Are you looking to drive more leads, build better relationships, and develop an air-tight strategy with key accounts through LinkedIn? If so, then LinkedIn account-based marketing (ABM) may be exactly what your business needs. With the popularity of ABM on the rise, not overlooking its benefits could help set your organization apart from competitors. In this blog post, we'll dive deep into five power moves that are sure to ignite engagement across your ABM strategy on LinkedIn!
Getting Started with Account-Based Marketing
If you're not familiar with ABM, it stands for Account-Based Marketing, which is a highly-targeted approach that focuses on specific accounts rather than casting a wide net to a larger audience. By taking the time to get to know your target accounts, you can create a personalized approach that resonates with those specific stakeholders and decision-makers at the companies that you want to work with. It also flips the traditional lead generation methods on their head. Sales and marketing teams no longer cast wide nets with a hit-and-miss approach, instead, they start to sniper in on key targets.
Leveraging LinkedIn for ABM
Ok so first things first, let's talk about why ABM on LinkedIn is important. There are many ABM strategies out there so why should you care about Linkedin? Well, although events and conferences are still great to get prospects' details, getting much more specific is winning the day in the prospecting world right now.
LinkedIn is the world's largest professional network, with over 700 million members. This makes it an unrivaled platform to target specific accounts and engage with decision-makers in a professional setting. But with the rise of personal branding and ways to automate this it is more important than ever to stand out when creating ads and content.
ABM on LinkedIn allows you to personalize your messaging and content for each account, persona, or industry. This stacks the cards in your favor and drastically increases the chances of getting a conversation going and ultimately converting them into a sale. So, here are the five ways to ignite your LinkedIn ABM strategy and make sure you are using the platform most effectively. Let's get started!
Refining Target Audiences
The success of your ABM campaign relies heavily on your initial planning - know what specific slice of the market you want to target. It hinges on identifying and refining your target audience. It may sound obvious but if you don’t get your message in front of the right people at the right time, you won’t be able to sell.
Research your existing customer database. What patterns do you see if deals that have closed successfully? What do your most valuable customers have in common? Don't only analyze current customers, also research audiences for new customers you're hoping to convert. Luckily (or perhaps by design), the LinkedIn account targeting features offer a wealth of filters and criteria that can be used to narrow down and refine your audience effectively.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a rock-star tool when trying to target specific individuals and companies. If you aren’t familiar with its benefits then definitely check it out. Now let's get into some of the demographics or characteristics that you should consider when defining key customer personas on LinkedIn.
Job Title and Role
Pay close attention to the job titles and roles within your target accounts. Identify the decision-makers, influencers, and key stakeholders who are involved in the purchasing process. This enables you to tailor your messaging and content to resonate with their specific needs and pain points.
Company Size and Industry
Take into account the company size and industry of your target accounts. This information can provide insights into their unique challenges, preferences, and buying behaviors. Then you can customize your approach to address the specific pain points and goals associated with their industry or company size.
Growth Potential and Revenue
This one is key. Look beyond the surface-level criteria and assess the growth potential and revenue of your target accounts. Consider factors such as recent funding rounds, expansion plans, or mergers and acquisitions.
Accounts with high growth potential or substantial revenue can indicate a greater opportunity for partnership or business impact so you can focus your resources effectively.
Tip: Consider grading accounts so you have your high, mid, and low targets. I have even seen some companies hand the top targets to the top sales reps and the low targets to the reps that are struggling. Sound unfair? It kind of makes sense from a business perspective though right? It certainly lit a fire under the struggling reps to try and break through to get better accounts!
Recent News or Events
Stay up to date with the latest news and events surrounding your target accounts. This is a great sales technique as you can identify and leverage any company announcements, product launches, leadership changes, or industry trends. This information can provide valuable context and enable you to tailor your messaging to align with their current initiatives or challenges.
Use LinkedIn Insights
Leverage the insights and data provided by LinkedIn to gain a deeper understanding of your target audience. LinkedIn offers valuable analytics and demographic information that can inform your audience refinement strategy. Use these insights to validate and adjust your approach based on real-time data.
Let's say you are an IT Cloud Service vendor targeting the technology sector. You may want to refine your target audience to include accounts with specific job titles such as "Chief Technology Officer" or "IT Manager" in companies of a certain size range that would need your services.
