In this blog, Rebecca Harris, Commercial Director at The B2B Marketing Lab, highlights how much it costs to generate leads via LinkedIn - the world's largest professional network. Check it out!
Every B2B marketer knows that LinkedIn is a pivotal platform in the quest for B2B leads, precisely because it allows marketers to target specific audiences.
One of the challenges of yesteryear was being able to reach the right people. Decision makers (i.e. the c-suite) were protected by switchboards and trained receptionists, all of whom knew when they were fielding a sales call.
But LinkedIn overcomes this barrier by giving marketers (and salespeople, for that matter) the means to reach their ideal customers. In fact, a study by Weber Shandwick shows that LinkedIn is the preferred social network by CEOs.
Now that you can target potential clients through LinkedIn, it becomes central to your marketing strategy (especially as your competitors are using it already).
But while LinkedIn presents a rather lucrative opportunity for B2B companies to reach people through content – how much does it cost to use the platform?
At The B2B Marketing Lab, we (and our clients) put a tremendous amount of focus on LinkedIn as a lead generation platform, so we always want to see the cost of our activities and how much return on investment (ROI) it generates.
In this blog, we’re going to talk about how much it costs to generate B2B leads on LinkedIn through content marketing.
Let’s talk about the costs
Well, firstly, the term ‘cost’ is actually very broad. I believe costs can be separated into two categories; direct costs where you can attribute definitive spend and costs associated with people and time.
For most companies, the most cost-effective method of lead generation on LinkedIn is content creation and promotion. When it comes to content creation, quality and quality are both kings! The more quality content you are producing, the more leads you are likely to receive via LinkedIn.
So it makes sense for us to start there – assessing the cost of content creation and delivery on LinkedIn. First, let’s assume you’re working with an agency to create content for LinkedIn – what are the potential costs?
Direct costs in relation to content creation
Depending on the resources available, you may have to outsource content creation to an agency. This is a great way to ensure that your content is of good quality and follows best practice.
Amongst our clients, the scale of content creation varies greatly and there is no correct answer to how much you should be creating. Content packages vary from £3,000 to £10,000 per month depending on the client’s need and budget.
As part of our services, we can draft social posts to promote your content. The cost of this service can be added on to content creation or part of a package. If you do this part yourself – please see the section on indirect costs.
If you are struggling to produce interesting, high-quality content, you could conduct some market research. Not only will it help you to get high-quality coverage (research pieces work well in the media), it will also position your organisation as an authority in its area.
We have seen market research elevate the quality and volume of content that an organisation produces, time and time again. Typically, you will use an external agency to help conduct this market research with costs ranging from £4000 - £10000 depending on the size of audience and number of questions you wish to ask. Good market research can fuel your content pipeline for up to six months if done correctly.
Hiring video recording equipment
What about video content? By posting videos directly to LinkedIn, we have seen an increase in engagement on LinkedIn, visits to our website and the number of leads generated. There’s no doubt that video can increase audience engagement and potentially generate leads via LinkedIn – but only if it’s done right.
Of course, if you don’t have any equipment in-house then you will either have to hire video recording equipment or use a smartphone (which is better than nothing).
However, there may be times where you need a professional finish or want to add sophisticated animation. This will incur hard costs that can range from £2,000 to £10,000 depending on how many videos are required.
Paid social advertising
This is perhaps one of the most cost-effective methods of lead generation on LinkedIn (provided you have a content asset worth advertising).
LinkedIn’s paid ads enable you to target whoever you want based on a variety of criteria; job title, function, industry, decision makers, influencers, personal interests, company size, seniority, groups – the list goes on. For a full list of targeting criteria, please see here.
Through LinkedIn ads, you can get your content in front of those most likely to download it and potentially work with your business. You can even configure your ads to be shown based on device type! You will, however, need to allocate a budget to run these ads.
Indirect costs in relation to content creation for LinkedIn
As well as the hard costs, if you don’t choose to outsource then there may be some indirect costs. These costs arise from the time it takes to create and post content. Content creation is time-consuming, so the demand on your resources should not be underestimated.
Time for posting
Time to post content can be minimal, but if you're drafting and posting 20 Twitter posts, 5 LinkedIn posts and 10 Facebook posts per week (and each post takes at least 5 minutes) then that's approximately 3 hours per week!
Time to write posts
LinkedIn posts take longer to write (or film if you are using video than other platforms) because they are often more detailed and you have more characters to work with.
Regular posting should form part of your wider social strategy. Ideally you should be posting new fresh content every day. Writing a batch of LinkedIn posts can take anywhere between 15 and 30 minutes, which is nearly 2.5-5 hours per week.
Time to interact on posts
Posting content to your company page is one way to engage with users on LinkedIn – but you should aim to do much more than this.
Ideally, you should be interacting with other users’ posts and in LinkedIn Groups. The aim here is to provide as much useful and insightful input as possible. As with most things, the more effort you put in the more you get out of it.
If we were doing this on your behalf, we would aim to spend at least 30 minutes each day interacting with other users on the platform. This takes your total time to another 2.5 hours each week.
If you use it properly, it can work for your business
In summary, using LinkedIn is a great way to generate B2B leads but the costs associated with doing so should not be underestimated. When investing time and money into the activity, you will need to prove return on investment (ROI) quickly in order to justify using it.
Over the last 12 months of using LinkedIn, we have attributed 5% of all new business directly to LinkedIn. For this 5% LinkedIn was the original source of engagement. This is also without quantifying the value of brand awareness and indirect influence our LinkedIn activity has had on potential prospects.
Clearly, LinkedIn can be a powerful tool for B2B lead generation – you just need to know how to use it correctly and have some content to advertise.
If you want to know how to create lead-generating content (which can then be advertised on your company profile), why not download our free eBook below?