LinkedIn Lead Generation Service
for B2B Companies
Get highly targeted Marketing Qualified Leads
Saratoga B2B Group provides B2B companies with a full range of field-tested LinkedIn lead generation services, integrated with our other B2B SEO agency offerings.
Our B2B lead generation service for LinkedIn includes:
- Overall turnkey management of your LinkedIn campaign
- Creation of eye-catching creative by seasoned graphic designers with years of experience working with B2B companies
- Creation of compelling content to use as your lead-generation offers to prospects, including:
- White papers
- Solution briefs
- Case studies
- Pillar page web content
- Blog posts (themed series and standalone)
- Subject matter expert interviews
- Strategic consulting for nurturing your top-of-funnel prospects as they move through the funnel to become Sales Qualified Leads
- A/B testing of your creative – and turnkey, hands-on ad and lead-gen management – to ensure your campaigns are rolling out properly and targeting the key prospects you have in mind.
We have a 20-year track record writing for and communicating with IT audiences on behalf of IT firms – including industry bellwethers, SMB’s, and startups. Dare we say: we actually understand technology.
Managing the campaign itself, we’ll provide:
Read Our 2019 Lead Gen Case Study for B2B Tech Firm Pica8
Learn how we created new quality content for Pica8’s website, crafted with SEO best practices, and managed a successful LinkedIn Sponsored campaign resulting in qualified targeted leads.
- Account Based Marketing (ABM) planning for your leads
- Continuous monitoring and tracking of your campaigns, in order to identify the top performing creative and messaging, and drop any under-performers
- Connections to upload your new prospects into your marketing and sales platforms, such as Salesforce, HubSpot, Slack and many more.
- Lead-nurturing strategic planning to follow-up with your new prospects in order to move them into your sales pipeline.
LinkedIn’s Differentiating Value for B2B firms
Why does Saratoga utilize LinkedIn for lead generation?
- Transparency of the source of the leads: With LinkedIn, you know exactly where the leads are coming from. No low-quality black box sources here – just LinkedIn members who make decisions when they are on the platform.
- Highly targeted: LinkedIn allows you to set up the campaign according to the specifications we jointly decide upon. That includes geography, industries, job titles, and, of course, for specific companies for ABM campaigns – all the setup is planned ahead of time.
- Intent of the prospects: When LinkedIn members view the feeds where your ads are displayed, they are often looking for materials which help them with their jobs – a key mindset criteria for B2B firms.
How it Works
Each LinkedIn Ad Campaign needs a piece of premium content that’s valuable enough for LinkedIn members to agree to provide their personal information. If you’ve got content that fits the bill, great – we can use that. If not, we can help you craft appropriate content, drawing on our decades of experience crafting content for IT audiences.
In parallel, we’ll begin the actual configuration of your campaign, segmenting it for your target markets using the range of customer profiling capabilities available in LinkedIn. These include website retargeting, Matched Audiences and Account Based Marketing options.
With retargeting, we remarket to LinkedIn members who have previously visited your website, continuing the engagement with prospects who have some level of familiarity with your company. We can create multiple, parallel retargeting campaigns in LinkedIn to focus on members who visited a specific page, a series of pages or a particular section of your website.
LinkedIn’s Matched Audiences functionality enables you to upload lists of specific individuals that you’d like to target, such as from your CRM or sales platform. LinkedIn finds email addresses from your list that match addresses of LinkedIn members and displays your ads to those prospects. In addition to individuals, Saratoga B2B can create campaigns based on specific companies that are part of your ABM campaign strategy.
Here’s a partial list of the many micro-segments we focus on with our LinkedIn lead generation service:
- LinkedIn members who have previously visited your website
- Members who have previously visited specific pages on your website
- Members you already have in your CRM and other platforms
- New prospects, targeted by job titles (e.g., VPs, network engineers, software architects, etc.)
- New prospects, targeted by job functions (e.g., accounting, engineering, HR, etc.)
- New prospects, targeted by job skills (e.g., Cisco certifications, Salesforce Sales Cloud, etc.)
- New prospects, targeted by geo-location
- New prospects by company (Account Based Marketing)
- New prospects based on company size
- New prospects, based on company industry
- New prospects, based on LinkedIn’s “Interest” targeting capabilities, based on topics that a member reads about, comments on, likes, follows or shares
- Retargeting to prospects who downloaded a previous offer in LinkedIn
- Many more
If you opt to collect leads within LinkedIn, we can help you automatically flow them into your CRM or other sales support system. We then work with you to create a calendar outlining a lead nurturing plan to ensure prospects receive a mix of content that matches where they are in the buyer’s journey. Here again, Saratoga B2B can draw on our deep experience in the IT trade press to ensure your messaging resonates with IT buyers and decision makers while reflecting the benefits your company offers.
