Three truths for a successful LinkedIn lead generation campaign

We know a thing, or hundreds, about successful LinkedIn lead generation campaigns. Why hundreds? We shipped 720 free coffee mugs to IT professionals across Canada who engaged with our LinkedIn campaign for Toshiba, as part of a larger LinkedIn sales lead generation campaign.

Now what do free coffee mugs have to do with successful B2B lead generation? While there are many things, there are three absolutes that we know can drive a highly successful LinkedIn lead generation campaign. So successful, that LinkedIn wrote a case study about it.

#1 Develop a key customer insight for your LinkedIn lead generation campaign

IT professionals have a tough job. The users they support need their gear to work, and when it doesn’t, you know who they will call. Yes, they have a two-hour battery life for a three-hour presentation and can’t find their charger. Our strategy was to make the IT professional the ‘unsung hero’ dealing with IT challenges and inviting them to engage with Toshiba to make their life easier. LinkedIn display ads, Sponsored Updates and Sponsored InMail were all part of the LinkedIn lead generation strategy based on the key insight of ‘unsung hero’.

#2 Create some creative that breaks through

Snoresville creative puts people to sleep. IT people, like most people, have a sense of humor. And with a sometimes no-win job, a sense of fun is the antidote for a tough day. Creative lines like “Mr. Awesome IT Guy” or “World’s #1 IT Gal” supported a free mug give-away that drove people to a landing page. One creative execution had two display ads connected in a fashion where the animation poured coffee into the free mug. The point of the free mug was for users to self identify they received the mug and for Toshiba sales reps to visit the IT professional to deliver the mug and have an IT conversation. You can view some of the LinkedIn creative here.

#3 Target the right audience

Mass LinkedIn marketing campaigns aren’t right for most products, with Toshiba being no different. Promoting business laptops and filling the sales pipeline with qualified B2B sales leads means targeting IT professionals in mid-market and larger companies. Why sell one notebook when you could sell three thousand with a standardized chip set? LinkedIn offers an ability to be quite targeted in reaching the right audience by geography, job title and as granular as industry or company. Do you know who your ideal customer is? Toshiba did and our campaigns, LinkedIn and beyond, put a sales rep in front of them.

People often comment that LinkedIn is great for brand awareness but wonder if it generates qualified B2B sales leads. As a top B2B sales lead generation company, we can tell you that LinkedIn has its strengths; the key is how to take advantage of the platform to deliver maximum lead generation results. Great customer insights, killer creative and pin-point targeting are the best ways to utilize LinkedIn.

On Toshiba, how did we do?

  • We booked hundreds of sales meetings with qualified sales prospects
  • Delivered LinkedIn leads at a lesser cost than some other channels
  • Sponsored InMail CTR 2X LinkedIn average
  • LinkedIn campaign drove 7% of total qualified leads during the campaign periods

For more information on how 360 Leads can help drive inbound sales leads from LinkedIn or other digital media, please contact us. We can help grow your business.

Inbound versus outbound: which is more effective for lead generation?

With every new platform come new ways to reach out to potential customers, and B2B company marketers have a wide selection of tactics to choose from when planning a strategy. Simply put, these tactics fall into two main categories – inbound and outbound lead generation tactics – though the two are often combined in an integrated strategy. But what are the main differences between inbound and outbound marketing? Simply put, outbound marketing is the kind we grew up with – TV, radio and billboards, magazine and newspaper ads, direct mail and event sponsorships – whereas inbound draws customers to the product or service because of their innate interest in it.

A bit of history we all know too well

In the early years when advertising was novel, people enjoyed reading magazines and newspapers and relied on them to alert them to sales and promotions. People enjoyed watching TV commercials because they were told about products that were genuinely new and that they were interested in learning more about. As the decades passed, advertising lost its value to surprise and delight in the same way. Today we call it interruption-based marketing, which few people have any patience for anymore.

But it still has its adherents, who believe there can be value if you find a platform or medium with a big enough audience. The rationale is, and was, that if you hit upon an above average association with enough audience members, then that percentage of the audience would listen to the interruption and sales leads would convert into bonafide customers. But today, this kind of investment is looking more and more like finding a needle in a haystack. A big reason is the availability of ad-blocking apps and technology, along with new streaming services that are completely ad-free.

