Using LinkedIn as a B2B Marketing Machine


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Even marketing companies must market, so in July 2013, at the onset of the summer slowdown, Cyndie Shaffstall, founder of Spider Trainers, asked herself, “How can I get our constituents to talk about and share information about my company so we can stay top of mind?” The answer was simple and obvious: Talk about them.

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Using LinkedIn as a B2B Marketing Machine

  1. 1. INTRODUCTION..............................................4 COLLECTING THE CONTENT ........................5 LINKEDIN..................................................................5 GROUPS.............................................................5 CONTACTS........................................................6 UPDATE (DISCUSSION THREAD) .....................6 MARKETING RESOURCE LIBRARY...................6 PRESENTING THE CONTENT.........................7 POSTING THE CONTENT...............................8 TRACKING THE ENGAGEMENT ....................9 ANALYTICS ...............................................................9 LEAD SCORING.................................................9 PROMOTING THE CONTENT ......................11 LINKEDIN................................................................11 MARKETING RESOURCE LIBRARY.................11 MARKETING GROUPS ....................................11 PRIVATE MESSAGES........................................11 COMPANY PAGE.............................................12 PUBLICATIONS................................................12 EMAIL NOTICES.....................................................13 LIST.LY...............................................................13 SLIDESHARE FEATURE ..........................................14 REPURPOSING THE CONTENT....................15 YOUTUBE................................................................16 MULTI-TOUCH MARKETING.................................17 SUMMARY......................................................18 ENCOURAGING STATS.........................................18 STUMBLING BLOCKS............................................18 MEASURING SUCCESS .........................................18 ABOUT SPIDER TRAINERS....................................18 CONTENTS PAGE 2 ©2013 SPIDER TRAINERS
  2. 2. YOU SHOULD READ THIS ARTICLE IF YOU: Are looking for ways to use LinkedIn for your B2B marketing efforts Are looking for unique ideas for inbound-content marketing Would like to learn how to repurpose content for maximum exposure Need ideas for promoting your inbound content Need professional help for designing, developing, and deploying a campaign featuring your inbound content TAGS Content marketing Inbound content Marketing Marketing automation Repurposing marketing content Multi-touch marketing LinkedIn Great Big Book of Things Marketers Say Great Big Book of Things Marketers Count Case study SlideShare LinkedIn PAGE 3 ©2013 SPIDER TRAINERS
  3. 3. Even marketing companies must market, so in July 2013, at the onset of the summer slowdown, Cyndie Shaffstall, founder of Spider Trainers, asked herself, “How can I get our constituents to talk about and share information about my company so we can stay top of mind?” The answer was simple and obvious: Talk about them. Shaffstall knew she needed a topic for that discussion that would not only promote the audience but also self-identify individuals within the group as her target audience. Since Spider Trainers’ client profile is typically that of a marketing department looking to architect a drip or nurture campaign, she conjectured the best topic might well be… marketing. The Great Big Book of Things Marketers Say is a collection of apropos quotes harvested mostly from Shaffstall’s existing and newly established LinkedIn connections; in her words, “astute marketers the world over.” Shaffstall says, “Everyone likes to be recognized as an expert, they like to be quoted, they want to be validated. By creating the Great Big Book of Things Marketers Say, we could manage all of these things for multiple authors, who were also marketers, and many of who represented our target audience. If those authors/marketers then shared our book of quotes within their network, we would be enlisting an entire army to propagate Spider Trainers’ content.” For the first edition, Spider Trainers collected more than 160 quotes in just three days. Two days later, they had a few corrections and enough new quotes for the second edition. A week later, another 50 quotes created demand for the third edition, and less than a week after that, 50 more provided the fourth edition content. With 150 new quotes now in the queue, they are readying the fifth edition, though with their focus currently on repurposing and promotional efforts, Spider Trainers has no firm date for the next release. That’s a good problem to have. INTRODUCTION PAGE 4 ©2013 SPIDER TRAINERS Figure 1. The Great Big Book of Things Marketers Say was technically a slide deck saved as a PDF for posting to and Spider Trainers’ ESP servers.
