ever contacting sales. In fact, 70% of the buyer’s journey is complete before a salesperson is even contacted. You don’t want to be out of the running because your company wasn’t part of the conversation. If you’re going to end up on your potential customer’s shortlist, it’s more important than ever to provide content that helps them evaluate their options.
Still unconvinced LinkedIn is not only the perfect place but is necessary for B2B digital marketing? Give these next five reasons a whirl.
Reason #1: Context, context, context
When you use LinkedIn for B2B marketing, you have the advantage of context. Unlike social platforms like Facebook and Instagram, where a user’s primary purpose is to see cute baby photos of your newest nephew or find out what that random classmate from high school is doing now, users flock to LinkedIn to enrich their lives as business professionals. LinkedIn users may be looking for a time-management solution for their company or training software for their employees, and look – there you are.
When you advertise on LinkedIn, your ads appear in a news feed filled with industry news, expert advice, career training, and tips, and peer insights and recommendations. Your industry regulatory update blog boost feels right at home among discussions about how to act in the workplace and the next big industry conference. Your ad on LinkedIn will likely be better received than your ad on Facebook in this context.
When your LeadGen ad (we’ll get to this later) is shown on LinkedIn, it’s being shown to people who want to improve their industry. When it’s being shown on Facebook, it’s in front of someone who wants to see cute pictures of dogs. This might be the same person, but think about it, when are you most likely to fill out a form to read a work-related, though valuable, white paper or case study? When you are in relax mode? Or when you are in work mode?
Remember those Four Ps of Marketing from Marketing 101. Just as crucial as the Product, Price, and Promotion of your campaign, is the Place where your campaign is shown and where the first-touch with your customer occurs. That’s why we love LinkedIn for B2B marketing. On LinkedIn, that first touch or continual touch occurs in a place where your customer is already in the business mindset.
Reason #2: Precise Targeting
Much of the data LinkedIn uses for ad targeting is sourced directly from their users. If used the right way, this precise, actionable, real-time, first-person data will get your company in front of your most valuable audiences. While we don’t have time for an in-depth dive into our current top 5 favorite strategies here, our blog LinkedIn Targeting Strategy [5 Tips], will cover this for you.
LinkedIn’s targeting options are virtually limitless, and the same goes with targeting strategies.
Before each campaign, we carefully consider which targeting parameters will most effectively reach our audience. For example, using multiple IT job titles may reach people with those job titles, but may not reach someone in IT with an obscure job title or someone who performs IT functions with an unrelated job title. One way to address this is to use the function parameter instead of job titles; another is to use skills. But how do you know which is best?
With strategic testing, you can determine which audiences and targeting parameter combinations generate the most results. Simply create two campaigns with the same creative, copy, and budget. Then assign each campaign a different audience. Continually tweak the audiences to reach optimal performance.
Reason #3 Effectively Use Your Own Data
Do you already know who exactly you want to reach? Simply upload a list of emails, and LinkedIn will match those emails with its user profiles. If your list successfully matches 300 or more profiles, the end result will be a Matched Audience you can use in any campaign across LinkedIn.
Another unique way to leverage LinkedIn’s robust targeting tools is account targeting. Especially useful for account-based marketing, an uploaded list of company names will allow you to market to specific companies easily. LinkedIn will find matches amongst the nearly 30 million LinkedIn company pages. To increase your match rate, pair a homepage URL with each company name.
LinkedIn also recently introduced Lookalike Audiences. If you want to reach people similar to existing customers, upload your customer list, and create a lookalike audience.
Pro Tip: Matched Audiences, Account Audiences, and Lookalike Audiences can all be used as exceptions – if they meet LinkedIn’s match threshold. This is a great way to exclude competitors or existing customers from your campaigns.
Finally, by adding the LinkedIn Insight Tag to your website, you will unlock the ability to retarget your website visitors with relevant content. Once your ad reach exceeds LinkedIn’s threshold, the LinkedIn Insight Tag will also provide the ability to see specific, actionable audience data, including which job titles engaged most or which functions resulted in the highest number of clicks.
Reason #4 The Right Tool at the Right Time
With it getting harder and harder to reach people organically on social platforms, digital advertising is the best way to reach a lot of prospects. LinkedIn’s ad platform provides everything a marketer needs to make sure their ads reach the right people with an effective ad spend.
In addition to the myriad of targeting options LinkedIn offers, multiple advertising products are available. We’ve seen great results with all of them, except for text ads, but even text ads may be successful in the right context.
LinkedIn offers various ad objectives and is routinely introducing more. Our favorites are Lead Generation and Website Visits, but we’ve listed all of them below.
- Brand awareness – coming soon
- Website visits
- Video Views
- Lead Generation
- Website conversions – coming soon
- Job applicants – coming soon
Website Visit Objective
Ads using the Website Visit objective, or traffic ads, are used to generate traffic for your website, specific pages on your website, or specific landing pages. What’s great about LinkedIn’s traffic objective is that each and every click that is charged is a click to your website.
Did you know most clicks on Facebook ads are not generating traffic to your website? They may be clicks on your profile picture, clicks to your profile page, or even clicks to open up a comment string. And guess what? You are charged for all of them.