We can also work with your teams to develop a regular cadence of blog posts for your website (which will double as posts on your LinkedIn company page) and new website pages specific to the prospects you’ve obtained. Any kind of content marketing material is in our wheelhouse, including email marketing, remarketing Sponsored Content, LinkedIn InMails and more.
For example, if you are using LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator prospecting tool, we can help craft customized messages for follow-up InMail messaging to all the LinkedIn members who gave you their contact information in your original content offer.
We will also help you navigate the other high-performance features in Sales Navigator, including:
- Creation and management of customized lead lists for your sales team
- Segmentation of your lead lists by territory, job title, job function, seniority level, number of years at a company, level of expertise (e.g., certifications)
- Much more
Once your first LinkedIn lead generation campaigns have begun delivering new prospects, Saratoga B2B can develop additional ad campaigns using other content offerings, to draw in additional leads from those prospects who didn’t express interest, or didn’t see, your first campaigns. At the same time, we’ll develop the remarketing materials for the new leads from the previous campaigns.
Running a LinkedIn lead-gen campaign requires ongoing agility, and often quick shifts in execution. The kickoff and start-up phases require hours of setup and monitoring time in order to identify the optimal creative and cost-per-click/cost-per-lead bidding strategy. The early phases require ongoing fine-tuning of the target prospect segmentation and dozens of other details to effectively implement the campaign. Saratoga handles this work on a daily, even hourly basis, where necessary.
Get more details on the functions Saratoga B2B performs for LinkedIn ad campaigns in our five-part series: How to Set Up LinkedIn Ad Campaigns.
Among the nuts and bolts topics covered in the series include:
- How to create an ad account in LinkedIn
- How to create a Campaign Group, and Campaigns under the Campaign Group umbrella
- How to create segments revolving around job titles, companies worked for (Account Based Marketing), company location, company size, and more
- How to upload and utilize LinkedIn’s Matched Audiences to use your existing customer list to find other prospects who match one or more of the attributes of your existing customers
- How to set up budgets to manage your campaigns, from cost-per-lead/cost-per-click determinations to daily and total budget numbers
- How to capture up to seven pieces of information about your prospects, if you decide to use LinkedIn’s internal lead generation forms
- How to optimize use of LinkedIn’s lead generation forms to meet the needs of your firm’s sales force
- How to download your leads and integrate them into the appropriate platforms in order to enable your sales force to seamlessly nurture and contact them
Case Study: Pica8 Gets Targeted B2B Leads from Quality Content, SEO Expertise and LinkedIn Ads
Combining quality website content with search engine optimization (SEO) can produce remarkable results – and ultimately more leads for clients. That’s the upshot of a recent B2B lead-generation project Saratoga B2B Group successfully implemented for Pica8, a client in the enterprise networking space.
A combination of 15 new, SEO-optimized web pages targeting Pica8 strategic competencies, a new white paper, and targeted LinkedIn Sponsored Content ad campaigns delivered 60 highly qualified leads in the first month – and counting [update: lead count is now over 100, and still counting].
Pica8 makes an “open” network operating system (NOS) that can be used on white box or brite box switches. These switches are the same as the likes of Cisco and Juniper use to run their own, proprietary software.
Pica8’s value proposition is that customers can choose whatever compatible hardware platform their requirements demand, while getting an intelligent modern network that’s easier to manage and maintain, and sports the same or better performance as Cisco or Juniper – at a fraction of the cost.
The company was having good success with enterprise customers, including Fortune 50 clients, mostly through word of mouth, but wanted to make a concerted effort to get the word out to a wider audience. Jeff Paine, VP of Marketing for Pica8, agreed to sign on for a pilot test with Saratoga B2B Group aimed at generating more website traffic from organic Google searches and, ultimately, more leads.
The pilot project proved successful and was expanded to include a LinkedIn Sponsored Content ad campaign that is currently generating a steady stream of high-quality leads for Pica8.
“With no proven playbook on how to definitively generate leads, we felt it was important to place multiple bets on the table and work with a company that was quick to respond to the data,” said Jeff Paine, SVP of marketing for Pica8. “In this way we can double down on the program elements that outperform others, and we’re more than pleased with the results to date.”