  4. 4. LINKEDIN To create a book of quotes, one must first find enough quotes to collect. LinkedIn made this easy. GROUPS As a member of a number of marketing groups, Shaffstall and her team posted a message to each relevant group explaining the project and requesting contributions, such as: In just one sentence, what is your best mobile-marketing or mobile-advertising advice? The text in bold was tailored to be appropriate for the group’s focus. For example, when posting to a group of SEO specialists, the text was replaced with, best SEO advice, and so on. The outpouring of advice, tips, tricks, and best practices has not yet stopped. In many groups, this topic continued to be the most-active discussion an entire month later. Each person who contributed a quote to the discussion, received a personal connection request from the Spider Trainers’ team member who posted along the lines of: Thanks for the great advice in the discussion I started. We would like to use your quote. If you would prefer we not quote you, please message me. Looking forward to connecting, Cyndie Shaffstall Founder, Spider Trainers Editor, Great Big Book series for marketers Here is the quote we would like to use. If this meets with your approval, please grant permission. [insert author’s quote] If they accepted the connection request, they received a response such as: Thank you for connecting. The Great Big Book of Things Marketers Say will be posted first to our group (Marketing Resource Library, Resource-Library-4962178) before distribution. COLLECTING THE CONTENT PAGE 5 ©2013 SPIDER TRAINERS Figure 2. LinkedIn was the primary source for obtaining quotes and also became the primary platform for promoting the publication. Figure 3. Even a month after the first edition was published, the discussion requesting quotes was still one of the most- active discussions in some of the LinkedIn groups.
  5. 5. This response message was designed to also bring awareness to Spider Trainers’ exclusive LinkedIn group, Marketing Resource Library, and an invitation to encourage marketers to join. Since the first promotional efforts would be sent to the Marketing Resource Library group, having the authors join provided Spider Trainers with an easy path to giving advance, preferential notice once the slide deck was published. More than 100 new marketers joined the group based as a result of this invitation. CONTACTS LinkedIn also made it easy for Spider Trainers to contact all of their current connections using the export contact features. These contacts received a personal message by email describing the project and requesting a marketing-advice quote. According to Shaffstall, “The only downside to this particular effort was most people use their personal address as their LinkedIn contact address — as well they should — but this message was actually a business request.” A small number of people questioned this and so, in retrospect, Shaffstall concluded they should have provided more detailed information in the email about why the recipient was receiving a business message at their personal email account. UPDATE (DISCUSSION THREAD) Continuing their efforts in LinkedIn, Spider Trainers also used their daily discussion thread to request quotes from people who follow them. MARKETING RESOURCE LIBRARY As the final touch, a message was posted to Spider Trainers’ group, Marketing Resource Library and shared with Twitter. It was also promoted to the Manager’s Choice feature in order to increase the visibility of the request. Lastly, Spider Trainers used the group messaging system to make one more call for contributions. PAGE 6 ©2013 SPIDER TRAINERS
  6. 6. The Great Big Book of Things Marketers Say is technically a slide deck created in QuarkXPress. Spider Trainers chose to use a professional publishing application over PowerPoint because they wanted high-end typography features such as drop caps, kerning, and tracking that would provide for a more engaging presentation of the quotes. Though a publishing application was used, the extra effort was lost when the conversion utility at failed to maintain the carefully styled text. In many of the pages, the large quote marks shifted and overprinted the text, as seen in figure 4. SlideShare was not able to resolve this issue, so Spider Trainers provided a link to the high-res downloadable file for those who wanted a printable version. PRESENTING THE CONTENT PAGE 7 ©2013 SPIDER TRAINERS Figure 4. The automatic PDF importer at SlideShare encountered issues with the large quote marks and causing them to overlap the text.
