If you’re not already driving revenue using LinkedIn, you are likely missing out on some valuable opportunities. LinkedIn is the largest professional networking platform in the world, and it’s only continuing to gain traction. More than 200 million people use LinkedIn. Two new users join LinkedIn every second! At this point, most of the key decision makers that your marketing team is looking to reach are present on LinkedIn.
Top sales reps are also discovering that LinkedIn offers tremendous ROI as a social sales channel. As such, if you haven’t already ramped up your LinkedIn efforts, it’s high time you did. LinkedIn just might be the most powerful way for you to deliver powerful brand messages to a qualified set of leads and then convert those leads into customers. Here are some effective ways to drive revenue using LinkedIn as a sales and marketing channel.
You should have the best LinkedIn Page on the planet (or at least within your budget). Whether or not you put effort into your LinkedIn page, your prospects are going to be judging your brand based on its LinkedIn presence. A great LinkedIn page can generate leads as well as build credibility for your business, while an incomplete page can make your business seem small or irrelevant. Even if your business isn’t a large enterprise, there’s no excuse for not presenting your company as an industry leader on LinkedIn.
One of the best ways to do this is with engaging original content. The media you publish speaks volumes about what you value, the problems you solve, and even how smart your company appears to be.
While LinkedIn limits custom design elements, it does give you the chance to spice up your brand page with content. Consider investing in some premium features to help separate your brand’s page from your competitors. For example, LinkedIn enables you to add videos to your page or post job openings for an extra fee. If you’ve already invested in a slick product trailer or even if you’ve made a cool desktop video, consider adding it to LinkedIn to maximize your content marketing investment.
One of the best ways to engage with prospects on LinkedIn is by encouraging employees to participate in groups. Remember, above all, that LinkedIn is a social network. Evidence indicates that it is the most valuable network for social sales. According to a LinkedIn study, 50% of network members are more likely to purchase products and services from companies they engage with there. Sharing information in groups can help establish your employees as thought leaders, while potentially starting sales conversations with interested prospects. We recommend that representatives from your company actively participate in at least 5 relevant LinkedIn Groups (8-15 is optimal).
Another great way to use LinkedIn to engage with leads is by leveraging the power of InMail. According to LinkedIn, sending InMail is 30 times more likely to get a response than a regular email. This is an enormous incentive for your sales team to build their LinkedIn networks or even invest in premium accounts in order to send InMail to prospects that are out of network.
Self-serve LinkedIn ads can be an excellent way to deliver messages to a qualified set of LinkedIn users. According to KissMetrics, LinkedIn ads offer an average click-through rate (CTR) of 0.025%, which is respectable. However, you can significantly increase your CTR with highly targeted ads. LinkedIn ads gives you the flexibility to target ads based on job title, LinkedIn group membership, industry, company size and more. Much like other paid ads, you can purchase ads via auction or on a per-bid basis. You can choose to pay for cost-per-click (CPC) or cost per 1,000 impressions (CPM). Ads appear on the top, right-hand side or bottom of a LinkedIn users profile and can link to any URL that you like including your website or another social media profile. While the price of LinkedIn ads might average slightly higher than a platform like Google AdWords, you might find that using LinkedIn to target leads delivers a better overall ROI. By changing up your ad copy often and using LinkedIn’s targeting tools effectively, you can increase your CTR to figures like 0.10%.
Depending on your budget, you might choose to increase the scope of your LinkedIn advertising efforts. The LinkedIn field sales team can sell you display ads that come in standard IAB unit sizes. Display ads give you the opportunity to tell your brand’s story in creative ways since they support videos, polls and more. Some strategic ideas for display ads include showcasing a product trailer, advertising for an upcoming event or linking to a download page for your mobile app.
As a content strategist, I almost never use the term “social content.” The reason is that almost all marketing content should be socialized. LinkedIn is a fantastic way to share your business’ content. In fact, we’ve noticed that some of our content has had significantly more traction in LinkedIn than other social channels. For example, our CMO’s recent post on the Salesforce.com blog received hundreds of more shares on LinkedIn than on all other social networks combined. If you have employees who are comfortable using social media, it can help to encourage them to share marketing content on their LinkedIn networks as well.
If you’re going to put effort into any channel, you need to be able to measure whether that effort is effecting pipeline. To those of us who have been existing in an ROI culture, this seems obvious. Yet many brands spend time and resources on various social channels like LinkedIn without discovering whether or not those efforts yielded results.
While there are a variety of third-party LinkedIn analytics solutions, the platform itself enables businesses to invest in an analytics tab that sits on your company page and collects data about visitors—including their industry, company and position. This can help marketers put together a list of leads that are pre-qualified based on their job title and interest that they’ve shown in your company.
We also can’t overstate just how important a CRM solution is to measuring the impact of your marketing efforts. CRMs like Salesforce.com can enable you to go beyond using soft social metrics such as clicks, likes and follows and help you be see how social campaigns impact leads, opportunities and revenue.
While most marketers have the ability to track online leads that originate from LinkedIn, without a social media call tracking solution it’s impossible to know which phone-based leads resulted from your LinkedIn efforts. If your business takes phone calls from customers, then a call tracking solution is the best way to ensure that your marketing team gets credit for every LinkedIn lead. Simply use a call tracking solution like RingDNA to provision a unique phone number that will automatically display when a customer clicks through to your site after visiting LinkedIn. When that customer calls, your sales and marketing teams will therefore know instantly know which visitors came from LinkedIn. This can help marketing teams truly know the impact of their LinkedIn marketing efforts. Since RingDNA fully integrates with Salesforce.com, you can also see in real time how calls from LinkedIn impact ROI.
Jesse WestDirector of Lifecycle MarketingringDNA
Jesse Davis West is Director of Lifecycle Marketing at ringDNA, focusing on improving the experience and maximizing the lifetime value for customers across their entire journey. Drawing on 9 years of B2B marketing experience, Jesse is passionate about communication, branding and strategic marketing. He also plays a mean lead guitar and can throw down at karaoke.