How to Set Up a LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms Campaign

Every marketer knows that quality leads are an essential part of the business. Their utility can be explained by looking at the marketing funnel. The top of the funnel marks the start of a marketing campaign – raising awareness and helping users on a search for information. Awareness should encourage a user to be interested and learn about products. After this, they typically consider the product by reading reviews and comparing products; they then put products in a cart, evaluate the cart, and check out. If you look at the marketing funnel, all sales start with a simple search for information, and it is at this stage that the best companies will offer easy-to-access information to their users in a way that generates leads.

One way that enterprising companies try to capture interest from a search for information at the top of the funnel is to offer information in an easy and accessible package. This might be a webinar, a PDF, or an infographic – the possibilities are broad. If a business offers satisfying information, it can leverage the value of that information to consumers by requiring that the user enters their email address or other information in their lead form to receive it. This represents a fair exchange, and if the information is important enough to the user, they will be happy to oblige, as it evokes the norm of reciprocity. This norm is one of the most powerful in marketing, according to Cialdini, and is a basic human instinct: if you’re given something, you feel you should give something in return.

When a user trades their email address for some information, you are not just getting the opportunity to add them to your mailing list. You are getting information that they are interested in the niche your company occupies, and you are also getting a route to communication and effective sales follow-ups with what is now a potential customer, where you can nurture them as a lead, evoke deeper interest, and prompt consideration of your products. This can take place over a long period of time and works best when combined with alternative and targeted forms of advertising and marketing.

The marketing funnel works for both B2C and B2B companies, but B2B companies often find it more difficult, as purchases are typically for much more money than in a B2C model. Their lead generation will, on average, involve fewer leads than for B2C companies, so, as this is the case, they want to capture leads as effectively as possible as early in the funnel as possible. The obvious place for B2B interaction is the world’s biggest business-oriented social network. So, does LinkedIn facilitate its users to capture leads smoothly in a mutually beneficial exchange?

Lead Gen Forms on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is not just home to businesses; it is also home to a wealth of business-related content published by users and representatives of companies. In 2017, LinkedIn released a feature designed to help it bridge what it perceived to be an unnecessary gap between every marketer’s need for lead data of a high quality and its users’ ease of access to content. The resulting feature was called LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms. Lead Gen Forms were specifically designed to enable collecting good leads from users on any device, but they are noted for their ease of use on mobile applications.

If you’re a business with few leads, you want to make the lead generation process as smooth as possible – if you insert too many steps or involve steps that require additional loading time, you risk your potential leads getting bored or having second thoughts about whether your information is more valuable than other information they might find if they continue looking. Even if your content is the most attractive, powerful content available, you will still have an impaired lead generation ability if the processes involved in obtaining that content are too cumbersome.

Lead Gen Form advertising is the solution to this. These are special tools in your digital marketing campaign that allow users to click an ad and submit a form instantly using their LinkedIn information. Lead Gen Forms almost cease to become forms at all: no typing is required. This remarkable approach to creating a completely streamlined process that only requires the click of a button to be part of a mutually beneficial exchange of information has huge potential to widen the top of anybody’s marketing funnel.

How It Works on the User-Side

Imagine you’re a LinkedIn user in the agricultural industry. While scrolling through LinkedIn, you see an advert for a webinar that tackles the difficult problem of whether you should use organic or chemical fertilizer. Excellent, you think: this is a problem you often think about and it would be great to see some research. The webinar is at 4 PM that day, you have some free time then, so you click ‘Sign Up.’ You’re presented with a form with required information that’s already completed: your name, your job title, your function, your company, and, of course, your email address. All you need to do is click the Submit button. You do this and you’re taken to a confirmation page that tells you that instructions on how to access the webinar have been sent to your email. In about 15-20 seconds, you have decided that you are interested in a niche, provided all your contact information, and gained access to some information that you feel will give you value. This is all in the time it would take you to clear your throat, have a sip of water, and get back to work.

LinkedIn Lead Gen Benefits on the Marketer’s Side

It’s easy to visualize the benefits of LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms, but LinkedIn offers more than just a sleek way to generate leads.

Ninety percent of the customers surveyed in their pilot beat their cost-per-lead goals and saw lower cost-per-leads with Lead Gen Forms than their standard sponsored content offerings. The quality of the leads was highly valued, as LinkedIn’s professional audience and its accurate profile data help clients collect leads that are far more likely to convert into sales opportunities. This is because of the integration with the app; where lead gen forms on a website may usually receive a large percentage of low-quality leads (marked by temporary email addresses or fake contact information), with LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms, the likelihood that each lead will be genuine and, therefore, valuable will be almost 100%.

