Many B2B companies are homing in on the effectiveness of using LinkedIn ads for account-based marketing (ABM) as a short-term (and highly effective) solution to welcome long-term revenue growth. We look at the many benefits of this method, plus how to mobilise your LinkedIn ad campaign when coupled with your ABM goals. Therefore, should you go for a LinkedIn Ads agency rather than go it alone? We recommend using an agency, because LinkedIn Ads for account based marketing require a knowledge of the platform that not all entrepreneurs have beforehand.
1 – What is Account-Based Marketing (ABM)?
In Layman’s terms, account-based marketing is a strategy designed to turn a B2B company’s desired audience into an active audience, AKA, customers. How it works is marketing and sales teams liaise in order to target the client’s desired accounts with the end goal of converting them into customers. The ideal account targets are usually as follows:
– Those likely to stay with the company on a long-term basis.
– Those shopping for the company’s specific products/services, therefore, have a high likelihood of being converted.
– Those with a budget that matches the prices of the company’s products/services.
– High-yielding leads (high interest, high dividends, etc).
2 – Why LinkedIn ads ABM is Useful for B2B Companies
LinkedIn Ads for ABM campaigns can be highly efficient for you when done right. We’ve generated more than 100 sales qualified leads for the SaaS company Emdesk in two months.
If you’re wondering how the ABM and LinkedIn marriage works well, here is why:
– Most social media platforms generally target audiences based on a generic demographic information, such as age, location, etc. And while LinkedIn is technically classed as a social media channel, it is more thorough in its targeting, predominantly because it is almost exclusively designed for business networking. Its other targeting areas include: job titles, skills, industry, functions, companies, and so on. This makes it a more powerful and precise tool for account-based marketing.
– LinkedIn offers campaign autonomy insofar as it allows users to run more than one campaign at any given time, as well as providing its own campaign types to enhance your lead generation.
– LinkedIn’s key performance indicators (KPIs) allow for useful insights on what is working well within your campaign, and what may need adjusting, as well as live updates on performance metrics.
All of these serve to enable your ABM to have more insight into the productivity and effectiveness of your strategy.
3 – Best Practices to Succeed on LinkedIn with Account-based marketing
Before you begin, it is important to ensure your sales and marketing teams are aligned to create the best engagement with potential account prospects. Failure to do so will result in a sloppy, badly-orchestrated attack on the account, which will likely be very off-putting for them.
The key to this?
Communication. Clear, consistent communication between the two teams will mean smooth-sailing as each team performs their individual tasks and creates solid unity in seeking out the best account prospects for the client – and then the best strategy to reel them in.
Once this crucial stage of the process has been ticked off, now it’s time to get to work. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to succeed on LinkedIn with ABM.
3.1 – Identify & Be Clear On Your Objectives
It’s unlikely you’ll have just one objective when marrying LinkedIn with account-based marketing, so both teams will need to be one hundred percent clear on what those goals are, and why they’re trying to achieve them.
With this merger, it is important to be both specific and picky. If you have multiple goals, which ones are the most urgent or important? Aim for one or two, and leave the rest until a later date. This will provide clarity on who the best account prospects are and the right approach for them.
As we mentioned earlier, don’t be afraid to be thorough and specific about identifying your goals here. Don’t fall into the trap of being vague by outlining “increased revenue” as the main goal. That’s everyone’s goal, ABM-using or not!
A good way to do this is for both marketing and sales parties to brainstorm and dissect the outlined goals. Or if you’re still not overly sure on the goals, here are some examples of good ABM-LinkedIn aims:
– Increase/encourage customer loyalty
– Speed up sales cycles
– Increase the number of meetings with account key players
– Seek out more account decision-makers
– Hit a revenue target with current accounts
3.2 – Define Your Target Audience
Although LinkedIn goes beyond most social media platforms when it comes to ABM targeting, that doesn’t mean you should rely on it to do this part of the job for you. LinkedIn may pull users from any given location, and at any position within a targeted company. This won’t help you. Instead, you’ll need to narrow down various factors such as:
– Job Titles
– Job Seniorities
– Job Functions
Being extremely clear on who your target audience is will save you much time.
3.3 – Account Targeting
This section of the article looks at the best approaches for targeting different audiences.
#1 Targeting Corporate Audiences
And by corporate, we mean companies that boast over 1000 employees – this is the audience type that will benefit most from this method: the corporate decision makers.
Start an audience-building process by setting up a campaign and choosing one of the options that appears under ‘Consideration’ (website visits, engagement, or video views), then start adding the companies. You can add up to 250 companies per audience.
Then begin extracting certain information, such as company, demographics, education, job experience, and interests & traits. Job titles will help too, if you have that information already. If this approach results in an audience somewhat on the small side, you can combine job function and seniority. If you’re finding the audience is too large, however, you can couple these two with member skills.
