Many businesses are already utilising LinkedIn as part of their B2B marketing strategy (and if you’re not, we suggest you start now).
LinkedIn is a powerful tool for B2B businesses due to its unique capability to target specific audiences and markets, as well as foster legitimate connections and business interactions.
Smart Links are a new feature of LinkedIn that was introduced in early 2020. While it is a relatively simple idea, Smart Links have the power to help you get more out of your LinkedIn marketing efforts. In fact, not only can they boost marketing, but aids sales by developing and delivering warm leads and valuable talking points.
Smart Links are still quite new, so here’s a bit of an introduction and some tips about how and when you can use them as part of your marketing efforts.
What are Smart Links?
Essentially, Smart Links are a method of hosting an asset like a PDF case study, and a linking to that asset in an ad, email, web page or post. Smart Links allow you to build and store all your assets (like case studies, brochures, demo videos, etc.) on LinkedIn.
Smart Links have replaced PointDrive landing pages, a similar feature that also allowed users to host assets and drive internal LinkedIn traffic to them. Demands for further PointDrive functionality drove LinkedIn to pare back on what they were offering and develop Smart Links as a simplified version.
Why use Smart Links?
The number one benefit of Smart Links is that they let you track who visits your assets. Unlike a landing page that would require visitors to fill in a form to capture their details, Smart Links immediately capture the LinkedIn information of those who click through to view the asset. This gives you a better idea of who you’re reaching, who is reading your assets, and gives sales a ‘foot in the door’ to start a genuine conversation with the relevant individual.
Are there any limitations?
In comparison to PointDrive – the feature it replaced – there are a couple of differences that some might perceive as limitations. For one, there is no space to host multiple assets on a single page, for an introduction to the asset or a CTA directly on the page.
Secondly, you can also no longer post URLs – only concrete assets (i.e. PDFs).
Further limitations exist with videos, in that they must be downloaded to watch and can’t be watched on the page. There is a potential here to lose viewers at this extra step (but you’ll still be able to capture their details, even if they don’t choose to download).
While not a limitation of the platform itself, the use of Smart Links require an upgraded Sales Navigator account. This comes at a slightly higher cost. (For those who aren’t familiar, Sales Navigator is a premium account on LinkedIn that has superior search capabilities, allowing you to find audiences based on specific filters).
How can you use Smart Links?
Smart Links have many use cases, but the most beneficial use is arguably in paid advertising. Paid LinkedIn ads can be created around different assets, which when clicked redirect to the appropriate asset using Smart Link. Using LinkedIn’s highly targeted audience filters, you can display these ads to only those individuals that meet your ideal client profile, and then re-direct them to an asset that both ads value to the reader, and positions your business as an expert in the industry. The best assets to use in my experience are case studies that relate to the industry you are targeting.
Smart Links then allows you to capture the LinkedIn information of any user that clicks through to your asset, and then pass it on to your sales team, who can follow up with a detailed, valuable conversation. An easy way to fill up the top of the sales funnel.
Beyond ads, Smart Links can also be used effectively in messages and messaging sequences. Consider also using Smart Links in your organic company page posts as the link leads to an asset but does not take the audience away from LinkedIn. This is key because posts which invite the reader to leave LinkedIn are going to rank less well in your audience’s feed than posts that keep them inside the LinkedIn platform.
How can you get started?
If you’re super keen to get exploring this functionality, you could start by upgrading your Sales Navigator account and having a play around. But I’d say it’s best to sit down and work out if this is the right approach for you, and if it will be a good investment – both in time and money. The first step is having effective assets to lead your audience to.
If you’re active on LinkedIn and want to use the LinkedIn platform to actively capture real leads, Smart Links are a great way to do it. But it takes more than creating an asset and an ad and crossing your fingers. Using Smart Links should fit into your overall sales and marketing plan.
If you’re keen to utilise the capabilities of LinkedIn and Smart Links as part of your B2B marketing strategy, it’s best to talk to your marketing team. Don’t have a marketing specialist or need more expert assistance? align.me offers outsourced marketing services for B2B businesses and have LinkedIn marketing specialists on hand to help build your strategy – including Smart Links campaigns and builds. Click here to see our LinkedIn marketing services or here to get in touch.