Leveraging LinkedIn for Lead Generation

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1 WHITE PAPER Leveraging LinkedIn for Lead Generation TP 10 THINGS A RETAIL TECHNLGY PRVIDER NEEDS T KNW T GENERATE MRE DEMAND PRESENTED BY

2 What You Will Learn How to Get More Inbound Leads Best Practices for Targeted PPC Advertising A Disciplined Process for Your Company Executive Summary LinkedIn is the world s largest professional network on the Internet, with over 200 million members and more than 2.8 million companies in over 200 countries. It is also arguably one of the most powerful networking and inbound marketing tools and should be a cornerstone platform for any B2B retail technology solution provider. With the purchase of Pulse and Slideshare, LinkedIn is growing in importance as the marketing platform you need to master right now. So not only do you leverage LinkedIn to raise brand awareness, gain a competitive edge over the competition or discover new markets for your products and services, you utilize it to provide personal references and ultimately increase revenue. A recent Hubspot research study found that more companies had acquired a customer through LinkedIn than any other social media channel. If fact 57% of companies surveyed said they acquired a customer directly through a targeted LinkedIn action. This whitepaper will help you understand how you can start utilizing all the power of LinkedIn to increase your network and increase your market share now.

3 Introduction In reality each social media platform has its merits, such as the sheer scale of Facebook, the ability to distribute news quickly via Twitter and the significant growth in Google Plus and the SE benefits it provides. Essentially you would use all of these platforms. The SE benefits of Google Plus are very significant since B2B buyers frequently start with a search. However, when it comes to generating qualified leads and conversions most B2B marketers agree that LinkedIn is the current platform to use. Bringing company and individuals together with connections and their voices you can put forth a powerful consistent message on LinkedIn. There is immense exponential value when employees and employers work together. There also is a process and methodology that creates a company culture that communicates business value through content marketing. Your marketing department or agency needs to constantly feed relevant consistent and relevant content to all customer/prospect facing teams to communicate in their LinkedIn networks and to the marketplace in general. LinkedIn will benefit tremendously as marketers continue to shift their focus from banner ads to content marketing and more of the $44 billion spent on content marketing shifts online. Forbes Magazine Leveraging the network and referrals through this median provides the personalization and introduction that sales professionals and executives view as the most influential and successful way to get a F2F meeting. The power of LinkedIn provides those relationships that may otherwise take months to identify.

4 Top 10 Things a Retail Technology Provider Needs to Know to Close More Business Some of the items on this Top 10 list may seem very obvious but many companies that aim to be a sales driven organization fail to properly implement a consistent and dynamic Linkedin strategy. thers that have made our list should be driven and managed by a Marketing inbound and outbound subject matter expert (SME). LinkedIn should be used as an anchor for demand generation, but a 360 holistic approach ensures even greater success. top TEN #1 Take Professional Photos For ALL Your Employees and Make Sure They Properly Complete Profiles The average retail companies you will be targeting are probably obsessed with their brand and if you want to be in this market, you should be too. Use a good close-up picture that stands out and make sure everyone in the organization is consistent in presentation. If corporate branding would dictate a black and white photo, then have everyone use it as you will stand out. Nobody else on the page is black and white. r use the same corporate background color and be professional. Also, make sure your customer facing employees complete profiles, keep it fresh, and set it up correctly so you have credibility. Many Salespeople never take the time to complete a profile and this hurts them and your company.

