How we used LinkedIn to refine our virtual marketing offer

Once we had ironed out the operational creases with our initial clients, it was time to get feedback on how the offering was presented to our target audience.

Both services are B2B and while not what we would consider ‘high ticket’, at between £1800 – £2000 per month, are out of reach of many micro and small businesses. We felt LinkedIn provided an excellent opportunity to gain further feedback on the virtual marketing service offering as our target audience could easily be identified and engaged, and were more open to business communication than other channels due to the nature of the platform.

The Target Audience

  • Managing Directors
  • In Lancashire, Cumbria, Merseyside of Greater Manchester.
  • Turnover in excess of £500,000
  • In our second degree network (to leverage mutual contacts)

The Strategy

Our objective was to gain valuable feedback on how the offer was presented as well as the pages used to convey that offering.

In order to do that we reached out to 100 people within the target audience through LinkedIn, and asked them for their professional opinion and feedback directly. We would target second degree contacts to leverage mutual connections and encourage a response.

The initial gathering of prospects, connection requests and messaging was automated but personal.

The Process

  1. Target audience criteria set
  2. Automated collection of profiles
  3. Manual sift of prospect list to ensure validity
  4. Automated connection request and personal message to 100 prospects
  5. Manual reply to each person who responded
  6. Feedback received, recorded and acted on
  7. Personal thank you to each respondent

The Results

  • 753 Initial prospects identified
  • 100 shortlisted
  • 100 connection requests and personal messages sent
  • 32 responses and feedback

 

32% response rate

 

The Feedback

  • The feedback on the offering itself was overly positive.
  • Respondents unanimously commented on the ‘virtual’ offering idea positively, and made recommendations on how better to communicate the benefits.
  • There were several (embarrassing!) mistakes on punctuation and highlighting the need for objective proofreading before taking anything to market.
  • The pricing was generally considered competitive, with a number of respondents commenting on similar but differently packaged services of local providers being approximately 30% higher.
  • Whilst respondents clearly liked the comparison offered between an in-house permanent staff member and the virtual offering, they asked for more clarification on the exact specifics and for it to be represented in percentage format.
  • There were several recommendations made to remove the focus on ‘cost saving’, as it was felt by respondents that this would attract ‘penny pinchers’ and people who are not committed to the development of their business and investment in strategic marketing capability.
  • The combination of working on-site and remotely was a clear winner with respondents, as a completely remote option did not appeal to them.
  • There were recommendations made around the structure of the page and size of the font.
  • All feedback was considered, with the vast majority of it acted on and common themes running throughout. Overall, the feedback given was reassuring and there were a number of referrals made to prospective clients at this stage.  

Validity

Respondents were asked initially to provide honest and objective feedback to help the development of the service and anyone who was considered ‘too close’ of a connection or we had personally met was excluded in the manual sift of prospects.

We stressed the need for honesty and there was no incentive for response.

We relied completely on being extremely polite and the good nature of those we contacted to earn feedback.

Lessons Learned

Combining LinkedIn and the ‘personal touch’ whilst still automating some of process provided an excellent compromise between effectiveness and time efficiency.

We consider a 32% response rate without incentive and 3 referrals for a new service an excellent result and have made it part of our strategy to market the services to a wider audience and with a sales focus.

Whilst it may have added an additional 2 weeks onto our launch, we feel that we have increased the relevance of our marketing message and the way in which we communicate the benefits of the two offerings dramatically.

This final stage of refining our offering not only supported our initial market research, but gave us increased confidence in the investment we have made in the virtual marketing services.

 

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