Six Steps to Lead Generation Through LinkedIn
January 26, 2016
In just about any marketing space, content reigns king. It’s the main driver for top funnel leads, especially in B2B sales, and that’s no exaggeration. Just look at the facts:
- Content marketing generates 3 times as many leads as outbound marketing methods and costs 62% LESS to produce.
- 83% of B2B marketers use content marketing for lead generation.
- 70% of today’s companies actively invest in content marketing.
With a cost-efficient price tag and significant ROI to boot, content marketing is a critical strategy every company should employ to drive B2B sales and revenue.
LinkedIn for Lead Gen Gold
For content marketers looking for a more strategic approach to lead generation, LinkedIn is solid gold. With its publishing platform and career-centric approach to social networking, LinkedIn has become HQ for brands, companies, and professionals to digitally network, glean insights, and share content. Then there’s this: studies show 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn, and 94% of marketers use LinkedIn as their primary source for content distribution. Plus, nearly half of all visitors who click their way to B2B company websites (46%) come from LinkedIn, making the social networking platform a valuable business resource.
With over 160M users in the United States alone, LinkedIn ranks as one of the most attentive and highly visible platforms for B2B content marketing. Site users, including individual professionals, companies, brands, and organizations, can publish and share content publicly, making it the easiest, most efficient way to spread awareness, pique interest, and generate engagement. Better yet, companies can use the platform to pinpoint prospects, identify relevant personas, and engage with influencers all through a single interface, which puts LinkedIn at the forefront of any well-developed content marketing strategy.
Bring on the Leads
Want to learn how to generate leads using LinkedIn? Here are five ways sales and marketing teams can leverage its inbound marketing capabilities to supercharge lead generation with a B2B LinkedIn strategy.
1. Give Old Content a Makeover
If your content library is limited, it’s time to give those existing assets a facelift. By repurposing older content to highlight current market trends and topical news, sales and marketing teams can create a more streamlined, cost-efficient approach to content development. With LinkedIn’s publishing platform, teams can then share this repurposed content to drive additional exposure, audience engagement, and lead generation. And since Google indexes content published via LinkedIn, sales and marketing teams can steer even more traffic to their respective websites. Here’s some proof: a study from SEO company BrightEdge found organic search holds a 53.3% share among all traffic sources, so by repurposing optimized content and sharing via LinkedIn, your company can get a serious lift in organic visibility and traffic. More importantly, that heightened exposure lends itself perfectly to earned media publicity, giving sales and marketing teams that coveted word-of-mouth buzz so elusive to today’s sales organizations.
2. Spotlight Your Expertise
Thought leadership-focused content like white papers, e-books, and podcasts can position you and your company as an authority in the marketplace, and with a little help from LinkedIn’s publishing platform, you can now expose that content to even more people across the web with the click of a button. LinkedIn also helps bolster this authority by showcasing your latest published content in the “Featured” section of your profile, which helps create name recognition and awareness. This is an important aspect of inbound marketing, as you become a trusted source in the eyes of prospects, as opposed to just another vendor cold messaging leads without providing any value in return.
3. Extend Past Your Direct Network
LinkedIn categorizes people in your network by degrees of connection. Your first-degree connections are those in your immediate network who have accepted an invitation to connect. Your second-degree connections are those directly linked to your first-degree connections, and your third-degree connections are—you guessed it—linked to your second-degree connections. That said, whatever content you post to LinkedIn, your first-degree connections will have immediate visibility. Here’s where it gets interesting, though: as soon as your first-degree network begins to like, comment on, or share your content, it then becomes visible to those outside your direct connections. And when a second or third-degree connection happens to engage with your content, you now have an open invitation to establish direct contact. This scenario is known as a social selling trigger event, which allows you to further engage potential prospects and nurture relationships.
4. Join Relevant LinkedIn Groups
Social networking is like dating—you’re not going to get much out of it if you don’t put yourself out there, which is why LinkedIn Groups are such valuable resources for sales and marketing professionals. By finding and joining these online hubs focused specifically on trends and interests within your industry, you broaden your exposure to prospective customers outside your immediate sphere of influence. Then by actively participating in these groups, (i.e., engaging in discussions, starting conversations, asking questions, etc.), you give yourself even more opportunity to earn new business. According to LinkedIn’s own data, people who comment on group discussions attract four times the number of profile views. And more profile views mean more leads.
5. Get Analytical
Measuring content performance is key, but it’s tough to gauge how effective a piece of content is if you don’t have the solid numbers to back it up. Sure, Google can give you data to measure the strength and performance of your website content, but what about the pieces shared to LinkedIn? How do you know what’s resonating most with target audiences? And how do LinkedIn members come across your content in the first place? Luckily, the platform offers analytics for publishing, so for whatever content you post to the site, LinkedIn will provide you key insights into who’s reading and actively engaging with it. This way, sales and marketing teams can better identify relevant prospects and proactively optimize content for attentive audiences.
- Content is cheaper to produce than traditional marketing efforts.
- Content is arguably more effective than outbound marketing efforts.
- Content is the predominant marketing method for B2B sales teams.
- Content drives B2B sales and revenue.
- LinkedIn is a game-changing tool for sales and marketing teams to build brand awareness and visibility, target ideal markets and personas, and position themselves as expert thought leaders in the B2B space.
So what are you waiting for? It’s time to get cranking on content!