That narrows the pool down but you may want to get a bit deeper. Try and understand what those prospects use already, or identify issues with existing products or vendors. In this example, finding out which companies are aggressively hiring and which ones are struggling will also help to identify and grade accounts.
Couple this with the LinkedIn analytics, you can be sure that your ABM efforts will be focused on the right companies and individuals who have the decision-making power and influence you need to conquer to sell.
So now you have your target audience, what’s next? The LinkedIn ad campaign of course, and this is where you need your creative marketing team to generate spot-on ad creative.
LinkedIn offers a variety of ad formats, including Sponsored Content, Sponsored InMail, and Dynamic Ads. Each format has its unique features and benefits. We have covered that in depth in our LinkedIn Advertising 101 article.
But here’s a quick graphic to help you understand the options aligned with the campaign objectives.
Choosing the right one depends on your campaign goals and target audience but no matter what one you choose, you will need LinkedIn ads that are creative and speak to your target audience.
Here are some tips for creating an engaging ad creative that will resonate with your target audience:
- Keep it simple: Avoid using too much jargon or complicated language. Use simple and concise language that your audience can understand.\
- Be visually appealing: Use eye-catching images or videos that capture your audience's attention. Make sure they are relevant to your message and align with your brand.
- Highlight benefits: Focus on the benefits of your product or service rather than just its features. Show your audience that you understand them and their problems. Make sure you also show them you can solve their problems or make their lives easier.
- Include a call to action: Tell your audience what you want them to do after seeing your ad. Whether it's to visit your website, fill out a form, or request a demo, make sure your call to action is clear and compelling.
By following these tips, you can create ad creative that not only captures your audience's attention but also resonates with them. This is fundamental to getting people to follow your CTA.
Optimizing ad spend
One of the most important aspects of any ABM campaign is optimizing the ad spend. With so many different types of businesses and people on LinkedIn, you want to make sure that your budget is as targeted as possible.
Luckily (or maybe by design!), LinkedIn provide a range of tools and metrics to help you achieve this. So, let's explore some of the ways you can optimize your ad spend and maximize your ROI.
Set Realistic and Measurable Goals
Before you start investing in LinkedIn ABM campaigns, it's crucial to establish clear financial goals and metrics for success. What is your target cost per lead (CPL)? What is your desired click-through rate (CTR)? By setting these metrics upfront, you'll have a clearer idea of what success looks like and you can adjust your strategy accordingly.
Once your campaigns are up and running, you'll need to regularly monitor performance to ensure you're on track to meet your financial goals. LinkedIn's Campaign Manager provides a range of metrics to help you do this, including impressions, clicks, CTR, and cost per click (CPC).
Adjust Your Ad Spend to Maximize ROI
Based on the performance data you gather, you can adjust your ad spend to maximize your ROI.
For example, if you notice that certain accounts or campaigns are performing poorly, you may want to reduce your spending on them and focus on the ones that are generating the most leads and conversions. But how can you actually do that I hear you ask? A couple of ways.
- Use a Bid Management Strategy - This involves setting bid caps for each account and adjusting them based on their performance. By setting bid caps, you can control how much you're willing to spend on each account and ensure that you're not overspending on those that are not generating results. It also allows you to set limits based on the account grade which is super important.
As shown below, the bid cap feature is available for the campaign formats, Ad formats, and optimization goals.
- Leverage LinkedIn's Cost-Per-Click (CPC) Bidding Model - LinkedIn's CPC bidding model allows you to set a maximum bid for each click on your ad. This means you only pay when someone clicks on your ad, rather than when it's displayed to someone. By setting a maximum bid, you can control how much you're willing to spend on each click and ensure that you're not overspending on low-quality traffic.
By optimizing your ad spend, you can ensure that you're getting the most out of your budget whilst achieving your campaign goals.
Dynamic ad creative
Personalization is key in ABM, and dynamic ad creative is a powerful tool for delivering personalized content to your target accounts. Dynamic ads allow you to serve different ad creative to different users based on their profile information.
Here are a few tips for using dynamic ad creative in your LinkedIn ABM campaigns:
Segment Your Audience
To use dynamic ad creative effectively, you need to segment your audience based on the criteria you want to use for personalization. This could include job title, company size, or industry. By segmenting your audience, you can create ad creative that speaks directly to their specific needs and pain points.