What the stats tell us

A couple of statistics to prove that point: 65% of people skip through online video ads. People don’t like ads for a few reasons: they’re in your face and intrusive; they don’t come across as genuine and don’t inspire trust or confidence in the product or service; there isn’t enough relevance to who the customer is, and what solution they are looking for.

B2B marketers might continue to place advertisements and send out direct mail as part of their approach. But to earn the trust of customers and build a long-term relationship based on that trust, B2B marketers turn to inbound marketing for generating sales leads.

Instead of pushing messages out to an audience who may or may not want to hear it, inbound marketing pulls already interested customers in. Customers find you when they need you, which almost guarantees they’re pre-qualified. So not only is inbound cheaper, more measurable and more targeted, it can also generate sales leads that are farther down the funnel.

Here is a short list of some lead generation inbound tactics:

  • An SEO (search engine optimization) strategy where we take a look at your website, do a keyword audit, and ensure your content includes keywords that will draw more organic traffic to your site.
  • PPC (pay per click) advertising also uses keywords that people are using to search and require buying an ad that will appear on search engines at the top of the SRP (search results page). You only pay once a customer has clicked on the ad and has gone to your site.
  • Content marketing is creating useful, relevant information that people need and want, and using it to draw people to your website, to sign up for a newsletter, or to download a piece of content in exchange for their contact information that you can follow up with.
  • Social media accounts. Creating and programming social media accounts with valuable information that people want to read or watch is a good way of demonstrating your expertise in your industry and becoming a trusted source. As noted above, millennials and more people in the business world actively search for this and you will earn their trust which hopefully converts them into a paying customer.

At 360 Leads we’ve run many successful B2B lead generation campaigns and would be happy to discuss how we can help. If you’re ready to explore a lead generation campaign, contact us today.

 

Lead generation companies help you convert sales leads into loyal clients

To thrive in today’s world, companies need to move beyond the customer journey. To reach their full potential and earn loyal clients for life, companies need to maintain a permanent presence in the lives of their customers, an endless relationship not confined to separate episodes of actively considering a purchase. This is as true for B2B sales leads as it is for B2C and can be achieved with the help of certain lead generation companies.

Companies need to build a brand experience that lasts beyond the transaction and goes beyond a simple follow-up thank-you.

Consumers have embraced technology and have hundreds of interactions a day on their devices. But they want those interactions to be personal and increasingly expect them to be highly customized as well. Marketing guru Seth Godin describes this as the “connection economy”, and it’s not going away anytime soon. Companies that fully grasp this and look at their clients holistically will have the best chance of building a strongly loyal customer base. It’s not difficult to do but it requires going beyond the customer journey to a close examination of the entire brand experience you have created.

Know your audience

For lead generation in particular, not taking advantage of all the data points available is like wilfully operating with a blindfold on. Gather as much information about your customer base as possible. Ask: What do they care about beyond a certain product or service? What interests them more broadly? Then think about how you can legitimately align yourself with those interests. It’s not enough to just sell a product to them at the right time, you need to buttress that connection with information they can put to use in their working and personal lives. If you can create a brand identity that is about something bigger than the product itself, you strengthen your appeal among customers, while simultaneously attracting a whole new group of potential customers that connected with those deeper interests first. Remember: millennials look for brands that are different, open-minded and socially engaged. How are you presenting that to your potential buyers?

Get expert help from lead generation companies

A lead generation company not only helps you track and discover new sales leads, they can offer insight and strategy in building a better relationship with the clients you already have. Customer win-back and growth strategies nurture leads and relationships and result in more engagement. Engaging the services of B2B lead generation companies like 360 Leads can give you a winning game plan that builds on your company’s innate strengths.

Build trust

Position yourself as a thought leader in your industry without asking for anything in return. By offering free educational content you are becoming a trusted source of relevant and useful information. Better yet, make sure they know that you are available to them for advice, should they reach out for it. At the same time, make sure your company isn’t the hero at the centre of your content marketing. Today’s consumers are suspicious of overly aggressive marketing campaigns and they are looking for credibility and transparency. Above all, be useful!