If your targeted audience is a company with fewer than 1000 employees, you may find that it is too small. It is advisable to target an audience with a minimum of 5000 employees to garner the right audience size.
#2 Targeting Small/Medium Enterprise (SME) Audiences
If you’re targeting companies with fewer than 1000 employees (even if you add up to 250 companies per audience), then this approach is best. As with the large corporation approach, you need to set up a campaign and choose one of the options that appears under ‘Consideration’ (website visits, engagement, or video views), then start adding the companies.
Please bear in mind, adding job titles here may reduce the audience size a bit too much. If this is the case, you might benefit from expanding member skills plus seniority. This is because with smaller companies, their marketing department may only consist of one or two individuals.
It’s worth mentioning that it is wise to avoid targeting companies with under ten employees via LinkedIn for ABM targeting, as this audience size is too small to enable the campaign to run. If you wish to weed out these companies, here’s how: use a combination of company industry, member skills, job seniority and company size. This will save some time.
4 – Create Highly Relevant Content
Content is key to lead conversion, and it needs to be highly relevant to your audience. Your audience isn’t interested in what you’re trying to sell them; they’re interested in how your products or services can benefit them. Your content will need to clearly demonstrate the value behind what you have to offer. To succeed here, you need to understand both your audience’s goals and pain points. Start by creating a value proposition that is clear, in-depth, and targeted. Understand them from the point of the buyer’s journey concept. Here are some buyer-centric questions to ask yourself:
– “What should I know/do to keep up with my competitors and peers alike?”
– “What is the company missing out on in terms of current value, cost-savings, or future preparation?”
– “What are the industry predictions—this year, next year, and in five years’ time?”
– “How can we best prepare for these changes?”
Good account-based marketing comes down to thought leadership, and many company heads operate with this logic too, and thus respond to content created with this in the peripheral. In terms of their own company content, this can materialise in the form of eBooks, webinars, infographics, and so on. If this is the case, you may benefit from creating high-quality spinoff content specifically for them.
5 – Optimise Campaigns for the Best Results
Account targeting through LinkedIn is an extremely effective strategy, but it isn’t designed for overnight success. But the good news is, there are a few areas of focus in which, if optimised early on and in a diligent manner, can save you both time and money in the long-run. The first being the continued monitoring and nurturing of your campaign. There’s a good chance you won’t hit the mark first time with it, and it may need some tweaking in the bids or budget department. It’s wise to monitor your KPIs here by implementing A/B testing.
A/B testing is a proven way of optimising your campaigns. As we mentioned above, it is vital to keep an eye on how your campaign is performing, and make tweaks if/when necessary. You have freedom here too. You can make any relevant changes to the text in one version of your ad, which won’t impact or alter the other. That way you can then accurately compare the results and make a permanent change if you deem it necessary to do so.
When creating your ad budget, you’ll want to aim for a bid that creates the most results for the minimum amount of expense. With account-based marketing on LinkedIn, your best bet is going with either cost-per-impression or cost-per-click; with cost-per-click being the best method for lead generation (which is the overall objective of account-based marketing). This way, it’s likely you’ll only end up paying for potential leads.
LinkedIn offers a lot of flexibility when it comes to ad budgeting. Generally no budget is too big or too small. But it’s important to remember how much you spend will determine how much you’re able to bid. Having said that, there’s no harm in starting small and increasing your spend once you begin to take stock of how your ads are performing. This will help you with your lead generation in the long term.
Monitoring Your Ad Campaign’s Success
If you’re wondering what to focus on when monitoring your KPIs to determine whether your ad campaign is performing well or not, here are a few key focuses:
– Deals closed
– Click-through rate
– Leads generated (obviously!)
You’ll need to keep hold of your detailed goals list we mentioned earlier to see how the above factors correspond with them. Don’t be disheartened if your campaign isn’t performing in the way you’d hoped. Your KPIs are there to discern this so that you can go in and make any necessary adjustments. Ad campaigns can often be a labour of love!
So, we hope this article has given you a better knowledge of how to combine account-based marketing with LinkedIn to create a high-impact ad campaign with the focus primarily on lead generation.
The important things to take away here are:
– Combining account-based marketing with LinkedIn is a promising method of lead generation for B2B companies.
– LinkedIn is specifically designed for business networking, and so because of this its targeting is much more thorough than other social media channels. Utilising the data it provides will aid you in a much better, more pinpointed audience indicator of who’s likely to convert and who isn’t worth pursuing.
– Before starting your campaign, it is crucial that both your marketing and sales teams are communicating and are both aware of the objectives behind the ad campaign.
– When outlining your objectives and desired outcome from the ad campaign, don’t be vague. Pinpoint one or two goals and thoroughly detail everything about them and how to tailor your campaign plans around them.
If you’d like to learn more about how we help B2B SaaS and Tech companies grow their MRR through LinkedIn advertising, contact us online or send us an email today at firstname.lastname@example.org to speak with someone on our team.
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