As a business owner, chances are good that you have some type of familiarity with the LinkedIn platform. Maybe you’ve used the world’s most famous business networking website to meet more leaders and experts in your space, as a recruitment tool for finding top talent or to share a piece of content about your business. But what’s your record like with LinkedIn lead generation strategies? Have you dabbled with getting in front of your target audience through LinkedIn’s display advertising options, lead gen forms, or sponsored inmail?
For those of you not fortunate enough to have applied a portion of your ad budget to LinkedIn, an assessment of the channel should be on your list. It provides you with a great way to get in front of your target audience to introduce your brand and generate quality leads.
However, it is important that you know a few things about LinkedIn Advertising before you start building campaigns and developing ads. One top of mind aspect of LinkedIn Advertising should be that it is not a cheap platform to use. The expensive aspect of LinkedIn ensures that not all your competitors will be using it for lead generation, but it also requires that you be very well positioned to on LinkedIn before you even start advertising.
Is LinkedIn Lead Generation Right For Your Business?
At Tuff, our clients have seen the most success with LinkedIn lead generation strategies when they’ve had three things nailed down. Here’s a step-by-step guide to determine whether this type of advertising channel makes sense for your business:
1. Is LinkedIn Lead Generation right for you from a business model perspective?
As mentioned, LinkedIn is expensive. Expect to see extremely high CPMs not to mention CPCs. Given the high barrier of entry for LinkedIn Advertising, you need to figure out if your business model is even right for LinkedIn. What space are you in? Our clients who see the most success with LinkedIn lead generation strategies are ones in the B2B space with multi-thousand dollar lifetime values from their customers.
2. Does your LinkedIn Business Page contain regularly posted organic content?
You can’t kick off a well-coordinated and strategic LinkedIn advertising campaign unless the lights are on in your LinkedIn Business Page. More than little signs of life, you need to have a big presence on your page to make sure your LinkedIn ads perform well. If you’re prospecting, users will want to learn more about you before they head to your website or fill out a lead form.
Your organic LinkedIn posting strategy needs to involve information about your business, your current clients, and your culture. One agency that we think has done an exceptional job at their LinkedIn organic presence is Directive. Check out the video above to see their LinkedIn page and notice how much different content in various formats they have posted to their page!
3. Do you already know your target audience?
Knowing your audience is incredibly important on LinkedIn (as it is with other channels, but even more so with LinkedIn). With other advertising platforms like Google and Facebook, you can set up tests to figure out what the audience will respond best to your advertising. We highly recommend not doing this on LinkedIn, it’s not an audience research phase-type platform unless you can afford it.
Given the cost, you’ll waste large amounts of money doing audience research on LinkedIn, which is why it’s so important that you know your audience before you start your LinkedIn strategy.
A great example of this is from one of our clients, Thalamus, who is the premier GME interview management platform that connects residency and fellowship applicants and programs.
Their target audience is residency coordinators or program directors at academic medical centers and hospital systems throughout the US & Canada, which is exactly who we targeted on LinkedIn.
Strategy #1: Leverage Lookalike Audiences
You might be familiar with Lookalike Audiences from running Facebook advertising campaigns. If not, there’s nothing complicated about understanding them. As the name implies, they are lookalikes of an existing customer audience that has already interacted with your business.
For example, a common first Lookalike audience that we create for our clients is one based on your current customers. You can also create a Lookalike audience based on users who have taken a specific action on your site (tracked by the LinkedIn Insight Tag).
A great way to leverage this in a LinkedIn Campaign is to use a Lookalike as your base audience, then layer in other demographic or job-specific targeting options specific to your target audience.
Strategy #2: Optimize for higher in the funnel
Another great LinkedIn lead generation strategy has to do with how you position LinkedIn in your overall advertising strategy.
In a very, very rare circumstance will LinkedIn be a sustainable way for you to scale your business. What’s more likely is that LinkedIn Ads will provide your business with a method for introducing specific people to your business, piece of content, and if your budget allows you to drive them to your website.
Since LinkedIn has a higher cost associated with running ads on it than other platforms, we suggest optimizing your ads for goals that are higher in the funnel and planning your advertising strategy accordingly for those higher objectives.
For example, you might want to run an ad with a lead gen form that you optimize for engagement. You’re essentially telling LinkedIn that you want to get your ad in front of as many people as possible that will engage with your ad and will give those a way to get in touch with you with a CTA linking to a lead form should engagers want to learn more about your business.
Experiment #1: Influencer marketing lead generation
Finally, we’d like to suggest a theoretical lead generation experiment that we’ve been developing at Tuff for LinkedIn. In full transparency, we don’t have any evidence to support that this works, because we haven’t had a chance to try it out on any of our current campaigns.
To start generating leads for your business without needing to allocate enough budget resources to a paid LinkedIn campaign, we recommend this strategy which utilizes Influencer Marketing.
The first part of this strategy is to have one of your customers, a business acquaintance, or other business influencers make a written post on LinkedIn that advocates for your business – make sure the post doesn’t include any links because LinkedIn wants to keep their users on LinkedIn as much as possible so they keep posts with outbound links from getting as much organic traction as ones without links.
The second part of this strategy is to then have other customers or influencers like and share the post with their network on LinkedIn. Eventually, you should be able to get a snowball effect going with your post to cause it to go viral. When done right this type of strategy should help you get in front of your target audience without needing to pay steep LinkedIn advertising costs.
John is a Growth Marketer based in Denver, Colorado who has years of experience growing eCommerce Brands and working with consumer-focused organizations. He also has experience working in the Tech, Outdoor, and Travel spaces. When he’s not optimizing website conversion rates or launching influencer marketing campaigns, you will most likely find him on a bike or in his kitchen.