LinkedIn also offers reporting tools that can help to track key metrics like cost-per-lead, form fill rate, and data points that will help you to calculate your ROI. It is also working on integrating demographic reports so you can see how well your leads are doing with different audience segments. These metrics allow you to tweak and test your campaigns so you can maximize their efficacy.

You also get the technology that you need to help you manage your leads. LinkedIn allows you to download lead lists from its Campaign Manager or to sync leads with third-party marketing automation or CRM systems through Driftrock and Zapier. What’s more, you can set up a campaign quickly and easily.

Before you get started, however, you need to get to grips with the key terms.

Key Term Glossary

• B2B/B2C – whether your business sells to other businesses or to individual customers. B2B stands for business to business, and B2C for business to customer.
Bid – space for advertising is limited, so marketers bid for their ad to be shown – you compete against other advertisers that are targeting the same audience. The higher the bid, the more likely the audience you want to reach will see your ads.
• Click-through rate – CTR is the percentage of individuals that click on your advert; it’s a measurement of how successful the advert has been in capturing users’ interest and attention.
• Cost per click – cost per click is the actual price you pay for each click in your campaign; its related to how much you set your bid at, your budget, and the click-through rate of your campaign.
• CRM – Customer Relationship Management – the principles, practices and guidelines that an organization uses when interacting with customers. CRM software is frequently used, as it allows leads and customers to be recorded and retargeted with various techniques, including automated emails.
• KPIs – Key Performance Indicators are a measure of success that help a company understand how well a particular project is doing. KPIs are tailored based on which specific metrics a company uses to inform them how well their project is doing.
• Marketing Funnel – the marketing funnel is effectively a system that allows you to track at which stage a potential buyer is throughout the buying process. The funnel is widest at the top and narrows down to the bottom as a potential customer moves from being interested to being nurtured to eventually making a purchase.

Work Out Your Offer

The first step to creating a brilliant and effective LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms campaign is to work out what you are offering potential viewers in exchange for their information. This requires a lot of thought, as it should be something that is highly valuable, but in an ideal world, only something that people who would become your customers would find valuable. This can be difficult to orchestrate, and a good examination of your target audience and brand strategy is essential here. What sort of information will appeal to them? Are they at the top of the funnel, or are you seeking to nurture a lead that is already aware of your business? Common offerings are eBooks, free consultations, assessment sessions, reports, guides, or webinars.

If you are a business that sells specialized pencils for artists, a video art-lesson of pencil art using your pencils would be the perfect example of a good offer. It would only attract those who are interested in pencil art forms and you get the opportunity to subtly include reasons to buy your pencils by showing your audience how brilliant they are.

If you are an accountancy firm that is looking to help businesses earn tax breaks from Research and Development programs, you could offer a simple calculator (even something very basic built in Google Sheets with no programming experience) that interested users could download to help to decide if your services are worth it.

An interactive offering, like a consultation or a Sheets calculator, can provide you with incredible amounts of value, as you have the opportunity to capture more data at a later date and select which leads you pursue based on how much they need your product or service. For example, if you share a Google Sheets calculator with an interested potential client, you could access the spreadsheet (though you need to make it clear that you have the ability to do this when you ask them to agree to your privacy policy) and easily be able to tell whether it is economical for you to pursue that client. As with all of marketing, creativity and thinking outside the box pay dividends.

Setting up a Campaign

It’s easy and frictionless to create a Lead Gen Forms account and start a campaign. Login to your LinkedIn homepage and navigate to the ‘Advertise’ button in the top right-hand side of your toolbar. Click ‘Create Campaign’ and choose ‘sponsored content’ to start creating your campaign. You should get a message saying ‘Great Choice! Before we get started, what language do you want to run your campaign in?’ Choose a name for your campaign, choose a language, and then choose ‘Collect Leads Using LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms.’

Collect Leads Using LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms

Now, click on ‘Create New Sponsored Content.’ This will take you to the form creator. If you want to, access the form creator before you create your campaign, so you can set up everything while you strategize. From your LinkedIn account, click ‘Advertise’ in the top right-hand side of the toolbar, choose ‘Advertising,’ and then click on ‘Campaign Manager.’ Once you’re redirected to the Campaign Manager, you will be shown your existing campaign if you followed the previous steps or if you’ve already got a different campaign on the go. To create your first Lead Gen Form, click ‘Create new form template.’