Create meaningful touchpoints

Have a game plan that allows customers to become aware of you, learn about your unique value, sample your product or experience, understand how to get the most out of what they just bought from you, and refer you to their friends. That is the strategy that will deliver meaningful touchpoints for both client loyalty and repeat business.

Turn digital traffic into real qualified sales leads

In The Black Report™, our global study on sales lead generation, marketers selected digital lead generation as their top lead generation channel, while salespeople selected outbound telesales as their top channel. We say they’re both right, but the important question remains: how do you turn digital traffic into real bona fide sales leads? The key is to integrate the digital leads into a full lead generation strategy.

Here are three things to think about:

Keep score

Not all sales leads are created equal. Many companies have great website traffic, visitor engagement and repeat visitors that could all be considered warm leads. Developing specific scoring criteria on what is and what isn’t a lead can be the difference between salespeople wasting their time and investing it against real prospects. Your scorecard should include site visits, fill forms, download requests, webinar participation, and more. The lead scorecard for each company will differ, but not having one means there is no benchmark for determining what you classify as a sales-ready lead.

More qualified traffic means more qualified leads

Digital advertising campaigns for a client of ours in the B2B category have been setting user engagement records on LinkedIn and industry websites. The click-through rates are frighteningly good, but these numbers mean absolutely nothing on their own, other than our client and our lead generation team get bragging rights. These clicks all link to a very specific call to action, linking to lead scoring and eventually, the wider lead generation program.

Now what?

While every company and campaign is different, an action we often take is to put the B2B digital sales leads into an outbound calling program. Don’t just let these leads sit in a list that keeps piling up. Instead, make contact when the scorecard says it’s time. But don’t be too aggressive or premature with any outbound contact—you only have one chance to make your second impression count! Set the expectation of contact in advance via your digital call to action. Whether it is a phone call, an email, or a social media post, ensure that the prospect knows they will be hearing from you soon.

If you’d like to learn more about how we drive ‘insane CTRs’ to convert digital traffic into qualified sales leads, contact us.

If you want sales leads, pay for the fans on social media

What is the appeal of social media for brands? Engaging potential sales leads? Starting conversations? Building communities? Not quite. Till recently, social media attracted marketers in large part because it was a totally free form of lead generation. Of course, that’s changed.

Now, if you want your brand messaging to get eyeballs and interactions, you’ve got to pay to play. That’s because most of the time, your content just isn’t going to go viral. Sure, there are viral phenomena that make the rounds of the Internet, but it’s crucial to remember that these are the exceptions—not something to rely on.

In a recent study, Sprinkler estimated that the average Facebook user is exposed to about 1,500 stories every time they log on, while the extra social user is exposed to 15,000. Every one of these stories has to compete against others for newsfeed real estate and user attention. Facebook’s algorithm determines which posts get prime positioning: it considers engagement potential and the investment made to drive engagement—sponsored posts get favoured. So, is the end of free social media a catastrophic loss or an untapped opportunity for sales lead generation? In fact, it’s a massive opportunity waiting to be harnessed through:

Promoted tweets for sales leads

Target the people you’re trying to reach by geography, interest and gender, and have your tweets appear in a feed, or in specific searches. Set a maximum amount to pay per click, follow, retweet, reply or favourite.

Promoted posts for sales leads

Get your message in front of the people who matter most by breaking through the clutter and building exposure with posts that appear higher and more often in Facebook newsfeeds.

LinkedIn ads for sales leads

Advertise B2B offerings on prominent pages to potential sales leads, targeting by job title and function, industry, company size, seniority and age, and groups. Choose between pay-per-click (PPC) to drive response and pay-per-impression (PPI) to build awareness. Maximize ROI with special offers, whitepapers, free trials and demos.

Instagram for sales leads

Benefit from an almost exclusively millennial audience and 58% more engagement than Facebook. According to Union Metrics, Taco Bell saw a 29% point gain in ad recall for the rollout of its breakfast menu, and its Instagram following jumped 45% during its month-long ad campaign.

Ready to get in the lead generation game? Talk to us at 360 Leads about where to start.