For B2B businesses, the most important aspects of doing business are finding a niche market and finding a scalable way to get in contact with prospective clients/businesses. Compared to the immediate transactional nature of B2C businesses, B2B businesses tend to look for long-term relationships with partner companies who purchase their products and/or services consistently.
However, in this new digital age of social media, the process for finding the best leads for your business is different than before. Long gone are the days where you show up to a convention or conference with a booth and a representative. The act of generating leads and recruiting potential companies to your business’s services can now be done online and in a wider market.
LinkedIn, in particular, has served as a popular hub for professionals, job-seekers, recruiters, and companies. Though the website started in 2002, it boasted over 645 million users in 2019. Furthermore, LinkedIn receives over 121 million users per day. While this number is not as high as Facebook or YouTube’s reach, it is still a hefty amount of web traffic to receive daily.
Given B2B’s penchant for the professional and for investing in partnerships with other companies, LinkedIn is the perfect platform to reach out on. However, there are a few pressing questions for any B2B company using LinkedIn.
- How do I use LinkedIn for finding other companies?
- How do I generate leads?
- How do I find the right companies to reach out to?
LinkedIn provides two wonderful tools for these dilemmas: LinkedIn Advertising and LinkedIn Recruiter. In this article, we’ll help you determine which solution is best for your company by going over the pros and cons of each tool.
LinkedIn Advertising was launched in 2008 and acts as a form of sponsored advertising. Price-wise, the cost of advertising is dependent on your competition. Compared to other forms of flat-price sponsored advertising, LinkedIn Advertising is different because it requires you to bid for a specific target audience. Designing an ad geared towards user-experience and straightforwardly relaying your company’s message can be extremely efficient. By using LinkedIn Advertising effectively, you can be rewarded for creating relevant ads through a more cost-effective advertisement.
Ads via LinkedIn Advertising aren’t just restricted to graphics and text. Newer features such as video ads and the ability to edit them have provided a powerful edge to the professional networking platform.
When it comes to pros for LinkedIn Advertising, one of the largest strengths is its lead gen forms. Lead gen forms essentially collect the data of interested clients and deliver them to you in an easily digestible manner. With LinkedIn Advertising, it is easier to take consent, which is great for any company’s legal team and provides essential data for B2B companies. Paired with HubSpot, a marketing services software that can help in creating complex email campaigns, LinkedIn Advertising does more than just bring “exposure” to your brand.
However, in terms of cons, one of the biggest cons for LinkedIn Advertising is the lack of scalability for remarketing. The ad has to be just right to generate a lead—if someone clicks it but decides not to venture onto your company’s website or leave their information, there’s no way to potentially re-engage them via LinkedIn. While generating leads and raising conversions are the common end goals to a successful B2B campaign, careful planning and ad-designing are also essential.
In contrast with LinkedIn Advertising, which is a more passive form of outreach, LinkedIn Recruiter is a tool that allows for a more aggressive and direct approach. Cost-wise, LinkedIn Recruiter has two monthly prices—$119.95 for the lite version and $825 for the corporate version. In LinkedIn Recruiter, you have the power to scout out potential candidates. What makes LinkedIn Recruiter handy is you have extensive functionality to narrow down your prospective leads by skill sets, qualifications, and/or previous job titles.
One of the main pros for LinkedIn Recruiter, besides its handy search functions, is the ability to also sort through warmer prospects within a pool of potential ones. Candidates that are following your company or are connected to your company’s employees will likely be warmer leads. Naturally, people are more willing to purchase a product from or subscribe to a company that they have previously been exposed to. LinkedIn recruiter allows you to find and reach out to this audience.
One downfall to LinkedIn Recruiter is that it tends to overlook incomplete LinkedIn profiles. This recruiting function works best for profiles that are filled out. This results in stellar leads being left out for not having a profile that is finished. Despite its professional look, LinkedIn is just like any other social media channel. Some users update their social media channel and sometimes users have other priorities to handle. If you are looking to use LinkedIn Recruiter, you may miss out on some of the less socially-savvy individuals.
Now that you have a basic understanding of Recruiter and Advertising, let’s break down the numbers. When it comes to using tools for your business, it’s not just the features that matter, but what those features can do for your business.
