If your goal is to quickly start acquiring high-quality B2B leads, look no further. LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms are one of the best ways to generate leads and new opportunities for your business. From a user’s perspective, they’re scalable, quick, and easy to set up and customize.
But what’s more important is how they help your business. LinkedIn Lead Gen forms boast some of the best marketing metrics of all lead generation channels, with excellent conversion rates, high-quality leads, and targeting parameters exclusive to LinkedIn.
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How LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms work
Here’s a quick overview of how LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms work:
- Seamless user experience: Lead forms appear as ads on user feeds and inboxes. They’re designed to blend in with the platform itself, counteracting banner blindness. Users can send the form without ever leaving their current browser tab.
- Hassle-free: Just one click from the user opens the form and prefills it with information taken from their profile (name, contact info, company name, seniority, job title, location). Another click sends the form. That’s it.
- Easy to work with: Who needs another big system in their martech stack. LinkedIn Lead Gen offers a built-in editor that lets you create, edit and optimize forms. It’s intuitive enough to be used out of the box.
- Context: Advertising is most effective when your prospect is already looking for a product like yours while they see the ad. This makes the ad feel more like a helping hand than a buzzing insect. In this regard, LinkedIn is different from other platforms. People use it to learn, meet people and build their careers, an ideal buyer mindset for B2B communication.
- Personalization: While LinkedIn Lead Gen forms maintain a consistent visual design (a necessary choice), you get access to many other ways to make your ad stand out. A “Thank You” page, and customized personalization token fields such as: name, company name, etc. are all great ways to give your promotions a personal touch.
- Powerful targeting: LinkedIn is not just another social network. It has a truly unique community, coupled with targeting tools that let you tap into its potential with highly relevant communication. LinkedIn Ads average an impressive 6.1% conversion rate for B2B campaigns in the US. For comparison, B2B ad campaigns on Google search have an average conversion rate of 2.58%. While CPLs on LinkedIn tend to be higher than on most platforms, don’t let that put you off. What matters is lead quality, and on LinkedIn, you will often target decision-makers, who are worth significantly more as leads.
- Comprehensive performance tracking and optimization: All relevant data is aggregated and presented to you in the Analytics section. CPL, fill rate, leads per audience segment, and so on.
You can use this information to run A/B tests on creative or audience, testing one variable at a time. For users who’d rather manage leads in their own system, it’s possible to manually export leads from LinkedIn Campaign Manager or to integrate LinkedIn with a marketing automation platform or a customer relationship management (CRM) tool.
At GetResponse, we’ve recently used the LinkedIn Lead Form Ads to promote our Forrester Total Economic Impact study.
We chose this approach because we wanted to take advantage of the targeting options available on LinkedIn and lower the friction in our customers’ journey. After all, it’s easier to fill out a pre-filled signup form on LinkedIn than go through a separate landing page and manually fill out the details.
We kept the form pretty short (3-4 fields) because you can always find more information by directly going to your lead’s LinkedIn profile. We also made sure to streamline the process and set up instant notifications whenever a new lead filled out the form. Plus, all our new leads went directly into our CRM platform.
The overall cost per lead (CPL) we observed was in line with the industry benchmarks ($30-$40), however, it all comes down to how you set up your targeting and your form.
One thing to note is that the contacts you collect through LinkedIn Lead Form Ads cannot always be treated as leads (especially if you’re marketing an enterprise product) as most users are signed up with their personal email addresses. A potential solution could be to set up the form to only let through business email domains. That’ll lower your conversion rates, but at the same time, your chances of qualifying the leads will also be higher.
Dario Rizzo, B2B Marketing Manager at GetResponse
1. How to plan a LinkedIn Ads campaign with Lead Gen Forms
In this section, we will create a step-by-step plan for a lead generation campaign on LinkedIn.
Do the necessary research to understand your target customer. The quantitative approach might seem sufficient, but there is a limit to what can be learned from LinkedIn’s data tools.
To gain a true understanding you need qualitative data. Seek out Groups on LinkedIn and visit some profiles of people who would be in your target audience to get an understanding of what they list on their profile. You can pretty much target anything listed on a LinkedIn profile.
Tip: You can and should install a tracking script called “Insight Tag” on your website. It will gather information about people who visit your website and send it to your LinkedIn account so you can then re-target those visitors.
All ads on LinkedIn are served based on an auction system. By default, bids are set automatically, but you can choose to do manual bidding if you prefer (and is suggested; what we do for all our clients to get the most return). The algorithm identifies target customers and decides which ad will be displayed based on a variety of factors such as: targeting, what other advertisers are bidding, seasonality, etc. This makes certain targeting parameters inflate the cost of campaigns more than others.