On LinkedIn, only clicks that result in traffic to your destination URL will be charged and counted. Your CPC may be higher than on Facebook, but the CPC you see is much more accurate. With LinkedIn traffic ads, you don’t waste money on extraneous clicks, and we love that.
Lead Generation Ads
While we love the website visit objective, our favorite LinkedIn ad objective has got to be Lead Generation.
Leads are the bread and butter of B2B digital marketing, especially for high-consideration products and services with a long buying process. There’s nothing worse than spending a lot of money to get potential customers to your landing page then see them leave without filling out the form. LinkedIn’s Lead Generation objective solves this problem.
LinkedIn’s lead gen ads include a native form. When a user clicks the CTA button, the form appears within the same window. What makes this objective even better, is LinkedIn will auto-fill the form with the user’s profile information – greatly decreasing friction.
We’ve seen a lot of success using this objective, and we’ve even used it ourselves. While the Website Visit objective can be used with any ad format, the Lead Generation objective can only be used with single image ads, carousel image ads, video ads, and sponsored InMail ads.
LinkedIn also offers various ad formats including single-image ad, carousel-image ad, video ad, text ad (not recommended), and spotlight ad, but Message ad, or InMail is our favorite.
LinkedIn InMail is like MailChimp and other automated email platforms, but so much more effective.
What makes InMail so powerful is when and where the campaign is delivered. LinkedIn InMail sends the campaign to people within the target audience only when the user is on the platform. This results in a message that doesn’t get buried in an inbox or lost in a junk folder. It also results in extremely high open rates when compared to regular email campaigns. While you are lucky to get a 10-15% open rate with regular email campaigns, with InMail we regularly see open rates to the tune of 60%.
With LinkedIn InMail, you can use any of LinkedIns targeting tools. Send InMail campaigns to a specific set of people or a general, targeted audience. We’ve found our best success with InMail when using a valuable asset, like a webinar or guide, as a lead magnet. Simply write a message convincing your potential-customer to convert and include the link to the lead magnet in the form.
LinkedIn InMail also provides some additional value-ads like multiple CTAs and an included banner image.
What are LinkedIn’s Ad Objectives and Ad Formats?
- Brand awareness – This objective, coming soon, will be perfect for generating as many ad impressions as possible.
- Website Visits – Drive traffic to your website, a page on your website, or a landing page.
- Engagement – Increase social engagement with your ads and/or build your LinkedIn page followers.
- Video Views – Generate as many video views as possible.
- Lead Generation – Capture leads using a native form that is pre-filled with a user’s LinkedIn profile information.
- Website conversions – Once added to the platform, this objective will be perfect for boosting conversions on your website like filling out a form or watching a video.
- Job applicants – Drive clicks to job posts and other job-related experiences. This objective is coming soon.
- Single-image ad – Promote a single image along with post copy, headline, and destination link.
- Carousel-image ad – Promote several images in a rotating carousel along with post copy, headlines, and destination link(s).
- Video ad – Promote a native video along with post copy, headline, and destination link.
- Text ad – These simple ads are served in the right-hand column of the desktop experience.
- Spotlight ad – Drive conversions, traffic, or leads with these dynamic ads that are served in the right-hand column of the desktop.
Reason #5 Leverage your Employees
Like with anything else in business, your employees are your greatest asset–if you give them the tools they need to flourish. The same potential for your employees is present on LinkedIn. Employees can be a great resource for distributing demand generation content on LinkedIn.
With properly optimized profiles, your employees can become your greatest asset and spokespeople for your company. Optimized profiles, both those of your company and employees, provide a boost to search result visibility both within the LinkedIn platform and across the web.
Google doesn’t leave LinkedIn out of the page-crawling fun. Google will crawl your employees’ profiles as well as your company’s. So utilize your profiles and update them frequently to emphasize what is important. The most crucial initiative one month may not be the same the next month, so make sure profile summaries and headlines reflect what is most important now, not three months ago.
We’ve created a step-by-step guide to profile optimization for your use, so now you have no excuse.
Another way to get the most out of LinkedIn is through employee amplification.
When an employee shares one of your LinkedIn posts, your organic reach will be amplified. Just like Facebook, organic, or unpaid, company page posts rarely show up in the average user’s news feed. However, as soon as someone shares your post, it will show up in a lot more feeds.
So don’t let your greatest potential asset go to waste. Encourage your employees to actively share and engage with your content or work with an agency to set up an employee amplification program that runs with little to no internal effort.
Can we help?
Do we have you convinced? Do you want to start using LinkedIn for B2B marketing but need help? Be sure to check out our Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn B2B Marketing ebook. You” love the actionable strategies to increase traffic, leads, and sales. We also offer strategic planning, social media advertising, social selling training, and sales enablement tools that can help you win online. If you are interested in learning more, sign up for a complimentary initial consultation/discovery meeting. Schedule yours today and let’s see if we can help.
5 Reasons to Use LinkedIn for B2B Marketing: Key Takeaways
- With more than 660 million members, LinkedIn has quickly grown into the number one website for business.
- On LinkedIn, B2B marketers like you can find their next business partner, introduce their company to potential customers, and attract star talent to join their companies as employees.
- We’ve created a step-by-step guide to profile optimization for your use.
- Avoid these LinkedIn Lead Generation Pitfalls
- Stay current with these LinkedIn channel updates