Lead generation is not only aimed at winning as many leads as possible. It is primarily about generating more of the right leads.
This article will help you generate more profitable leads for your company, convert them faster and thus justify your marketing investment. We will show you how to do this efficiently and at a lower cost per lead.
You’ll also learn how to align your marketing strategy with the sales team responsible for closing deals. Generating more leads with LinkedIn is half the battle.
LEAD GENERATION ON LINKEDIN
Creating more value for your company is the other half. We will show you how you can do both
FORMULATE THE RIGHT GOALS
If you want to improve your company’s lead generation, you must first understand your company’s requirements. Talk to your sales team and share your goals and challenges
Does your sales force urgently need more leads? Do they have problems expanding their sales pipeline? Or do they have difficulties to get in touch with relevant prospects? Is your system full of mediocre leads that need to be sorted out? Are they frustrated because sales deals take so long to close?
If the sales team is having trouble getting to market, you need to increase the number of leads and make sure they are replenished. However, if your salespeople are already overwhelmed by the amount of existing leads and are having difficulty converting them, then you need to focus on the quality of the leads. If lead generation stops at the bottom of the funnel and only a few leads ultimately sales, this may also be an indication that you should rethink your lead generation priorities.
DETERMINING THE RIGHT METRICS FOR YOUR SUCCESS
Every company has its own requirements, each of which demands different standards for lead generation. Names for the various metrics may vary from company to company. However, when it comes to measuring success in lead generation, there are basically four indicators to consider.
- Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) or marketing leads provide information about the amount of leads won. This metric can be a good quality indicator – provided you and your sales team apply relevant evaluation criteria to your leads. Also common terms are Marketing Accepted Leads or simply Leads.
- Sales Accepted Leads (SALs) or Sales Leads give an insight into the lower part of the sales funnel. They show you how many sales opportunities you generate for the sales team. Some companies prefer to use the term Sales Accepted Opportunities, but it’s always the same concept: leads that, because of their characteristics and behaviors, provide a relevant sales opportunity with the potential to close for the sales team.
- Conversions: This indicator takes you deeper into the funnel and shows you the number of leads that lead to actual sales.
- ROI (Return on Investment) is the final and crucial piece of the puzzle. It measures the revenue generated from sales made with your leads.
You can then use these metrics to determine your cost per lead (CPL), your cost per sales lead or your cost per conversion. Your company’s revenue can also be attributed to individual marketing touchpoints that helped generate a lead.
As a marketer, you probably have a requirement to generate a certain number of leads. But the benefits you bring to your company ultimately depend on the quality of the leads you generate. You can make life easier for yourself by setting goals and focusing on the metrics that meet both priorities – quantity and quality.
Marketing leads and sales leads are important to show in real time what marketing is contributing. This is especially relevant in long sales cycles, where sales deals can drag on for months or even years.
But these figures alone do not necessarily do justice to the contribution you make. You should periodically (depending on your end of month, quarter or year sales cycle) review your ROI to show how the quality of your leads adds value to your business.
ADDRESS THE RIGHT INTERESTED PARTIES
Lead generation campaigns are most effective when they reflect what you know about your potential customers-and what they know about your business.
The most efficient use of your marketing budget is to target the point where your potential customers are in the buying process. To make sure you don’t miss any promising leads that you can pass on to sales
ADDRESS INTERESTED CUSTOMERS
Start with the customers where the chances of success are the greatest. These are the customers you know are interested in your offers and have already signaled interest.
The demand is already there. Your task now is to generate leads quickly and efficiently from this demand. You can target these customers using LinkedIn Matched Audiences’ website retargeting feature.
This option can be found in the Campaign Manager, where all LinkedIn campaigns are managed. First, you need to insert the LinkedIn Insight tag into your website. Then you can define target audience segments based on the pages visited on your website. The free Website Demographics tool also gives you precise information about the visitors to your site based on anonymous profile data. Website Demographics can also be accessed via the Insight Tag.
