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3 Startups Share Their Secrets for LinkedIn Marketing Success




By nature, startups tend to make their own rules. Entrepreneurial thinkers don’t follow; they lead. In many cases, the very reason these growing young companies exist is to address an absence in the marketplace or create a new niche of their very own.

In the classic words of Wayne Gretzky: “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.”

Still, a little guidance can go a long way. Gretzky only knew where the puck was going to be through the benefit of experience and well-honed intuition. So for those ambitious startup marketers in our audience, we wanted to share some pointers from your peers who are achieving their goals through savvy tactics and techniques.

Perhaps the experiences and insights shared by these three startups on LinkedIn can lend you an assist as you set your own strategies for growth.

How 3 Startups on LinkedIn Built Successful Strategies

Brex

Interviewees: Elenitsa Staykova, VP of Marketing, and Euphonia Xu, Digital Marketing Manager

In a few sentences, tell us about the impact of your company.

At Brex, we build payment technology that helps ambitious companies grow. We recognize that each business is unique and therefore tailor our product to meet their specific circumstances. From a single, intuitive dashboard, Brex lets you spend, save, and borrow money to keep with your company’s ambitions.

What is your marketing and advertising philosophy?

The goal of our marketing is to create awareness and consideration among our target buyers. The tactics, of course, differ based on the company’s maturity. Early on, our marketing strategy involved very targeted outreach to startup founders and building partnerships with banks, such as First Republic, to offer corporate cards to their clients. Today, we’ve implemented tactics such as customer referral, paid, and content to help us scale. Discoverability in Google Search has also been a priority. Leveraging events to meet potential customers we wouldn’t meet otherwise, has helped us go up-market. Our goal has been to engage with our target audiences across a variety of offline and online channels.

How is marketing for a startup different than for an established company?

The biggest difference is that as a young startup your brand recognition on a national (even regional) level is nearly nonexistent, and your resources are much more constrained than those of established companies. As a startup, we are using the limited resources we have to generate awareness and convert customers. For example, we have focused on our unique data — how and on what companies spend, and built content around that on the Brex blog.

What are your overall marketing goals?

Our overall marketing goal is to help people discover Brex, adopt it, and eventually use more and more of our products. Equally important, we are focused on building a strong and trusted brand. Because of this, customers will trust us and find value in building and growing their business with our financial products.

What is your team focused on for next year?

A big focus for next year is to continue investing in acquisition and help scale the company’s distribution strategy. As we’ve grown, we are prioritizing channels that have significantly higher output. We’ll also continue investing in our brand to build external brand recognition on a regional and national level.

What is your target audience and how do you reach them on LinkedIn?

Founders/CEO/CFO of growing startups. We reach them through combining Linkedin targeting options, such as Job Title, Company Size, Industry, and our target account list.

What advertising products have you used on LinkedIn?

  • Sponsored Content
  • Lead Gen Forms
  • Messaging Ads

What approaches performed best on LinkedIn and how did you adjust the campaign based on learnings?

Both Sponsored Content and Lead Gen Forms performed well for us. Adjustments we’ve been making come from a combination of looking at bottom-of-funnel data to see what messaging/targeting/ad format converts to actual customers at a reasonable cost, and working with the Linkedin team to implement best practices. Adjustments included 1) making bidding changes to make sure we’re serving with necessary frequency; 2) making targeting changes to make sure we’re speaking to the relevant audience but at the same time to ensure delivery and scale; 3) checking bottom-funnel conversions to optimize top-of-funnel ad creative/messaging; 4) experimenting with different targeting options and ad format to expand the opportunities.

How did LinkedIn perform compared to other advertising options, online, social, print, or otherwise?

Quality is what stands out for Linkedin. Although on the CPM level, Linkedin is usually the most expensive compared to other channels such as Facebook and Google Search, because the quality of the traffic is so high, the conversion rate from a lead to an actual customer is much higher, which ultimately leads to reasonable CAC.

Ellevest

Interviewee: Emma Phillips, Senior Acquisition Marketing Manager 

In a few sentences, tell us about the impact of your company.