  7. 7. When enough quotes were collected to appropriately title the project the great big book of anything (Spider Trainers’ goal was 200, give or take), it was published as a PDF Letting viewers download willy-nilly was never their intent. According to Chuck Meyer, client relations manager at Spider Trainers, “Though inbound content is about earning the business and drawing people in so that you can show them the value of doing business with your company, it’s also important to use that content to collect leads whenever appropriate.” SlideShare, figure 5, presents in a slide format with a lead-capture form that allows viewers to ask for contact. This is the yellow button along the bottom of the slides. POSTING THE CONTENT PAGE 8 ©2013 SPIDER TRAINERS Figure 5 (left). is a content-syndication site with more than 100,000 members. Figure 6 (above). SlideShare, acquired by LinkedIn, is another content-syndication site that promotes documents presented in slide format.
  8. 8. ANALYTICS SlideShare Pro also provides engagement analytics in a detailed report, figure 6, and you can add a lead- capture form as shown in figure 7. Spider Trainers blocked visitors from downloading the deck from SlideShare and instead posted the hi-res PDF on their ESP’s servers for download and tracking. To access the gated content, visitors were presented with a custom squeeze page on the Spider Trainers’ website. The squeeze page provided only the option to complete the form to get the slide deck; shown in figure 8. Visits to this short form were tracked using both (figure 9) and Google URL builder combined with Google Analytics. The super-simple squeeze page made the process of getting the slide deck as painless as possible and a prefilled form meant that current customers would only need to click the submit button since their email address was completed automatically. LEAD SCORING For current leads and subscribers, Spider Trainers tracked interest and used it to further segment their marketing lists and increment their lead scores. TRACKING THE ENGAGEMENT PAGE 9 ©2013 SPIDER TRAINERS Figure 6. SlideShare provides a fairly detailed analytics report that includes sources, countries, and social actions. Figure 7. SlideShare Pro enables content providers to collect lead information from viewers who would like to be contacted.
  9. 9. PAGE 10 ©2013 SPIDER TRAINERS Figure 9. Spider Trainers tracked analytics for their squeeze-page traffic using, a URL shortener. Figure 8. The simplified squeeze page and short, prefilled form ensured minimized abandonment rates.
  10. 10. As any marketer using inbound content knows, it is not build it and they will come. It is a long, involved process of finding the right mix of promotional activity and keeping it going with an engaging topic. LINKEDIN MARKETING RESOURCE LIBRARY Spider Trainers first-posted notice was, as promised, to their exclusive group, Marketing Resource Library. Most authors had joined this group after they received the invitation, so the bulk of contributors received their first notice in this manner. MARKETING GROUPS Notices were also posted to groups where the contributions had been harvested and if the group allowed links, members were directed to and the squeeze page, with this message: Thank you to everyone for your wonderful quotes — you’ve been immortalized in print (or rather, pixels). The Great Big Book of Things Marketers SlideShare (, or for download at For groups that did not allow links, the members saw this message: Thank you to everyone for your wonderful advice. The latest edition of the Great Big Book of Things Marketers Say has been posted to SlideShare. Just search for me, Cyndie Shaffstall. (For whatever reason SlideShare’s keyword search doesn’t find the book... [sigh]) PRIVATE MESSAGES After the initial postings at the groups, Spider Trainers notified the authors individually with private LinkedIn messages such as: Hello, Ghazi; Thank you for your contribution to the Great Big Book of Things Marketers Say. Your quote is on page 294. We have just posted the fourth edition and it is online now. PROMOTING THE CONTENT PAGE 11 ©2013 SPIDER TRAINERS Figure 10. In order to further promote their exclusive LinkedIn group, Marketing Resource Library, Spider Trainers made the first promotional announcement to these members. ?! As you can see in the LinkedIn message above, once Spider Trainers had the Great Big Book of Things Marketers Say underway, they also published the Great Big Book of Things Marketers Count. You’ll find this second slide deck mentioned in a number of the promotions.
