How to Use LinkedIn to Fill Your B2B Marketing Funnel

Feeling the struggle of generating leads through digital marketing? You're not alone and we're here to help! Because potential customers are constantly bombarded with digital ads, to stand out and get the results you're looking for, you're going to have to pay to play. Sites like Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Bing all make their money from exactly this – paid advertising. Although it used to be possible to get by without paying, times have changed. In today's blog, we will give you a few tips so that you can create a strategy that helps you and your company maximize digital marketing, with a particular focus on LinkedIn, to fill your B2B marketing funnel.

Creating a Strategy to Direct Your Efforts
A strategy gives stakeholders a way to understand your efforts and directs your processes through the creation of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). When considering how to create your strategy for paid advertising there are certain things you need to get started.

  1. A way to track your conversions: If you can't track your conversions, paid media shouldn't even be on your radar, yet. Get your tracking down first and understand what type of visitors convert.
  2. Top referrals to your website: This data can be found in your analytics suite. Understanding where visitors to your site are currently coming from is important to placing your money in the right place.
  3. Top social engagement: There are a couple different places you can find this information. Some of it can be found in your analytics, but even more can be found in the social sites themselves. All social media website now can give you analytic insights into the engagement of your posts. Using this data to rank your social sites can help increase the engagement of your advertising.
  4. Personas: Understanding who your customers are and what each audience looks likes will allow you to target your advertising.
  5. A customer relationship management tool: If you don't have a CRM tracking KPIs and life-time-value (all important data points) becomes a lot harder.
  6. An understanding of LTV: Life-time-value is an important metric in calculating the success of your paid advertising. You need this metric, along with customer acquisition costs, to help get your customer lifetime value ratio which will help you to properly distribute your budget. (More on this later!)

LinkedIn Advertising
Finally we can get to the main subject of this post, LinkedIn advertising, with the understanding of what's required. As a social media platform, LinkedIn allows individuals the opportunity to create a profile around their career. In the profile, an individual can add their experience, skills, and plenty of other items that highlight their personal brand. With all of this information easily accessible, LinkedIn has become a great place for B2B businesses to generate leads through company pages and paid advertising.

Within LinkedIn there are two main types of advertising for companies: sponsored content and text ads. Of course if you're spending $25k or more per month on LinkedIn, even more advertising options become available but for the sake of this post, we'll stick to the aforementioned examples.

When creating a sponsored post, you should have a link, a paragraph of copy, and an image that attracts your target audience. Consider using a website that shortens longer URLs. Using one can help you keep the text count down and track the number of clicks the campaign has received.

Once you've created the ad and it's targeted to your personas, it's time to set your budget. LinkedIn will give you a range to set your cost per click budget. The range is based on the targeting that you've selected. It's important you set this amount based on your budget and making sure you're customer acquisition costs don't exceed your lifetime value. Now it's time to start your campaign.

Filling Your Funnel
Once you've started you will now receive people to the landing page on your site. On this landing page you should have all the information that you promised with your advertising campaign. As a B2B company we like to promote white papers, ebooks, case studies, and other gated content. Doing this allows us to collect information as payment to see the content we spend our resources creating. It also allows us to put these new visitors into our marketing funnel. Once in the funnel we can market to them, making sure we're personalizing their journey. In a B2B environment this requires patients, due to the long sales cycles that exist in this type of business. They pay off is creating leads that are warmer for your sales team, allowing them to close business more efficiently.

LTV: CAC Ratio
If there is one development with digital marketing that has made the marketing team, in general, more important is the opportunity to prove their worth through ROI. Having a number that allows executives and stake holders to understand your work is a good thing. This is where the lifetime value/customer acquisition cost ratio comes into play. So what is it? LTV:CAC is a ratio that takes the lifetime value of your customer for your business against the cost that you paid to acquire them. So with your LinkedIn lead you can use the campaign cost per click found in LinkedIn and see if the LTV:CAC ratio makes sense. As a benchmark you should try to hit a 3:1 ratio. Be warry - this ratio is hard to come by and it's best to have expectations set with your stakeholder team prior to sharing the ratio. Decisions should be made quickly when it falls out of the required ratio to either quit the campaign or fuel it.

Filling your sales and marketing funnel with LinkedIn is not easy. It requires work, optimization, and a sound strategy. Yet by targeting the right people at the right time, you can add a lot of qualified leads to your funnel and in turn grow your business. If you'd like to learn more about business funnels or marketing automation check out our webinars on demand:

Happy CRM'ing!

The B2B Marketing Final Four

B2B marketing isn't easy, but it's also not impossible. When a company finds its groove, it can be fun! There are different things you can do to find that groove, however, there are certain pillars that every B2B organization must pay attention to. These four pillars are what we'll cover in today's blog with a perfectly timed "Final Four" reference.

Content: The #1 Seed

Content is king, but it is also a #1 seed in our B2B marketing Final Four. Content for B2B marketing shouldn't just be fliers or single-sheet case studies. Your content should explain why your service is important to potential buyers and should be written with SEO in mind so people searching for your product can find your content.

Your website should receive regular attention just like any other piece of content you create. Your website gives your visitors a sense of understanding, and when you're selling on a national or global level, a well-run website puts your visitor at ease. Make the time to consistently create good, relevant content and you'll receive a large return on your investment.

