account based marketing, B2B Marketing, LinkedIn Ads, Social, LinkedIn Sponsored InMail

How to Align LinkedIn Sponsored InMail with Account-Based Marketing

Last post, we covered best practices and general tips for creating your LinkedIn Sponsored InMail campaigns. In part two of this series, we take a deep dive into specific ideas that will help you accomplish real marketing goals.

Let’s say you’re a B2B marketer with 1) a dedicated sales team to help close deals and 2) an account-based marketing approach (in which the funnel is flipped). This means you’re running campaigns with specific goals in mind.

For those who are not familiar with account-based marketing (ABM) or the flipped funnel, check out the graphic below or read up on that strategy here.

Campaign Ideas for B2B Marketers Using LinkedIn Sponsored InMail via blog.adstage.io

Using this flipped funnel, here are some LinkedIn Sponsored InMail campaign ideas for you to hit the ground running and drive positive results for your campaign goals.

1. Expand

Goal: Grow Your Opt-in MQL List

When you’re trying to grow your list, relevant educational content or events are great ways to draw in your prospects’ attention and acquire email addresses for your database. Here are a few examples of how you can promote in your LinkedIn Sponsored InMail campaigns to drive expansion:

  • Webinars:Host an educational seminar that, instead of being product-focused, is all about providing value to your ideal customer.
  • Content:For all those visual learners out there, create an ebook or a blog post detailing that same content. Drive prospects to either subscribe to your blog or download the ebook.
  • Live Events: Whether it’s a casual meet-up or a live presentation of the webinar that you’re promoting, live events can kill two birds with one stone - acquire new leads with email registrations and also get face time with the prospect (part of the Engage stage of the funnel).

The ideal CTA for these types of campaigns could be “Register Now, See the Full Agenda, Download Now, or RSVP Here.” In addition, besides the actual LinkedIn Sponsored InMail copy and landing page, these types of campaigns will require some heavy collaboration with your content or event teams.

Hopefully this will be well worth the effort, as LinkedIn has cited lower lead costs compared to other social channels by 40-80%. Below is an example from LinkedIn aimed at promoting blog subscriptions to grow their MQL email list.

 

Campaign Ideas for B2B Marketers Using Sponsored InMail via blog.adstage.io

 

User Spotlight: LinkedIn Advertising Consultant, AJ Wilcox, notes that the urgency that comes with promoting a live event or digital summit can help overcome recipient’s alarm bell that your message might be spam. “They'll open your LinkedIn Sponsored InMail and realize they have to get it on the calendar asap otherwise they'll miss it,” says Wilcox. He also notes that the invites that perform best are those that appear to be VERY personal. “Some people try to use the CMO or CEO as the sender, but everyone can sniff from a mile away that it's marketing material,” he warns. Instead, he suggests sending from someone in Product or Service, for a more authentic feel.

2. Engage

Goal: Get a Meeting

For the group of folks in your opt-in re-marketing list, you can push them further down the funnel by asking for a meeting in your Sponsored InMail. Keep in mind that LinkedIn Sponsored InMail differs from Facebook Custom Audiences and Google AdWords Customer Match, and does not allow you to upload a list of email addresses. For that reason, you’ll want to identify the top 100 strategic accounts that are in your email list, and use company and job title targeting to reach them through LinkedIn Ads. Here are some examples of LinkedIn Sponsored InMail content that you can use to drive more interest in a demo or a meeting.

  • Case Studies: Highlight fantastic results from reputable and happy clients to drive interest in a meeting.
  • Product Use-Cases: Pull website or sales sheet copy that contains information about your product’s top killer features. This reduces the steps to conversion, as the recipient will have the information needed to make a decision to move forward with a meeting.
  • Product Workshop: Unlike a networking or educational event that will attract more top of funnel prospects, you can host a product workshop to your existing marketing list. This not only drives the right people to the event (sales-ready prospects), but also promotes in-person meetings with the expectation of a demo.

In this scenario, you can vary up the copy in the Sponsored InMail, but you’ll want to make sure your CTA is clear and consistent. Try CTAs like “Contact Me Directly, Get in Touch, Free Demo,  Book a Meeting, or RSVP Now.” You may want to also use a sender that will likely be conducting the meeting, like your Account Executive or Sales Manager. Here’s an example of Google AdWords promoting a product workshop to connect sales-ready prospects with agencies.

 

Campaign Ideas for B2B Marketers Using LinkedIn Sponsored InMail via blog.adstage.io

 

User Spotlight: Job van den Wildenberg of TIAS Business School uses Sponsored InMails on behalf of his recruiters and suggests making the recipient feel in control by granting him/her access to the calendar of the recruiter (this may be B2C outreach, but we think the strategy is just as applicable to B2B). “That way, people can choose a day and time slot that fits their schedule to plan a meeting,” he advises. “Be sure to make scheduling so easy it can be done in less than a minute on both desktop and mobile!” He echoes AJ Wilcox’s advice to make your InMails personal, and uses a combination of personalized content and hyper-targeting to ensure he’s putting his best foot forward to his best prospects.

3. Advocate

Goal: Encourage Happy Customers to be More Vocal

Your B2B product likely has a number of happy customers. And what’s better than authentic quotes and referrals from your best customers? Similar to “Engage” campaigns, you will need to use a combination of Company Name and Job Title targeting to reach the right people through LinkedIn Ads, but you’ll want to treat your ad creative a little differently. Here are a few examples of what you can promote to your happy customers to drive advocacy and buzz for your products.

  • Social mentions: Incorporate a social strategy with your Sponsored InMail campaigns and ask your happy customers to post a tweet about your product or share a post on LinkedIn.
  • Comment on forums: Your prospects likely consume media outside of the main social channels. From vertical-specific forums to generic Q&A or review sites, the more authentic reviews about your products, the better. Asking your happy customers to write a review or comment on a Quora post through Sponsored InMail has a unique advantage: you’re reaching them while they’re browsing LinkedIn, which hopefully means they have some free time but are in a business mindset.

For links, CTAs, and measurement on these campaigns, you will need to use a bit of a different strategy. The CTA should say something succinct and direct like “Tweet Now, Share on LinkedIn, or Answer on Quora.” However, unlike a traditional tracking link with UTM parameters and conversion tracking, you’ll want to make it simple and easy for your customers to share your content or review.

For example, include a Click to Tweet link that already includes the Tweet text you want them to share. Don’t forget to include a unique hashtag so you can measure the number of shares that you drove from your B2B LinkedIn Sponsored InMail campaign!

Have any other creative ideas for LinkedIn Sponsored InMail campaigns that will drive expansion, engagement, or advocacy? Share them with us in the comments below!

Want expert insights into LinkedIn Ads? Find advanced tips and best practices in our Advanced Guide!

The Advanced Guide to LinkedIn Ads via blog.adstage.io