Reaching and engaging our buyers is more difficult than ever. In the era of Precision Demand Marketing we need to change the way we think about B2B marketing. Meeting buyers in the channels where they do research, with valuable information to help them make important buying decisions, is critical to driving results from your marketing efforts. According to Demand Gen Report, 57% of B2B buyers rely on social media as they navigate new solutions and vendors, making social a critical channel in the buyer’s journey - and LinkedIn is the most important social channel for B2B Marketers today.

We spoke with Anna Bethlahmy in Business Development at LinkedIn to get tips on how marketers can get value from their social efforts with LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms. Anna walks us through a Precision Demand Marketing approach with LinkedIn, including how to get started, a sneak peek into what’s in store for LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms, and words of wisdom on how to approach this new era of precision in social. Check out the interview with Anna below:

Can you provide some background on your role and what you’re focused on at LinkedIn? 

I have been at LinkedIn for 3.5 years previously as a Client Solutions Manager within Marketing Solutions. I recently pivoted from sales into engineering as a senior associate within the Business Development team focusing on our Matched Audience and Lead Gen Forms. My new go-to line is I used to sell Lead Gen Forms and now I help improve them!

Tell us more about running B2B lead generation campaigns on LinkedIn, what is it, who uses it, how do you get started? 

Marketers focused on B2B lead generation find LinkedIn to be a powerful source of leads largely because of the quality of our audience. You can use professional demographic data to target the right people by job title, company, industry, seniority, and more with a campaign using our Lead Gen Form. Lead Gen Forms allow marketers to collect quality leads using forms that are pre-filled with LinkedIn profile data. These lead gen forms can be appended to our Sponsored Content and Sponsored Message ad formats. They serve as an excellent alternative to landing pages because they keep members on the platform. The average conversion rate on a landing page is 2.35% (based on a study by Wordstream). The average conversion rate on a LinkedIn Lead Gen Form is 13%. Getting started is easy in our Campaign manager tool.

An important aspect of lead generation to keep in mind, is that leads often need to be nurtured before they convert into an opportunity. On LinkedIn you can retarget website visitors, reach contacts, and build account-based marketing campaigns with Matched Audiences, a set of custom targeting options. Learn more about B2B lead generation on LinkedIn. 

Applying principles of Precision Demand Marketing and taking a targeted approach to marketing is critical, especially in today’s new era of B2B marketing. Can you give us a couple examples of how marketers are driving precision with B2B lead generation campaigns using the Lead Gen Form?

Absolutely. BambooHR provides software which makes it easy to collect and analyze HR data. Their sales team only handles inbound leads, so the marketing team is laser focused on driving these leads and providing engaging experiences through every step of the buyer journey, all while keeping costs low. They decided to implement Single Image Ads that promoted the company’s high-quality thought leadership playbooks. In parallel, they ran Message Ads that invited individuals who engaged with the thought leadership content to register for a demo. Lead Gen Forms were included on both campaigns which streamlined the member’s signup experience. With this new approach, BambooHR achieved 53% higher submission rates compared to their website. Read the full story here.

Another great example is Cisco. The marketing team for Cisco’s Canada operations wanted to expand its digital marketing efforts in order to effectively hit KPIs. Cisco partnered with LinkedIn to create several campaigns focusing on lower cost per customer acquisition and improved targeting. The team used LinkedIn advertising to showcase a white paper that featured important Cisco technology for the manufacturing industry, with a goal of generating high-quality leads. This campaign saw a 56% lower cost per acquisition than other marketing efforts. Read the full story here.

LinkedIn has seen tremendous growth in the adoption of Lead Gen Forms, can you give us some insight on what you’ve seen from your side and what you attribute the growth to?

We have seen a lot of fantastic growth on the Lead Gen Form front. Much of this growth is because LinkedIn has the world’s largest professional network where people and businesses come to connect, inspire and grow. Our members come back regularly to check in, network, and learn how they can optimize their career and business, so you're marketing to an active and engaged audience.

A lot of this growth also stems from the continued investment we’re making in the product. Our product team works closely with the product marketing team to ensure our roadmap incorporates top asks from our customers.

What campaign types are especially suited to LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms? And why?

Sharing thought leadership has proved successful for many of our marketers. This can come in many formats...whether it be a blog post, video, or eBook thought leadership is very consumable. 75% of would-be buyers say thought leadership helps them determine which vendor to put on their short list.

Are there any new campaign types that LinkedIn will be adding to Lead Gen Forms in 2021? Anything on the roadmap you can give us a sneak peek into?

A big focus for Lead Gen Forms in 2021 and beyond is expanding the surfaces where you can add a form beyond ads. Just last month we released the ability to add a Lead Gen Form to Product Pages allowing organizations to tap into their product community to generate high quality leads. Stay tuned for more developments in the future!

Are there any common mistakes, misconceptions, or anything you would recommend as a best practice for marketers who are just getting started with LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms?

One common mistake we see that’s worth calling out is asking too many questions on your form. LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms see the highest completion rates when they use 5 or fewer questions. We also know there are times where you need to use custom questions to collect specific data to qualify the lead. However, we recommend keeping the use of custom questions to a minimum. If you need to use a custom question for lead qualifying data, we recommend multiple choice as members are more likely to choose from a dropdown than to write in an answer. Adding even one free response custom question, can lead to a 3-4% drop in the lead submission rate.

What are you, personally, most excited about for 2021 (personally or professionally)?

Personally, I recently moved back to San Francisco, and I am excited to see the city open back up again! I foresee lots of adventures with my seven-month-old puppy!

Professionally LinkedIn has seen tremendous growth overall, especially within Marketing Solutions. Over the past 12 months, LinkedIn’s advertising business has surpassed $3 billion in revenue, and is growing nearly three times faster than the B2B digital advertising market overall. (April 2021) It feels like being on a rocket ship and I can’t wait to see what’s in store next. There is so much strong momentum behind Lead Gen Forms, I am eager to see increased adoption of them as they continue to add value for our customers!

I remember back in the early days of the pandemic, you were seeing tremendous growth in member engagement within LinkedIn. Is this still the case? Any new trends you can share with us?

Yes! We saw record engagement on the LinkedIn platform, 756 million professionals looked to connect, learn, create content, and find jobs. In Q3FY21 alone, conversations increased 43% and the amount of content shared was up 29%

To learn more about taking a Precision Demand Marketing approach with LinkedIn and how you can use LinkedIn Lead Gen forms, please visit this on-demand webinar.

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