SEO research informs content creation
The project began with extensive competitive analysis and SEO research utilizing data from more than half a dozen specialized marketing resources. Based on keyword research, search results analysis, and online competitive analysis, Saratoga B2B found what appeared to be strong end-user search intent for a number of core themes that had significant search volume. Competitive research determined Pica8 could potentially compete for page 1 search rankings.
Working with Paine and his technical team, Saratoga B2B created 15 new “glossary” pages for Pica8, each defining a technical term relevant to its core business. The pages all relate to one or more of eight core themes that are central to Pica8’s solution. Saratoga B2B incorporated keywords and keyword phrases into the new pages in a naturally flowing, readable manner – this was not keyword stuffing. Rather, the pages contain useful, technical content that have the extra advantage of being “SEO friendly.”
About one month from the date the pages were indexed by Google, several began ranking on page 1 of Google search for small monthly volume search query variations. Over the following weeks the pages began to rank for additional search queries, some with larger monthly search volumes.
After about two months, several of the new pages were driving significant new traffic to the Pica8 site for search queries the company did not rank well for in the past but which relate directly to its core business. That traffic has increased steadily month by month.
Phase 2: LinkedIn remarketing
For one of the original eight topics, “leaf spine networking,” Saratoga B2B created three pages with variations on the theme. Those pages began doing extremely well in terms of Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERP), with two of them earning page 1 results for a swath of queries. To take advantage of the robust interest in this topic, Saratoga B2B wrote a white paper that explored the leaf-spine topic in more depth.
The purpose of the paper was two-fold. First, in a vendor-neutral fashion, it demonstrated Pica8 was taking a market-leading position on the topic, using the leaf-spine network architecture in an entirely new way. Second, the paper would be used as premium content to generate new leads from IT pros and decision-makers.
LinkedIn requires 300 of its members to have visited a site within the past 90 days for its Matched Audience ad program to kick in. (Any members that visited within 90 days prior to the campaign launch count toward that threshold.) After that, each time a LinkedIn user visits the Pica8 site, the next time that same user visits LinkedIn, the user may see an ad for Pica8.
Saratoga B2B created a series of eight ads, each using the new leaf-spine white paper as an offer. The ads used the same background image, but different copy. By rotating the ads, it was possible to determine which had the best performance, and adjust the rotation accordingly.
Using LinkedIn’s Lead Generation Form functionality, the campaign quickly began generating high-quality leads. Saratoga B2B reports the results at least weekly to Pica8, with bullet points describing what is driving the results.
“Saratoga B2B’s lead-gen reports are so clear even a sales guy can read them – and sales people don’t like to read,” says Tom Sheffield, Sales & Marketing Director for Pica8. “All the bullet points address questions I would’ve asked and provide outstanding feedback.”
Over time, working with Paine and Sheffield, Saratoga B2B adjusted the audience parameters – mainly by geography, title and company size – to get even better leads.
More than one viable approach
While the idea of adding new web pages worked well for Pica8, a variation would be to add new content to one or more existing website pages. This would still require background research to identify themes for additional content, which would be created with SEO in mind. It would also require a new piece of premium content for use in a LinkedIn advertising campaign, whether a Sponsored Content offer, InMail or Text Ad program.
For other companies, initial SEO and competitive research may indicate the site already has strong content that’s generating a sizable amount of traffic. In such a case, all you’d need to do is create a new piece of premium content to use as the offer on LinkedIn. (Or, maybe you already have a suitable piece of content, in which case Saratoga B2B can manage the LinkedIn campaign for you.)
At the same time, Saratoga B2B will continue to explore other avenues for getting the word out about Pica8 and open, white box networking. It’s a great fit given Saratoga B2B’s deep experience in the IT field, and its proven ability to produce SEO-optimized content that resonates with an IT audience.
“It’s clear Saratoga’s principals understand technology, which means we don’t have to spend a lot of time editing or re-writing copy,” Paine says. “Add to that their SEO expertise and you have a rare combination, from my experience.”
Our series on setting up LinkedIn ad campaigns can be found on the following pages:
And to learn how Saratoga goes about writing compelling IT white papers for your LinkedIn campaigns, you can read our 5-part “How to write a white paper for an IT audience” series: Here’s Part 1, with links to the Parts 2-5 below:
Part 1: How to Write a White Paper for an IT Audience, including LinkedIn: Introduction
White papers are an important part of any IT marketing strategy. They can serve as magnets to draw potential customers to your website when searching in Google for tech solutions. White papers also serve as that all-important offer for your lead-generation ad campaigns on LinkedIn and other distribution channels – the carrot that entices prospects to share their names and email addresses. Studies show customers rely on white papers as a key component of the buying process.