Lead Gen Form

You should be taken to the same screen you’d be taken to if you navigated through the Campaign Creator: the Lead Gen form creator. You should see a screen that asks you to describe the offer you’re promoting with a deadline and detail, insert a privacy policy URL, and then select the questions you include in your form. You’re allowed a maximum of seven questions and you can choose from:

Lead Gen form creator

• First name,
• last name,
• email address,
• phone number,
• city,
• state/province,
• country,
• postal/zip code,
• work email,
• work phone number,
• job title,
• job function,
• seniority,
• company name,
• company size,
• company industry,
• degree,
• field of study,
• university/school,
• education start date,
• education graduation date,
• gender.

These options give you a highly flexible choice of different data that you wish to obtain. Your choice of data should be in line with your lead generation strategy. Why do you want this information and what will you do with it? Do you want emails so you can engage in retargeting? That’s not a bad idea. Do you want to know state/provinces so you get information about which prospective customers will be suited to your offering and which prospective customers you can eliminate from targeting? Even when it comes to seemingly innocuous data, there is a lot you can do with it, so think very carefully about how to maximize the value you obtain from it before you proceed.

customize the message that members

You then get the option to customize the message that members will see after they submit the form. Although this is optional, as a brand, you should take every opportunity to reinforce and express your brand’s values. Every bit of information that you share with a customer will have some impact on how they view your company and your brand, so use it to your advantage. Is your brand looking for lighthearted, playful individuals to identify with them? If so, show them a message that will encourage them to view your brand in a similar light. The same goes for brands that want to appear as professional as possible.

customize the message that members

Once you have finished your creation, watch your preview develop. Check out your confirmation copy, double-check everything, and then click save. Congratulations, you have successfully created your Lead Gen form!

Lead Gen Form Campaign Optimization

LinkedIn offers some tips for users looking to optimize their campaign for results.

For the ad itself, you should make sure that images and copy are relevant throughout. As a member clicks throughout the process, make sure that your messaging is consistent and that you make it easy for them to understand how they will receive your offering. Make sure you have the system in place to instantly send them a link to your offering as soon as they reach the confirmation page, or put a link to the offering directly on their confirmation page (why not? You already have their email).

You should be as direct as possible, making sure that all your messaging matches your call to action. Be completely upfront about the value that the member is getting in exchange for their information. Although many won’t realize the marketing value that they give you by providing their personal information, regulations like the GDPR law have made people very aware that their data is valuable. Don’t try to downplay this; instead, stress the value of your offering in a way that is consistent with your branding.

For the Lead Gen Form, less is more. Although LinkedIn enables you to choose seven fields of data, they warn that more than three or four can dissuade users. This is, again, linked to privacy concerns, as if they view seven data submissions as unusual, this may erode the trustworthiness of your brand and they might decide your offering isn’t worth it. A key indication that you have too many fields is if opens are high but your leads are low, as people don’t follow through with agreeing to the form conditions.

Additionally, although LinkedIn gives you the option to include fields that might require manual input, like phone number and gender, it doesn’t recommend it, as it may require the member to manually type their information before they submit it. This creates friction and stops the process from being quite so smooth and easy, so try to include fields that you think will be automatically filled in with information that the majority of your leads have already put on their profiles. This will help to keep conversion rates high.

Targeting, Bidding and Scheduling

Now you need to tell LinkedIn which audience you want to target. You should have a very good idea of this already, as your messaging and offer should be tailored to your target audience. You might want to consider microtargeting, where you target an audience from a niche group of people or companies on LinkedIn – your audience will be smaller but your campaign will be able to be targeted to them much more effectively. Choose whichever audience you feel suits your campaign, but make sure you save it so you can test whether its the right audience for you at a later date if your campaign isn’t as successful as you had hoped.

When you have targeted successfully, you need to decide how much money you want to spend on your campaign. This is called setting a bid. Many businesses struggle with finding the right budget to dedicate to their campaigns – too small, and your campaign risks not delivering results; too large, and you risk wasting money even if your campaign is successful (you can only handle so many leads). Some recommend you start with a budget of at least $50 a day when you’re testing whether your campaign is a good idea. LinkedIn will give you a suggested bid, but you should set the bid about a dollar higher than the suggestion when you’re starting out, as you can always lower the bid if your performance improves (which will cause your suggested bid to drop).