  11. 11. You may view the book on SlideShare at or download a copy at We have also just released the Great Big Book of Things Marketers Count. It can be found online on SlideShare at and for download at Lastly, please take a moment to join our exclusive group, Marketing Resource Library, which is 100% spam free and provides you a daily digest of stories, infographics, videos, and more that we moderators personally select. If you like our work, please share socially and rate or like us on the networks. Again, thank you. Your words of wisdom have made this book a truly valuable resource for marketers the world over. Spider Trainers used the shortened URLs to track activity on all fronts. Most of the authors used these same shortened URLs to share their own messages so secondary traffic was also visible. COMPANY PAGE Spider Trainers also made good use of their LinkedIn company page and posted the slide deck as a product. They later added the video, discussed later in this case study, for additional exposure. PUBLICATIONS LinkedIn profiles include the option for authors to list publications they have authored or co-authored. Spider Trainers was reminded of this feature when one of the authors, Eric Bengston, added the Great Big Book of Things Marketers Say to his LinkedIn profile as a publication he co-authored along with Shaffstall. A publication added to the author’s profile will show up in their LinkedIn discussion thread (depending upon preferences settings). Thanks to Eric’s gentle nudge, Shaffstall also added the book to her profile and Spider Trainers has planned yet another LinkedIn message to the authors to remind them to do the same. If enough authors take advantage of this opportunity, Spider Trainers may still enjoy another spike in activity. PAGE 12 ©2013 SPIDER TRAINERS Figure 11. Showing further deference to their own internet real estate, Spider Trainers also promoted the slide deck on their LinkedIn company page. Figure 12. LinkedIn Publications is a feature that lets authors lay claim to their works.
  12. 12. EMAIL NOTICES As their first outbound effort, Spider Trainers’ leads, subscribers, and clients received a blast email directing them to the squeeze page (so their activity could be tracked). The email contained social-sharing icons and a link to share with a friend, but did not provide any other links to detract from the call to action. Once the visitor completed the form on the squeeze page (shown previously in figure 8), Spider Trainers fired off an auto-responder that contained the links for download or viewing online. The download link accessed the hi-res PDF on the ESP’s servers (tracked through that service’s download analytics) and the read online button directed the user to SlideShare. Of course, in addition to tracking which of the two buttons they clicked, Spider Trainers also tracked the standard fare for the emails: opens, bounces, spam complaints, deletes, time spent reading, and the like. Spider Trainers began a steady stream of posts to their LinkedIn networks; and, not only were they posting, but their newly enlisted army — the authors themselves — was posting as well. While it fell short of going viral by anyone’s standards, except for the 15 Cool QR Code Things video on their YouTube channel, the Great Big Book of Things Marketers Say has easily outperformed their previous inbound-content projects. LIST.LY Once outbound and social-media promotions were underway, Spider Trainers started searching for other creative promotional efforts — something new and different — and suggested This application, as the name implies, is a place to create a list of anything you wish: baby names, cat breeds, slide deck titles, favorite rock stars, and, well, astute authors; as Spider Trainers did. One feature of this site is designed to allow you to import a list and, if you have social media URLs for a list of people, it will reference that source for information about the person in your list. Spider Trainers generated a list of authors, most of whom they had a LinkedIn URL, and imported into Unfortunately, the import feature balked and only imported half of the authors. While working with to resolve the bug, Spider Trainers started PAGE 13 ©2013 SPIDER TRAINERS Figure 17 (right). For outbound messaging, Spider Trainers sent an email with an auto-responder to their current leads, subscribers, and clients.
  13. 13. thinking about giving something back to the authors as a way of thanking them for their participation. Again they turned to LinkedIn with personal messages requesting permission to share their social URLs: Hello, Andrea; Thank you very much for contributing your wise words to our Great Big Book of Things Marketers Say. (You might also like Great Big Book of Things Marketers Count, We would like to promote your social connections and are compiling a list of LEADING MARKETING EXPERTS at In order to provide you appropriate credit and enable people who appreciate your quote to follow you, could you please share the URLs to your social networks? Only provide URLs you would like us to pass on to our readers. ______ Fill in the user name/company name after the network information provided below: ______ LinkedIn personal page: LinkedIn company page: Twitter: Facebook deck: http://www.facebook SlideShare: Google +: Pinterest: YouTube: ______ If you have not done so already, you may download the 4th edition hi-res version of Great Big Book of Things Marketers Say at ______ Please also follow Spider Trainers socially: LinkedIn company page: Twitter: Facebook deck: http://www.facebook SlideShare: ons Google +: Pinterest: YouTube: At the time of this writing, there has not yet been a fix for this issue and so the social-connection accounts for the authors has not been updated and published. Not every promotional effort goes off as planned, but Spider Trainers remains optimistic. SLIDESHARE FEATURE The email and LinkedIn postings represented the beginning of the traffic wave and at the end of the first day, Spider Trainers had nearly 300 views and caused so much activity on LinkedIn that the slide deck was promoted by SlideShare (owned by LinkedIn) as a feature in the Hot on LinkedIn section of their home page — where it stayed for three or four days, eventually making it to the first position. This feature drove an entirely new set of visitors to the deck — people they never could have reached on their own and people who, based upon their interest in the subject matter, were smack-dab in the middle of their target market. PAGE 14 ©2013 SPIDER TRAINERS
  14. 14. According to Shaffstall, “The publishing and promoting of the Great Big Book of Things Marketers Say in the myriad formats drives traffic, increases visibility, builds credibility, and establishes authority and that should be the goal of any content-marketing event. “For me when it comes to content creation, I think, ‘Why stop here?’ Once I have gone to the trouble to create a piece of content, I want to milk it for all its worth. Content is gold, it’s expensive and difficult to create, so it becomes imperative that every piece do its job and show me a real return on my investment. Not just in the event itself; but in the tools and applications I license and purchase to promote the content.” Spider Trainers has so far successfully milked the Great Big Book of Things Marketers Say for: Building awareness for Spider Trainers’ brand Building their social networks Building their LinkedIn network Growing the membership of the Marketing Resource Library LinkedIn group Promoting their YouTube channel Promoting their website and resource center Driving traffic to their website Contributing to search-engine optimization Displaying their acumen in content development and content marketing …and as: A slide deck Posted to SlideShare An slide decko Posted to A PDF slide decko A list of astute marketers Ad copy for Facebook deck and LinkedIn (that have yet to be published) Auto-generated tweets posted from most pages News announcement Social postings LinkedIn discussion thread, LinkedIn groupo message, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook deck, Delicious, Digg, Google+, Pinterest Repurpose Your Content article Guest blog on blogo Syndicated through edocr.como Syndicated through SlideShareo Syndicated through Project Eveo Syndicated through exploreB2Bo Article on SpiderTrainers.como REPURPOSING THE CONTENT PAGE 15 ©2013 SPIDER TRAINERS Figure 19. The activity of the original slide deck posting was such that Slide Share promoted the deck to their home page as a Hot on LinkedIn mention.
  15. 15. Using LinkedIn for B2B Marketing article (this document) Syndicated through edocr.como Syndicated through SlideShareo Syndicated through Project Eveo Syndicated through exploreB2Bo Article on SpiderTrainers.como A Strategic Approach to Promoting Inbound Content case study Syndicated through edocr.como Syndicated through SlideShareo Syndicated through Project Eveo Syndicated through exploreB2Bo Article on SpiderTrainers.como A resource download for a sponsored webcast An email to Spider Trainers’ leads, subscribers, and clients A squeeze page Company signature lines A video Vine segmentso Instagram segmentso Social-media advertisements Facebooko LinkedIno When Spider Trainers repurposes content, they do not feel obligated to use the content in its entirety or in the same basic format; for example the blog on content repurposing or this case study, which examines the process of creating the content rather than the actual content. They frequently chop up content, reorganize, and even merge with other documents — editing at will. Typically they support each individual effort with a custom squeeze page or landing page making those repurposing efforts more effective at lead generation while engaging their audience and incrementing the lead score to identify sales readiness. “The analytics we collect through these repurposing projects gives each a purpose and makes them a lot more useful,” says Meyer. YOUTUBE Though Spider Trainers could have posted a slide deck to YouTube by adding transitions to the slides, they wanted to present the slide deck differently; PAGE 16 ©2013 SPIDER TRAINERS Figure 21. Foregoing the standard slide transition, Spider Trainers recorded the quotes as a conversation track with slides to identify the author of each quote.