To install the LinkedIn Insight Tag on your website
- log in to the Campaign Manager
- click on your account name or click “New Account”.
- click on “Website Demographics” and then on the option to set up the LinkedIn Insight tag.
- then follow the instructions to add the tag to your website
IMPORTANT: Be sure to check the requirements of the EU-DSGVO before adding the LinkedIn Insight tag!
ADDRESS POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS YOU ALREADY KNOW
People who have already been in contact with your company may be easily recruited as leads. They know what you offer and what to expect when working with you, and they are more likely to respond to your content and ads.
With LinkedIn Matched Audiences, you can upload lists of relevant email addresses from your database to LinkedIn to target your audience. These can be subscribers to your newsletter or blog who you already value for their expertise, existing customers who may be interested in a new product, or leads that have indicated interest in the past but never led to conversion.
ADDRESS PRIORITIZED ACCOUNTS
Next, you should look at the buyers and decision makers of companies you know have a need for your solutions. An account-based marketing (ABM) strategy that you develop with the sales team will help you to quickly and efficiently acquire relevant top leads.
With Matched Audiences, you can upload a list of up to 300,000 names of companies to be used as target accounts.
GENERATE DEMAND AND LEADS AND FILL THE FUNNEL FROM ABOVE
With the preceding measures you have covered the customers who are the easiest to win. The next step is to focus on the potential leads who don’t yet know your company exists, or don’t know it well enough. If your primary goal is to increase the number of leads, you need to find a way to reach a large number of candidates without spending too much money or compromising the quality of the leads won.
In other words, you need LinkedIn profile data. LinkedIn profile data ensures that your campaign reaches a large number of members who may be interested in buying from you. With the right approach, lead generation experience and bidding strategy, these potential prospects can become leads.
It is important to avoid hyper-targeting. Keep in mind that you want to address a large number of potential buyers that you do not yet know in detail. Therefore, do not be tempted to randomly select a specific target group and guess at the specifications. This would exclude people who might have become leads. It would also require a larger budget and would most likely increase your cost per lead.
HOW TO USE LINKEDIN PROFILE DATA MOST EFFECTIVELY FOR LEAD GENERATION
Choose a few targeting criteria that are accurate but broad enough. Industry and field of activity are as good a combination as field of activity and career level. They are relevant and deliver a sufficiently large target group. If possible, avoid using the job title unless there is a good reason to use this criterion. This may exclude people whose position differs from the title you use.
If you want to increase the reach of your campaigns and generate a large number of leads, you’re more likely to target audiences who are unfamiliar with your business and offerings. Depending on how well known your company is, it may not only be about leads, but also about generating demand. You should take this into account when creating your ad design. Don’t assume that your company is known to potential customers who may not even know about it.
It’s also a good idea to complement your lead generation activities with demand generation campaigns that target a similar audience but don’t require you to provide information. When potential customers visit your site as a result of such efforts, you can then use website retargeting on LinkedIn to follow up with lead generation activities.
Make the most of your targeting with LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms
Lead generation means convincing relevant prospects to provide you with their contact information.
Unfortunately, no one likes to fill out forms – let alone busy decision makers – but they are your most valuable source of leads. The easier you make it for these people to submit your contact data, the more leads you win, which in turn reduces the cost per lead.
Another advantage is the higher average quality of leads, as more relevant prospects pass through this phase of lead generation in full.
That’s why LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms are an essential part of any LinkedIn lead generation campaign. Lead Gen Forms are shorter, smart forms that are optimized for mobile devices and therefore targeted at the medium where 57% of interactions on LinkedIn occur. The forms are automatically pre-filled with data from LinkedIn profiles, giving potential customers the ability to provide contact information on a smartphone with just a few clicks.
This has two advantages for you:
Demonstrably more leads won per campaign and
Significantly lower cost per lead (CPL).
LinkedIn lead-gen forms can also be combined with the two main content formats on LinkedIn: Sponsored Content and Sponsored InMails.