5 #2 Use Consistent Messaging and ptimize the About Us Clear, concise business value messaging should come from marketing and should be distributed and updated regularly for all employees on LinkedIn. Most companies simply copy and paste the About Us section from their website onto their LinkedIn profiles and most employees don t even use that and create there own company messaging! However, this strategy is a mistake for those seeking to network on LinkedIn. Put some thought and strategy into the messaging required for your retail audience. #3 Set Up A Group and Have a Company Plan to Join Groups Where do your customers hang out? Join groups where your customers are present and try to be a helpful member of the group and respond to questions. This takes time so don t spread yourself too thin. While most professionals and brands join groups for exposure, why not create your own? This truly establishes you as a thought-leader in the industry and as the group grows, so does your authority. Instead of making the group self-promotional, add value to the discussion by focusing the group on industry news, best practices, new ideas, obstacles, and similar topics of interest. If you establish a Group remember it is your responsibility to lead it. Post regular relevant content, encourage discussions and comment on discussions. #4 Share Content That Adds Value More and more, LinkedIn is becoming the resource the retail industry utilizes when looking for informational business content. Communicate relevant content as a means to target and engage your prospects through the use of thought leadership white papers, news articles, educated discussion threads, and so forth. Use the what s new and updates to post out to your network and have them share the news with their own networks. The more relevant and valuable the data, the faster it will gain attention and open avenues for communications. Any corporate white papers, articles, or news is worthy of being shared with your network.

6 #5 Follow Your Customers and Connect to Your Prospects Who in the B2B world is more important than your customers and industry connections? They also represent a similar demographic of what your prospects look like. By getting to know them better, you can connect to others just like them and identify those groups they are part of. Gain visibility to their own networks and at some point in the relationship, you can ask for referrals or recommendations that will really have impact. So, that means you should be connected through LinkedIn to ALL F YUR CUSTMERS! That seems like a no brainer, but very few companies do that. We recommend that your leadership team reach out to each new customer and connect. Then ping them now and again to ask how are things doing? Follow each of your customer s companies in LinkedIn. Your salespeople should connect to their prospects right after the first successful telephone conversation or F2F meeting. Do they always do it? LinkedIn messaging can increase response to communications by 300% versus when effectively utilized. #6 Set Realistic Goals and Monitor Your Performance As part of your LinkedIn corporate strategy you should set performance targets for your page, posts and group activities. The targets to monitor might include: The Number of Followers of Your Company The Number of People Joining Your Group How ften Your Posts Are Shared The Level of Engagement Through Comments, Discussions and Polls Number of Click Thrus To Your Website or Landing Pages From Linkedin Number of Leads, Track Where Your Leads Come From and Be Sure to Have a Lead Category For Linkedin Your CRM of Choice Please note that the measurements above are not for your LinkedIn PPC campaigns. We will discuss that later in this paper and you should use another set of metrics.

7 #7 Be Creative and Go Visual for Your Page and PPC (Pay Per Click) To keep up with the social media trends spearheaded by Facebook and Pinterest, LinkedIn has decided to become more visual. Like Facebook, it s possible to incorporate a banner image for your company s LinkedIn page as well as incorporate video. Best practice would be using basic branding techniques like using your logo wherever possible and keep the tone consistent with your brand. For your LinkedIn PPC (pay per click) campaigns be aware your highest performing ads will be shown more often, and the poorer performing ads will begin to bring the overall campaign performance down. To keep the overall campaign performance strong, create several ad variations and be prepared to update this often as much as once a week. A great tip is to start with three variations, making two live. nce they have been running, use the third ad to replace the poorest performing ad. #8 Be Strategic With Persona Based LinkedIn PPC Campaigns Granular targeting is available with LinkedIn and understanding your target audience and numbers associated with a particular title, can help anticipate success rates. Let s say you want to target VP/Director of Merchandising. LinkedIn today has over 60,000+ members that fit that profile. Adding more criteria to each campaign reduces the available audience, but may be more targeted. If you are an apparel technology solution provider versus having a solution for the CPG marketplace, you will have a much better result when you are closer to your target market and have the right value based messaging. It is advised to have a different message for each target persona/title and for each market. So, at any given time you may have 3 to 30 (or more) campaigns going on at one time. Most marketers disagree with this strategy as they prefer to go broad for higher success rates. Also, they hate maintaining multiple creative/ads and campaigns within LinkedIn. So, hire an agency to help you with this because when you are selling enterprise software, it is definitely worth the time and attention to detail. It is not about the cost as this is low compared to other marketing methodologies. Going broad can give your ad campaign the best chance of receiving more impressions, but you want qualified clicks.

