Optimize Your B2B Marketing Funnel And Get More Leads with Paid Social

We’ll let you into a little secret…most guides you’ll read about social media advertising for B2B are written by bloggers–or AI bots–who have never booked a single ad campaign in their life. Instead, they recycle documentation from the ad platforms into insights that sound good on paper or in a LinkedIn post, but in reality, they’ll result in you wasting ad spend.

This guide is different.

We’re not going to give you any theory. 

No BS. 

Instead, we will take a peek behind the curtain at the marketing strategy we use at Breadcrumbs.

We’ll back it up with real examples and actual figures so that you can take the parts you like and adapt them for your own B2B marketing funnel.

And if you want to get a deeper understanding of exactly what worked and didn't work, join us live on April 27th, 2023, for our free webinar on How to Get More Leads and Sales For Your SaaS Business with LinkedIn and Facebook Ads.

Let’s dig in!

Breadcrumbs Sales Funnel–LinkedIn For Prospecting, Meta For Remarketing

If we had to summarize our marketing funnel in one sentence, it would be that we focus on LinkedIn for top-of-funnel lead generation, followed by Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn ads for remarketing.

LinkedIn’s ad platform–called Campaign Manager–has been transformed over the last couple of years, so if you tried LinkedIn ads in the past and didn’t get on with the platform, it’s time to take a second look. Here’s why we focus so much on LinkedIn for our paid social advertising:

  • LinkedIn has the best B2B targeting options on the planet. No other social network even comes close. 
  • Over 900 million members across 200 countries and territories. It’s no longer a niche platform; it’s now possible to scale ad reach and reach many key decision-makers. 
  • Prospects are on the platform to do business, not look at cat videos and photos of your dinner. B2B offers to get a lot of engagement as that’s what the audience is looking for. 
  • There’s a high degree of trust in the ads themselves. Major advertisers include Adobe, SAP, Sage, and Microsoft. Ads for crypto scams and fraudulent e-commerce drop shippers are unheard of on the platform.
  • LinkedIn has added many options for remarketing via Matched Audiences, which now allows a full marketing funnel to be built.
  • LinkedIn is obsessed with Trust & Safety. Microsoft owns LinkedIn and understands that B2B and Enterprise companies must protect their brand image.

Of course, it’s not all rainbows and unicorns; there are some downsides to LinkedIn Ads. You pay a premium for such good targeting options, meaning it’s the most expensive ad platform for clicks and leads out of all the main social networks.

However, with ad pricing rising year on year for the other platforms, the cost difference is often less than many people realise. 

TOFU–The Top of Your B2B Marketing Funnel

For many B2B businesses –including Breadcrumbs–the focus for prospecting is getting new leads into the pipeline. With B2B sales cycles often taking 6-18 months, lead generation allows for long-term relationship building via email, which is also cheaper for long-term marketing than other channels.

But what about the traditional marketing funnel’s initial awareness and engagement stages? 

Thankfully, due to the awesome B2B targeting options on LinkedIn and the high degree of trust in the ads, we can often skip the awareness stage and go straight for the lead as the first touch.

Sometimes running video ads to warm up the prospect before asking for a lead can work, but we like to keep our sales funnel as simple as possible.

1. Give Value

On social media platforms, the user isn’t searching for your content when they see your ad appear in their feed, so unlike on Search platforms such as Google, there’s no intent yet from the user. That means we must introduce our brand gently by giving value first and not asking for a demo, trial, or sale until later in the sales cycle.

At Breadcrumbs, we like to package our best content into a range of useful ebooks and offer them for free in exchange for an email address:

Optimize Your B2B Marketing Funnel: Breadcrumbs Tofu

Popular alternatives for lead magnets include white papers, quizzes, webinars, mini-courses, and gated video content. However, we find the classic ebook format still works well for B2B.

2. Test, Test, Test

Social advertising platforms are data-driven, and report on many metrics, so the key to success is to put some ads out there, then start A/B testing them and let your strategy be guided by the results. 

With this in mind, the first test we ran was to test ads for five different ebooks to find which ebook had the lowest cost per lead. 

The results were eye-opening. Discovering which lead magnet resonates best with your audience can be the difference between success and failure for your entire social media advertising funnel. Keep interacting and testing until you find the content that works.   

Only when your offer is dialled in is it worth moving on to testing the ad creative. For us, as we had found an ebook with an acceptable CPL, we could then move on to testing square v. landscape image formats.

Switching to square images doubled the ad’s clickthrough rate, resulting in a halving of the cost per lead. In summary, if you’re running LinkedIn ads with the traditional landscape image format, update them to square images as a priority. 

Other tests we ran included:

  • LinkedIn lead forms v website landing pages for lead capture: LinkedIn lead forms gave the lowest cost per lead. 
  • Ad copy written by AI–Chat GPT and Jasper–tested against traditional human-generated ad text. Humans won! 
Callout Website

Webinar–April 27, 2023–1:00 PM Eastern // 10:00 AM Pacific

Get More Leads & Sales with LI and FB Ads

In this live session, we’ll show you the actual results we achieved from advertising for Breadcrumbs using LI and Meta ads. 

3. Quality Over Quantity

We’ve all heard of the phrase “garbage in, garbage out.” For B2B marketing, that means if we fill our funnel at the top with the wrong leads, they will never convert into sales later on. No matter how much time, effort, and money we spend on nurturing our leads, it’s all going to be wasted if we aren’t reaching the right people, to begin with. 

