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4 B2B LinkedIn Strategies SaaS Companies Can Leverage to Generate Leads

LinkedIn has grown by leaps and bounds since it first launched in 2003, now boasting nearly 700 million users. In addition to its exponential growth, LinkedIn has become the top platform for B2B social selling: 97% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to distribute company content. This means if your company isn’t on board yet, you’re way behind.

Let’s dig into best practices and cover four B2B LinkedIn strategies you can use to optimize for SaaS lead generation.

1. Page optimization

One of the biggest mistakes people make with their LinkedIn profiles is optimizing for self-selling, not social selling. Many people began using LinkedIn as more of an “online resume” and haven’t updated their profile or behavior to reflect current goals of growth and sales. Here are a few social selling tips that will help with profile optimization and improve your strategy.

Optimize your personal profile

Show your face and smile
Your LinkedIn profile starts with your literal profile, your face. Increase response rates by updating your profile photo with something professional that also expresses your personality. You want prospects to see you as a trusted individual.

Thought leader and CEO Gary Vaynerchuk does this well, with his defined branding and engaging photographs.

Become easier to find
Create a custom LinkedIn URL featuring your first and last name to make your profile easy to find. Link to your profile from other social media sites or your personal website.

Utilize your prime real estate
Use your LinkedIn headline as a space to write your value proposition. What do you do and what services can you offer to help fill a void a prospect might have? You want to establish confidence that will be further reassured with other elements of your profile. See examples below!

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Grow your audience

Make the right connections
Building your network with the right people is one of the most important steps to social selling. Don’t just blindly add anyone who wants to connect. Find commonalities and points of interest that could be useful conversation starters.

Did you know? LinkedIn limits your connections to 30,000.

Send invitations to anyone you have had a personal interaction with or someone whose online presence you admire, but make sure the invite is customized and expresses the reason you want to connect with them. These connections may lead to sales, in the long run, so make them early and often, being sure to nurture the ones that provide value.

Become a thought leader
Sharing advice, tips, resources and helping your audience solve business problems can position you as an expert. Other users might see your curation of articles and find them interesting, ultimately building credibility.

Creating this type of content is a way to share thoughts on an issue for your demographic and provide value. Well-developed content can help address the concerns of prospects directly while providing answers to their questions.

Engage with your network
Leaving thoughtful comments on the posts of your connections grabs the attention of an audience that might fit your potential target market. Participating in LinkedIn discussion groups also gets a foot in the door with prospects and related audiences.

Add a personal touch
After meeting someone new, continuing the conversation online can enhance your reputation. Send a note with a question, comment or something you noticed on their profile that could lead to a broader conversation. As you’re sharing content, don’t focus on selling yet. Provide valuable content and the sales conversations will come.

Start social selling

Once these relationships have been developed and nurtured, take the conversation offline. Meet in person or schedule a conference call (with your video on!) to better establish a connection and convert the prospect into a client. Face-to-face sales meetings are a great way to present a personalized service for clients that will keep them engaged much longer.

Social selling on LinkedIn is a great way to tap into an unexplored market or direct a larger audience into the sales funnel—ultimately increasing chances of a client relationship. By optimizing your profile and participating in business-related conversations, LinkedIn can be used to your benefit and ultimately boost your sales revenue.

Not sure where to start with social selling? Leverage this social selling workbook.

2. Write articles and become a thought leader

LinkedIn publishing is an untapped opportunity for many B2B companies looking to drive leads. It’s a great opportunity to interact with connections and drive website visitors.

Now that you’ve optimized your personal profile, let’s dive in. Here’s how to publish thought leadership on LinkedIn.

Step 1: Add text

To start, you first need a written piece of content such as a blog or article. As a best practice, publish your posts on a company blog or website first.

When you have a piece ready to publish on LinkedIn, go to your news feed. There, you’ll see an area where users have the ability to share different types of content. Select “Write an article.”

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From there, add a headline and text. LinkedIn has very simple formatting tools. Include headlines and bold important text throughout your article to make it easier for your audience to skim.

Reposting a blog or another written piece that has already been posted elsewhere? Try changing up the headline.

Don’t forget to identify any points of promotion within the article. These are great places to link back to the original post or other related content you’ve created to drive website visitors and increase SEO. However, don’t go overboard with linking. Try to keep it to one link per 150 words.

Step 2: Add videos/images

Visuals are key for posts. So pick wisely and make sure the top image is representative of the content produced.

Adding videos and images throughout posts is very useful. To do so, simply click the “+” sign on the margin of the publisher draft page. From there, you can add various types of media.

 

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As a best practice, any media should match a company’s brand. One great example of a LinkedIn publisher who has strong, cohesive branding is Liz Ryan. She keeps imagery consistent yet unique, so her audience knows the post comes from her.

Step 3: Include a call-to-action

Having links back to your website throughout a post will drive website traffic, but ask yourself,

“What do I want readers to do once they’ve read through my post?”

This is a great opportunity to drive readers to your other content, as they’ve already self-identified as interested in what you’re writing. If you don’t have much content, or don’t have anything relevant to link back to, don’t worry. It’s easy to ask your audience to leave comments and one of the biggest missed call-to-action opportunities is simply asking for people to share their thoughts. If you don’t know what readers should do next, ask them to engage further with your post.

Step 4: Publish

Once post elements have been added and reviewed, the article can be published by clicking the blue button in the top right-hand corner of a draft.

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Once published, your connections will receive a notification and there’s an option to share on LinkedIn’s news feed as well. If you want to share in the news feed, make sure to add text to your post that talks about why someone should read it (answer what’s in it for them).

You can share links to your article on your other channels as well. Promote it on Twitter and Facebook to drive more traffic.

Step 5: Expect a response

Simply publishing a blog isn’t where this story ends. Expect your audience to respond to posts by liking it, sharing it and commenting on it!

Be ready to engage with these people. For example, if someone shares a post, send them a quick thank you. If someone comments on your post, respond back in a timely manner.

The point of posting on LinkedIn is to engage an additional audience, so if that is done well, you can extend your network and eventually obtain new clients.

3. Create engaging and helpful linked videos

While republishing articles to LinkedIn is an excellent way to establish yourself as an industry leader, video, too, has become increasingly necessary on LinkedIn as a branding tool.

Video on LinkedIn is a great way to:

    • Tell compelling, visual stories
    • Generate awareness and leave a lasting impression on your viewers
    • Establish a personal brand
    • Drive conversions and gather leads

Anyone can create

Unlike high-production marketing videos found on other platforms, most marketers favor content that’s inexpensive and easy to create on LinkedIn. You can easily create a quality video with very little equipment. In fact, many marketers stick to using only their smartphones to create videos on LinkedIn.

Look beyond your network

Since social videos are 1200% more likely to be shared than text or image posts combined, they naturally have a higher organic reach. This gives you the ability to reach individuals who are second or third connections.

Drive traffic to your website or LinkedIn profile

Similar to articles on LinkedIn, when uploading video, you can include links to your business or personal website to drive traffic. You should also always remember to include a call-to-action (CTA). Again, like articles, this can be as simple as asking your audience to interact further on your post.

Accelity sees the most success leaving links as the first comment on a video post instead of in the post copy.

4. Advertising best practices

While there is a lot of success to be had on LinkedIn organically, there is a great deal of opportunity to be found in LinkedIn advertising. LinkedIn’s advertising options are similar to those of Facebook, providing users with the opportunity to create a variety of different types of ads with varying goals. Here are some of the best practices for being successful with LinkedIn advertising.

Set yourself up for success with a free company page

Before starting a LinkedIn advertising campaign, it’s essential to lay a strong foundation for your company. To do so, create a free company page for your SaaS business. This will establish your company’s brand on LinkedIn and is required for specific ad formats.

In addition to setting up a company page, you need to create a campaign manager account. This account allows you to properly manage the ads platform. You can set up ad accounts, run campaigns and control budgets just by signing in.

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Understand the value you want to provide

Before you begin conceptualizing ads or trying to segment your audience, it is crucial to develop a purpose and added value proposition. Trying to generate more leads? Focus on a sales angle that is still engaging. Aiming to drive more traffic to your website? Develop ads around previously produced content, including blogs. Figure out the why before the what when developing these ads. It’ll save time, money and headaches.

LinkedIn ad formats are important to understand—these are how you’ll reach your audience.

You can select from:

    • Sponsored Content
    • Sponsored InMail
    • Text Ads (pay per click)
    • LinkedIn programmatic display ads
    • LinkedIn dynamic ads

Each of the above will help you achieve different goals.

