Social Media Advertising for Industrials
Social media ad campaigns are a powerful way to get your content in front of your target customers and extend your company’s reach. Your target customers, the individuals who are involved in the purchasing decisions, are on social media. And with the targeting tools available today, particularly on LinkedIn and Meta Platforms (the parent company to Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, etc.), it is easy to get your company’s message in front of even very niche audiences.
In this blog we’re going to walk through the steps to build a specific type of LinkedIn campaign for generating leads using content (although the same process will work on other platforms as well) . You will take one of your best pieces of content, one that is answering questions or solving problems that your target customers care about, and showcase it to your ideal target customers. Some of those individuals will be attracted and will enter your realm of influence.
The beauty of this type of marketing campaign is that your target audience will self-select based on their interest in your ad and subsequent content. In this way, you begin building relationships with people who not only fit your ideal customer profile but also have indicated interest by clicking your ad, filling out a form, and downloading your content.
Keep in mind that not everyone who clicks on your ad will engage with your content, and not everyone who engages with your content will become a customer. Yet some will. If you fill your funnel with enough leads and maintain a good conversion rate, your reward will be a consistent flow of new business opportunities.
A word of caution here. As is true with Google Ads, setting up a campaign with LinkedIn (or Facebook or any other major platform) and the technology integration requires specific expertise. If your company doesn’t have this expertise in-house, find an agency or a certified professional to help.
Setting Up Your Campaign & Setting Your Budget
Setting up your LinkedIn campaign requires a number of important steps that your campaign manager or agency will help you with. Those steps are summarized below, and you can reference LinkedIn’s resource page for additional details.
- Create a business page on LinkedIn (if you don’t already have one)
- Choose your ad objective (for our example, you’ll select Website Conversions)
- Build your target audience (reference your ideal customer profile for targeting criteria)
- Select ad format (you’ll have text, images, videos, and other options)
- Set your budget and bid type
- Build your ads
Your ad campaigns should be targeted to your ideal customers. Whether you are building a campaign in LinkedIn or another platform, spend time to understand the audience criteria and use it to your advantage. Here are some of the targeting criteria available, depending on the platform:
- Company name
- Job title
- If they have been to your website recently (requires code installation)
- If they have downloaded material from your website (requires code or integration with your marketing software)
- If they have purchased from you before (requires customer list or CRM integration)
- Buyer intent (requires 3rd party integration and use of ABM software, such as DemandBase)
Selecting an Offer
Your offer should leverage one of your best pieces of content, one that is answering questions or solving problems that your target customers care about. For this type of campaign, you’re going to entice your target audience to exchange their contact information for the opportunity to access that content. The offer content can take many forms, including:
- Case Studies
- Benchmark Reports
- Free Tools such as ROI calculators
- White Papers
What’s important is that your offer must appeal to your ideal customer and motivate them to action. Accordingly, your ad headline and description should be clear, attention grabbing, and promise meaningful value (don’t let them be disappointed!). Headlines often make or break an ad. You can easily run split tests with the same copy and creative but different headlines to potentially see immediate improvements.
Set Your Landing Pages
Remember, your landing page is where potential customers arrive after clicking on your ad. As with landing pages for your Google campaign, it is important that your pages are congruent with your ads and optimized for conversion.
Consider this example from Strativise:
Best practices for landing page design include:
- Ensure your message is congruent with your ads.
- Show a picture of what you’re offering.
- Remove navigation and other distractions.
- Use a clear and descriptive title.
- Highlight a problem that your content solves or addresses.
- Peak the reader’s curiosity.
- Keep your form simple and only ask for the minimum amount of information
Once a lead has filled out your form on your landing page and downloaded your content you will prompt them to join your mailing list and then bring them to a thank you page which offers them an opportunity to progress their new relationship with you. Depending on your business model, this could be a consultation with your sales team, an opportunity to chat with a member of your inside sales group, or even a qualification survey (chat bots are great for this purpose) followed by a phone call.
