It wasn’t all that long ago that LinkedIn was just a small professional networking site – that couldn’t be further from the truth in 2019. With over 500 million users, LinkedIn has become a serious player for B2B leads. It’s hard to find a marketer these days who isn’t leveraging LinkedIn marketing.
Ever since its inception, professionals have been trying to crack the formula for successfully generating B2B leads. And you’d think with literally millions of professionals in one place, surely, they’d be some way to pick the lock and open up a whole world of new opportunity?
In this blog, I’ll show you just how to open up the floodgates to success on LinkedIn. After all, the official advice of:
- Be Active
- Get Leads
Is horribly vague.
So, what do you do?
Of course, you might get the odd lead fall into your lap by merely being in the right place at the right time, but in order to achieve those consistent wins you’ve been craving, you must be proactive in your prospecting.
Here we show you how to plan out your LinkedIn marketing to hunt down the qualified leads you’ve been looking for.
LinkedIn Does Work
Despite possibly being overlooked by many B2B prospectors in favour of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, LinkedIn is your best opportunity to generate B2B leads.
Sure, the other options can work too, and as this HubSpot research shows, most B2Bs are using social, but how effective is it?
According to InsideSales, not as effective as it could be. We’re over-reliant on it as a B2B marketing method, especially when considering how many leads it actually produces.
So, as you can see social media isn’t exactly the big cheese when it comes to generating B2B leads. But, of the top five social platforms, LinkedIn is by far the most effective.
To put that into real, bottom-line results, LinkedIn accounts for more than 80% of a business’s social media leads. The other four platforms put together amount to less than 20%. Not too shabby, huh?
So, now we’ve established that LinkedIn is worth trying to leverage LinkedIn Marketing actions, we must then understand how to do so.
Turn Your Company Page Into a Conversion Funnel
To tap the full potential of LinkedIn marketing, you need to turn your company page into a well-managed lead generation page.
If your page is super basic with only essential information, then no one is likely to identify with you or your brand. So, you need to optimise the page in a way that leads to a conversion action, which would be a click through to the website.
If your website is the destination, then your LinkedIn page must act almost like a road sign.
Here’s a great conversion led example from Hays:
Below I’ve detailed how to do something similar.
Step 1: Attention Grabbing Header Images
The header image is the very first thing that a visitor sees, and it must grab and hold attention. This is what Coca-Cola uses during the festive season:
And granted, they have the advantage of being a multi-national corporation, but it’s a great example of an arresting, colorful header image that just grabs your attention.
The header image is a clear way of prospecting to those who are interested in learning more. The header image is only the start of the journey, assuming you’ve grabbed their attention, the next logical step for a visitor is to continue reading. The image should catch the onlooker and give them the urge to find out more.
Step 2: Create Your Pitch
This is where most companies fall. You need to create a lively, bubbling company description, rather than a flat explanation of how many awards you’ve won or how many locations you’ve opened – sure there’s a time and a place for that, but it’s not here.
Instead, you must create a story and speak to your audience; entice them to convert and don’t give them an excuse to abandon ship.
The most important section here is the first two and a half lines or so. As you can see in the Coca-Cola example above, LinkedIn is only displaying the first three lines, in order for someone to see more they must actively click the ‘see more’ button. This is literally all you’ve got to say, ‘hey, where are you going? THIS is what you need.’
The Four Seasons does this brilliantly:
It speaks directly to the customers about the high-quality service they can expect, while targeting the market they know will be interested in high-end hospitality.
But, now what?
Well, now, based on your sparkling first three lines, your visitor will click, ‘See More’ and it’s from here, that you can consider them a ‘prospect’ and they’ll look to click through to the website:
Step 3: Make the Most of Your Updates
Just to give your prospects an added incentive to click through to your website, you want to provide them with engaging, and conversion led content that adds some value.
This means you need to be regularly posting updates, which will give you an active and engaging source of information. Targeting your audience is the best way to gain some traction in this department. You can link to your latest blogs, product information and everything in between, but you must keep in mind: you’re looking for clicks from people looking for more information about what you do.
Again, Hays is an excellent example of this:
The first screenshot shows a video advertising their latest webinar targeted towards employers looking to curate the very best talent and the screenshot on the right is targeted towards job seekers.
So, as you can see, there are two distinct areas they are looking to approach – job seekers and employers. And they’ve done so by interesting both demographics with unique content tailored to their needs. A clear and focused strategy.