But if you’ve been involved in producing white papers, you know the job isn’t an easy one. You can picture what you want the paper to achieve, but pulling all the appropriate resources together to get the job done, and then getting all stakeholders to sign off, can be a frustrating, time-consuming task.
Too often, in the end, white papers fail to deliver on the original vision or to achieve their primary function: educating readers. It may be that they miss the mark in terms of properly explaining the technology in question. Perhaps the language used is unnecessarily dry or obtuse. Or maybe the layout fails to entice the reader because it’s missing the charts, graphics, subheads and other elements that serve to break up dense text. Whatever the case may be, if a paper suffers from any of these pitfalls, the result may be that potential prospects never read it.
And that costs you money. You go to plenty of trouble and expense to produce a white paper and get it into the hands of promising prospects, such as via LinkedIn. Once in the prospect’s hands, you depend on the quality of the paper to entice the reader to want to learn more about your product or service. Every time the paper fails in that endeavor, you may well lose a promising lead.
What you’ll learn
To help you avoid that fate, we’ve come up with this multi-step guide to producing truly effective white papers for an IT audience. In the sections ahead, you’ll learn how to:
- Define your target reader
- Choose an appropriate topic
- Set the right tone
- Ensure you offer something of value
- Create a visually compelling package
- Decide between writing in-house or finding a third-party writer
- Define the steps required to get the job done
- Get the paper into the hands of prospects
Setting Your Target
In this first section, we’ll cover how to define your target audience.
It’s an important question because in terms of tone and content a paper targeting a business decision-maker (BDM) will be quite different from one targeting a technology decision-maker (TDM). For the BDM, you’ll obviously want to talk up the business benefits of the product or service and shy away from lots of technical details, while the opposite is true if you’re targeting TDMs.
Even within the TDM realm, a paper targeted at a CIO will take a different tack from one aimed at an IT manager or systems administrator. In general, the higher your target reader is on the IT ladder, the less technical the paper becomes. This is especially true now that in many companies, the CIO may have more of a business background than a technology one.
That said, you also have to keep in mind that you can’t ultimately control who winds up reading your paper. So it’s perfectly appropriate—and even expected—for a paper targeted at TDMs to include a section on the business benefits of the product. Ultimately, that’s what all products and services must do: benefit the business.
Picking the Topic
With the target audience in mind, the next task is deciding on the exact topic. Probably you’ll have a pretty good idea of what the topic should be or you wouldn’t have begun the white paper project in the first place. But the key is to refine it so that it’s in sync with both the target audience and your business goals.
Deciding on the exact focus of the paper requires answering a series of questions, including:
- Who is the target audience?
- What is it about your product or service that is most important to them?
- What is your differentiator with respect to the product or service vs. your competitors?
- What is the key message you want to leave with the reader?
Try to resist the urge to tackle too much in one paper. If you’re coming out with a suite of products or services that address a number of different functions, you’ll likely need more than one paper to tackle them all. Perhaps you can produce one paper with an overarching view, along with a series of relatively shorter papers, which each tackling a set of related features or functions.
You’ll also likely want to time the publication of the paper to coincide with your product or service launch. White papers don’t get written overnight, so be sure to give yourself plenty of time. Producing a quality paper can easily take a good two months from start to finish —often more, depending on the schedules of everyone who has to sign off on the finished product.
**To learn about several potential downsides with LinkedIn campaigns, see our article “LinkedIn B2B Tech Ad Campaigns Using Lead Gen forms – 4 Key Drawbacks Explained for Marketers“
Leveraging LinkedIn’s AI and machine learning: As of March 2019: LinkedIn’s “lookalike” audiences
We’re also excited at Saratoga B2B about the rollout of LinkedIn’s new lookalike audiences feature. Lookalike is a great example of how we can leverage LinkedIn’s world-class machine-learning capabilities for your benefit. Building a lookalike audience will enable your firm to identify LinkedIn members who are currently not on your radar but who match important characteristics of prospects and customers you already have.
With lookalikes, we can upload a list of your current prospects and customers, and LinkedIn will identify members who match your core audience.
For example, LinkedIn can find companies with traits similar to the ones at which your core audience works at and pinpoint individuals who have the same job titles and other characteristics as the individuals you’ve uploaded in Matched Audience lists.
Update: Saratoga has done some exploratory lookalike list creations, and found the following lists were created:
- A Matched Audience list of large companies, which resulted in 22 million potential members, generated a lookalike list of another 20 million members.