Decide what information you want your lead gen forms to capture. The limit is 7 fields, but in most cases, you won’t need more than 5. The beauty of using LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms is that all of the fields you ask for are already pre-populated with your target audience’s LinkedIn profile information, so in just 2-3 clicks they’ll be registered as a lead after they submit your lead form. No need to manually fill that lead gen form!
Note: LinkedIn supports custom fields, so you can ask something more specific than just name or email. For example, if you’re selling marketing automation software, you could ask marketers “how many hours do you spend daily doing tasks that can be automated”.
Tone and structure: The best way to earn trust is to not sound like a stereotypical salesman. Good ads capture the feel of a friendly talk between two people – not two businesses. Your tone should be conversational, respectful, and consistent with the rest of your online presence.
Structure: Keep it short, clean, and easy to understand. Place a call to action at the end of your message.
Message: Don’t talk about yourself, talk to the prospect. Approach each conversation like a transaction. What value can you offer in exchange for their contact information? What is unique about your product or service? How does it address their needs? What are the costs and risks associated with similar products, and how do you address them?
If you’re sending your forms through LinkedIn InMail, it’s also a good idea to structure your message in a way that invites conversation. Consider phrasing parts of your message as questions, and remember many people on LinkedIn also have something to offer – be it their knowledge, connections, or own product. Ask them to tell you about it, many people will be glad to share.
Plan for contingencies
While preparing your campaign, note down any ideas for testing in the future. Alternative ways to phrase your message, potential new directions for targeting, anything that can help you react quickly if your campaign needs improvements once it’s launched.
Rest of the funnel
When your campaign starts bringing in leads, it’s good to be prepared for managing them. Who will follow up with your leads and on which channels? The best way to approach this is to export the leads into your chosen CRM. This lets you keep track of when each lead was contacted, by who, and through what channel. It’s also a good idea to plan a lead nurturing cycle and have it in place before you launch your campaign. Finally, you need a way to send hot leads to sales.
2. Targeting deep dive
Creating an audience
There are three ways to create an audience on LinkedIn. You can create one from scratch, choosing LinkedIn’s platform-specific targeting parameters. You can import an audience created in a 3rd party program, such as a customer database or mailing list (called account-based marketing lists; otherwise known as ABM). Finally, you can create lookalike audiences based on another audience. When to use which option?
- If your goal is to reach new audiences with your product, create a lookalike audience based on an existing one.
- If your goal is selling again to past customers, use ABM lists and launch a remarketing campaign. You can target people who visited your website, interacted with ads, or downloaded your content.
- If none of your saved audiences matches the goals of your campaign, create a new audience by selecting parameters from a list.
Note that on LinkedIn you can target either individuals or companies. The latter option allows for effective account-based marketing campaigns.
Below you will find the full list of parameters you can target users on LinkedIn with. Use them to narrow down your target audience. Each parameter can be used in two ways – to include, or to exclude from the audience.
- Geographic Region – mandatory
- Member Age – better not to use it, since most people hide their age on LinkedIn.
- Member Gender
Education and interests
- Member Groups
- Member Skills
- Fields of Study
- Member Schools
- Years of Experience
- Job Seniority
- Job Function
- Job Title
- Company Connections
- Company Followers
- Company Size
- Company Industry
- Company Name
3. Budget and Schedule
How much you pay for LinkedIn ads depends on many factors, most importantly, clickthrough rate and other interaction metrics, who you target, and competing bids from other advertisers.
This is a good time to decide what KPIs you want to measure if you haven’t already. Define your goals and how much you’re willing to spend per measurable unit. In any case, start your campaign by spending small sums to make sure everything is set up correctly. Optimize until you’re able to achieve a good ROI. Saving a part of your LinkedIn ads budget for A/B testing several control groups is a great way to use your budget more efficiently, and gives you valuable insights for future campaigns. Usually, after a few weeks comes a moment where you dedicate most of your budget to the best performing combinations. But it’s never a bad idea to continue coming up with new ways to tweak your campaign. Approach it like a cycle of continuous improvement.
You can see how your campaign is performing with real-time reporting in your Campaign Manager account. LinkedIn can track conversions, cost per lead, lead form completion rate, and best-performing audience segments. If a campaign isn’t performing well, go back to the drawing board. You can identify issues by A/B testing – try changing the copy, creative, forms, CTA, landing page, testing one variable per test at a time. Sometimes the problem lies in targeting, in this case, try changing a single targeting parameter and see if it improves your metrics.