About 46% of the traffic a company receives from social media sites come from LinkedIn. According to HootSuite, an ad on LinkedIn can reach about 12% of the world’s population, and in terms of lead-to-conversion rates, LinkedIn Advertising is at 2.74%—slightly higher than the national medium of 2.50%. Furthermore, the average price of a click of a LinkedIn Advertising sponsored post is roughly 2 to 7 dollars. Overall, over 85% of recruiters use LinkedIn Advertising for B2B recruiting and content marketing.
However, one thing to keep in mind is that though about over 100 million people check LinkedIn every day, the average amount of time spent on LinkedIn is only 17 minutes. This number is extremely small compared to other social media giants such as Facebook where users may spend up to 2 hours browsing daily. If your company decides to move forward in developing advertising materials for LinkedIn Advertising, the copy and the keywords must be extremely polished to engage your audience during their short viewing period.
More than 20 million companies use LinkedIn Recruiting for B2B marketing or recruiting, which is almost 90% of the number of companies active on LinkedIn. In terms of cost, LinkedIn Recruiter Lite is $1,199.4 a year while the corporate version of LinkedIn Recruiter is priced at around $8,999 a year.
While the number of prospects can find vary on what’s being filtered and what types of candidates you’re looking for, LinkedIn Recruiter passively suggests prospects who work in certain industries and work certain roles, even while you’re away from the desk. Furthermore, when reaching out to potential candidates, LinkedIn Inmail has a superbly high response rate. About 85% of professionals respond to a LinkedIn Inmail, which is three times more than your traditional cold-outreach email.
A feature not necessarily exclusive to but often associated with B2B businesses is the pursuit of functionality and practicality. Compared to B2C marketing strategies and goals, which consist of appeals to consumer emotion and brand loyalty, B2B businesses search for the most cost-effective ways to accomplish their KPIs. KPIs, or key performance indicators, provide a quantitative measure as to whether or not a company is hitting its business goals. This measure can be anything from the number of clicks for a certain product, the number of conversions, the number of website visitors, and even the number of leads.
LinkedIn Advertising and LinkedIn Recruiter are excellent tools for sourcing leads, but depending on the company’s business goals, one may fit better than the other.
LinkedIn Advertising, with the diversity of ads available, the ability to leverage video ads, as well as the possibility of deeply engaging with leads through third-party marketing software, provides a good opportunity to widen the scope of your potential prospects and reach a large, broad audience.
Furthermore, as potential prospects have to engage first on their end, you may end up with higher quality leads when compared to leads sourced through cold outreach. As LinkedIn Advertising can reach prospects that are overseas or are outside of a company’s traditional target market, it can also help reveal new markets and opportunities for expansion.
While LinkedIn Advertising is great at reaching a broad market, LinkedIn Recruiter is great at reaching an extremely targeted market. LinkedIn Recruiter serves as a great tool for narrowing down prospects and can be especially valuable for targeting certain specific roles across many different businesses. LinkedIn Recruiter also allows salespeople to be proactive in seeking prospective clients in a large pool of potential prospects.
The one thing that puts a damper on LinkedIn Recruiter is the cost. In terms of pricing between the two, it’s largely dependent on what your company wants out of the tool and how large the budget is. For LinkedIn Advertising, the average price per click is 2 to 7 dollars. 7 dollars is particularly high for a pay-per-click campaign, but the span of your company’s advertisement can be shortened to save money. However, with LinkedIn Recruiter, you have to pay a set amount each month. Subscribe for a year and the cost becomes steeper: $1,199.40 a year for the cheapest option, LinkedIn Recruiter Lite, and over $8500 for the full corporate version.
With the specialized uses of each tool, it can also be efficient to combine both tools throughout a marketing campaign—LinkedIn Advertising can be used to reach out to a large market and determine the best prospect demographic to target, and LinkedIn Recruiter can then be used to narrow down and reach out to top-quality prospects.
In the end, the decision between LinkedIn Advertising and LinkedIn Recruiter depends on where you are in your marketing campaign, and how you want to run it. If you are in the early stages of a campaign and are looking to gauge interest and reach a wide range of potential prospects, LinkedIn Advertising is likely the better tool. Alternatively, if you’ve already scouted the market and know exactly the prospect demographic that you want to reach out to, LinkedIn Recruiter can be an invaluable tool.