Now, we’ve covered the basics to optimizing your company page. If you’re in an industry, such as recruitment, with a broad-ranging appeal, there’s a good chance you can find a few good leads from this source.
LinkedIn created showcase pages for companies to promote individual brands that are offshoots of a larger company.
These pages are perfect if you’re looking to show your LinkedIn traffic down a specific conversion path.
Showcase pages were created with B2Bs in mind, and as LinkedIn suggests they are perfect if you’re looking to ‘represent a brand’ and are intending to develop ‘long-term relationships’ with a ‘specific audience.’
Sure sounds ideal for B2B in practice, doesn’t it?
A Showcase page should concentrate on one particular segment of your audience by providing more targeted information.
Here’s an offshoot of the HP brand, called ‘HP Labs’, and here’s its showcase page:
As you can see this page differs from a standard company page in several key aspects. Firstly, the page has a considerably larger header image, more clickable above-the-fold content, and easy to see contact information.
To make your own effective Showcase page, you must:
- Keep conversion in mind – that’s what it’s all about.
- Keep your page name short and snappy, firstly to avoid any confusion and secondly, so it won’t be truncated in the display bar.
- Keep everything clean and simple to ensure visitors can find what they’re looking for really quickly.
Think of a Showcase page like a fishing net; sometimes you need to cast just a little bit wider to try to find those bigger, juicier fish lurking in the depths.
Be Proactive: Search for People
So, I’ve explained how to try to lure people to you, but what happens when you need to be proactive and find your own prospects?
This is where LinkedIn’s advanced search comes in and gives you a compelling way of identifying the exact kinds of folks you’re after.
From the LinkedIn top menu, search for people and select the advanced option, and you see something similar to the image above.
This is an incredibly powerful tool, in which you can filter by location, company, industry, previous companies etc. to find a real niche population of people.
So, let’s say I’m a recruiter looking to place a marketing professional, my search may look something similar to this:
This search has given me literally hundreds of pages of leads – which is excellent, except you probably don’t want to be trawling through all this information to come out with just a few prospsecive candidates. The beauty of this feature is that we can then start to drill into the finer detail by making a few small changes if we need to, like so:
Be Proactive: Search Groups
Searching for individuals is a very granular approach to searching for your leads. But searching for groups to join is a way to find larger blocks of leads.
There are millions of groups on LinkedIn, so you can be quite confident there’s something that relates to your niche out there. Join groups, maintain your presence and nurture leads.
Just click on ‘my network’:
Click on ‘groups’:
And you’ll see a selection of recommended groups; these are mine:
Group searches don’t have the same features that people or company searches have, so you must be sure that any group you do intend to join in super relevant to the kind of people you’re looking to target.
While there is no optimal formula in terms of the kinds of groups you should join, you should at least try to walk the line between relevancy and a good number of members. If you enter a group with millions of members, there’s probably a good chance you’re posts will drift away without so much as a second thought.
Be Proactive: Start a Group
As you begin to explore the groups in your niche, you may find that you have identified a gap where a new group may be formed.
When you create and moderate your own group, you’ll find that you begin to gain credibility in your niche, and as your group grows, you may well have people coming to you asking about the services you provide, and this is precisely what you want when trying to generate B2B leads – fully qualified, warm leads.
Create & Publish Content
I could go on for hours about the importance of creating and sharing regular content, but we all know how and why it’s essential.
LinkedIn makes it super easy to share your blog posts or even write an article specifically for LinkedIn. And don’t forget to share your content in your groups too.
Simply click here:
It couldn’t be easier…so, what are you waiting for?
Many LinkedIn users find great success posting content on the platform, particularly when utilizing video content.
This is, of course, a relatively broad strategy and it could differ depending on LinkedIn usability updates and your industry. However, it offers plenty of room to refine and tackle new techniques which could turn your LinkedIn account into your perfect B2B LinkedIn marketing tool.
But without the right LinkedIn marketing planning and knowledge, it’s just another drain on your time. So, next time you log in, spend a little time refining advanced searches and joining some groups with the aim of curating at least three, four or even five potential prospects.
Which LinkedIn marketing tip are you using to generate B2B leads?
Dale Bonsor is an SEO Consultant at poddigital.co.uk – E-commerce Marketing Specialists.