You likely know that LinkedIn is also one of the most widely misused connection tools. In fact, if you’re reading this article from LinkedIn, I invite you to tab back and glance at your “messaging” pane. You’ll likely see several obtrusive InMails vying for your attention. (Does the thought of reading another InMail make you want to roll your eyes?) So, can this be done well, and if so, how?
LinkedIn can be a powerful connection tool for business-to-business (B2B) companies. This is especially true for healthcare companies that sell to healthcare payers and providers.
LinkedIn offers 2 main areas of opportunity for B2B healthcare marketing.
Paid LinkedIn Advertising. LinkedIn offers advertising to generate leads, drive traffic to your website or landing page, and build brand awareness through sponsored content and sponsored message/InMail ads.
Organic LinkedIn Outreach and Content. LinkedIn offers multiple powerful organic opportunities including posting content, connecting with potential customers, sending InMails/Messages to prospects and participating in groups. Organic (inbound) LinkedIn tactics can help your brand get discovered by prospects that are already “pre sold” on your product or service.
This sounds like a smorgasbord of opportunity, right?
Well, you’re not wrong but it is important to note that LinkedIn is one of the more expensive social channels for paid advertising. It can be easy to burn through your advertising budget quickly, with little to show for it. Furthermore, the sales cycle for a B2B healthcare company tends to be long. Remember that while both paid and organic strategies on LinkedIn can generate qualified leads but should be considered a “long-term play” for B2B healthcare businesses.
Even with the above considerations, the return on investment for B2B healthcare companies can be very high, and it is well worth the effort to create a well-thought out LinkedIn strategy. (Or you can hire us to do it for you!).
These 3 tactics will help your B2B healthcare company win on LinkedIn.
B2B Healthcare Marketing Starts with a Well-Defined Audience
When starting to think about LinkedIn advertising, the first conversation you have should be creating a clearly defined target audience. Who do you want to see your ads? (Hint: the answer is not “everyone”). Like Facebook, LinkedIn collects data that creates significant opportunities to target your ads. You can check out the vast targeting options for LinkedIn advertising here.
When it comes to B2B healthcare advertising on LinkedIn, there are a few demographic targeting areas that you can focus on to make the most of your budget.
Company Industry: LinkedIn ad targeting by industry can get more specific than just medical and healthcare. In fact, you can target many sub-verticals inside of healthcare. Here are a few examples:
- Hospital & Healthcare
- Medical Practice
- Health, Wellness and Fitness
- Mental Health Care
Job Title Targeting: Let’s say your medical device company makes ventilators for hospital systems. You can target your ads to show up only for hospital administrators. Make sure you include all the potential job title variations that are important, and that the title reflects your true ideal target. Job title targeting often needs to be combined with another form of targeting to make sure it hits the right target.
Seniority. Take a look at your existing customers and determine at what seniority level are most or all decision makers. Who is able to actually sign on that dotted line? If 80% of the decision makers in your customer base are directions, senior directors, and vice president, target your LinkedIn ads so to specifically serve your ads to users who fit this seniority level.
Company Targeting: You can run account-based marketing campaigns on LinkedIn by targeting only those people currently employed at a target list of companies. It’s likely you’ll also want to add some job title or seniority targeting here to get specific with the department you’re trying to reach inside the company. You could, for example, only target Revenue Cycle Management and IT decision makers in a list of target companies.
Custom Audiences: More important than LinkedIn’s built in targeting, however, is creating a custom audience. A custom audience is a list of contacts you upload to LinkedIn that is then “matched” so you only show ads to these individuals. For example, if you wanted to reactivate a list of old prospects that had “gone cold,” you could import them into LinkedIn and show ads to only those folks. Or maybe you attended a trade show and received a list with only names and emails, but you only want to engage with decision makers. You could upload your trade show contact list to your LinkedIn Campaign Manager, then apply job title targeting to specifically show your ad to trade show attendees who are directors or higher within their organization. The use of custom audiences is a hallmark of “ABM” or Account-Based Marketing. This simply means that rather than fishing for prospects, you’re targeting specific companies or “accounts” as well as specific prospects you’ve pre-qualified. This type of campaign has been wildly successful for many B2B companies.
