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 CRM Minute: It's Time to Get Excited About Microsoft Social Engagement [VIDEO]

Microsoft Social Engagement is a tool designed for listening, analysis, and engagement. All around social and all in one place. It provides customer service teams, marketing teams, and sales teams an ear to the ground and offers up a huge plate of really, really cool features. In today's episode of The CRM Minute, we'll get you up to speed on a couple of cool new features and applications of Microsoft Social Engagement.

With the right focus and approach to social monitoring, you can stay ahead of your market competition and on top of realtime social customer service.

Happy CRM'ing!

4 Channels You Must Add to Your Omni-Channel Customer Service Strategy

Customers expect a seamless and consistent experience across the growing number of channels they are using to interact with companies. What we at PowerObjects are seeing in the marketplace, is that although organizations promote that they support a multi-channel or Omni-channel service model, in reality, very few actually do and most have siloed business units that handle each channel so that data does not pass between them. To today's customers, this is not acceptable, and they will leave to find an organization that will support them in the way they want.

Consumers are now using multiple channels and devices at any given time and are expecting to jump seamlessly from channel to channel for their service interactions. Not only should organizations be broadening their channel offerings, but they must also ensure they are providing true omni-channel service. The primary service channels we are seeing used within the industry are the most traditional ones: phone, email, and chat. However, alternative channels have started to outpace the growth trajectories of these traditional channels. Let's discuss these alternative channels and why you should be adding them to your service strategy:

Self-Service

There is a self-service revolution going on in the industry and it is becoming one of the fastest growing service channels. According to Forrester Research's North American Consumer Technographics Customer Life Cycle Survey, consumers now say they are using self-service FAQ pages on a company's website for customer service more often than speaking with a live agent on the phone. It's become an expectation of consumers that an organization provide a self-service option. If your organization isn't providing an effective self-service option, you're alienating a large portion of your customers.

The Internet of Things (IoT)

According to a study conducted by research firm, Gartner, by 2020 there will be over 26 billion connected devices around the world with the ability to request support. By integrating the Internet of Things to your service infrastructure, you are given incredible visibility into data that can be used across your organization in a predictive, proactive, and personalized manner. At PowerObjects, we are seeing more organizations inquiring about the significant increases in IoT as this channel continues to mature.

SMS/Text

SMS is often used as a channel for one-way marketing communications to consumers, but it also makes for a great customer service channel. Customers like using this SMS because it's convenient and eliminates the need to call in to a service center and wait in a queue for a simple question or to check on the status of a work order. It also provides a cost savings to organizations since it can be cheaper to support SMS than a live phone. We see SMS/Text messaging as a new channel that consumers are migrating to given the SMS/Text explosion for certain segments like millennials.

Social Media

The growth for the social media channel has steadied, but it's still an important channel to customers who are either unhappy and want their voices heard or customers who are loyal to brand and are interested in engagement and sharing. For brands that are looking at targeting the millennial age group, they should definitely adopt and develop this channel. 78% of millennials expect a response on social media within 24 hours and 64% believe social is an effective channel for customer service. It's important for organizations to keep up with sentiment on social media in order to provide proactive service and ensure issues do not escalate. We are seeing both social engagement and social listening driving proactive interactions for social.

The ability to provide customer-centric omni-channel service should be a priority in your organization. Studies show that organizations that adopt a true omni-channel approach to their service are better equipped to meet their customers' communication preferences and see a boost in retention.

Want to learn more about finding omni-channel success? You can read our full report in our free white paper: Providing True Omni-channel Service in a Changing Service Landscape.

Happy CRM'ing!

Tweet Tweet: Display Your Twitter Feed on a Dynamics 365 Dashboard

Does your company have a Twitter account? While Twitter is a great way to connect with your customers and partners, it can also be a great way for your employees to see what your company is presenting to the outside world. Since Dynamics 365 is one of the first places many employees start their day, displaying a Twitter feed on a Dynamics 365 dashboard can be a great way to keep up-to-date with the latest company news. In today's blog, we'll be adding our PowerObjects Twitter account, @joecrm, to a dashboard!

