LinkedIn B2B lead generation 101
B2B lead generation and acquisition both carry distinct challenges, as they primarily target well-informed decision-makers. Thus, where B2C marketing can more often rely on eliciting emotional responses, B2B typically cannot. Fortunately, such platforms as LinkedIn have identified this marketing truism, and have increasingly catered to it. Now, as LinkedIn’s relatively newly-acquired prominence continues unphased, B2B marketers increasingly turn their eyes to the platform. We at Digital Dot NYC have done so ourselves, so today we may offer our very own LinkedIn B2B lead generation guidelines.
A brief introduction to LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a professional networking platform focused on career development, which launched in 2003. It has largely remained the same in terms of purpose since, but its more recent history bears significance:
- Between 2011 and 2016, LinkedIn’s aggressive international expansion began. It was in this period when its user base skyrocketed from over 100 million users to 400 million.
- In June 2016, it was acquired by Microsoft and acts as a wholly-owned Microsoft subsidiary since.
- By 2015, access to its users’ information had already become its primary revenue source. As traditional marketing continued to give way to data-driven marketing, this served as the foundation for B2B marketers to truly thrive on the platform.
As regards the latter, LinkedIn now enjoys unquestionable, immense popularity. In fact, OmniCore finds that the overwhelming majority of B2B marketers include LinkedIn in their digital marketing mix:
Is LinkedIn B2B lead generation effective?
Popularity may not at all times denote effectiveness, however. It may, albeit rarely, simply denote a passing trend or merely circumstantial effectiveness. Neil Patel asserts that “LinkedIn is responsible for 97% of a business’s social media leads”. He cites HubSpot’s statistics to support this claim, and concludes with InsideSales data to solidify it further:
These align perfectly with our own data and experience. Thus, we too can safely claim that yes, LinkedIn B2B lead generation bears demonstrable effectiveness.
LinkedIn B2B lead generation 101
However, LinkedIn is not a conventional platform you can approach casually or carelessly. B2B marketing poses unique challenges as well, as the introduction asserted. So, let us use this article to cover the basics and help you leverage it effectively.
#1 Create your company page and optimize it
First, you will need to create your company page, which will serve as your base of operations. This step is fairly straightforward, and LinkedIn’s related article also provides extensive help with it.
Having done so, you will then need to optimize it for maximum effectiveness. In this regard, LinkedIn company pages share many best practices with Google My Business (GMB) profiles, so any experience you have with them will help. Basic best practices here include:
- Optimizing your “About Us” section. As with all online profiles, this section will serve as your mission statement. Describe your company as accurately as possible, and use your regular keywords strategically to increase visibility.
- Choosing your specialty and filling information fields. Similarly, your chosen specialties will help define your brand more deeply. As with all business listings, accurate Name, Address, and Phone number (NAP) information play a vital role here.
- Adding images and links to your website and profiles. Finally, you may align your company page with your overall online presence through appropriate imagery. As you do, ensure you offer links to your website and other profiles to better facilitate customer journeys.
#2 Create showcase pages
The next, albeit optional, step to LinkedIn B2B lead generation comes in showcase pages. LinkedIn explains that “Showcase Pages are extensions of your LinkedIn Page, designed to spotlight individual brands, business units[,] and initiatives. Once created, they’ll be listed under ‘Affiliated Pages’ on your main LinkedIn Page”.
Understandably, showcase pages can help hyper-focus on individual prospects and valuable lead segments. However, a few crucial points warrant your attention:
- Don’t reach the showcase page limit of 25. B2B marketers typically suggest no more than 10 showcase pages, as each page may derail a lead’s desirable journey.
- Don’t spread your audience segments too thin. As you examine which showcase pages to create, remember that each spreads your segments thinner. Between their subject and activity, mind the balance between hyper-focused information and information over-abundance.
- Optimize your showcase pages as you would your company page. Finally, your showcase pages intend to showcase your most notable projects, partners, and so forth. Thus, remember to optimize them as well, and consider complementing their activity through such means as animated posts.
#3 Explore ads and Sponsored InMail
Once you have set up and optimized your pages, you may begin exploring outreach methods. Here, let us begin with paid ads and sponsored content, which WebFx explains in detail in the following video:
In brief, you have two primary, distinct options for paid LinkedIn B2B lead generation; paid ads and Sponsored InMail. Paid ads come in various forms, including:
- Sponsored posts
- Video and image ads
- Text ads
These offer the choice between Cost Per Click (CPC) and Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM). In the former case you will be paying for each generated click, and in the latter for impressions. In either case, all such content will appear in your audiences’ feeds, and will thus enhance your chances of success.
Similarly, Sponsored InMail lands in your audiences’ inboxes – as the name suggests. Sponsored InMail costs on a Cost Per Send (CPS) basis, and comes with the typical characteristics of regular email marketing.
#4 Remember organic content and use LinkedIn Live
Such options aside, organic content will also play a pivotal role in lead generation. This holds true for all forms of inbound marketing, and so could only include LinkedIn marketing.
If you’re already engaging in content marketing, you likely know well that personalization holds immense value. This is no less true in the case of B2B marketing, so you should carefully consider all available insights options. These include:
- LinkedIn’s built-in analytics tools. These span across both demographics and firmographics, offering a clear overview of who you are addressing.
- Customer journey mapping software. With your buyer personas in place, you may then leverage customer journey mapping software to identify shortcomings in your strategies.
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. Finally, after lead generation, we come to acquisition and conversion. A robust CRM database will allow you to nurture leads effectively and manage your post-conversion engagement.
Finally, you may consider LinkedIn Live to elevate your organic content strategies, if they can afford it. This streaming service is very easy to set up and leverage and comes with all the benefits of visual marketing. For instructions and tips on how to do so, you may refer to this article.
#5 Implement SEO on your website
Finally, LinkedIn B2B lead generation also relies on Search Engine Optimization (SEO). That’s because leads you generate will ultimately land on your website, where their User Experience (UX) may finalize a conversion. This is why increasingly more B2B companies invest in SEO, so it too should warrant your attention.
Among key SEO best practices, consider the following and how they can complement your efforts:
- Loading speed optimizations. First impressions matter, and they occur before a page first loads. Google/SOASTA research has correlated slower speeds with higher bounce rates, which can hamper your lead acquisition efforts.
- Similarly, page responsiveness heavily informs a visitor’s UX. This metric now spearheads Google’s Core Web Vitals, and its significance will only expand over time.
- Mobile-friendliness. Finally, mobile-friendliness remains equally crucial. For SEO purposes, Google indexes mobile versions of websites first. As regards human visitors, mobile traffic now surpasses desktop traffic, according to Statista.
In summary, LinkedIn B2B lead generation holds immense promise and will most likely continue to do so. It also presents unique challenges, however, which call for strategic approaches and continuous effort. Hopefully, this brief exploration helped you start on the right path. Should you need more, feel free to contact our team and we’ll be happy to help you.