Remarketing: LinkedIn also offers website retargeting through their matched audiences feature. This enables your B2B healthcare organization to target those who have already engaged with your brand. The most useful scenarios would be:
- Targeting site visitors who saw your whitepaper download but didn’t submit
- Target those who’ve downloaded a whitepaper to promote a webinar
All of these targeting options are part of what makes LinkedIn successful for B2B healthcare marketers.
B2B Marketing to Doctors
Yes, you’re able to target doctors on Linkedin as well. There are a few key areas that will allow you to advertise or seek out the kinds of physician specialties you might be interested in.
Company Industry: You’ll want to narrow down to “Medical Practice” here, especially if you’re targeting independent physicians that are not a part of a larger hospital health system.
Job Title Targeting: This is where it gets a bit tricky. Linkedin has set job titles, which don’t always include the physician speciality you might be looking to target. For example – there’s no “spine surgeon” job title. Rather, there are “neurosurgeons” and “orthopedic surgeons.” In this case, where a physician speciality isn’t reflected in the job title you’re going after, you’ll need to use a different strategy.
Group Membership: One effective way to target specialties that might not be reflected in job title is to target membership in Linkedin groups. In the example above, you may not be able to target “spine surgeon” as a job title, but you can identify who’s in the North American Spine Society Linkedin Group.
One note to keep in mind for all Linkedin targeting, especially if you’re running ads, is that your audience must be large enough to start a campaign. The minimum audience size to run a Linkedin campaign is 300 members.
Define a B2B Lead Scoring System
Whether you have generated a swath of leads with a well-defined audience and expertly written ads or you have leveraged the robust organic opportunities of LinkedIn, you need to get ready for the leads to start coming in. Lead scoring has many benefits, and it’s a really important indicator of which contacts in your target accounts are ready to be contacted. This is important because even if you start with a list of prospects or accounts you know are qualified, lead scoring helps focus your sales team’s attention on the ones giving signals that they’re actively looking.
According to MarketingSherpa, 73% are not sales-ready when they enter your system. You wouldn’t sell a car to someone without a driver’s license and have never searched for a car online, in fact, you wouldn’t even let them take a test drive. The same applies to B2B healthcare.
Let’s say you sell a HealthTech platform that works best for large, for-profit healthcare companies. You can score your prospects’ readiness based on behavior and data you capture to alert you when they are considered “sales-ready” based on hitting a minimum score. Here’s an example that shows you both high-value and low-value signals.
|Behavior or Demographic||Points|
|Request for a demo||20 points|
|Download a case study||17 points|
|Viewed the pricing page on your website||15 points|
|Opens a marketing email||12 points|
|Views a blog post on your website||8 points|
|Forwarded an email||5 points|
|Unsubscribed from emails||-10 points|
|B2C company||-20 points|
|Prospect job level of director or higher||8 points|
|Company size is less than 50 people||-10 points|
Provide Value before Selling to Healthcare CompaniesOne of the best things about LinkedIn is that it is remarkably like a large, virtual trade show. At a tradeshow, you would never walk up to a prospect and immediately start selling (or maybe you would!). Rather, many of us know the power of making a connection, providing value, and helping one another on the way to sales conversations. This value-first mentality is the same in the digital world. Let’s say you are offering a free webinar to your entire connection list as well as to your LinkedIn groups via organic posts. Your webinar offer must be perceived as having value equivalent or higher than that value of a viewers time. They must be able to easily discern if a free webinar is worth their time; is it of value to them? Likewise, for LinkedIn advertising. Before you sink thousands into your LinkedIn Ads, ask yourself if a professional in healthcare would be interested in what you are offering. Try not to be biased, biases can cost you money. People use LinkedIn to better their careers, widen their industry knowledge, and connect with others in their field. Your offer should be made with that in mind. Does your offer provide value to B2B healthcare companies (in their opinion, mind you)? Think of it like a trade. You are trading your offer for their permission to contact them directly. Your offer must have the perceived value of their contact information. Is it worth it to the user to hand over their name, email address, and phone number? When it comes to providing value and sharing content, here are a few tips to help you decide which content to share on LinkedIn.
- Keep it short – No one has time for a 30 page whitepaper in their workday
- Make it accessible – Busy prospects may want to read or watch later
- Make it actionable – The best content can be immediately applied to their work