How to Use LinkedIn for B2B Marketing

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If your company relies on old school sales calls or referrals alone, there’s a good chance you’re missing out on valuable sales opportunities. More and more B2B companies are adopting a combined strategic marketing approach that focuses on LinkedIn Ads and account-based marketing (ABM). And it’s no wonder why.

As the world’s most popular business platform, LinkedIn is consistently the #1 generator of B2B leads. Its ABM capability has repeatedly shown results where it matters: gaining high-value leads, accelerating pipeline, and driving up ROI. In fact, a 2018 study by ITSMA and the ABM Leadership Alliance found that 45% of B2B marketers at least doubled their ROI using account-based marketing. LinkedIn is a perfect place for B2B companies to invest their marketing funds.

Despite study after study showing the benefits of ABM, some B2B companies remain hesitant to take the leap. It’s understandable – in theory, targeting accounts requires a hefty sales and marketing team, not to mention a pretty penny.

However, automation has changed all of that. These days, any B2B company can implement an ABM strategy using accessible granular data via LinkedIn. Using LinkedIn’s vast professional network, marketers can target companies and individuals with bespoke content in sponsored ads, content, and emails.

This article will show you how to use LinkedIn for B2B marketing in just a few simple steps. But first, let’s go over the basics.

What is Account-Based Marketing (ABM)?

If traditional inbound marketing is net fishing, then account-based marketing is spearfishing. Rather than focusing on a one-to-many model, it focuses on one-to-one.

ABM involves running a handful of targeted campaigns at various individuals within a specific target company. It tailors content and messaging to build trust and express your company’s value within the context of the target company. Because these campaigns require a lot of catered attention, account-based marketing strategy focuses on only a few potential high-value, large accounts.

Considering the targeted nature of B2B industries, ABM seems like an obvious marketing approach. But with technology readily available to lighten the load, many B2B companies have found ABM to be a natural fit with their marketing strategy and are jumping on the ABM bandwagon. In fact, over 80% of B2B companies already have an ABM strategy in place.

For many, LinkedIn is the gateway tool for establishing a successful account-based marketing plan.

How to Target B2B Accounts Using LinkedIn

With a network of 450 million professionals, LinkedIn is the perfect platform for running account-targeted marketing campaigns. Campaigns on LinkedIn have the potential to reach 6.8 million C-level executives, 40 million business decision-makers, and over 61 million senior-level professionals.

LinkedIn also boasts specialized tools that facilitate entry into ABM strategy for B2B companies that are just getting started. Use LinkedIn’s account targeting tool and campaign manager to launch and track your efforts. The entire process can be broken down into three steps. 

  1. List creation
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You’ve already got your ideal client in mind and a message you know they’ll love. The next step is to target and place your ad, and on LinkedIn, finding specific companies or individuals is easier than ever. LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator gives marketers and sales teams access to a treasure chest of B2B data. It allows you to create lists of companies, industries, individuals, and job titles and filter your results by annual revenue, geographic location, company size, and much, much more. 

  1. Connection 

LinkedIn’s unique strength is its ability to find and connect directly with other business owners and decision-makers. With your list created, you can now reach out directly to these users via email or by sending them a message directly to their LinkedIn inbox.

  1. Scale and grow

If you’re needing to reach a greater number of users or target new potential clients, LinkedIn’s advertising platform is a great resource. Fully harness the power of ABM and place paid video ads, text ads, image ads or lead generation ads directly to your targeted audience. 

Much like you could send a direct message to a business representative, LinkedIn InMail campaigns send sponsored messages directly to your ideal candidates. And the ROI on LinkedIn Ads tends to be much higher than on other platforms. 

Master Your LinkedIn Strategy

B2B companies can benefit greatly from using LinkedIn Ads. But just because they are a natural match doesn’t mean every campaign is going to be successful. Not even LinkedIn’s targeting tools can guarantee conversions. Eric Wittlake, a senior marketing analyst at TOPO, a B2B-focused research firm, identifies why:

“The technology that they were so focused on, that’s not ultimately the top factor making them successful. It’s knowing who they need to go after and doing a great job of executing. Maybe they couldn’t do that great job of executing without technology, but it’s far more than just the technology. Coordinated execution is actually the killer piece here.”

B2B marketers can’t forget that, while though LinkedIn is a helpful tool for ABM, it’s just a tool. The way you use it is what determines success.

Keep these three factors of successful ABM campaigns in mind along the way:

  • Target the right audience – Your audience should include individuals across various sectors and seniorities of your target company, not just the key decision-makers.
  •  Use content to build trust – Good relationships are the key to ABM success. Nurture them by presenting knowledgeable, authoritative content.
  • Sales and marketing work together – The marketing team needed to consult the sales team to develop content for the accounts they’ve identified. Because sales depend on these content efforts, both teams need to work as one.

Conclusion

LinkedIn advertising might take more work upfront and be more expensive compared to other social media platforms, but if your company does have adequate resources to invest, LinkedIn provides a promising platform for reaching targeted accounts.

Like any marketing strategy, it requires testing to perfect, but LinkedIn takes a lot of the guesswork out. If you’re like the majority of companies using account-based marketing, eventually your high-yielding conversions will make it worth the risk.

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Austin Cline is the founder and CEO of ASUN Digital. He frequently writes about brand strategy and digital marketing with expertise in B2B marketing. He has served as a senior director of marketing and director of digital and web for previous marketing agencies and has over 10 years of marketing experience.You can follow him on Twitter at @itsaustincline or connect with him on LinkedIn by visiting his profile.