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Qualified lead generation is still one of the biggest barriers to B2B growth. It’s not that getting leads into your funnel is that much of a challenge, it’s making sure they’re well qualified. But newer technologies, like LinkedIn advertising, continue to make this challenge easier — provided you get the targeting and segmenting just right.
LinkedIn’s Sponsored InMail Advertising
One of the best opportunities for generating new, highly qualified leads in the B2B space is LinkedIn’s Sponsored InMail ad product. Many users get a lot of value out of the professional social network’s messaging system, called InMail. With Sponsored InMail messages, that same value can be had by marketers who are looking to connect directly with decision makers, including CEOs, CMOs, and marketing managers.
On LinkedIn, it’s possible to target, segment, convince, and convert decision makers right from their InMail. The key is getting your marketing message to the right prospect.
Targeting with Sponsored InMail
There are many different approaches marketers can take when it comes to targeting leads with Sponsored InMail. The three primary paths to get you started are:
- Demographics-based targeting around LinkedIn data.
- List-based targeting from your CRM list.
- Audience targeting based on pages visited.
Each pathway has its place, depending on the needs of your lead generation campaign.
Marketers are probably most familiar with LinkedIn’s demographics targeting — a great tool for casting a net that’s not too wide or narrow. Categories can be layered together, such that you could target leads at a specific company, in a particular industry, by company size, job title, job function, seniority, education, group affiliation, age, and years of experience. So if your B2B firm needed to generate leads for HR managers who deal with employee benefits at legal firms with more than 200 employees — you can do that.
However, the tool’s lesser known targeting options could be even more effective. Consider how you could re-engage old back-burner prospects that are already in your CRM. Just filter out a new list and upload it to your Sponsored InMail campaign. Now you can touch base through a fresh channel. Or use a CRM list of prospects in a warm lead nurturing program to add a new layer of sales touches, again from a fresh channel.
As for the third pathway, consider how you might be able to retarget leads who already took an action that showed interest, like downloading your latest white paper, but for some reason didn’t yet convert. Perhaps your site has a specific landing page for a new business vertical and you’d like to retarget those visitors. All possible with InMail targeting options, including the ability to filter out a list of those who did convert after visiting a particular page on your website.
Segmenting with Sponsored InMail
Of course, targeting is usually only half the battle. Each prospect persona is going to respond best to his own type of messaging. That’s obvious when you think about it, because a CEO lead is not looking for the same thing as a marketing manager lead, and furthermore, they aren’t going to be swayed by the same kind of InMail messaging. Consider that, CEOs might want to know more about what opportunities they’re missing out on, while CMOs are interested in benchmarks or new trends, while managers are concerned with execution.
Again, LinkedIn’s Sponsored InMail is such a great opportunity for lead gen particularly because it allows you to segment your marketing down to this marketing persona level by creating a campaign for each group. This allows you to get more personalized with your messaging and call-to-action approach, and ups the likelihood of a successful lead gen campaign.
The Next Steps with Sponsored InMail
LinkedIn’s Sponsored InMail targeting and segmentation will have you well on your way to generating new leads for your business. What comes next, is to consider how you will go about marketing to and converting these highly qualified leads into customers. Messaging is a key component, and some research and experimentation may be necessary to achieve the best results. As with all social and content marketing, clicks could all come down to the right subject line or the right call to action.
As you look for your next lead generation opportunity, I would continue to highly recommend LinkedIn for B2B marketing. Not only do you have access to high-value audiences and the ability to target hyper-specific sub-audiences, there’s a great opportunity to get the “right” clicks and grow your business with highly qualified leads.