Five Step Process for Technology Marketers to Maximize Lead Gen Impact

June 9, 2016

LinkedIn Tech Marketing

As a technology marketer, lead generation is typically a top priority for  your marketing efforts – in fact, a whopping 90% of you rated it as an “important” content marketing goal. With 95% of tech marketers also using LinkedIn as an integral part of their marketing strategy, are you getting the most ROI from your lead gen efforts?

The most effective B2B marketers using LinkedIn see the platform driving 80% of their social media leads. To help you create more purposeful, impactful content marketing campaigns too, we’ve developed a five-step, data-driven methodology for lead generation on LinkedIn.

1. Platform Selection

Executing a successful lead generation program starts with investing in impactful destinations, and no doubt your content strategy spans very specific tactics on both owned and external platforms. Our focus at LinkedIn is on providing brands with purpose, scale, data and context — and when consulting with tech customers seeking lead gen results, we center goals around meaningful ROI.

This approach is proving useful for B2B tech marketers with lead generation objectives: 72% consider LinkedIn the most effective platform for achieving their strategic goals. Part of this is the professional mindset members bring to their use of LinkedIn – they are actively seeking content to help them do their jobs better, and your brand’s subject matter expertise brings additive context to this experience when done right.

But how should you go about setting up a LinkedIn campaign optimized for lead gen success? It starts with setting the most relevant audience targeting.

2. Data Parameters for Audience Insights

You know that your website is important, but the reality is that most of your audience is probably not visiting your website on a regular basis. We'll work with you to provide insights to drive more of the right traffic, but to make sure you’re setting the right data parameters from the start of any campaign, begin by asking yourself:

  • Are you going for a particular audience? Specific or General?
  • Are you hoping to reach one industry or a number of industries?
  • What titles are you hoping to target? Have you thought about the not-so-obvious functions that impact today’s technology business and purchasing decisions?
  • Is there an account-based marketing (ABM) opportunity?
  • Does this audience know your brand well? What about your competitors?

To make the most of the available audience, start broad and then narrow, experimenting with how your targeting size changes as you increase specificity. You want to make sure you have a large enough audience in order to gain the appropriate reach, but also narrow enough to be relevant, and truly impact the market & decision-makers. For example:

Custom research can also give you a competitive edge in better targeting. For example, according to LinkedIn data, 33% of IT individual contributors become IT managers in 2.7 years.

Once you’ve locked your target audience, you must consider how those members engage with the platform. Our goal is make you a positive part of the conversation, not an annoyance who is perceived as using disruptive ad types to distract the member.   

3. Creative strategy

Like your overall content strategy, the best LinkedIn tech content takes a thought leadership-first approach, driven by the knowledge that 74% of buyers choose the company that was first to add value as they were defining their buying vision. This requires owning a topic, so it’s important to “build a franchise” around your brand’s unique expertise and ensure you are already taking an “always on” approach that aligns to how your audience is using the platform. Also, make sure your creative content delivers value, is concise, and grabs the reader’s attention within the LinkedIn platform.

4. Distribution Strategy

Just as you are doing through your own channels, ensure the content you post to LinkedIn is, first, mapped to each of the six stages of the buyer’s journey and, second, tied together by a retargeting strategy.

Then, audit your current approach to content in each of these categories. When doing so, here are some important things to consider:

  • Frequency of posting: Be always-on with a blend of organic content & paid content because IT buying doesn’t stop. It’s essential to be part of the conversation to capture interest as it’s happening.
  • Thought leadership vs. company-specific: Don’t just talk about your company & product. Earn trust with thought leadership, such as challenge-related blog posts and industry news. Once trust is earned, then expose customers to company-specific products, retargeting with case studies, best practices and client testimonials.
  • Gated vs. ungated content: As tempting as it is to gate all of your content, a more restrained approach will serve you best in the eyes of your customer. Remember the first rule of thumb: gating needs to be earned and worth giving up your email – prospective tech clients were 81% less likely to consider a vendor that gates all of their content, and 15% say they immediately leave a site if the first piece of content is gated. Share content strategically, offering resources like infographics and webinars first, and subsequently gating more substantial content like eBooks.
  • Organic vs. paid media: Distribute from your owned properties, including your company page, via employee profiles and on your showcase pages. Your brand generates free follower impressions via long-form posts, status updates and Slideshare posts. Incorporate paid media to gain hyper-targeted amplification of your most successful organic content via Sponsored Content, Follower Ads and Audience Matching, Sponsored InMail and LinkedIn Autofill. Further amplify your organic content via your employees utilizing Elevate for sharing.
  • Mobile-optimized site: These days, if your site isn’t optimized for mobile, it will be abandoned by 40% of mobile visitors. This also limits your ability to achieve and maintain search visibility. And when it comes to the ultimate goal of lead generation, take note: B2B sites that transitioned to responsive design experienced an 11% drop in bounce rate – the longer a prospect is on your site, the higher the chance of lead conversion.
  • Lead form experience: The more simple and straightforward your lead form is, the better user engagement and quality leads you will capture. Optimize the process with Autofill. Ensure lead nurturing and keep messaging MQLs and SQLs. Nurtured leads drive 47% more revenue than non-nurtured leads.
  • Test, learn and optimize: Are you experimenting with frequency, gating, topics and your website user experience? What have you learned about your customer preferences, and how have you adjusted your approach in turn? Continuously refine your message and target to drive maximum performance at each stage of your buyer’s journey.

5. Holistic Measurement

Finally, you must begin tracking quality and impact over simple engagement and efficiency metrics.. It’s ok to track engagement rate and cost per click (CPC), but you should also be watching conversion tracking, marketing impacted pipeline and marketing impacted revenue.

It’s about quality, not quantity, so use first party data to validate engagement trends, website traffic and lead form conversions. Apply “test, learn and optimize” to your measurement as well. You can leverage these best practices to build and refine your testing strategy:

  • Evaluate your team’s “sales saturation level,” i.e. the degree to which your sales team has more leads than they are able to follow up on. Determine your sales team’s capacity and adjust your lead operations accordingly.
  • Beta test a new approaches to measurement using the LinkedIn Insights Tag and explore audience validation of your website traffic.
  • Run research to track changes in perception, like a Sponsored Content Brand Impact Study, which will measure efficacy among non-clickers.
  • Share insights around Marketing Qualified Leads, Marketing Impacted Pipeline & Marketing Impacted Closed Deals with your lead gen partners to help optimize targeting and content strategy.

For even more insights specifically for tech, check out our tech marketer-devoted content on the LinkedIn Marketing blog!

In the meantime, subscirbe to the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions blog for even more insights, tactics and inspiration for tech marketers.