LinkedIn is a powerful advertising channel with built-in targeting capabilities for reaching customers in the business-to-business (B2B) marketplace. When used to your advantage LinkedIn’s audience targeting tools can help you develop an effective sales funnel strategy that feeds your sales team high-quality leads and ultimately results in more customer conversions.
But to keep your cost/conversion ratio reasonable your account-based marketing (ABM) approach will need to target a specific audience of key decision-makers (KDMs) with the right message at the right time. What follows are several ways that we refine your LinkedIn ad targeting audience so that your sales funnel will attract, engage and convert more new customers while optimizing your marketing spend.
3 Stages of a LinkedIn Sales Funnel
If this isn’t your first ad campaign “rodeo” you fully understand that the B2B sales cycle can typically take 3 months or more. The average LinkedIn sales funnel is no exception as you gently nudge potential customers through these 3 stages:
- Awareness stage. The opening to your sales funnel is called the Awareness, or “Prospecting”, stage, during which time your goals are attracting cold prospects, building brand awareness and qualifying accounts for further nurturing. Some of the best “Top of the Funnel” LinkedIn ad offers include E-books, free reports, infographics and checklists.
- Consideration stage. Falling in the middle of the sales funnel is the Consideration, or “Lead Generation”, stage, when you’re looking for customer conversions thanks to higher commitment (think “special”) offers typically found on your website. Note: A great way to tag those website conversions is with LinkedIn’s Insights Tag tool.
- Conversion stage. Also known as the “Decision” stage, the Conversion stage lies at the bottom of the sales funnel. At this point it’s time to be more direct and aggressive with audience members as your goal now becomes driving conversions based on your core offer(s).
During the 3 phases of the sales cycle different forms of LinkedIn advertising work better than others, and it may take multiple ad campaigns containing various forms of advertising (video ads, image ads, white papers, case studies, etc.) during each stage to move customers along.
How to Zero in on High-Value Accounts
Instead of using a more traditional and costly “broad brush” approach LinkedIn allows you to pin-point high-value accounts with ad content by compiling a more precise Account list- starting with the Company theme found in a member’s profile.
However, merely targeting your sales funnel to every company on that Account list is not going to get the job done. Depending on your product or service, you’ll need to further narrow down your audience to include only those key accounts that will give you the highest return-on-investment (ROI) for your advertising dollar.
Furthermore, you don’t want to target every employee that works at those companies, but rather only the ones who make or influence buying decisions – like senior buyers, CEOs, VPs, etc.
Once that’s done, finalizing your Account List is possible when using these additional LinkedIn Account targeting features:
LinkedIn allows you to target specific companies based on their Name, Size and Industry. That way you can exclude businesses that are too small or large, or those from industries in which your product or service doesn’t apply. For example, if you sell financial services related computer software you don’t need to advertise to auto repair shops or restaurants.
Once you have a Company list it also doesn’t make sense to target your sales funnel to anyone who works there outside of KDMs that control the purse strings.
Under the Experience theme you will also find several member profile subcategories including Job Title, Job Seniority, Years of Experience and Skills. When narrowing down your intended audience the most important of those would be Job Title because it describes the current rank and role of a member at a given organization based on their profile.
Once you’ve identified multiple KDMs at a specific company you can upload and store their names in a Contact list.
If you already have website traffic coming from other marketing channels, like search engine optimization (SEO) or pay-per-click (PPC) ads, another great way to launch your sales funnel is by retargeting audience members that have already visited your site thanks to LinkedIn’s Matched Audience feature.
When your goal is reaching a completely new, cold audience with your LinkedIn sales funnel you can use the Native Targeting feature to select members with shared characteristics like Job Title, Industry or Skills.
Starting with Job Title, using the Native Targeting tool to layer other shared audience attributes in different combinations is also an effective strategy, like:
- Job Title + Skills + Seniority
- Job Title + Job Function + Seniority
- Job Title + Seniority + Groups
For example, you can target your sales funnel to everyone at company XYZ whose Job Function is Product Development with a Seniority level of Manager, Director, VP or above.
Once Your Sales Funnel Has Been Activated
After your sales funnel has been activated you should start seeing your website traffic and customer conversions rise. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still attract even more potential customers with your ads.
In fact, LinkedIn’s Lookalike Audience feature makes it possible to do just that without having to spend a lot of time. That’s because Lookalike Audience uses algorithms that quickly sift through member profiles and identify users that are most similar-to your highest-value converters.
However, when using Lookalike Audience to broaden the scope of your ad campaign keep in mind that this new list represents a cold audience. In other words, you’ll need to start back at the top of your sales funnel when reaching out to those new prospects.
Is Your LinkedIn Sales Funnel Generating Leads?
When targeted to the right audience at the right time a LinkedIn sales funnel can be a powerful lead generation tool resulting in higher customer engagement and conversion rates for your organization. If your current LinkedIn ad campaign isn’t getting the job done your business is also not realizing its true online marketing potential.
Simple Social is a social media agency in Las Vegas. We have LinkedIn ads and lead generation expertise that can help you develop an effective sales funnel targeting strategy that results in a higher ROI for your marketing spend. To learn more about our reliable social media advertising and digital marketing solutions contact Simple Social Media today.