Quality, not quantity, is what matters when it comes to optimizing your sales funnel. Naturally, we track our cost per lead as that is what the ad platforms report on, but how can we monitor the lead quality? That’s not a metric that any ad platform can tell us.

But first, what makes up lead quality? The short answer is that on one side, it’s how closely your lead resembles your Ideal Customer Profile; on the other, it’s how engaged they are on your online properties. To capture this information and inform your funnel, you need a tool like Breadcrumbs to ingest all your marketing, sales, and product data to create lead-scoring models that surface firmographic and demographic attributes and high-value actions.

Optimize Your B2B Marketing Funnel With Breadcrumbs Lead Scoring

Here’s how we use Breadcrumbs to monitor lead quality. The flow is quite simple, having HubSpot as our CRM:

  1. Connect LI forms with HubSpot.
  2. Integrate HubSpot with Breadcrumbs to create a lead-scoring model for acquisition.
  3. Breadcrumbs sends back the scores to HubSpot, surfacing high-quality leads.

Once we get the scores back in HubSpot, we create various workflows depending on the Breadcrumbs lead score to optimize the sales funnel further. Some examples:

  • Create a targeting loop with highly scored leads
  • Develop nurtures that factor in the lead source and the lead score
  • Provide context when handing off to the sales team

Some actions are more valuable than others, and clicking and interacting with your ads is certainly one of those you want to act on.

Replicate this strategy to ensure you don’t miss out on any leads that engage with your ads, grab your free Breadcrumbs account today or book a free demo with our Revenue expert.

MOFU–The Middle of your B2B Marketing Funnel Nurturing

As we mentioned above, engaging with cold audiences is all about giving them valuable content that they’ll find useful. The next stage in the sales funnel is to start planting the seed for your product or service to warm up the audience. This is the step in the middle of the funnel before asking the prospect to book a demo call or sign up for a trial.

This is where we introduce Meta advertising, which covers both Facebook and Instagram platforms.

As much as we love LinkedIn, we have to concede that the average user only visits the site a handful of times a week and doesn’t spend all that long on the platform, making it harder for remarketing.

On the other hand, two-thirds of Facebook users log onto the platform daily and spend an average of over 30 minutes on the app, giving us plenty of opportunities to display ads to our warm audiences. 

The great thing is that–except for Instagram Stories and Reels–both LinkedIn and Meta ads use very similar content, so it’s very easy to run ads across all three social networks without creating additional ad creative. 

For mid-funnel content, we build awareness of lead scoring in general and the Breadcrumbs platform specifically by running video ads along with traffic campaigns for blog posts on our website:

The average price of a thruplay (15-second video view) for us on Meta is just 3 cents, making it an effective way to use low budgets to nurture warm audiences.

For the blog posts, we see just under $2 per website visit on Facebook and just over $6 a click on LinkedIn. This is where blending Meta’s cheaper ad pricing with LinkedIn’s high quality for B2B ad views can work well to cover all bases. 

BOFU–The Bottom of your B2B Marketing Funnel 

At the bottom of the B2B funnel is the smallest but also the most valuable audience. It’s time to get the sale!

If the prospect has been nurtured with plenty of mid-funnel content, they’ll be aware of your product or service already, so there’s no need to get too creative with the remarketing ads. Keep it simple and ask the audience to book a demo or sign up for a trial.

Here’s an example of the ads we used for booking a demo:

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Recently we’ve switched to a Freemium signup campaign:

Image3 4

Which is better, a freemium signup or a demo booking? The great thing with social media ads is that it’s quick and easy to switch offers and track the results, so why not try both and see which one gives the best results?

What we found out was surprising! Tune in as we reveal it live on April 27th. Register for our FREE webinar now!

Callout Website

Webinar–April 27, 2023–1:00 PM Eastern // 10:00 AM Pacific

Get More Leads & Sales with LI and FB Ads

In this live session, we’ll show you the actual results we achieved from advertising for Breadcrumbs using LI and Meta ads. 

Optimize Your B2B Marketing Funnel And Get More Leads with Paid Social–Key Takeaways

  • LinkedIn is now the main social advertising platform for B2B due to the best B2B targeting options and a high degree of trust in the ads. The ad platform has improved greatly in the last couple of years, so revisit the LinkedIn Campaign Manager if you haven’t used it lately.
  • Facebook and Instagram are great for remarketing as the ad pricing is lower, and the time spent on the site is higher than for LinkedIn.
  • LinkedIn and Meta have similar ad creative and similar ad platforms, so you can cover three major social networks without much more effort than just advertising on one.
  • Using the right lead magnet will be the difference between success and failure. Keep testing different offers until you find one that resonates.
  • A/B test different ad creatives, audiences, and offers and be guided by the data. Instead of starting with a strategy set in stone, be flexible and let the results guide you.
Paul Fairbrother

About the author

Paul Fairbrother, founder and CEO of the Fairbrother Agency

Paul is the founder of The Fairbrother Agency, which specialises in LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram advertising for ambitious B2B and e-commerce companies. Paul has worked in social media for a decade, including in roles at companies such as AdEspresso–Facebook’s largest Marketing Partner–and Hootsuite. Having booked over $10 million of social media ads, Paul loves helping businesses rapidly scale using paid social.

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