LinkedIn is the place for B2B advertising.
But that’s not exactly news to you, is it? If you’re trying to sell to professionals, you want to reach them when they’re working. You don’t want to swim upstream against a deluge of cat videos, political nonsense, and family photos. That’s a poor investment of time, money, and energy.
Instead, you want to harness LinkedIn’s advertising promise of a hyper-targeted, professional-grade audience utopia. You want to target your ads by industry, role, company, geographic location, and all kinds of other useful data points and dimensions.
And if you combine this with the power of video — which has an unparalleled ability to deliver your message and convey emotion — this starts to sound pretty promising, doesn’t it?
We think so.
This guide is going to offer insight into the best way to drive leads, specifically using LinkedIn and video.
If you speak math, that means: LinkedIn + Video + Lead Generation = Crazy Awesome ROI.
Even if you don’t speak math, I think you catch the gist.
It’s worth noting at the outset that LinkedIn is specifically powerful for B2B marketing, and that’s our only recommended use for it. If you are looking to get your message out to consumers, you’ll get more out of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Back to our regularly scheduled message.
It’s hard to deny that LinkedIn reigns supreme when it comes to B2B advertising. If you look at all of the B2B social leads that were closed in 2016, 80.33% were closed on LinkedIn. Twitter was a distant second with 12.73%, Facebook clocked in at 6.73%, and Google+ got a meager 0.21%.
Let’s run down some other numbers. B2B leads are most likely to convert between 1 and 4 P.M. 1 in 3 posts that triggered engagement contained question marks, and the posts that performed best were 248 characters long.
There’s a caveat. While LinkedIn gives you some impressive professional level audience targeting, they were really late bloomers when it came to digital network advertising. This might not be a completely bad thing.
A benefit to their late bloomer status is that, compared to other services, LinkedIn’s advertising tools are very easy to use… especially compared to Facebook or Google AdWords. A potential drawback is that their ad delivery format options are limited. Another downside is that LinkedIn’s Cost Per Click (CPC) is significantly higher than other digital platforms (in most cases).
What do you get in exchange for that higher cost? LinkedIn’s Click-Through-Rate (CTR) is much higher than the rest of the industry. LinkedIn generated the highest visitor-to-lead conversion rate at 2.74%. This is almost 3x higher than both Twitter (0.69%) and Facebook (0.77%). You can see this and more data on this helpful article from HubSpot.
If you feel like LinkedIn’s professional focus and powerful targeting tools will help you meet your objectives, and you don’t mind the cost, then let’s talk about some of the best ways to generate leads using video on LinkedIn.
Tactics For Both Organic & Paid Strategies:
Organic – Company Page
LinkedIn allows you to feature video in two places on their site. They used to be a little more permissive, but they cracked down on options that used to exist.
The first place is your Company page… specifically the Showcase page, which allows you to promote your company’s products and services. This is where you put the stuff that you’re proud of. The stuff that defines you. It’s designed to help you build long-term relationships with your user base.
A great tactic for your Showcase is to feature an explainer for a specific product, along with a Call to Action (CTA) link that will drive your audience toward a landing page. There, they can sign up for a free trial, get more information on your product, or download more content that’s relevant to where they’re at on the buyer’s journey.
It might also be worth attempting direct users to your company’s page by using one of LinkedIn’s paid options. If you attempt to do this, you should really make sure your company page is solid. If it doesn’t dial in on your brand message, create value, and communicate your brand message to these new customers… you’ve just wasted everyone’s time (and your money!)
Organic – Company Updates
The second place you can feature video on LinkedIn is within your Company Updates.
If you’re unfamiliar with LinkedIn, Company Updates are like Facebook Status Updates. They’re a place for you to directly connect with your audience. Unlike Facebook Posts, LinkedIn doesn’t cap your total exposure, which means your posts will show up in the feed of everyone who follows your company. If that doesn’t excite you, it ought to. Fighting against Facebook’s Houdini act with your content is one of the main drawbacks of that platform. This is another point in LinkedIn’s column.
Company Updates are great venues for flagship content. This can be a product video, thought leadership content, or a good old fashioned brand video. It’s also a great place to promote your content strategy as a whole.
You do have a content strategy, don’t you? You’d be surprised how few companies we’ve worked with that have put any thought into their content strategy or video content calendar.
Passive aggression aside, serial content within your update stream is a great way to drive leads. And video makes fantastic serial content.
Company Update content doesn’t just need to relate to products. In what areas can your company claim thought leadership? If you can answer that question, you can use your thought leadership to drive leads. It’s very important to focus on the areas that will be valuable to your potential customers.
It’s important to remember that we are living in an era of “Bought, Not Sold” marketing. Use soft sells at the awareness stage, otherwise you’ll scare people off. Activate your base with video on your LinkedIn updates, or use a shorter video (like a pre-roll or teaser) to drive your audience toward a landing page with a lead generation tactic like gated content. For added effectiveness, use images and CTA phrasing in your Company Updates to drive people to landing pages where video is the core piece of content, preferably behind a lead generation capture system like Wistia.
If you need further convincing that video-based landing pages are the way to go, here’s a figure: you can increase your lead capture by 80% (check out this article from Unbounce to see more). And 80% qualifies as statistically significant!
Good content for your Showcase and Company Updates can be costly, and it can take time to produce, but the payoff is proven… as long as you target your content correctly.
If you’re ready to play the paid content game, LinkedIn gives you three different options to choose from for lead generation.