  16. 16. something unique, worth sharing, and worth talking about — a conversation in of itself. Shaffstall chose a premise based upon a conversation between two women marketers that someone might be overhearing in a busy restaurant. A scenario to which she felt most people could relate. Shaffstall explained, “We’ve all been there, burglarizing the conversation next us...dying to jump in…resisting because it would be rude. This is that conversation.” To set the mood, Spider Trainers even has the restaurant noises in place and section slides with a restaurant image when new topics are introduced. You can view the finished project on Spider Trainers’ YouTube channel. To repurpose the slide deck as video, Spider Trainers first categorized all of the quotes by topic: SEO, mobile marketing, marketing best practices, email, and others. After this high-level reorg, quotes were reordered within the group into some semblance of a conversation. There were many quotes they simply could not work into this format and had to sideline, but for the remaining quotes, Carolyn Goodman (a co- presenter on the Target Direct Marketing webcast series) and Shaffstall set to work recording. The women each recorded both sides of the conversation and then the Spider Trainers’ team pulled them together in a conversation. It’s a bit stilted to be sure, but it sufficiently conveys the premise, the quotes, and credits each author — exactly what they had hoped to achieve. When the video was posted, Spider Trainers repeated many of the previous promotional efforts they used for the slide deck. MULTI-TOUCH MARKETING Spider Trainers admits that some of their repurposing blurs the lines of reproposing and promotion, for example their email, landing page, and the like, but they count that as a benefit. In the end, regardless of what it’s called, all efforts were aligned with their goal to provide their audience with information that would pique their interest, encourage them to share, self- identify a lead, and drive traffic. Spider Trainers intends to continue to promote the Great Big Book of Things Marketers Say in new channels as they are discovered and at this time still has a number of repurposing and promotional projects on deck. There are a news announcement and Facebook and LinkedIn ads that have been created and not yet run, and video segments awaiting posting to both Instagram and Vine. PAGE 17 ©2013 SPIDER TRAINERS Figure 20. In addition to the tweets posted by the authors, when an article about the slide deck was posted to exploreB2B, the members there created a new wave of social posts.
  17. 17. ENCOURAGING STATS One month out, Spider Trainers has published four editions quoting nearly 300 authors and with that accumulated nearly 3,000 views of the original slide deck; innumerable social-sharing posts internally and from the army of authors; views, sharing, and posts of the repurposed documents; views of the video; and so much more, but it wasn’t without challenges. STUMBLING BLOCKS First, of course, the issue not yet having been resolved, but secondly and moe importantly was centered around one author who did not recall having written the quote Spider Trainers asked to share. He mistook the request as a quote Spider Trainers had written and wished to attribute to him. The marketer wrote to Shaffstall and asked that the quote be removed (which was done immediately and released along with new quotes in the second edition), that Shaffstall never contact him again (which she did not), and then posted his objection to the slide deck’s SlideShare page as a comment. MEASURING SUCCESS Spider Trainers knows that even marketing companies must market, and their Great Big Book of Things Marketers Say provided them with not just a great document of pithy quotes to share, but repurposing and promotional opportunities that far exceeded their initial design for the project. According to Cyndie Shaffstall, “If you want people to talk about you, you must talk about them. People will always be interested in themselves.” Now in its fourth addition and another 150 authors’ quotes ready to published, Spider Trainers counts the Great Big Book series as one of their most-successful campaigns. ABOUT SPIDER TRAINERS Spider Trainers is a company of experts in email development, web development, search-engine optimization, analytics, graphic design, ad creation, multimedia creation, social-media postings, writing, and editing. They primarily function as marketing-automation architects who analyze a marketing department or company’s needs in order to create campaigns to gain a return on email-automation software investments — even when the client is resource-limited. Visit the Spider Trainers’ resource center to access their library of publications designed to help you with your marketing efforts. Spider Trainers believes that the empowered and informed client is the successful client. Contact Spider Trainers Phone: 651 702 3793 Email: Website: SUMMARY PAGE 18 ©2013 SPIDER TRAINERS