What is Account Based Marketing (ABM) and how does LinkedIn fit in?
Account Based Marketing or short ABM is the targeted approach to tailor marketing campaigns towards the accounts that are most valuable to your business. ABM has three tiers:
One-to-many is probably a specific industry you focus your marketing on or a subset of firmographics. One-to-few is already a very selective list of usually named accounts. One-to-one is so detailed that you create ABM campaigns for one dedicated account.
As a B2B Marketer, you will develop an ABM strategy with the sales team. Sales and Marketing will have to work together to define the account criteria that make a company worth being included in the ABM strategy. Don’t just think about what makes a targeted account but also what doesn’t. Anyways, this post is not about ABM 101, it’s how to activate your target audiences on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn advertising can help you with all of the three tiers, however, one-to-one might be too small of an audience to launch a campaign. Even if you target a large enterprise the target audience within shouldn’t be too big to make your campaign effective. LinkedIn needs at least 300+ matched profiles to launch a campaign – often more.
We will focus on one-to-many and one-to-few ABM campaigns, with the main focus on target account lists (tier 2).
One-to-many Account Based Marketing Campaigns on LinkedIn
Usually, this is the LinkedIn Ads starter kit. You have a list of account criteria like industry, size, location and narrow the targeting further down by job functions of decision-makers or important personas in the buying journey.
The only caveat, I would add is the messaging. If you are doing ABM you are probably better equipped with marketing materials than Average Joe. I suggest to breakdown your campaign further than you usually would address different persona or companies better. For example, if you currently ran a campaign targeting one industry by two buying personas – the buyer and the user of the product – split the campaign in two. One for the buyer and one for the user and gear the messaging towards each problem you are going to solve.
Let’s get to the meat where it gets juicy in LinkedIn.
One-to-few Account-Based Marketing Campaigns on LinkedIn
One-to-few ABM campaigns are LinkedIn account targeting techniques. B2B companies upload either a list or select company names in the targeting attributes to limit their ad campaign to the most relevant companies. Certain ad formats like Message Ads even allow you to personalize the creatives. For instance, you can call out the company name.
Company list upload:
In the audience section when creating a new campaign, select “Audience” instead of “Audience Attributes” -> List Upload -> Company List:
Before you upload your ABM list you should prepare it so LinkedIn can match your list against their data set. LinkedIn requires at least one of the following attributes:
- Company name
- Company website
- Company email domain
- LinkedIn Company Page URL
- Stock symbol
Your One-to-few or Tier 2 ABM list should have most of the information already, but I recommend using the company website, email domain, or the LinkedIn Company Page URL for the highest match rate.
The highest match rate you will get with the LinkedIn Company URL because this is a unique identifier but this is also the biggest challenge to compile the list in the first place.
Company websites should be standardized meaning all websites should follow the same format domain.com for example instead of www.domain.com/en.
The better prepared your company list is, the higher the match rate will be.
Manually targeting companies by name on LinkedIn
Instead of uploading a list, you can manually select companies by the name/profile: Audience Attributes -> Companies -> Company name
Target audiences within your company list
Narrow your ABM targeting further down by additional including and excluding audience attributes.
As mentioned earlier you should have multiple campaigns for different personas like user vs signee vs economical buyer and so forth.
Note: you can combine various LinkedIn audience targeting attributes but have to select one that can’t be combined: The LinkedIn profile language set by the LinkedIn user:
This can be important for campaigns in Canada for example where some people maybe have a French profile setting and other a French setup. Additionally, many professionals in non-English-speaking countries have their profile set to English.
LinkedIn ABM Lead Gen Funnel
Within each ABM Tier, you should build a conversion funnel with 60% of the budgets focussing on awareness, 30% consideration, and 10% converting your Account Based Marketing audiences.
Check out a full-on example of a converting Lead Gen Funnel on LinkedIn.
The funnel in combination with different campaigns for each persona allows you to laser focus address and activate your ABM audiences.
An example of different messaging
This is an example of a made-up content collaboration tool to emphasize the different messaging approaches for different audiences within your ABM strategy.
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Unlike any other social media platform, LinkedIn’s B2B targeting capabilities allow you to turn your ABM into action and start quality lead generation that Marketing and Sales want. However, compared to other channels the CPCs can be quite high on LinkedIn. It’s important to keep the cost per acquisition and return in mind.