Did you know that 86% of B2B companies are utilizing an account-based marketing and sales strategy? Furthermore, 41% consider account-based marketing and sales a top B2B priority.
LinkedIn Account-Based Marketing (ABM) has proven itself an effective method for marketers to generate high quality leads for sales. Rather than casting a wide net, account-based marketing is a more focused approach that targets the individuals you want to become customers.
Discover how you can find the same success for your company with these best practices for utilizing LinkedIn account targeting.
Best Practices for Generating Leads with LinkedIn ABM
LinkedIn ABM Best Practice #1 - Add Your Target Accounts
First, ask your sales team for a list of target accounts. For example, you may have several companies within the same industry that you plan to target in one ad campaign – this can be one of your audience segments. You can upload up to 300,000 company names, with a minimum recommendation of 1,000 companies.
Targeting your audience by company name is only one option. You can also upload a specific target list which includes contact email addresses. However, LinkedIn will only correctly match with a prospect if the email address your company provides matches the email the prospect uses for LinkedIn.
Once you’ve uploaded your list, LinkedIn will identify LinkedIn members who match the company accounts you uploaded. This may take up to 48 hours, but once your audience has matched a minimum of 300 members, your campaign can begin. Depending on your business, you may end up with several distinct target audiences and different campaigns to go with them.
LinkedIn ABM Best Practice #2 - Define Your Target Audience
The default settings of account-based targeting means that LinkedIn may pull in potential leads from anywhere in the world, or members at any job level within the companies you’re targeting. For this reason, you should narrow down your targeting and focus on specific factors such as:
- Job Titles
- Job Functions
- Job Seniorities
For example, if your company wants to target IT decision makers in the US, you can select United States under Locations; select Information Technology under Job Functions; and select Manager, Director, VP and CXO under Job Seniorities.
LinkedIn ABM Best Practice #3 - Choose Ad Types Ideal for LinkedIn Account Targeting
Ad options are as diverse as your target audience. Determining which ones will be the best fit can help your ads land with an extra punch.
Sponsored Content Ads
Sponsored content has proven to be one of the most effective ad types for engaging audiences, and can be an easy way to get started with LinkedIn account-based marketing. For example, you can use an existing post on your company’s page or create a new one most relevant to your target audience. Content can include single images, carousel images, articles, videos, or presentations.
Carousel images are a particularly great strategy that can help humanize your brand through your ads. With the ability to use several images that can link to multiple landing pages, you can share more of your company’s story. Carousel-based ads also encourage your target audience to stop scrolling through their feed and interact with your ad.
LinkedIn Text Ad
A text ad is just that – it only includes words – which means you can’t rely on fancy images to draw in leads; it’s all focused on a bit of creative copy. Text ads can be beneficial especially because they may be cheaper than other ads, design is not necessary, and you can easily update the text to achieve the best ROI.
You can send messages straight into your target contact’s InMail, appearing alongside standard messages they might normally receive.
The benefits of this ad option include high levels of personalization and conversions that are driven by responsive CTAs. Surprisingly, they’re not as spammy as you might think.
LinkedIn Display Ads
Right in line with account-based targeting, display ads allow you to target a highly specified audience using a variety of content for your ads, whether it’s text, audio, video, or images. Some benefits: You’re able to strengthen your brand and ultimately reach more professionals, decision-makers, and influencers.
LinkedIn Dynamic Ads
Generated based on your audience’s activity, this type of ad is yet another way to add more personalization for your audience. Ideally this type of ad, will have an increased response rate as you deliver them precisely to the audience you intend with the right message at the right time.
LinkedIn Video Ads
There’s a reason video has become such a popular choice for brand content. In fact, video ads make up 35% of total online spending. It’s a simple yet effective way to deliver your company’s message in a creative, informative method. Luckily, you can also utilize video with your ads.
LinkedIn ABM Best Practice #4 - Utilize the Content That Works Best for Lead Gen
While a link to one of your company’s bottom-of-the-funnel offers might be the right fit for some ads, it’s not always the best option for lead generation.
Ideal for a sponsored-content ad (but just fine for other ad types) an attractive offer for an ebook, guide, white paper, or infographic can be perfect for drawing someone’s attention, and it ultimately creates an easy opportunity for a conversion.
