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Mark Ailsworth is a partner and revenue generation strategist at Chameleon Collective, a marketing and sales consultancy. He recently answered my questions and shared a collection of best practices for B2B marketers looking to better leverage the capabilities of LinkedIn.
Paul Talbot: When B2B marketers use LinkedIn, to what extent can they reasonably expect to scale… without compromising the relevance of their message, the degree of personalization, and relevance?
Mark Ailsworth: The current premium-level access that most professionals presently pay for on LinkedIn is unfortunately not enough to develop and execute a personalized B2B messaging campaign of any scale. Many users are surprised to discover that their viewable network is more strictly controlled than at any other time in LinkedIn’s existence.
Their searchable 3rd-level networks are now smaller by default. Because members now have more control over how their profiles are rendered, they have managed to filter themselves out of many searches.
B2B Marketers using LinkedIn for serious lead generation would do well to upgrade to LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator, as it will unlock a huge list of important features.
Outbound personalization means far more than just filling in the “first name” field. Sadly today’s premium version of LinkedIn makes that very difficult. A Sales Navigator license can help because you can do much more targeted searches, thereby creating more specific segments for your outbound messaging campaign.
The more well-defined a segment is, the better the opportunity to personalize the messaging.
Finally, if you’re using LinkedIn as the platform to deliver your messaging, break out your company’s credit card. You’ll need to buy blocks of InMail credits to message 2nd and 3rd level contacts. That process is extremely time-consuming, requiring you to manually proceed stepwise through your prospect list.
Talbot: How should the B2B marketer’s marketing strategy address the tactic of sending cold email to LinkedIn members?
Ailsworth: In a way, there really isn’t such a thing as a cold email strategy on LinkedIn.
While it is true that you can run a cold email campaign on LinkedIn, you’ll pay through the nose for it via InMail credits. It’s far more efficient to invest that money on using LinkedIn as a social listening capability.
Tune it to record the social hum of your most valuable prospects. Figure out what they most care about and use that knowledge to add value and relevance to your outbound messaging.
Talbot: Given that we’re all suspicious of links in emails, how should calls to action within the content of the email be presented for optimum CTR?
Ailsworth: Yes, phishing via email is on the rise, which means marketers have to be careful with links. At the same time, smart filters inside Outlook and G-Suite have started to redirect emails with attachments into the “promotional” or “other” or even “spam” tabs in your inbox.
Direct or embedded links are the only way to go. Smart marketers spell link URLs to their full string to disclose the real link or use URL-shortening services like Bit.ly.
The longer the link, the less likely email readers will click. The greater the transparency, the more likely the clickthrough.
Of course, an equally if not more important KPI to monitor is open rate, which is the percent of emails opened over the number delivered.
Talbot: Any other thoughts on cold B2B email sent to LinkedIn members?
Ailsworth: LinkedIn’s Ad Sales team does sell a product called “LinkedIn Sponsored InMail” which allows custom targeting, personalized messaging based on a handful of variables, and a manageable bidding strategy.
You set the price and total budget you’re willing to pay. LinkedIn will deliver your message to user’s inboxes with a “Sponsored” snipe, which pretty much defeats the purpose.
December 18, 2018 at 12:41PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs