This week I gave a talk at Bristol's Business Showcase South West on how businesses of all types should be thinking when it comes to using LinkedIn as a lead generation tool. With so many aspects of digital marketing campaigns becoming more automated and easier to control, it's often forgotten that success lies in the groundwork you should do offline. Customers are easy to reach in this digital age of always-on connection, but it's no good if they aren't the right customers. Your long-standing models of the 'buyer funnel' remain true in digital marketing campaigns, as does the need to properly profile your intended audience.
I spoke to around 80 business leaders, mainly from the Bristol & Bath area, on how to approach a lead generation campaign on LinkedIn. What makes digital marketing so inclusive is that it caters for any budget, or even no budget at all! Much can be done by building up an organic content stream to better engage followers and drip-feed content to people at the right stage of the buyer journey, but a full fat campaign will involve sponsored content as well, to reach those who currently seem out of reach.
Business Showcase South West has been running for the last 4 years and has grown to become one of the UK's largest regional business events, now being run twice a year and attracting around 5,000 delegates.
I presented my lead gen advice to around 80 delegates at Bristol's bi-annual Business Showcase South West in October.
What lies under the surface? It's not always obvious who the people are that you should be targeting when it comes to a LinkedIn campaign. (Copyright: LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, 2014)
My talk concentrated on uncovering the true audience using a paid LinkedIn campaign. It isn't always as simple as it appears to be, because the procurement process today involves a wider buying committee all with different needs and authorities. If you thought you just wanted to speak to one level of manager in one or two job functions, think again. You're likely to have the core of the decision-makers if you've got plenty of previous experience, but it's likely to not be the whole story. This is reflected in LinkedIn's own numbers, on average it favours an audience size of around 300,000 for best results. It might not always be possible to get that kind of figure (because of industry/territory etc) but if you're down in the sub 50,000 pool, you're unlikely to gain the campaign traction you're after.
So, before tackling any kind of paid LinkedIn campaign with sponsored content, take a look at those decision-makers again and try to uncover what really lies under the surface of the organisations you want to talk to.
What should your content say?
With the intended audience in mind, and a consideration of what stage of the buyer journey they fit into, your content needs to be talking the right language, and always looking to offer something attention-grabbing and better said than your competitors. Just like any other digital media, you have few words and just seconds to get a message across that's going to make someone click and then move on to the next stage of downloading an asset, registering for a webinar or other call to actions. Try to think of the common questions a buyer would ask when trying to find a solution to their specific pain point, and more often than not it the 'case for business change' that is the message they want to hear most.
"Your long-standing models of the 'buyer funnel' remain true in digital marketing campaigns, as does the need to properly profile your intended audience."
When thinking about your content, and who it needs to speak to, always try to think about some of the questions your audience might be asking.
LinkedIn's Lead Gen options
If you choose an organic route you can still be generating leads through staff members or influencers sharing your content and helping to drive people to a capture form on a website. That way you can't really target a pool of people that you would like to be talking to, yet currently aren't. To start that conversation you need a paid strategy that will primarily involve sponsored LinkedIn posts directed at an audience that you define. There's a number of routes and strategies that you can take with a paid campaign (depending on budget and time scales), but at TBT we've certainly found LinkedIn's Lead Gen Forms to be highly effective, averaging a conversion rate within, and above, LinkedIn's quoted 7-11%. As some data is pre-populated in the form, it encourages users to fill out the rest of the form quickly and being mobile native it resonates with the majority of users (80% according to LinkedIn) who are accessing LinkedIn newsfeeds on mobile.
At TBT we're seasoned experts at driving leads across all digital platforms, especially on LinkedIn - the de facto network for B2B. Do you know how many buyers you could reach on LinkedIn? Struggling to work out how an organic or paid campaign could help drive the leads you're after? No problem for our digital team, just give them a call on +44 (0)1373 469 270 or email us. We'd love to hear how we could help lead generation for your business.