LinkedIn for Lead Generation Masterclass

We all know LinkedIn is a B2B marketing powerhouse. It continues to be the most used social platform for B2B marketing - largely due to the network’s rich demo data and higher lead quality - and seems ripe for dedicated lead gen campaigns.

It’s no surprise then that I am often asked about using LinkedIn for lead gen. My answer is often that it’s a mixed bag with lots of promise (more on that later.) It’s also no surprise that I was super excited to attend the recent LinkedIn Masterclass, “Using LinkedIn for Lead Generation.

Following are my top takeaways from the Masterclass, which was hosted by LI experts: Cassandra Clark, LinkedIn Senior Marketing Manager, Royna Sharifi, LinkedIn Senior Client Solutions Manager and Candace Kim, LinkedIn Product Marketing Manager.

Generating quality leads and proving ROI for ad spends continue to be many marketers’ biggest challenge. We find this especially true for LinkedIn’s high price tags. The Masterclass hosts provided tips to ensure your funnel is optimized to move prospects through:

Warm prospects first, gate later: Offer quality content - even at top of the funnel - designed to introduce prospects to your service or product before driving toward conversion.Think thought leadership early: show prospects they would be in good hands by providing free content that positions your company - or leaders - as trusted experts in topics that matter to them. (Side note: I know, we’re all sick of the term “thought leadership” - but it really can work wonders and there are always a way to make it work for your company)

TARGETING BEYOND DEMOS

TARGETING! So crucial for effective LinkedIn lead generation - or any paid effort. You’re probably already using job titles and other LI targeting criteria. Here are a couple of other tactics to consider (described by the host panel as the most efficient ways to reach leads)

LinkedIn Groups: an often overlooked yet super effective targeting option are LI Groups (professionals in the same industry or with similar interests). We’ve seen super promising results with Group targeting! LinkedIn’s Insight Tag: coding that connects to your website in your global footer (which stays put no matter which page on the site you visit), and feeds visitor data back into LinkedIn for later retargeting use. This is clear, actionable data that will give you real time feedback on the types of users engaging with your content and services. The LinkedIn team found that there was a 6x better cost per conversion using the Insight Tag’s website retargeting tool.

SPONSORED CONTENT TYPES + TACTICS

Beyond sponsored updates, and of course the obvious (and effective) Lead Gen Forms, the LI experts recommended the following as best ad types + tactics:

Video and Carousel Ads: while LI rolled these creatives out over last few months, they are still in their infancy of use. Good news: you probably already have the creative ready since you’ve been running these ads on other networks for…ever 😉Text Ads: Fast, efficient way to reach right leads and drive super high CTRs, according the LI panel.Dynamic ads: personalized desktop ads featuring each professional’s own LinkedIn profile data, (photo, company name, job title, etc). Customize for awareness, conversions and/or lead gen.Audience Network and Audience Expansion: great for scale. The Network pushes your sponsored content to a much wider net via their premium partner pub sites like Business Insider and WSJ.

NEW INMAIL INFO

Still surprisingly underutilized, LinkedIn is evolving InMail capabilities:

[My quick reminder: you can use Lead Gen Forms in InMail campaigns now, too!]

Restrictions changed - now if you InMail a potential targeted lead, that member cant be sent an additional InMail by ANYONE for the next 45 days - giving you exclusive access to their inbox.New stats: 7/10 CXOs opened these sponsored inMail messages, while almost none answered personal emails with the same content.A free and little-known feature is the 350x250 image space that appears to the right of the sponsored InMail content - allowing you to add customized branding.

Bottom line: LinkedIn advertising of any kind comes with high price tags - making for daunting ROI-proving. And yet, so much promise. It's tempting to think LI lead gen will yield amazing results, especially for B2B, given the dense targeting options. I find the effectiveness largely depends on what you put into it (TARGETING!) and recommend tampering expectations until you've run a few test and learn and A/B tests.

Have you had success with using LinkedIn for lead gen? Any gems to share? Tweet me @katestoodley.


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