4. LinkedIn Lead Gen Form Ad Format
When you create an ad on LinkedIn, you can create new ads in the visual editor or use one of your existing posts as an ad. You can use Lead Gen forms with any of the four formats available on LinkedIn:
- Single Image – the basic format. Single Image is a solid choice if you want to promote something that doesn’t need a lot of space, such as an ebook, or a webinar.
- Carousel – similar to a single image, but with a scrolling mini-gallery. This lets you present multiple products together.
- Video – the high-engagement format. Short videos that look good on mobile are a great way to promote products and services with a complicated decision =-making process. Make sure your video tells the whole story even without sound, 79% of audiences on LinkedIn watch videos with sound off.
- InMail – lets you send messages to your prospective audiences. This format works well if your goal is to build relationships with customers.
- Conversation Ads – if you’ve ever played an RPG video game, this will feel familiar. These ads start conversations in which users progress by choosing from a set of available options. It’s a high engagement format, and a great way to learn more about prospects.
5. Managing Your Leads (Download or via CRM)
Storing and cleansing data
The leads you get from your campaign need a place where they can be stored and segmented. An excel spreadsheet is good enough for small-scale operations, but anything bigger requires a CRM, ideally connected to your marketing automation platform.
There are three areas in which specialized software can make your work easier – marketing automation, lead nurturing, and sales integration. We will discuss each of these in turn, but first a word on data quality.
As any statistician would tell you, junk data is a fact of life. We need to rely on methods to maintain a database that reflects reality – otherwise, we risk wasting money reacting to false information.
How can you ensure data integrity? By gathering it from a trusted source. Good news, data from Linked Lead Gen is generally quite reliable. You still might encounter some junk data, but not nearly as much as from other platforms. In addition, some CRMs offer tools that can help maintain a healthy database by:
- Storing and organizing data on a unified platform. This includes records of conversations and interactions – phone calls, chat logs, emails, transactions, downloads,
- Creating persistent profiles in the database to rely less on impermanent identifiers such as cookies.
- Removing duplicates.
- Matching broken records into coherent sets, for example identifying that email@example.com who contacted you today is the same person as the anonymous visitor who browsed your offers yesterday.
- Informing you and automatically updating records when an email sent to a lead bounces.
Read more: Email List Management Best Practices
Adding to these, here are a few best practices that will help your business maintain data integrity.
- Store only the lead data you need, or expect to need in the foreseeable future.
- Set a standard for data quality necessary to create new records in your CRM.
- Automate mundane data entry where possible.
- Provide clear directions to employees who enter data into your system (salespeople will often quickly jot it down during calls) to always double-check the contact information they receive.
Marketing automation and lead nurturing
The best way to manage large datasets and interactions across multiple channels is to automate as much of the process as possible. Very small-scale operations are better off without automation, as setting it up is a time investment. As businesses scale, they increasingly rely on marketing automation.
Each action on your website can start a chain of preprogrammed reactions. To use an example, a new lead from LinkedIn might arrive on your website looking for more information. If your automation system, LinkedIn, and website are integrated, this visit would create a persistent record in your system with all the information from the lead form, IP, and insights about how the lead used your website – pages visited, time spent, clicks, downloads and more.
Common solutions are offering an ebook to visitors, starting a personalized drip campaign for new subscribers, or opening the chat window after the visitor opened the page with deals.
Each workflow can (and often should) branch into different, more personalized reactions as you learn more about each visitor. For example, if your target audience includes both independent professionals and small companies, you want to send them two different ebooks.
A clean, segmented contact database will not only help you with lead nurturing and remarketing, but all employees working with data will also work more effectively.
With a CRM, each salesman knows who was targeted, when, by whom, through what medium, and if there was a sale. They can leave notes, assign tasks, and rate the likelihood of future sales. You could even have a system that automatically assigns leads to the salesperson who is best equipped to deal with particular types of leads, for example, high-seniority decision-makers in IT companies could be contacted by a salesperson with additional technical expertise.
If you’d rather not use a CRM, LinkedIn offers its own paid tool to manage contacts, called “LinkedIn Sales Navigator.” It gives you access to extended InMail features, custom lead lists, and real-time updates on leads.
Now you know everything you need to plan and execute lead generation campaigns and collect leads on LinkedIn.
Let’s bring it all together:
- Understand your audience, its needs, and how your product fits this context.
- Ask only for the information you need. Respect customers’ privacy.
- Use a conversational tone, focus on value Be consistent with your tone and message.
- Spend your budget slowly at first, while you A/B test audiences, format, and copy to improve ROI.
- Set up a process to convert leads into sales, track interactions, and maintain relationships with customers.
So go ahead, launch your first LinkedIn Lead Form campaign today!
And if you’re looking for a marketing automation solution that’ll help you drive more business, check out how you can generate leads with GetResponse.