Super Bowl Sunday stands out in the minds of most Americans as a day of exciting football, a gluttonous intake of buffalo wings, half-time shows, excessive mourning for the losing team’s fans, and some of the most creative and hilarious commercials of the year. Somehow, the sequence of these TV advertisements takes you on a journey from laughing your head off to tearfully watching the sappy ones. For most marketing and business professionals alike, it’s easy to say, “Now that’s good marketing. I wish I could do that for my own business.” While it’s true that these TV ads are often lucrative and creative, there is no guarantee that you will reach the right audience.
During the same Budweiser ad, you may catch a father ready to make a half-time run to the grocery store to grab a six-pack, while you may also capture the attention of the fourteen-year-old boy with no interest or buying power. So, although we all enjoy these creative (and expensive) TV ads, what channel of marketing really captures the ability to target your high-intent customers? Here’s a look at how LinkedIn can help you accurately reach your target customers and what you can do to optimize your company’s LinkedIn account.
WHY B2B MARKETING MAKES SENSE
According to AJ Wilcox, a LinkedIn marketing genius at B2Linked, although B2B (business to business) marketing may not be as “sexy” as B2C (business to consumer) marketing, B2B is where the money is at. Of the Fortune 1000 companies, 72 percent are B2B firms. If you want to reach these most profitable companies, you must learn how to reach business professionals at these companies effectively. Do you suppose you can reach them through Super Bowl ads? AJ Wilcox would argue that LinkedIn is the best avenue.
LinkedIn is an often under-utilized advertising tool that gets overshadowed by paid-search platforms like Google AdWords and paid social like Facebook and Twitter. In spite of its under-utilization, AJ Wilcox offers five reasons why you should use LinkedIn advertising in your B2B marketing.
1. Users keep their profiles updated.
LinkedIn users view their profile as an online resume and a platform to advertise themselves. Due to the nature of the content, users regularly update their personal information including education, job title, position, and more. With frequently updated information, advertisements can target the right people at the right times in their careers.
2. LinkedIn allows targeting based on almost anything on a user’s profile.
Users of LinkedIn tend to give vast amounts of information on their profile, in hopes of creating a robust professional profile. Giving this information provides LinkedIn an enormous amount of valuable information that allows you as the marketer to target your ideal customer. LinkedIn offers almost endless targeting characteristics. Some examples of targeting points are job title, job description, seniority, company name, industry, skills, age, gender, and so on. For instance, I could target all female directors working at Ford between the ages of 35-50 but exclude those in the engineering department. The targeting is precise and nearly limitless.
3. LinkedIn is a massive site with almost unlimited professional traffic.
It’s a rarity to find someone invested in the professional world that does not have a LinkedIn profile. Even those who are not actively using their account have general information like their alma mater, current job, and previous positions listed. With even just this basic information, the potential targeted traffic is almost unlimited.
4. Users are in a business mindset.
Most LinkedIn users are not on their account at 2 AM watching fainting goat videos. Most users access their account when updating their profile, connecting with relevant business groups, or looking at new industry trends. This behavior puts them in a business mindset, which increases the likelihood of conversion when exposed to a LinkedIn ad.
5. LinkedIn is self-serve. LinkedIn puts you in full control of your advertisements.
From your account, you can establish campaigns with unique themes and budgets. From there, you can create individual ads within each campaign. At any time, a campaign can be stopped or adjusted. This control allows for the best use of advertising dollars and the best returns.
OPTIMIZING YOUR OWN BUSINESS’ LINKEDIN ACCOUNT
Beyond using LinkedIn advertising to reach your target individuals, it is important to develop a strong presence on LinkedIn for your business. Gabe Villamizar from HireVue is an expert on LinkedIn optimization and selling yourself socially. According to LinkedIn’s Senior Marketing Manager, Koka Sexton, social selling is “leveraging your professional brand to fill your pipeline with the right people, insights, and relationships.” Here are Gabe’s five ideas for leveraging your brand and connecting you with the right people.
1. Use keywords that will bring traffic to your page.
Treat your LinkedIn profile like a regular website and optimize it as such. Make sure the keywords you use to describe your company are effectively bringing traffic to your page. Your LinkedIn page can be a source of increased traffic for your business.
2. Have plenty of content and information that describes the company.
Make sure your LinkedIn profile is exciting and provides ample information about what your business does. Include information sources beyond text, like videos and slideshares.
3. Have a call to action listed for the company.
If you’ve adequately communicated what your business does and its value, a person who views your profile may have interest in contacting you or seeking your service. Provide a call to action on your profile so a viewer can take a desired next step.
4. Share content about the industry and company to stay up to date.
Your profile should not sit dormant until a company change or announcement. Stay engaged in industry trends and share useful information on your profile. You can establish your profile as a credible source for new and helpful information with other users.
5. Remember that people go to social media to stay up to date.
People typically do not like being sold to. Instead, most go to social media to see what is happening around them. Don’t bore those who view your profile by only self-promoting. About 80 percent of your content should be industry related and breaking news. The other 20 percent can be self-promotion.
LinkedIn offers a unique and powerful marketing tool for B2B marketing. By taking advantage of the platform’s advertising capabilities and optimizing your own business’ profile, you can reach a more targeted and likely-to-purchase audience. This channel might not present quite as many “Puppy/Monkey/Babies” as a Super Bowl commercial, but it does provide targeting to business professionals that makes it clear that LinkedIn is “bringing sexy back” to B2B marketing.
Written by Brawn Baker, Digital Marketing Support at ANS