Most b-to-b marketers are just not using LinkedIn correctly and, from perceived lack of positive ROI, are giving up on one of the most powerful, quality lead-generating tools available to them today.
The reason b-to-b marketers are simply not seeing full return on investment from their efforts on LinkedIn comes down to measurement. If ROI were being measured correctly, I believe little doubt would remain about the true value of the professional social network.
If brands like Microsoft, GE and Siemens (all Vertic clients) have seen significant success generating qualified leads using LinkedIn, it can work for you and your clients. Here are four key practices b-to-b marketers can use to optimize lead generation with LinkedIn:
1. Measure the right part of the funnel when qualifying success of LinkedIn marketing.
One of the most common mistakes b-to-b marketers make with LinkedIn is in how they measure success. All too often, marketers revert to the common digital metrics of top-down, such as cost-per-impression or cost-per-click. If this is why you are using LinkedIn, you might as well look elsewhere, because it's not what the channel is about.
LinkedIn is a big pond to fish in, and often marketers are confused about how to approach it or are put off by the cost. Are LinkedIn media buys some of the most expensive? Absolutely, but ask yourself what you would pay for a qualified lead, because that is what is potentially here -- given the right effort.
The true value of LinkedIn is in knowing that it is a narrow funnel, there are not as many leads at the top, but conversion rates are far better than other digital channels. Ultimately it's about targeting, and if you measure correctly -- specifically, further down the funnel in cost-per-opportunity generated (such as cost-per-lead and cost-per-conversion), your spend can amount to about half the acquisition costs of other methods.
2. Build the right post-click experience from LinkedIn.
Once you go into a LinkedIn marketing effort with the right measurement objectives and metrics, you need to make every click count. You may have a very informative and thought-provoking piece of content about a new product, service or issue facing your customers, but ultimately you want that lead and potential for conversion. This is where the post-click experience becomes paramount.
The mistake that happens most often is when marketers execute a LinkedIn media buy to pay for qualified traffic and engage a targeted audience with their content, but then drive traffic to a generic website. At best, the customer might be confused about the lack of relevancy on the landing page, after messages were so tailored within the LinkedIn experience. At worst, the customer may be annoyed or even feel "tricked" that they were driven through to something that appears too general. That qualified lead may well be lost, but that doesn't have to be the case.
The conversion starts in LinkedIn, but should be carried through. Building the appropriate platform for multiple customized pieces of content on a site and directing users only to the relevant parts will continue the great relevant experience. For example, write a piece of content that you know will engage CFOs, push it out as a sponsored update in their LinkedIn news feed, and once they click for more information, they will come through to a site with similarly relevant messages -- not the generic one-size-fits-all product offering overview. The conversion for demand generated should increase.
3. Make better use of the data LinkedIn provides.
This point is somewhat self-explanatory, but b-to-b marketers forget or simply don't use the data LinkedIn provides them correctly. Remember, because your target audience comes from LinkedIn, the data is there to be collected in demand generation forms. Marketers can use this data to provide relevant targeting to audiences that are more likely to convert. For example, a technology company that has a very specific value proposition for SMB healthcare businesses in Australia can target just those users, based on information users have already provided in their LinkedIn profiles.
4. Know what to do with "the other 80%."
We have found through working with clients that a properly executed LinkedIn marketing effort can yield up to a 20% conversion rate. But what can marketers do with the 80% that did not convert?
Well, maybe someone downloaded a white paper or watched a video you posted, but did not convert into a lead. Using retargeting based on user behavior, you can provide relevant content on other sites the user visits to help retain their interest in the topic and ultimately click back to you for more information and potential conversion.