It’s likely you’ve heard talk around town of account-based marketing (ABM) – a more strategic version of lead generation where you focus on gaining new business from your key accounts and other prospective accounts like them through highly tailored, break-through strategies. The concept has been a popular topic at many marketing conferences over the last few years. Of marketers who measure ROI, 91% say that ABM outperforms every other marketing investment. When ABM and the flywheel are used in tandem, your sales and marketing efforts become really powerful, producing tremendous energy that keeps the flywheel moving faster with every ABM touchpoint.
One of the best high-impact ABM tactics to use in the attract stage of the flywheel is LinkedIn Messaging Ads, formerly known as LinkedIn Sponsored InMail. Here’s how to insert LinkedIn into your ABM plan to turn more prospects into engaged customers.
LinkedIn Has an Audience That Means Business
For business-to-business companies, LinkedIn is most likely where your ideal audience lives online. With over 500 million users, LinkedIn has quickly become the go-to social-media platform for professionals in all industries. Sixty-one million LinkedIn users are senior-level influencers and 40 million are in decision-making positions – representing a valuable opportunity to nurture key prospects through ABM efforts.
Finding Your Audience – LinkedIn’s Ad Targeting Is Sophisticated
A report by Demand Wave discovered that 71% of B2B Marketers say LinkedIn is part of their advertising strategy – and for good reason. Since Microsoft’s $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn in 2016, advertisement targeting has been a large focus. LinkedIn introduced Matched Audiences in 2017, which allows advertisers to retarget website visitors and upload key decision-maker email addresses, making targeted prospects even easier to reach. Don’t worry, if you don’t have the specific email addresses of your prospects, LinkedIn provides an option to reach out to the decision makers via its account-targeting option. This feature allows advertisers to upload lists of up to 30K company names, which LinkedIn can then associate with specific employees within those companies and deliver ads to them directly in LinkedIn. Advertisers can then layer-in specific filters of targeting, including location, job title and seniority level. This takes the guesswork out of reaching the correct person at a prospective company, which can save your sales and marketing teams a lot of time.
LinkedIn’s Message Ads Are the New Email
Once you have your key decision-maker list uploaded to your ad targeting on LinkedIn, it’s time to decide on your ad format. The best format to begin your ABM touchpoints is LinkedIn Message Ads. These ads appear right in the LinkedIn inbox of your desired contacts. The ads look like the other messages in their inbox, so they’re more apt to click on it as they do standard messages. LinkedIn reports that 10 to 25% of Message Ads receive a response. A HootSuite report stated that the response rate of Message Ads is 300% higher than a standard email response rate, making the format a highly effective ABM touchpoint in the “attract” phase of the flywheel.
Some best practices for utilizing Message Ads are sending CEO-to-CEO messages and geotargeting trade shows that your company is attending.
As the primary decision maker in your organization, you’re busy. You likely don’t read every message that graces your inbox, but CEOs are more likely to prioritize messages sent from other CEOs. Sending CEO-to-CEO messages also shows your prospect how much you care because, as stated above, CEOs are busy people – if a CEO is taking the time to send a message, it’s likely important.
Geotargeting LinkedIn Message Ads for a trade show is another best practice. These location-targeted ads will let the right people, at the right time, in the right place know that your booth is there and allow a chance to virtually introduce your company and add in a few branded differentiators so they’ll remember you and become intrigued. For example, RedRover geotargets ads for executive summits. In our messages we call out the benefits of attending our breakout session, as well as visiting our booth. This prompted attendees to come over to visit, and they had ice-breaking topics to make the initial conversation easier.
LinkedIn Throughout the Flywheel
LinkedIn is a platform that marketers can use multiple times in an ABM strategy, from initially attracting prospects to delighting prospects with expert content. Here are a few additional LinkedIn ideas to incorporate into your ABM campaigns:
- Sponsored Content – Account-based marketers can use the same targeting parameters as Message Ads to reach prospects with Sponsored Content, too. Sponsored Content appears in a LinkedIn users newsfeed. This is a strategic way to “stay in front” of your prospects to promote brand recall.
- Simply add a contact on LinkedIn – Nothing says, “I want to connect with you,” like actually connecting with someone on LinkedIn. Adding a lead as a LinkedIn connection allows them to know more about you and your experience. People do business with people they like and people they trust to provide a solution for them.
- LinkedIn video ads – Video ads are an interactive way to get your message to prospects in your ABM strategy. Video ads make up 35% of online ad spend, and people are more likely to watch a video than read a blog.
- LinkedIn lead forms – Within two clicks a prospect can sign up for a webinar or content download in Linkedin, as LinkedIn can auto populate a user’s contact information directly into these types of forms. These forms can be used within a sponsored messaging campaign (LinkedIn’s version of email) and for sponsored content, which is content that advertisers can place in their target prospects’ LinkedIn feeds.
Making ABM Work for Your Company
ABM perfectly aligns your sales and marketing teams, allowing your company to operate at maximum efficiency, increasing qualified leads, net promoter scores and company revenue. If you’d like a hand creating a research-backed ABM strategy that includes LinkedIn Message Ads, we’ve got you covered at RedRover.