How B2B Marketers Can Use LinkedIn For ABM
As ABM gains steam in the B2B world, top sales and marketing teams are finding success with using LinkedIn for targeting campaigns to specific companies and leads.
February 26, 2020
Whether it’s time or money, we like to do everything we can to get the most out of what we’re spending.
While time and money management in our personal lives is one thing, optimizing them in our professional lives is becoming easier by the minute. New software solutions are discovered constantly in order to help us schedule our meetings, balance our projects, and automate our marketing efforts.
While some of these software solutions take a bit of research, others are hiding in plain sight.
LinkedIn, for example, is a social networking site with hundreds of millions of business professionals who use it daily to connect, educate, and inspire one another. But if you go beyond the basics of LinkedIn, it can allow your marketing team to cut through the noise to reach your target audience?
Enter: account-based marketing (ABM). This strategy is often used to acquire a specific, high-value customer, as opposed to attempting to acquire as many audience members as possible in the hopes that at least one of them will move down the funnel. ABM is all about knowing what you can provide and who your ideal customers are. Creating an account-based marketing strategy can help you and your team focus on who your most important potential customers are before diving in head-first.
Why use LinkedIn for ABM
Knowing how to use LinkedIn for ABM doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re ready to hop into it. If you need a little more convincing, there are several reasons that B2B marketers should be taking advantage of LinkedIn when it comes to ABM.
First, LinkedIn allows for audience targeting in all of the same ways that many of the other social media platforms do: location, age, and so on. But LinkedIn also offers some unique ways to target individuals that other platforms don’t necessarily include, such as specifying job titles, functions, and even specific companies.
LinkedIn allows for several campaigns to be run at once, and A/B tests are not only permitted by LinkedIn, but encouraged. Additionally, there are a plethora of different types of campaigns provided by LinkedIn to ensure that the experience your team gives to your leads is at its peak.
Finally, LinkedIn’s analytics capabilities provide live updates on campaign performance metrics as well as overall insights in regards to what’s working best and what may need some tweaking.
Understanding LinkedIn account-based marketing
Using account-based marketing software can help automate the process of identifying prospects and nurturing them with appropriate resources as they move through the sales funnel. ABM software can also help acquire new accounts and grow others. This software can also be integrated with already-existing software within a business, such as marketing automation platforms, to better target accounts and prioritize communication with those who are most important.
But you don’t necessarily have to invest in complicated software to get started with ABM; LinkedIn can be used to implement some of those very same tactics. Below, we’ll go over the “how” and the “why” regarding LinkedIn account targeting so that you and your team can focus on hitting the bullseye.
How to use LinkedIn ABM to generate leads
There are many ways to use LinkedIn to generate leads. We’ll go over some of the best practices you can use for LinkedIn targeting.
1. Have a list of target accounts
While general marketing practices focus on creating an ideal customer profile, ABM becomes much more specific. Instead of (or in addition to) looking at their interests, consult the sales team in regards to who they imagine will be buying your product or service in the future. Whether you’re marketing to a small group or marketing at scale, making sure that you’re being thorough in listing your prospects to the best of your ability is a crucial first step in the process.
LinkedIn allows marketers to import these targeted lists to their platform for paid advertising, and takes the steps to match the information you provide with actual accounts on LinkedIn. Once a minimum of 300 accounts has been identified on LinkedIn, you can start targeting this segment through paid advertising.
2. Know your audience
The list of prospects you provide LinkedIn won’t match the criteria you likely have in place for your audience. Narrow it down even further by looking at the ideal demographics of these prospects. ABM marketers should be going beyond targeting age and gender – specifying things like location, job titles, job functions, and even interests can get marketers a better idea of who their audience really is.
For example, if your team wants to target the marketing decision-makers in the U.S., the United States can be selected under Locations and Business Development and Marketing can be specified under Job Functions. Further, specific job titles like CMO can also be clearly identified in this area, as well as companies, demographics, education, and other interests.
3. Choose your ad type and specify your audience
LinkedIn offers several different ad format options for advertisers to display their content: LinkedIn sponsored content, LinkedIn text ads, LinkedIn display ads, dynamic ads, and video ads. Each of these different types of advertising appears differently within the LinkedIn feed, and each has their own benefits. Use A/B testing to determine which ad type is most effective for giving you the results you’re looking for with your ABM campaign.
Whichever options you begin with, be sure that you’re specifying the audience you want seeing your content. This can be done by signing into LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager, selecting the appropriate campaign group, and then selecting the dropdown menu labeled “Account Assets”. From this menu, select “Matched Audiences” and create an audience from your list upload. From here, your list can be included in your targeting settings.
4. Choose content specific to account targeting
When considering lead generation, it’s important to remember that few, if any, are at the bottom of your sales funnel. So, while you may have content ready to go for those who are already at the decision-making stage, lead generation isn’t the right time to be providing those offers.
On LinkedIn, or any platform you’re trying to generate leads from, provide content that educates prospects. Attention can be drawn with a popular article on your blog, informative white papers or eBooks, and even colorful infographics.
Whatever you’re providing, be sure to gate it so that those who are truly interested in viewing this content can fill out their contact information. Once that information has been collected, you can enter them into a workflow within your marketing automation software that is specific to them and their interests, providing your team with a greater chance at successfully engaging them.
5. Track your engagement
While it may be an obvious step to take, the multiple benefits of tracking your engagement may not be equally as apparent. Tracking the results of your ABM accounts can help you and your team better understand who else to be targeting within those accounts, when the appropriate time is to interact with them further in a workflow, and which accounts may be on the edge and need another gentle push to be moved along the funnel.
Activating real-time alerts so that you and your team can get in touch with the people who have demonstrated interest in your business within an appropriate amount of time. Doing this quickly can help uncover additional opportunities that may have been missed otherwise.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator can provide these alerts for your team so that you can see exactly when targeted accounts engage with your ads. Of course, this builds up your engagement score, but there’s a hidden gem within this feature. While it’s built to show you which accounts are interacting with your ads, you and your team can take an additional step and use that information to determine which accounts aren’t engaging, and think critically about the reasoning behind some personas versus others. Why are some offerings working, and how can you change the ads that aren’t?
Jumpstart your ABM process with LinkedIn
Most business professionals are already leveraging LinkedIn for networking, knowledge sharing, and inspiration. Why not use the platform for everything that it’s worth? Although other social platforms provide targeting options, none are as specific and curated as LinkedIn’s. If you know who you’re targeting and you’re looking for a new way to capture leads, it’s not too late to use LinkedIn ABM techniques.