First, you need to create a widget while logged in to a Twitter account at https://twitter.com/settings/widgets. Note that this does not need to be the same Twitter account you are creating the widget for.

Click Create New to get started making your widget. A drop-down box will appear, allowing you to select what type of widget you would like. In this example, we'll be creating a profile widget, but you can always display a widget of likes, a list, a collection, or a search if this suits your needs.

Twitter Feed on a Dynamics 365 Dashboard

Twitter will now ask you what you would like to embed. This is inputted in the form of a Twitter URL for the feed you want. Simply click in the input box or press the down arrow and Twitter will give you guidelines on the type of URL to use.

Twitter Feed on a Dynamics 365 Dashboard

In this case, we are creating a widget for the PowerObjects Twitter account (@joecrm), so we would enter https://twitter.com/joecrm.

Twitter Feed on a Dynamics 365 Dashboard

You will now be presented with two display options – Embedded Timeline or Twitter Buttons. In this circumstance, use the Embedded Timeline option.

Twitter Feed on a Dynamics 365 Dashboard

At this stage, you can set customization options like the widget's height, width and language if you want to. Otherwise, you are all ready to start embedding your Twitter feed into a dashboard. Twitter will give you a piece of code that we will be using in a web resource in Dynamics 365. You can press Copy Code to keep the code on your clipboard, or you may want to temporarily paste it into a Notepad file or keep the tab open.

Twitter Feed on a Dynamics 365 Dashboard

Now let's head over to Dynamics 365. Navigate to Settings > Customizations and select Customize the System.

Twitter Feed on a Dynamics 365 Dashboard

In the new window that opens, select Dashboards on the left pane.

Twitter Feed on Dynamics a 365 Dashboard

You can select New > Dashboard to create a new dashboard or add the widget to an existing dashboard if you prefer. In this example, we're going to create a new dashboard.

Twitter Feed on a Dynamics 365 Dashboard

Select the layout you prefer. In this example, we're going to select the 2-Column Regular Dashboard. Once your layout is selected, click Create.

Twitter Feed on a Dynamics 365 Dashboard

We're going to name our dashboard Twitter, but you may call it anything you like. Decide which box you'd like to place the Twitter feed in, then select the Insert Web Resource button, which is the globe symbol on the bottom right of available buttons.

Twitter Feed on a Dynamics 365 Dashboard

In the window that pops up, press the lookup icon next to Web resource, scroll down and select Look Up More Records.

Twitter Feed on a Dynamics 365 Dashboard

In the Look Up More Records box that appears, press New at the bottom.

Twitter Feed on a Dynamics 365 Dashboard

In this example, we're going to name our web resource new_twitterfeed with the display name Twitter. We will select the Type as Webpage (HTML) and the language as English.

Twitter Feed on a Dynamics 365 Dashboard

Once these fields are complete, click the Text Editor button. This is where we will insert the code that we copied earlier. Click the Source tab and paste the code between the body tags. Your code should look like this:

Twitter Feed on a Dynamics 365 Dashboard

Press OK which will close the window. Now, in the Web Resource window, press Save and then Publish. You can now close this window. You will now see your new Twitter web resource selected in the Look Up More Records window. Press Add at the bottom.

Twitter Feed on a Dynamics 365 Dashboard

Now you can complete other options for Add Web Resource such as name, label, and visibility. In this example we just set the Name and Label to Twitter. Press OK when done.

You have now added your Twitter widget onto your dashboard! You may want to change the size, such as the height, by pressing the ellipses on the top bar and selecting the buttons to modify the size. Here is our example with our Twitter feed alongside a chart and list:

Twitter Feed on a Dynamics 365 Dashboard

Press Save and Close after you have formatted the size as you like, and add any other dashboard components you want. To make the changes active, you will need to publish your dashboard by selecting it and using the Publish button in the Dashboards customization screen.

Twitter Feed on a Dynamics 365 Dashboard

That's it! Let's navigate over to Sales > Dashboards and select Twitter from the drop-down menu of Dashboards. A beautiful and scrollable Twitter feed right there on the dashboard! Amazing!

Twitter Feed on a Dynamics 365 Dashboard

And if you love Twitter, be sure to follow me @joecrm!

Happy Social Dynamics 365'ing!