SELECT FORMATS FOR THE INTENDED TARGET GROUP
LinkedIn offers several touchpoints that you can use to generate leads. The spectrum ranges from organic activities that help interested potential customers find you and your company more easily, to paid offers that allow you to send the right messages to the right people. The following touchpoints are suitable for lead generation.
Optimize your inbound touchpoints to convert engagement and interest into leads.
LinkedIn Corporate Pages
A LinkedIn company page is the presence of your company on LinkedIn. There you can share news, industry insights and thought leadership articles to attract followers. If members follow your company, you can assume they are interested in your products and services.
LinkedIn focus pages
Focus pages are extensions of your company site. They serve to bring a brand, your own business unit or initiative more strongly into focus. You can create pages for areas of your company that deserve a very specific message or that address specific target group segments. This helps you to establish a clear follower base as a target group for lead generation
Publishing on LinkedIn
Research by LinkedIn and Edelman has shown that thought leadership content plays a critical role in lead generation. Nearly half of all corporate decision-makers report that this content has led directly to a business relationship with the company in question.
By posting on LinkedIn, you can reach the real decision makers: 45% of the members who read these posts posted on LinkedIn are members of their companies’ leadership team, including VPs and CEOs. Help your executives publish good professional articles that underscore your company’s expertise and present your messages. You can share your own learnings or answer pressing questions from customers and prospects to generate content through crowdsourcing.
USE YOUR BUDGET FOR THE FOLLOWING OUTBOUND TOUCHPOINTS TO REACH THE RIGHT PEOPLE AND GET THEM INTERESTED FASTER
LEADS TO WIN
Sponsored content means that your content appears in the LinkedIn feed – exactly where LinkedIn members get information to stay up to date. You can sponsor updates that you’ve already posted on your corporate site, or post them directly to your target audience feed:
Top tips for using sponsored content to generate leads:
Sponsored content is not only ideal for publishing value-added content, but also for promotions and invitations to events.
If your campaign is aimed at a specific target group, address them directly in the headline and text of your sponsored content ad to generate more response.
Please note the following character specifications for optimal presentation of sponsored content on all devices: maximum 70 characters for the headline and maximum 150 characters for the text.
Striking videos and images guarantee attention. Images with 1200 x 627 pixels are displayed optimally on desktops and mobile devices.
Test different variants and optimize those that are particularly successful.
Sponsored InMail are private messages to your target audience, delivered through LinkedIn’s messaging environment. This mix of email and instant messaging is well received by professionals, as evidenced by the 52% open rate. With Sponsored InMail, you can reach potential customers on mobile devices, desktops and tablets and generate leads through promotions, event invitations or content downloads.
Top tips for using Sponsored InMail to generate leads:
Use a key expert or industry insider in your company as the sender of your message.
In the subject line of your message, indicate the benefits you offer as a company so that recipients have a reason to read the message.
Keep your message short and clear.
Use banner images (300 x 250 pixels) to attract attention.
Use friendly formulated call-to-actions. Evaluations have shown that these are most effective.
Use hyperlinks in the message text of your sponsored email.
Dynamic Ads use data from LinkedIn profiles to customize your ad to the people in your target audience. This dynamic customization not only attracts users’ attention, but also encourages interaction. Members of your audience see ads with your profile photo, name, and the image you’ve selected for your brand.
Dynamic Ads are 300 x 250 pixels in size and appear on the right side of the LinkedIn desktop page. Pre-completed information is used for personalization, similar to the data collection of Lead Gen Forms.
Top tips for using text ads for lead generation:
Use text ads to direct prospects to a data capture form on your website.
Use keyword campaigns for your search marketing to quickly and easily create text ads. (The texts are of similar length and you can use the keywords to target LinkedIn members based on their knowledge. To do this, enter the keywords in the appropriate field in the Campaign Manager).
Address your target group directly in the ad text.
Create multiple versions for each campaign and optimize the versions that get the most clicks.
Always use an image. Even if the images in text ads are small, they will still increase the impact of the ad.