Once you have done this, you can schedule your campaign. You can choose to keep your campaign going indefinitely (until your budget runs out), or you can choose a start and end date, which is more suitable if you have a structured campaign testing program. Once you have scheduled when you want your campaign to start, review your campaign details and make sure to double check every piece of copy. Once you’re happy with that, launch your ad campaign and watch it go live!

Monitoring your Campaign

You should have a keen interest in the performance of your campaign, and LinkedIn gives you some good features to help you measure results in its Campaign Manager. To monitor your campaign, navigate there and open the Campaign Performance tab. You should be able to see all your active campaigns alongside key performance indicators.

Monitoring your Campaign

Normally, the exact KPIs that you look for vary depending on your campaign goals, but as a Lead Gen form campaign is looking to generate solid leads, you should be looking at cost per click, click-through-rate, and, of course, monitor the leads that you are actually generating.

You can view advanced analytics by navigating to the Tools section of the Campaign Manager and then going to Lead Gen forms. You will get a dashboard that will show you your spend, your impressions, your clicks, social actions relating to your campaign, and your leads. You should be able to view a performance graph that shows you how your clicks are performing over time, as well as monitor your ad status, which should show you how many leads you have per ad, your lead form opens, your lead form completion rate, your cost per lead, and your total spend so far. You’ll be able to monitor your audience and change your bid and budget, too.

Your next steps should be optimizing your campaign with testing so you increase the numbers of leads you receive for your budget (and thus decrease your cost per lead), and then, of course, following through on your leads. If you’re only getting a small number of leads, you can do this manually, but if you are running a large campaign, LinkedIn offers a way for you to integrate your leads with an existing marketing or CRM solution.

How to Manage Form Submissions with your Existing Marketing or CRM Solution

LinkedIn mentions that you can manage your leads with help from its two partners, Driftrock and Zapier. These third-party platforms are designed to save time down the line by automating certain processes.

Zapier

Zapier offers a free integration up to a certain usage, enabling you to pay for the process only once you are already getting value from it. You need to create an account with Zapier and then choose a trigger to start a ‘Zap.’ When you are prompted to create your first Zap, choose one with LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms. You will be asked to choose your trigger, which will be a new form response. You will then need to authenticate your LinkedIn Lead Gen Form account with Zapier, which involves a redirect to LinkedIn’s site – you need to sign into LinkedIn and allow Zapier to access your Lead Gen forms info and your profile overview. You can then choose your LinkedIn account back on Zapier and choose the Lead Gen form that you have already created from the dropdown menu. Test the step by clicking ‘Fetch and Continue’ – if it’s successful, you can continue. You are then free to connect to any CRM or marketing management app of the 750 apps that Zapier allows you to connect with. Once you do this, any form entry that is completed gets sent to the marketing solution of your choosing.

Driftrock

Driftrock is a little less user-friendly and is designed for large businesses. You need to request a demo for it to be able to sync your accounts up.

Once you have synced your LinkedIn Lead Gen Form with Zapier or Driftrock, you will be able to update your customer databases automatically (even if they’re kept on Excel); send new leads to your sales CRM so you can get in touch with leads personally; send new leads to your marketing CRM so you don’t have potentially good leads sitting there not doing anything; alert your team members as new leads come in so your team feels excited and is kept in the loop; connect to SMS marketing automatically; automatically enroll leads in your webinar funnel; and so much more. Using LinkedIn’s partners is suitable if you have high quantities of leads that you need help managing or if you want to save time doing data entry.

LinkedIn Profile Monitoring

As well as generating leads, your Lead Gen Form campaign should also double as a great way to build awareness and reinforce your brand messaging. You can review analytics of your LinkedIn Company Page and its posts to see if your Lead Gen Form campaign is having positive effects on your brand interaction.

LinkedIn Profile Monitoring

Remember to post regularly on your company page when you’re running any type of sponsored campaign.

To view these posts’ engagement, go to your company page, click the Analytics tab and then select Updates from the dropdown menu. You will be able to see a graph of your impressions, unique impressions, clicks, reactions, comments, shares, and engagement rate. Ideally, your Lead Gen Form campaign should also position your company as an expert in its field (which is why you can offer something valuable); if viewers are starting to understand this and view your company as offering expert advice and opinion, you should start to see an increase in impressions, shares, engagement rate, comments, and potentially clicks, too. If you start to see an increase in these, as well as good lead generation, you should have a pretty good idea that you are doing this really well. Keep up the good work, and good luck in your campaigns!