Use Relevant Imagery and Messaging
When creating your dynamic ad creative, it's important to use imagery and messaging that is relevant to each segment of your audience. For example, if you're targeting C-level executives, you may want to use more professional imagery and messaging that speaks to their business goals and challenges.
Test and Iterate
As with any aspect of your ABM campaign, it's important to test and iterate on your dynamic ad creative. Try different messaging and imagery to see what resonates best with each segment of your audience. Make sure you put in a control and then test new approaches and measure the success.
This can be a powerful way to reach your ABM audience with personalized messages and offers based on previous interactions. You can retarget users who have already interacted with your website or content on LinkedIn, allowing you to show ads that cater specifically to their needs and goals.
By customizing your ads to each segment of your audience, you can ensure that you're providing relevant messages and offers that are likely to convert.
CBRE, a B2B commercial real estate company, wanted to enhance its advertising efforts on LinkedIn by adopting a consumer-centric strategy for its Urban Photographer of the Year competition.
Leveraging LinkedIn's precise targeting filters, CBRE directed its attention to photography enthusiasts and professional photographers through captivating Message Ads. This approach resulted in engaging one-on-one conversations, yielding promising outcomes.
The report showed that they achieved remarkable open and click-through rates, accompanied by a substantial 41% increase in contest entries compared to the previous year.
Measure and Iterate
Measuring and iterating on your ABM campaign is crucial for driving success and maximizing results. By analyzing data and getting this in useful and easy-to-digest ways, you can continuously optimize your LinkedIn ABM campaigns to achieve better outcomes.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs):
I know we have already talked about this a little when discussing ad spend, which is vital, but you also need KPIs for the campaign as a whole.
Start by identifying the metrics that align with your campaign goals. These could include click-through rates, conversion rates, engagement metrics, qualified leads, or cost per acquisition. Defining and documenting clear KPIs will provide a benchmark for evaluating your campaign's success and progress.
Dive Deep Into Data Analysis
Use the analytics tools available through LinkedIn to gain valuable insights into your campaign performance. Look for patterns, trends, and areas of improvement. Analyze metrics such as engagement rates, ad impressions, and audience demographics to understand which strategies and tactics are working best.
Tip: LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager offers deep insights, use it to it’s fullest!
Conduct A/B Testing
Experiment with different variations of your ad creative and messaging to identify the most effective elements. Split your target audience into segments and test each variation against a control group. Measure the performance of each variation and identify the ones that resonate most with your audience.
Tip: Test different headlines, images, calls to action, or even different targeting criteria to understand which combination generates the highest engagement and conversion rates.
Optimize Based On Insights
Utilize the data and insights gathered from your analysis and A/B testing to make informed decisions. Make adjustments to your targeting, messaging, ad placements, or budget allocation to optimize your campaigns. Ads never stay still, neither do your target audience so continuously refine and enhance your approach based on the performance data.
Tip: If you find that a specific audience segment is highly engaged with your ads, consider allocating more budget towards reaching that segment or tailoring your messaging to cater specifically to their needs.
Monitor, Adapt, and Stay Agile
Keep a close eye on the performance of your ABM campaigns. Regularly monitor key metrics and be prepared to adapt and iterate based on the data. Stay agile and responsive to changes in market dynamics, audience behavior, and campaign performance. Use LinkedIn’s handy charts and graphs to visualize campaigns through time.
If you notice a decline in engagement rates or changes in audience behavior then consider adjusting your targeting parameters, refresh your ad creative, or explore new strategies to re-engage your target audience.
Once you have a good grasp of the analytics and you have a strong baseline on how the ads will perform you can start to use these metrics in your sales forecasting tools. This will help to further understand the kind of engagement you need to hit that all-important quota number.
By following these five tactics, you can ignite your LinkedIn ABM strategy and achieve greater success with your campaigns. It will help to bring your marketing and sales team together and work in unison, which I know from experience, can be a hard task!
As you expand your advertising across different platforms then Marin One can bring all your campaigns together under one hood. This can give a huge competitive advantage and ensure you are spending your ad budget in the right place to maximize the ROI. So why not start experimenting with these tactics today and see how they can transform your LinkedIn ABM strategy?
Sean Mackay is a guest contributor to Marin Software.