A small portion of your new leads will take you up on the offer to engage. They are likely to be in buying mode or will be soon. Another portion will grab your content and sign up for your mailing list and leave. And a third portion will click on your ad but will leave your page without doing anything.
Your marketing team should put a process in place for each of these three groups:
Leads who want to engage now: Speed wins the game. Your team should be ready to respond within minutes, and hours at the very latest; if you wait until the next day, you will miss out on many opportunities.
Leads who opt into your mailing list: Carefully craft 3-6 emails that will drip out over the coming days through your marketing automation software, each packed with helpful content. Resist the urge to sell. These emails are designed to build trust and keep you top-of-mind and most importantly to turn leads into paying customers when they are ready to buy.
All other leads who visit your page but do nothing: Retarget with a separate ad campaign offering a different piece of content and a unique offer. I suggest a much lower budget for retargeting campaigns. Often conversion rates are higher on these campaigns because the audience is already familiar with your brand.
It’s worth spending a few moments on the 3-6 email sequence that you will be sending to move potential leads forward in your funnel and towards a purchase decision. Your emails should have a logical content flow to them, and each one should introduce the next email topic so that your lead anticipates receiving it. This expectation fulfillment helps build trust as you provide valuable content directly into their inbox.
The first two emails should share early customer journey content to establish your expertise, while the remaining emails should demonstrate how your company uniquely creates value for its clients. Case studies and customer references are great content for these later emails. Draw on your value proposition map and positioning work as you build these emails. Lastly, your email sequence should be congruent with and build upon the content that your lead initially downloaded. If you are running several campaigns with different offers and content, each campaign should have its own email sequence.
The goal with these emails is to convert the lead into a paying customer. Depending on your company’s qualification process your next step may vary; however, best practice in our industry is to begin a conversation with that lead earlier than later.
Social media campaigns allow you to expand your reach and get your content into the hands of your target customers before they are in buying mode. These campaigns allow your ideal target customers to self-select to enter your realm of influence by opting into your content and sharing their contact information with you. You will build trust with these new, high-value leads by offering more great content and being present to quickly answer their questions.
These types of campaigns are a great complement to PPC Search campaigns, which can capture buyers later in their purchase cycle as they are searching for actual solutions. Together, these paid media tools provide good coverage across your buyers’ procurement cycle.
Lastly, marketing should be metric-driven. While each channel (i.e., LinkedIn Campaign, Google Campaign, etc.) will have its own KPI dashboard, it’s important to have a consolidated view of your marketing funnel as well.
A consolidated view of your marketing funnel should:
- Allow you to make resource allocation decisions across your channels, throttling paid media spend and prospecting activities to achieve your revenue targets.
- Assess the quality of your marketing activities based on funnel stage conversion rates and pinpoint areas that need work.
- Monitor performance over time, including Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) and total new customers.
Here are some basic questions that your marketing team should be able to answer in regards to inbound and paid media marketing:
- Where is our website traffic coming from?
- How are they interacting with our website?
- Which of our content and calls-to-action are producing the most qualified leads?
Going deeper, your Google Analytics account will provide rich data on your site visitors, how they behave, and their conversion path on your website.
Paid Media Campaigns:
- What is our Cost per thousand impressions (CPM)?
- What is our cost per click (CPC)?
- What is our cost per action/lead (CPA)?
- What is our customer acquisition cost (CAC)?
Your ads platform of choice (e.g. LinkedIn, etc.) will provide detailed reporting tools. You should expect your campaign manager to provide you with weekly dashboards on the campaign, segmented in appropriate detail to explain the factors that contributed to performance that week, and the actions being taken to optimize the campaign.
Suggested Reading: The New Fundamentals of Industrial Marketing.
This blog is an excerpt from from my book, The New Fundamentals of Industrial Marketing. For more in-depth look at industrial advertising strategies to build your opportunity pipeline, grab your copy here.