Paid – Text Ads
LinkedIn’s text ads look very similar to Google search network ads, but the key difference is that LinkedIn’s ads contain small thumbnail images. LinkedIn also gives you a choice between driving people to your company’s LinkedIn page (useful for building your follower count), or sending them off-site to your own landing page conversion points.
You won’t be surprised to hear that Text Ads can’t contain video, BUT you can use them to direct users to a landing page that features video. LinkedIn’s official recommendation is that you use Text Ads if your target audience size is between 60,000 and 40,000 (you can define your target audience when you set up the ad).
The cost models for Text Ads are both CPC & CPM. You’ll definitely want to setup conversion tracking so you can properly attribute any new traffic to the ads you bought. Otherwise, there’s no way to be sure that the ads worked!
Hubspot has a case study on how they used text ads to drive traffic to their lead geneneration page. You can implement video in a scenario like theirs by gating your video with Wistia to generate leads, or to use a video on your landing page to explain your idea, product offer, or epiphany. And of course, if you do the latter, include a lead generation form or CTA option on the page itself.
Paid – Sponsored Content
Sponsored Content on LinkedIn looks a lot like organic Company Updates. The main advantage of paying for Sponsored Content is that your message will appear to people outside of your audience. Your updates will land in the timelines of people who aren’t already in your network, and this is huge for reaching new audiences.
LinkedIn has gone to great lengths to make any Sponsored Content appear very unobtrusive. It’s interleaved with other updates, looks native, and features a small “Sponsored” tag.
You can use several different strategies as you approach Sponsored Content, but we would recommend featuring video… and here’s why:
You are reaching out to a cold audience. They might not have heard of your company. They definitely haven’t chosen to follow you. You want to make a good impression in a short amount of time so you can drive your conversion chances at the awareness stage… and video accomplishes all of these goals, as long as you follow a few guidelines.
It’s critical that your video makes a maximum impact in a short amount of time. Use some kind of pre-roll or short version of a longer video. Make sure you lay out your value proposition within the first five seconds. And feature a your URL or key message in text near the beginning of the video. The goal is to communicate your value early, just in case someone decides to click away. And they very often will. It’s best to blame millennials and their short attention spans.
Sponsored Content entries contain links, and you want to use them to drive viewers toward your landing page. This is where you want to feature your full-length video (they’ve already expressed interest, after all, so they’re no longer cold), and a lead generation tactic like gated content or a sign up form.
A fancier tactic for advanced LinkedIn-fu practicioners would be to A/B test your Sponsored Content. Mix and match your text, video, images, and landing page designs to determine which combination is most effective at driving interest.
LinkedIn recommends a target audience size of at least 300,000 for Sponsored Content, and they give you CPC and CPM options for cost control (just like Text Ads).
Paid – Sponsored InMail
Your final paid option for increasing your company’s exposure is Sponsored InMail. This is a new and powerful option, and LinkedIn is still making it even more robust. It is basically LinkedIn InMail, but with some twists that make it feel less like generic e-mail.
You probably don’t need a primer on how critical email is for your marketing performance. And you’re probably familiar with its challenges. It’s outright demoralizing to deal with outdated contact lists, manage your creative assets, and optimize your content for mobile. But if you don’t, your campaign performance will suffer. And it’s already kind of a losing battle. According to a SiriusDecisions survey, only about 20% of prospects actually open marketing emails.
With this in mind, LinkedIn created Sponsored InMail with the lofty promise of ensuring 100% deliverability. This means LinedIn only sends your InMail to people who are actively using LinkedIn at any given moment. It’s easy to understand why this would be effective.
InMail also allows you to send more personalized messages to your target audience, with inbuilt Calls to Action. All of this is optimized for mobile, and shows up on every device as a nifty button with your chosen verbiage.
If you’ve been paying attention, you know what’s next: Your InMail CTA should direct someone to a landing page with lead generation options. And it wouldn’t hurt to throw a video on that page (with the 80% increase in leads, and all).
It’s worth noting that Sponsored InMail is seeing a 2 – 3x uptick in conversions compared to normal email.
LinkedIn recommends that you only use Sponsored InMail if you have a target audience size of at least 100,000. They charge you by Cost Per Send (CPS). Here’s a Pro-Tip! If you can, personalize your message like it’s from a person, not a company, then do so. Use your sales team pushes, not your company pushes. Personalization matters when it comes to direct communication. Getting messages from companies is weird.
Hopefully we’ve laid out a compelling case for why LinkedIn is a good fit for generating B2B leads. LinkedIn has some great opportunities, and they’re getting better all the time.
So far, nothing has stopped video’s meteoric rise in effectiveness as a marketing tool. And it doesn’t look like it’s slowing down anytime soon. While LinkedIn might not be inherently a “video first” platform, it offers lots of avenues for using video organically. As long as your Company Page is robust and you’ve got a consistent strategy, video on LinkedIn can be a great tool for nurturing your base. On the paid side of things, either pre-roll videos or static images can help you get the most out of your paid acquisitions.
Landing pages are a critical component of every LinkedIn lead generation strategy. We said it a lot in this guide, but it cannot be overstated. If you want to read our thoughts on how to use landing pages, check out this other guide.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember when you’re using LinkedIn for video is to always keep an eye out for new advancements. They recently launched a video tool entirely designed to help influencers create micro content. Unless you’re Richard Branson or Elon Musk, you probably won’t get an invite right away, but LinkedIn is famous for limited feature launches that eventually turn into wider rollouts.
If you are Branson or Musk, call us.