Programmatic Display Ads also appear in the right column of the LinkedIn desktop page. With its traditional format (300 x 250 pixels), this display variant fits well with existing online display ads. This makes LinkedIn easy to integrate into your Programmatic plan.
Top tips for using Progammatic Display Ads for lead generation:
If you are running a Programmatic lead generation campaign with an appropriate target and call-to-action, you can increase the quality of the generated leads by extending them to LinkedIn.
COORDINATE TARGETING, BIDDING STRATEGY AND TOUCHPOINTS
Each time a LinkedIn member scrolls through their feed, advertisers have the opportunity to display sponsored content or other advertising formats to that member via an auction. Similar auctions are held for the provision of sponsored email. In doing so, we naturally want to protect the user experience of LinkedIn members while ensuring a high level of engagement
LinkedIn therefore controls how many promotions and text ads each member sees in their feed and caps the frequency of sending sponsored email. So you need to make a competitive bid so you can reach your target audience with your marketing content and generate leads.
The amount of your bid should be based on how likely you are to generate leads in your target group and the value of those leads to your company. Some LinkedIn advertising formats require a higher bid than others, so the target audience will influence the choice of your formats:
If you want to target people who have expressed interest in your company or industry, it’s worth investing in formats that have a high impact and one euro over the maximum bid range shown in the Campaign Manager, because these are people with a high probability of buying. So there are promising sales leads and conversions waiting for you – and they are worth your money.
But it is not only the final value of these people that justifies a high bid (and formats with a high impact). Because these leads are won quickly, your overall cost per lead is also reduced. By combining sponsored content and sponsored email with LinkedIn lead-gen forms, you can reach your target audience across devices whenever they’re active on LinkedIn. LinkedIn uses a second price model for auctions. This means that the amount you ultimately pay is likely to be less than the amount you bid.
Even when ABM is done jointly with sales, it’s worthwhile to rely on high bids and formats with great impact. This group of people are prospective customers who have been identified by your company as a priority target group. Your sales team relies on you to generate “warm leads” with the companies on their target lists – and this should be reflected in your bidding strategy. You have already identified these accounts as relevant to your business, so the likelihood of conversions and therefore of winning leads is greater, which justifies a higher bid.
To address a broader pool of prospects on a limited budget, you may need to adjust your approach. In this case, you can supplement sponsored content and sponsored e-mails with text ads, for example. Text ad bids are typically lower, so you can bid aggressively, make better use of your budget, and achieve greater reach. This approach helps you generate broader leads without losing sight of the cost per lead.
Your knowledge of the target group also influences the nature of your bid. You can choose between CPC bids (cost per click) or CPM bids (cost per impression) in the Campaign Manager.
A CPC bid is ideal for a broad target group where you have no idea of the possible click-through rate. This ensures that your budget will only be used if a member takes an action that is likely to bring you a lead.
For a target group where you expect many clicks (such as contacts from your email database), a CPM bid may be more efficient. CPM bids are typically lower than CPC bids. So if you expect a high click-through rate, you can generate leads at a lower cost.
ON YOUR SALES TEAM’S WISH LIST: OPTIMIZATION AND SYNCHRONIZATION
Lead generation can – and should – bring marketing and sales closer together. If you are able to align the customer journey with both areas and show the extent to which marketing contributes to sales, sales and marketing can work together more effectively. The result is a seamless and intuitive user experience for both parties.
LinkedIn’s tracking and analysis capabilities play an important role in this process and are therefore an essential part of lead generation.
With the LinkedIn Insight tag on your website, you can use conversion tracking to see which campaigns are most effective and use that knowledge to optimize your approach when needed. Website Demographics also tells you which prospects become leads. This allows you to check whether you are actually winning the leads that are most valuable to your business.
The LinkedIn Sales Navigator social selling platform offers further opportunities for efficient collaboration between sales and marketing. Here, the sales team can respond to signals and identify the companies that you should prioritize when generating leads. In Sales Navigator, users learn which people are worth talking to and when is the best time to contact them.
These insights help sales and marketing to work together more effectively in generating leads.