As the most outwardly professional of all the social networks, LinkedIn is a great platform for lead generation, particularly for any marketer operating in the B2B world and/or offering something of interest to a professional audience. But like any platform, it won’t produce results unless you approach it in the right way — you need to know what you’re trying to achieve.
In this article, we’re going to cover 6 specific things you need to know before you invest any time, effort or resources in generating leads through LinkedIn. Let’s begin.
1: Lead gen forms are usually best
While you can set up a promotional campaign through LinkedIn and point it to an external URL, you’re most likely best served using the native LinkedIn lead gen forms. Why? There are various reasons, including that LinkedIn forms can:
- Responsively serve mobile and desktop visitors alike.
- Pull data directly from profiles, avoiding manual input.
- Provide external URLs upon completion.
- Easily track important metrics.
2: Parameters are vital for cost-effectiveness
Marketers have been known to take the scattergun approach of trying to serve their ads to as many people as possible, but this is a very inefficient way of gathering leads — it will not only lead to wasted spend but also cause people to associate your brand with ill-advised promotion.
Drawing from the various standard profile elements, LinkedIn promotion can serve lead gen forms to audiences targeted by the following parameters:
- Company name, industry, and size
- Followers and connections
- Job title, function, and seniority
- Years of experience and educational background
- Skills and associated groups
- Age and gender
To get optimal results, you need to think very carefully about the specific audience or audiences you want to reach. Every person targeted should in principle be a viable lead, and closely examining the demographics of your previous customers or clients may prove useful in helping you identify the kinds of people most likely to be interested in what you can offer.
3: You need valuable content
No matter how effectively you narrow down your target audience, you won’t get significant results if you’re not providing anything of value to incentivize conversion. It may take no meaningful effort to click once to provide profile information, but people are more aware than ever before of how their data is being collected and exploited, and you’ll find your audience very reluctant to accede to your request unless you have something compelling to give in return.
There are various things you can try to determine what you should offer:
- Compile the strengths and passions of your team members to see what they could most easily and quickly write strong content about.
- Consult previous customers or clients (either directly or through social media) to get ideas for what they might find useful.
- Review the materials offered by comparable businesses in your industry and try to gauge how successful they are.
- Run A/B tests using different types of old content to see what performs best (only recommended if you have great legacy content or a massive budget).
Things that tend to perform well include free long-form guides, course materials, consultations, and e-books, as well as discounts on products or services. Weigh the cost of the offer against the potential reward of winning a strong lead, and make it as good as possible while remaining practically worthwhile.
4: Your messaging has to be consistent
I don’t imagine there’s anyone out there who likes clicking on an offer only to find that it isn’t actually what they expected. Something can be listed as 100% free if someone simply clicks on a button, but then reveal a much longer and more elaborate process, causing a huge amount of frustration and making the user quite likely to leave.
As such, whether you intend to stop at fulfilling the listed offer or provide an external URL on the thank-you page to (hopefully) push the user even closer to becoming a customer or client, you need to ensure that that the last step of the process is consistent with whatever the user saw to begin it (and with your general brand) — if “Sign up for a free seminar” doesn’t conclude with something along the lines of “Congratulations, you have been signed up for the free seminar,” then you have a problem.
5: Basic metrics are automatically tracked
Natively, LinkedIn lead gen forms will gather analytics data including the following for each form:
- How many leads have been gathered
- How many times the form has been clicked on
- How many of the provided forms have been completed
- How much you’ve spent to acquire each lead
LinkedIn will also aggregate the information collected about the users who have converted, allowing you to look at an overview of how the demographics break down. While you can get more in-depth with analytics through using an external page and configuring Google Analytics, it’s simply easier for most to have the data tracked for them.
You need to know that these metrics exist because it’s vital that you monitor them closely. While LinkedIn can do automatic bid optimization, it won’t necessarily get the best possible results, and you might want to make some manual changes if you’re not seeing the results you need to justify the campaign.
6: Leads can be automatically exported
It’s easy enough to download lead lists from your campaigns, but if you use either Salesforce Sales Cloud or Microsoft Dynamics 365 (two enterprise-level CRMs) then you can set up automatic integration, allowing the data to automatically be synced.
This is advantageous not only because it’s more convenient, but because it also allows for cross-service synchronization — anyone maintaining an integration between one of these two CRMs and a store built on a mainstream ecommerce CMS could extend that integration to LinkedIn. This would create in a seamless process through which leads are generated in LinkedIn, sent to a CRM and synced with a CMS for targeted marketing at a later time.
There you have it: six things you should keep in mind when you start folding LinkedIn lead generation into your broader marketing strategy. Target the right audience, provide value, keep a consistent message and make the most of the analytics data and leads that you gather — if you keep optimizing your strategy, you’ll eventually get some great results.