You should make sure you’re optimizing your landing pages for conversions using best practices, like limiting the number of actions your visitor can take on a page and making the path to conversion as easy as possible.
The offer may be top of the funnel, but at this stage, your goal should be to simply engage with potential customers. Once they demonstrate interest, you’ll have their email address and can follow up to determine if they’ll be a good fit for your business.
LinkedIn ABM Best Practice #5 - Set Up Your Ads Easily
Are you excited? You should be – it’s time to set up your ads! Here are a few simple steps to get you started. Keep in mind as you set up your ads that you should plan to use at least 2-3 ads per campaign. This will allow you to A/B test and determine which is the best approach for engaging and converting your target audience.
It’s simple to set up your ad campaign. Just follow these handy steps!
It probably goes without saying that it would be foolish to invest all this money into LinkedIn ads without considering performance. Once your ads have been running for a day or so, review metrics like impressions, clicks, and spend. Determine if you’re seeing the results you hoped for, or if you might need to make some adjustments. We’ll cover how you can further optimize your campaigns a little later in the post.
LinkedIn ABM Best Practice #6 - How Do You Actually Convert Your Leads?
At this point, we’ve covered almost everything from A to Z with LinkedIn ABM. While you might upload your target list correctly, create a compelling ad for your audience, and set up all options properly, you might still have that lingering question in the back of your mind: What if I don’t get conversions? That’s the entire purpose of this, after all. You don’t want to falter at the last step!
When setting up your ad for lead generation, you can choose between sending your target audience to an external landing page on your website or asking them to fill out a LinkedIn form.
While a perfectly executed landing page can convert leads, it might not deliver as many as the option to let someone fill out a form on LinkedIn, where their information will be quickly and easily prefilled based on their profile.
However, Lead Gen Forms are available only for Sponsored Content or Sponsored InMail, so it is limited to those two ad options.
LinkedIn ABM Best Practice #7 - Optimize Campaigns for the Best Results
Getting results from LinkedIn account targeting can take time, but there are a few areas you can optimize early on, as well as throughout the process, that can ultimately save time and money. Remember that ads are never something you should “set and forget.” It’s important to keep checking in on how they’re performing to determine if you should tweak your bids or budgets; you should also consider some A/B testing.
In the case of every ad, the goal is produce the most results with the lowest costs; this is certainly true for LinkedIn account-based marketing. Ultimately, when optimizing your ad, you must choose between cost per click or cost per impression.
Since the goal of account-based marketing is to generate leads, you’ll likely want to choose cost per click, so you have a higher chance of only paying for those who became viable leads for your company.
While LinkedIn ads can work with almost any budget, the amount you’re able to spend will determine how much you’re able to bid. When you’re just getting started, it might be best to start small and scale toward a larger budget once you see how certain ads perform. That way, you can determine the best options for generating leads in your target audience.
Another tactic that’s vital for optimizing your campaigns is A/B testing. Throughout your campaign, you should make it a priority to keep an eye on your campaign’s results and make changes as needed. For example, you can easily make changes to the text in one version of your ad while keeping the other the same, so you can accurately compare the results and make a permanent change if it makes sense to do so.
How Do You Know If Your LinkedIn Ad Campaign is Successful?
We’ve covered almost everything there is to know about LinkedIn account-based marketing at this point – but now that you have your audience, campaigns, and ads in mind, what should you look for to determine whether your efforts are a success? A few key elements to help you determine ROI of a campaign include:
- Click-through rate
- Leads generated
- Deals closed
Since every campaign is different, you’ll have to determine individual goals for each of these. If your campaign is underperforming, there are always steps you can take to make improvements.
Ready for the Next Step?
You might be thinking that all of this sounds great – but you don’t have the time or resources to implement this strategy internally. If that’s the case, you might benefit from SevenAtoms’ LinkedIn Marketing Service, which provides everything from strategy to content and analytics.
If you’re ready to take the leap to learn how to utilize LinkedIn ABM and discover the leads your company really wants to reach, request a proposal from SevenAtoms and we’ll show you the way.