8 #9 Dump Your 30, 60, 90 Pipeline Into a LinkedIn Targeted PPC (Pay Per Click) Campaign Yes, you heard that right and you will only hear it here. You actually can be laser focused with your targeting and can specifically call out certain companies and titles that you want your value based messaging to go to. This is especially good for enterprise opportunities where you are targeting multiple personas in an organization as well as slow moving opportunities where seeing your brand might reinforce or create propensity to move forward. Your messages at this point in the sales cycle need to be spot on and you need to manage multiple creative, but when deals are $500K and up, this can be really strategic to move the deal forward in the sales cycle. You competition is definitely not doing this. #10 ptimize Your Click-Through Rates (CTR) for Linkedin PPC For LinkedIn ads, it s all about the CTR. If number 10 is over your head, then you should forward this to marketing. If you are marketing and you still don t understand this hire an SEM agency to help you. The system places a heavy emphasis on and rewards ads with a CTR over percent. Running your campaigns for any amount of time with a lower CTR and no clicks is difficult to bounce back from. nce this dips too low, the ads will stop showing. Sometimes it will be necessary to deactivate your current ad campaigns and create new campaigns with new creative to reset the performance history and therefore get impressions again. In summary, the top tips are: Bid at the High Range of the Suggested Range or Above it to Hold Your wn Competing With ther Advertisers For Impressions Continuously Review and Adjust Your Daily Budget to Get the Most ut of It Follow the Best Practices For PPC Ads, but Keep Several Versions on Hand to Change ut CTR is the Most Important Thing To Watch, So Unfortunately, You Will Have to ptimize the CTR to Keep the Ads Running n Linkedin Make Sure Your Website Is Mobile Friendly nce They Click n Your Ad

9 Conclusion So in conclusion, if you do a few of the things outlined in this paper, we guarantee you will learn to love LinkedIn! Marketing to the retail industry may seem a little complicated now that you know more, but if you follow those 10 best practices you will be successful and you will close more business. Your sales team needs to dedicate time to LinkedIn daily leveraging their network and identifying referrals. Your Marketing department needs a dedicated person or team for LinkedIn. If your organization does not have a dedicated person to manage all of the LinkedIn activities outlined here especially strong business value messaging, and/or a content marketing program than you need to hire an experienced partner that can manage a program that is right for you. Learn to love LinkedIn as it should be one of your biggest and most cost effective lead generators that s qualified lead generator, folks!

10 About the Authors Jerry Inman Chief Marketing fficer, Demand Worldwide A seasoned Chief Marketing fficer focused on the Retail and Technology industries. For the past 25 plus years, Mr. Inman has created a strong track record of driving global market share, revenue growth and increased brand equity - for start-ups to the established. He has spoken at numerous conferences and industry events and has become sought after for his motivation skills as well as his knowledge on branding, demand generation, PR, content marketing, SEM, sales/marketing alignment and innovative integrated marketing campaigns. Paula Levy Chief Strategy fficer, Demand Worldwide A seasoned SVP Global Sales and Industry Business Specialist focused on Retail and Brands. For the past 25 plus years, Paula has provided consulting services and technology solutions to the industry based on her depth of knowledge of business best practices and a detailed understanding of the process focusing on value based selling, cost savings, operational efficiencies, and go to market strategy. Paula s customers have covered a wide range of leading retailers and brands worldwide including Brooks Brothers, Chanel, Giorgio Armani, Tory Burch, Polo Ralph Lauren, St John Knits, Escada, Tommy Hilfiger, Valentino, Joseph Abboud, Liz Claiborne, and Calvin Klein.

11 About Demand Worldwide is a full-service demand agency helping B2B technology companies from start up to established in the retail sector increase revenue through demand/brand, go to market (GTM), and communications strategies. The firm s unique, holistic approach to demand generation and sales enablement blends subject matter expertise, creative, and a deep understanding of the space to achieve measurable results in lead generation, nurturing, and conversion. For more information, please visit demandworldwide.com Copyright 2014 Demand Worldwide Group All Rights Reserved DN_0414

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