Ellevest is a digital-first, mission-driven investment platform built by women, for women. Because women generally have longer lifespans and are paid less than men, the old approaches haven’t worked for everyone — Ellevest knows that when women are better off, we all thrive. We currently have two main arms of the business: the digital investing side, which has no minimum, and Private Wealth Management for women and their families with over $1 million in investable assets.

What is your marketing and advertising philosophy?

At Ellevest we’re lucky to have amazing growth and brand marketing teams that work really closely to increase brand awareness while also hitting our acquisition goals. When it comes to our marketing philosophy I think we always put our clients (and future clients) first in any campaign or initiative we work on, coming back to our goal of getting more money into the hands of more women. On the advertising side, as a startup with limited resources our goals and budgets are really centered around client acquisition and performance based KPIs. We’re always testing new things, pushing the limits of performance, and thinking ahead on what new tactics to try. One example of this was quickly creating InMail ad copy and targeting the same audience we were using for sponsored content. By increasing our frequency on the audience, we saw a big drop in cost-per-lead and its become a central part of our LinkedIn strategy.

How is marketing for a startup different than for an established company?

Our goals and strategies are constantly changing as a startup, so we have to be really dynamic and able to pivot quickly. A channel that works really well for one goal might not be great when our goals shift, so thinking ahead as much as we can and being scrappy is critical. It’s also exciting though — we can move more quickly than most established companies. 

What are your overall marketing goals?

We leverage LinkedIn both for content marketing for our Digital business and advertising for our Private Wealth business. On the content marketing side, our CEO Sallie Krawcheck is a LinkedIn Influencer who is always engaging with her 2.6 million followers and sharing Ellevest’s content about financial feminism, money, career, and investing.

On the advertising side, the main goal is to get as many qualified leads for our financial advisors as possible. . We’re also interested in growing general awareness about our Private Wealth offering since it’s relatively new and really differentiated in the space, but at the end of the day our investment needs to back into a Cost Per Lead that works for the business. 

What is your target audience and how do you reach them on LinkedIn?

At a high level, on the Private Wealth side, we need to reach high-net-worth women with over $1 million in investable assets. Beyond that our clients can really vary — from professional women who have just come into money from an IPO and need to diversify their concentrated position, to foundations and family offices. I think a theme amongst women who work with us is that they’re dissatisfied with the status quo — things like their financial advisor calling and asking to speak to their husband, or not feeling like other firms have their best interest in mind.  The financial services industry really hasn’t catered to women in the past. The Private Wealth offering is bespoke based on the client and can appeal to women at really different life stages.

What advertising products have you used on LinkedIn?

Our primary strategy was Sponsored Content and InMail, both leveraging Lead Gen Forms. We’ve tested various approaches, both direct response ads and an indirect approach using content we think is relevant to this audience. Lead Gen Forms have been a huge help for us — we didn’t have immediate resources to continue optimizing a conversion-based landing page. So not having to worry about that to see success allowed us to move really quickly on LinkedIn and see great click-to-lead conversion rates immediately. 

What approaches performed best on LinkedIn and how did you adjust the campaign based on learnings?

We saw great success with Sponsored Content and InMail working together to reach our audience. 

We quickly iterated on copy, always launching new variants and turning off the lowest performers to spend budget as efficiently as possible. The LinkedIn team was really helpful in proposing copy variants to test.

We now know that frequency is key for converting impressions to lead, and have only started to scratch the surface of our qualified audience.

How did LinkedIn perform compared to other advertising options, online, social, print, or otherwise?

LinkedIn has outperformed all the other channels we’ve tested for Private Wealth Management. We were able to reach a really high quality audience in a way we can’t on many other channels. 

What metrics can you share about performance?

We hit below our expected cost/lead immediately once we started working with our LinkedIn account manager . And in our 2 month pilot we saw a 30% decrease in Cost Per Lead month over month.

With creative + copy suggestions from LinkedIn we were able to hit a really high  CTR and engagement rate, which are 231% and 280% over benchmarks.

What is your team focused on for the next year?

