How to Succeed With Account Based Marketing on LinkedIn

More B2B marketing teams are turning to account-based marketing for lead generation, especially as GDPR and privacy concerns make cold outreach harder and potentially legally risky, too.

With account-based marketing, you push marketing campaigns to specific audiences and accounts rather than casting a wide net. Marketing partners closely with sales to understand target accounts who are pre-qualified, then all campaigns are based around building interest among these people. The idea is to share thought leadership with targeted, high-value prospects.

Linkedin advertising

LinkedIn is one highly successful channel for ABM. First, why is LinkedIn a great platform for B2B campaigns?

  • LinkedIn allows tight audience targeting, including by company name or email address
  • You can run many campaigns and easily manipulate your tests, or use auto-optimize tools, to optimize your cost
  • There are several different types of campaigns, including a platform-native lead capture tool, which helps you reduce friction if you want to capture lead information
  • Analytics are robust, letting you gain insights about which messaging, design, and bid strategy is resonating

To succeed on LinkedIn with ABM, follow these best practices: create highly relevant content, run multivariate tests, and use the lean + agile method.

Create Highly-Relevant Content

At the core of account-based marketing is thought leadership. Before running any campaign, you will first need a content marketing library of pieces (or one piece to begin) that is highly relevant to your target audience.

Your target audience wants to read materials that are actionable and relevant. To create this kind of material, research and understand their pain points and goals. You need to craft a value proposition that is targeted and clear. So you should avoid being “autobiographical” and talking about your company in a braggadocio way.

The key to great thought leadership is being buyer-centric, and answering questions like:

  • “What’s coming in my industry—this year, next year, and five years down the line?”
  • “How can I be prepared for this change?”
  • “What am I missing out on in terms of current value, cost-savings, or future preparation?”
  • “What should I know to keep up with my competitors and peers?”

Some companies start with thought leadership at the top of their organization — the big picture their CEOs and founders are usually thinking about all the time — and use the marketing team to translate this into a compelling, beautifully crafted content offer. This may take the format of an original research report, infographics, webinar videos, eBooks and more.

If some leads are extremely high-value, you may even want to create spinoff content just for them.

Always Run Multivariate Tests

As mentioned before, the real value of LinkedIn lies in seeing insights which help you optimize over time. For that reason, never launch with just one ad or one campaign with all your budget behind it.

Even if you have only one content offer or promotion, you can still test various aspects of your strategy.

Always create variations on your:

  • Core messaging (pain points, value points, other differentiators, and trigger events for a sale)
  • Ad copy (Try numbers-based, value-driven, and pain-point-driven copy)
  • Offers or incentives for a target audience (demos, speak to sales, content, education tools, webinars, events, etc)
  • Design (do big ‘buttons’ work in your design? Statistics/charts? Short, choppy text?)
  • Format (video vs. photo vs. display ad)

See also: 5 Reasons Content Creators Should Be Looking at Analytics

Note: Do what you can to make your tests pure A/B, so don’t include too many variables per test that will confuse your learnings.

You will most likely begin to notice patterns and “standout” ads. This will become your playbook of best practices that you can use in future campaigns.

Use a Lean + Agile Methodology

LinkedIn campaigns are not “set it and forget it.” To get the most value, you should practice a lean and agile marketing methodology of optimizations. This requires a bit of ongoing focus and daily or weekly check-ins with your performance.

Start with a small budget and always set a “daily budget” and “total budget” limit so you can control your spend. In the early stages of your campaign, make sure you are getting substantial impressions (depending on your audience, this could be several hundred or several thousand.) The key is looking for statistical significance when you look at the data. This can be more of an art than an exact science — you just want to make sure you’ve let your initial tests run for at least several days or a week to get a decent baseline.

See also: Agile LinkedIn Best Practices for B2B

LinkedIn limits the number of times your audience can see your company’s ads (to avoid spam), so you want the best ads in rotation the most often. So with ongoing optimizations, pause low-performing ads so you can get your best performers in front of target accounts.

Note: LinkedIn does offer auto optimization tools (such as “Audience expansion” which widens your audience with lookalikes automatically, or with options to auto-optimize for impressions, leads or engagement). However, these tools aren’t perfect. And actually working through the data yourself with some manual effort will help you understand the reasons why different tests are working better; This equips you for more success and growth over time.

In addition to pausing low performing ads and campaigns, continue increasing the budget of your successful campaigns. Look for a low cost-per-lead (if you are focused on lead generation) or a high click-through or engagement rate as your metrics for success. Impressions don’t mean much if your audience isn’t engaging!

And you can always tweak your campaign to capture more of the right people. So if you find that you’re seeing engagements with people who are not decision-makers, you may want to add a new “years of experience” criteria to your target audience.

Conclusion

With strong thought leadership content, you have a high-value asset to create demand generation among target accounts. But to maximize your budget and see engagement grow over time, you need to practice a lean budget methodology and run multivariate tests to gain a playbook of insights over time.

A successful LinkedIn ABM campaign can create a new pool of interested prospects, and reduce the need for cold calling over time.




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Ironpaper is a results-driven digital marketing agency. Ironpaper integrates design, technology and marketing for the web to drive meaningful results for clients. We are based in New York City and Charlotte, NC.