Some examples of B2B content every company should have include:

This list isn't comprehensive and it shouldn't be taken as gospel. What works for one company might not work for another. That's why it's important to monitor your ROI with individual pieces of content to find your own sweet spot. Ask yourself: what content is converting into leads? If you don't know the answer, make sure you find out as soon as possible to help make educated and time commitment decisions.

Social: The Underdog

Social is a beast…or in our B2B Final Four, it's the underdog. You can never trust an underdog because one day it could surprise you and without proper planning bite you in the butt. That's why as a B2B marketer you need to think long and hard about the pros and cons of your social activity. To put it plainly, you need a plan. You need to know what you'll say, when you'll say it, and have a contingency if someone doesn't like what you do or have to say. Also, just like Vegas loses big on an underdog's success, you will lose to social unless you pay to play. It's getting harder to win just on organic posts alone. But, because of the demographic data social media platforms collect, you can make it worth your while by targeting your personas with social ads. Social ads are also cheaper, on average, per click than AdWords.

So what should your plan include? The first thing to look at as a B2B company is LinkedIn. LinkedIn provides companies a way to get in front of their potential customers easier than other platforms. Using a company page to post company news and other company culture material will allow you to brand your company properly. LinkedIn also provides the best capabilities to target your audience with advertising. Using job titles, location, skills, and business names allows you to make sure you're hitting your target market but also allows you to test different segments for the best ROI.

The second platform you should look to is Twitter. While the downfall of Twitter has been documented thoroughly (maybe prematurely) it is still a great tool to broadcast your business and show authority within your space. Twitter advertising can also pay dividends for your advertising ROI. Every post on Twitter should include a shortened link, text, and a related image (if you have one that makes sense). Using all three gives your post the best opportunity to be shared or, even better, clicked on. When creating a shortened link, make sure you use a tool that allows for click tracking like Bitly or Google. For an even better sense of how your campaigns are doing, use the Google URL Builder to add a campaign tracking code, then use the shortener to make it Twitter friendly. This extra step allows you to dig deeper into your social visitors' session in Google Analytics.

Following your social visitors' sessions within Google Analytics allows you to understand what is working not only with your social campaign, but also your website. Is your landing page working? Is your CTA (call to action)? What is the user experience (UX) these visitors are having? With these questions you can test and modify your website to gain conversions and a better overall ROI on all your B2B digital marketing campaigns.

With LinkedIn and Twitter in the fold, there are other social networks you can consider, but make sure you have time to manage them and that they make sense for your business. Some of the other top platforms include:

Email: The Cinderella

Every Cinderella has a great story to tell. From the bottom to the top. From the gutter to the penthouse. The same goes for email marketing. Email has taken the same type of path as digital marketing techniques have grown the past several years. I'm sure you've read posts that deny the benefit of email campaigns, but like eating eggs and personal health, email is good for your business, which is why it's our Final Four Cinderella.

Just like any Cinderella story, there is a lot of work that goes into winning. Before you can start sending emails to your leads and contacts, you need an email address. Email addresses are the glass slipper of B2B digital marketing. Hard to get, easy to lose, but in the end worth your time due to the potential benefits of it. Ways to collect email address from your website visitors include:

So you have the email, now what? Well, it's time to nurture this lead from pumpkin to carriage. When discussing email nurture or drip campaigns, you should remember that every customer base is different. The amount of emails sent by one company may be more tolerated than from another company. So finding your groove is important in creating a sequence for sending emails to your list. A great tool to use for understanding email nurture/drip campaigns is a guide called "How to Send Email Like a Startup" by SendWithUs.com. It provides a great breakdown of creating all kinds of emails and how/when to send them. They also update the guide regularly to keep you informed on new techniques.

The most important thing to remember about email is you need to provide value and use the activity of your lists to dictate the next email. Doing this can move your leads down the funnel faster and in turn shorten your sales cycle, which is what we should all want!

CRM: The Dynasty

With your to-do list a mile long and your digital marketing campaigns ready to go, how do you plan on tracking leads? Maintaining your email list? Sharing ROI with executives? All of these questions can be answered by implementing a customer relationship management system, or CRM. CRM can always be trusted to be there when you need it. That's why it's our dynasty in the B2B marketing Final Four. CRM helps the sales team manage their leads through the funnel but it can also help marketing track campaign success, nurture your marketing qualified leads down the funnel, and give you reports to share.

When doing research on CRM for your business, it's important you find one that allows you to implement workflows across departments and other tools. One near and dear to our heart is Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Dynamics CRM allows any sized company to implement a great process for tracking leads, customer service touch points, and successful marketing campaigns. But, just like any business decision to be made, make sure you're doing your homework on the customer support you'll receive. With proper support you can quickly resolve any issues that arise and educate yourself and your team on how to use CRM.

Takeaway

We hope you have found today's blog useful. Mainly, we hope we've given you motivation. Motivation to create something special for your company. Motivation to do research and testing to find the best ROI, but also motivation to increase your knowledge on B2B marketing in general. So with the end of the post near…what is your company's marketing groove? Sound off in the comments below!

Happy CRM'ing!