Your questions on B2B Marketing Success – Answered

We’ve picked out some of the most interesting questions we were asked in our recent webcast on B2B Marketing Success

June 2, 2016

One of the great things about a webcast is hearing directly from the audience about the top issues on their minds. This was the part of our 6 Steps to B2B Marketing Success session that I most enjoyed last week.

We received hundreds of great questions during the session, and I wanted to start answering some of the most interesting of these on our blog. They raise some fascinating points about boosting the effectiveness of your B2B marketing that are well worth sharing – whether you were able to join us for the webcast or not.

As I mentioned, there were a lot of questions – and so this will be the first of a few posts from me looking at the key issues that you’re focusing on.

For starters, I’ve looked at some of the overall principles for more effective B2B marketing – from testing to measuring effectiveness and ensuring the right onward journey for your audience. I hope the answers help – I’ll be back with more in the next few weeks!

Is A/B testing possible on LinkedIn and how do you do it?

It certainly is possible – and we actively recommend testing and optimising each and every campaign when you’re using Sponsored Content. Our own experience shows that you can improve effectiveness, often quite dramatically, by A/B testing different headlines, images and Sponsored Content copy – and optimising your spend around the approach that works best. If you want a quick insight into how changing these different elements can make a difference to engagement rates, try taking our test to see if you can spot the best-performing versions of Sponsored Content.

The simplest way to test your Sponsored Content is to set up multiple variations, and review how each creative performs across your reporting and against your original objective. For example, in a lead generation campaign creative A may have generated twice as many clicks as creative B, but drove 60% fewer landing page conversions – in this instance B wins because it generates more leads, which is the ultimate goal of the activity. If you’re sponsoring your content on a cost per click (CPC) basis, it’s also a lot more cost-effective.

Besides testing the Sponsored Content itself, you can also test different approaches to targeting. Try setting up two different campaigns using different combinations of targeting parameters to reach your chosen audience, and optimise your spend around the targeting that is delivering the most effective levels of engagement.

It’s best to use the same Sponsored Content when testing different approaches to targeting in this way, so that you’re only changing one variable at once. 

Which tools can help measure the efficiency of organic content?

It’s an interesting question – and there are really two parts to the answer. Firstly, how do you measure effectiveness for content in general and secondly, what does ‘efficiency’ mean for organic content, which by definition you aren’t paying to distribute?

The metrics you choose to measure the effectiveness of your content depend on your particular objectives for that content. If you are focused on building reach and awareness, keep an eye on the engagement rate. Shares, likes and comments don’t just indicate that your content is resonating with your audience of followers; they translate directly into increased reach as those followers share the content with their networks. Look at the number of visitors to your Company and Showcase Pages, and any increase in follower numbers as well.

If the role of a piece of content is to generate leads for sales, then make sure there is a good reason for your audience to share their data with you – and keep an eye on how these leads flow through into conversions and revenue.

These metrics will help establish whether your content is effective. But how can you tell how efficient it is? If you are relying on organic distribution, then the main costs you are dealing with are the time and money it takes to create your content assets. You can increase efficiency hugely by following the ‘Big Rock’ approach to content marketing, in which you invest in a major piece of thought leadership content and then carve this into turkey slices of more focused and specific content in different formats. For more on this approach, see our Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to Content Marketing.

When talking about organic content, I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention Pulse and SlideShare, which can also be very powerful distribution platforms for marketers. Our Tactical Plan eBook shares a number of best practices that help you get the most value out of these channels.

For most brands though, relying exclusively on organic content distribution isn’t the most efficient approach. If you are already investing in creating good content, it’s almost always worth investing some more to distribute it to the right target audience through the LinkedIn feed. Sponsoring content gives you access to even more detailed metrics on its effectiveness – and it’s likely to increase that effectiveness by putting your content in front of more relevant people.

Could I use LinkedIn to market an eBook?

Absolutely. As the world’s largest professional content platform, LinkedIn is the ideal platform for promoting content. You can use Sponsored Content to promote your eBook directly in the LinkedIn feed of your target audience, ensuring it reaches the most relevant people, and support this through Sponsored InMail and Display Ads, potentially with more direct calls to action. Targeting by parameters such as industry, seniority, skills and experience, helps to ensure relevance and drive engagement.

You can get maximum value from an asset such as an eBook by taking an ‘always on’ approach. If you find your engagement rates dropping, try updating the creative or copy you’ve used to promote the content, change the targeting parameters, or give your content a facelift by updating it with some new findings. Use optimisation as a defibrillator for content – and make sure you don’t walk away from your eBook while it still has a contribution to make.

How can I leverage LinkedIn to develop a community through a user group?

The best answer here is to learn from brands that are doing it well. Brands such as HP have used groups to build a community around their thought leadership content. Others, such as the UK’s Business is GREAT campaign, have used a Company Page or Showcase Page as the natural hub for their community engagement. These also serve as great platforms for recruiting new community members by amplifying the reach of your posts beyond your existing followers, for example through Sponsored Content, Spotlight Ads and Follower Ads.

Does my campaign need a specific landing page, or will a generic product page do the job?

The answer lies in your objective. If you’re very focused on driving conversions for a particular product, piece of content or event, then I'd recommend a dedicated landing page to hone the attention of your page visitor. However, if raising awareness and engagement more generally is important, then linking to an existing product page within your site could make it easier for people to explore your brand and products – and reduce your bounce rate. Whichever option you decide on, make sure that your Sponsored Content aligns well with the destination that people will be clicking through to.

If you’d like more detail on any of the areas covered in these questions, I’d recommend spending some time with our new Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to Content Marketing. It’s got great insight on all of the aspects involved in building a content strategy, and draws on our own experiences as well as those of content marketing thought leaders and successful B2B brands.

Click here to download the Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to Content Marketing

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