Target specific audience segments

Figuring out the audience you are trying to reach is vital for LinkedIn Ads to ensure the ads are most effective. The LinkedIn ads platform is unique because you can target based on what a person does professionally, including:

    • Job title
    • Industry
    • Job seniority
    • Company name
    • Degrees
    • Skills
    • Years of experience

LinkedIn provides plenty of targeting facets but requires advertisers to use the location field—whether that be a specific city or broader area. It’s a good practice to add one or two more fields based on your targeted audience. However, hyper-targeting, or selecting too many fields, is not encouraged as it could hurt an initial campaign’s effectiveness. After talking with LinkedIn, we found they recommend an audience size be around 20,000–80,000 for optimal results.

There are also options to re-engage website visitors with Website Retargeting, nurture prospects with Contact Targeting or run account-based marketing campaigns with Account Targeting.

Set goals & execute

First, before creating ads, set SMART Goals. Doing so ensures you have a clear vision of who you’re targeting and why, and your desired outcome. Identify both the buyer persona and the stage of the buyer’s journey for your intended audience. Once a strong strategy is built, it’s time to create great content.

Create captivating content

Once a target audience is figured out, creating captivating content is the next step. This is where the meat of the matter lies for your ad strategy. Produce valuable ad content or the audience might ignore it.

Most people use LinkedIn to gain unique insights relevant to their profession or skills, so consider what would catch your attention when creating content. Choose language that will appeal to this audience and use clear, compelling words that encourage leads to take action.

In addition, it’s recommended you follow these best practices when creating ads:

    • Include a creative and compelling image that’s relevant to the advertisement
    • Address specific audiences directly: “Are you a social media marketer?”
    • Use a strong call to action
    • Refresh ads at least once per month with new text or images
    • Link to a landing page that matches the message, so leads can take the next step such as downloading content

Set a competitive bid

Determine what you are trying to achieve and set and measure your budget accordingly. LinkedIn recommends testing with at least $100/day or around $5,000 in total. Aiming for $200/week to start is recommended.

For each campaign, you will set a payment method as well as a bid. The payment method is based on cost per click (CPC), cost per 1,000 impressions (CPM) or cost per view (CPV) for video. The bid is the maximum amount you’re willing to pay for those clicks/impressions/views.

There are four bidding strategies you can deploy within LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager:

  • Automated bidding: LinkedIn uses historical data to set your bid for maximum performance, maximizing performance within your full budget.
  • Target cost bidding: Another automated option that lets you specify your target cost per click/impression/view for maximum cost predictability.
  • Maximum cost bidding: If you want maximum control over your budget, use this manual option to set the highest bid you’re willing to pay for.
  • Enhanced CPC bidding: Depending on your campaign objectives (e.g. website visits, engagement), the Campaign Manager will optimize your bid to those most likely to click.

If the goal is to be competitive, you will want to set a bid that’s on the higher end of the suggested bid range—this range is an estimate of the current competing bids by other advertisers. LinkedIn will discount the click or impression bid so that you are only paying the minimum necessary to outbid the next advertiser.

Keep in mind, if you don’t enter a bid that’s within the suggested range, an ad will be less likely to beat the competition.

A/B Testing

As with emails, landing pages and more, the best way to ensure you’re optimizing your efforts is testing. With LinkedIn ads, there are many opportunities for optimization including audience, headline, copy and graphics.

Run identical ads simultaneously with one small tweak to test out different parts of your ad. Remember to always change only one piece and run your tests for at least two weeks in order to produce accurate results. Once your first test is done, hypothesize another improvement and continue to optimize.

Analyze the campaign’s performance

LinkedIn provides professional demographic data you can use to discover and target new audiences. Once your most responsive demographic is determined, you can adjust your audience for more efficient reach.

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Furthermore, LinkedIn campaign insights allow you to easily understand how your ads are performing and provide recommendations to improve bids and budgets, which helps increase your ROI. Additionally, you are able to test variations of your ad and adjust ads based on your findings.

Advertising on LinkedIn helps businesses achieve their goals—whether the goal is to promote a brand or capture leads. It’s designed to be convenient and easy to comprehend, allowing more work to be done with less stress involved.

If you want to continue this conversation and find more great ways to drive sales with LinkedIn, contact Milwaukee marketing agency, Accelity.

 

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