- A website retargeting list of 2,000 names resulted in a LinkedIn lookalike list of 24,000 names — 12 times the size of the original list
As LinkedIn notes, with this strategy you can expand your Account Based Marketing plans using your lookalike audiences, targeting your ads to additional companies you may not have previously considered. Since these companies share core traits with companies that are already your customers, it’s quite possible these leads will have higher conversion rates than average.
This is a totally new area where Saratoga B2B can help your company plug into the machine-learning expertise of LinkedIn and open up new lead-generation opportunities for you throughout 2019.
Get in touch with us today if you want to go over in more depth machine learning with LinkedIn.
Cool Use Case: Using LinkedIn “Likes” as a form of lead generation in certain instances
If you are targeting a very specific group with a LinkedIn Sponsored Content ad, and you can mention that group in your ad, you may be able to generate enough enthusiasm for the message in your ad to your target audience whereby a sizable percentage of the audience chooses to “like” your ad.
Here’s where LinkedIn can offer IT vendors a real boost in two related ways.
First, when a LinkedIn member “likes” an ad, your team (and most LinkedIn members as well) will be able to see who that person is by clicking on the “Reactions Like” button under the image of the post.
Your sales team can then view this list via the button click, and quickly obtain the name and the “headline” they’ve chosen to use for their LinkedIn profile. The headline usually has the job title and the company the member works for. From here, the sales team can find the correct profile page of the person, and in most instances, be able to “message” them to thank them for “liking” the contents of the ad.
This can often start a conversation between your sales team and the individual. After all, the individual did “like” the ad’s content in the first place.
One use case example: If you are planning to attend an IT event and will be promoting a new partnership with specific firms, you could target your ad copy and image to your core audience within the firm (e.g., tech workers, or marketing team members). Perhaps you are making the suggestion that a new partnership will likely enable the target firm to increase their market share in a lucrative line of business. And that you will be showcasing these opportunities at an upcoming event which you know the target firm will be attending (or better yet, sponsoring). You may get a slew of “likes” from your Account Based Marketing target firm, in this case.
As an added bonus, since LinkedIn is social media (for business), “likes” often beget more likes. If an individual sees that 10, or 20, or 100 of her fellow co-workers has already liked the contents of the ad, the probabilities go up that a person wants to add their name to the list of likes. Then in Google Analytics (GA) you will be able to obtain anonymous aggregated statistics for the LinkedIn members who came to your site’s landing page from the campaign. In addition to the overall number of visits you can use GA to uncover other valuable information about your click-thrus, including:
- The city/region and/or state/province they came from
- The country they came from
- The type of device they used to connect with your site
- The date they visited
- How many new visitors vs. returning visitors
- The language they are using as the default in their browser
This information can be particularly valuable. You want to know if your messaging and filtering is attracting the right subset of prospects. If it turns out you are not attracting individuals from a specific country or territory your sales force is looking to attract new prospects from, then GA will give you a strong clue about this less-than-ideal situation. Once armed with this information, you can customize the messaging in your ads, in order to identify methods that will better attract your key targets.
Saratoga B2B can set up, manage and provide daily or weekly reporting for these types of campaigns where you want to integrate analytics and tracking from LinkedIn with Google Analytics.
Saratoga will provide value and help you rise above the LinkedIn din
The principals at Saratoga B2B Group have been producing quality content and managing targeted lead-gen campaigns for B2B IT firms since the early 2000s (read our story on our About Us page). With our decades of experience adding value for IT marketing teams like yours, and of producing high-quality content intended for an IT audience, our principals are well-versed in all aspects of strategic sales and marketing efforts. We also have strong ties with many other partner resources in the IT industry, which we draw upon as necessary to make your next lead generation campaign a success.
Working with you and your team, Saratoga’s LinkedIn marketing projects are focused on:
- Effectively communicating to LinkedIn members your expertise in appropriate business segments and the unique benefits of your products/services, to educate members about the value of your offerings
- Developing a razor-sharp segmentation strategy to get in front of the prospects that matter most to your sales teams
- Creating a long-term sustainable ROI roadmap and editorial calendar for your campaign, creating a path that nurtures the leads obtained and providing services to help sales move prospects closer to a purchasing decision
- Providing ongoing optimization and improvement of existing campaigns based on data-driven decision-making tools (e.g., A/B testing for ad copy and creative)
Our LinkedIn campaigns follow a project-based roadmap:
- Infographics and other types of data visualizations
- Case studies
- Customer testimonials
- Sponsored Content
- Text Ads
- Sponsored InMail
- Company pages
- Sales Navigator InMail
- Your CRM