Continuing to drive and increase our lead volume, while also working on marketing automation. The sales process for financial advisors can be a long one — so lead nurturing is key. With our top of funnel growth, we’ll also layer in remarketing on LinkedIn 

See Ellevest sources and disclosures at ellevest.com/linkedin

Verkada

Interviewee: Idan Koren, Head of Marketing

In a few sentences, tell us about the impact of your company.

Verkada is revolutionizing enterprise video security by creating an end-to-end solution that allows organizations and businesses to take advantage of the benefits of the cloud in a way that is simple to maintain, scalable and proactive on cyber security. Verkada’s hybrid cloud infrastructure removes the need for NVR/DVR servers and empowers provisioned staff with an easy-to-use, centralized platform that can be accessed from anywhere on any device. 

What is your marketing and advertising philosophy?

I have many but at the highest level it is essential that marketing understands its impact on the company’s top- and bottom-line numbers with absolute clarity. A marketing team should always try to simplify attribution, trust yet question validity of data (that’s kind of an oxymoron), make optimizations for the right goals, and be fearless to experiment and let the market decide what goes and what stays. 

How is marketing for a startup different than for an established company?

I have never worked at an established company so I actually don’t know, hit me up in 3 years 🙂

What are your overall marketing goals?

We have only one overarching goal at the moment: Source 50% of all bookings in any given quarter by first-touch attribution. 

What is your target audience and how do you reach them on LinkedIn?

We have 3 main personas, of which many different titles fall into: 

  1. IT Decision Makers

  2. Facility/Physical Security Decision Makers  (also includes loss prevention, etc.) 

  3. Execs (can be different titles per industry) 

We reach them through job titles, job skills, database lookalikes, custom audiences, etc. 

What advertising products have you used on LinkedIn?

I use mostly Lead Gen Forms for all my campaigns. 

What approaches performed best on LinkedIn and how did you adjust the campaign based on learnings?

I don’t believe in a “performed best” mentality. I ultimately believe that in order to hit a certain ROI metric, I have the ability to pay up to a certain amount on every opportunity created and closed. As long as I’m below that threshold (which is pretty high for most B2B companies), I can continue to come up with creative high-converting ideas to get qualified people through the door. 

How did LinkedIn perform compared to other advertising options, online, social, print, or otherwise?

Every platform has its strengths and weaknesses, the key is to figure out what the problems are with the platform and try to solve them with creative implementations of your performance marketing. For LinkedIn the weakness is how expensive the clicks or impressions are, its strengths are very clearly its targeting for a B2B company/job skills/job titles. If you experiment enough you’ll likely be able to find a solution to lower the cost of your leads and then the weakness will become a strength as audience/creative exhaustion will be slower than in many other platforms.

What metrics can you share about performance?

Overall our results are preliminary but we expect at least 1.5-2x ROI (margin-adjusted for cogs) on it. 

What is your team focused on for the next year?

As a team we just want to become more efficient while accelerating growth, which is very hard to do; organic growth will likely have to play a role.  As far as LinkedIn goes, we’re finally learning more about the ROI performance of our campaigns. In 2020 we will start optimizing these campaigns on lower-funnel metrics to ensure we create higher ROI regardless of the top-funnel numbers. 

Startups on LinkedIn: Forge Your Path

Your audience is out there. With tools like Sponsored Content, Message Ads, and Lead Gen Forms, combined with a creative approach, you can reach them and build your brand community, just as these three mission-driven startups are doing. There’s no time like the present to shoot your shot.

For more steady guidance on your path to growth, subscribe the LinkedIn Marketing Blog.

By: Steve Kearns
Title: 3 Startups Share Their Secrets for LinkedIn Marketing Success
Sourced From: business.linkedin.com/marketing-solutions/blog/linkedin-b2b-marketing/2020/3-startups-on-linkedin-share-their-secrets-for-marketing-success
Published Date: Wed, 04 Mar 2020 06:58:00 -0800

What do you think?

Written by Michael Paul

Michael is the Founder of the Fuseology Creative Brand and Socialtap. Michael's passion is in seeing and helping small business succeed. Some call him a "local genius" with a knack for uncover and connecting all the dots in chaotic digital world helping it make sense. Whether it is Website development, mobile websites or social media Michael and his team at Fuseology Creative & Socialtap are a great choice.

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