There are 1.65 million LinkedIn profiles with some link to the maritime industry, 159,000 members of LinkedIn’s largest maritime group and hundreds of LinkedIn posts a day using the #maritime hashtag.
It is fair to say that the industry lives on LinkedIn.
We recruit on the platform, share our content, network with our fellow maritime professionals and engage with the latest industry news.
Depending on how committed you are to LinkedIn it’s likely that you check in anywhere from daily to monthly.
But, anecdotally, few of the businesses we talk to within the sector report strong stories of success. Often, most point to ‘successful’ posts with a higher number of ‘likes’ than normal, or posts which started discussions in the comments section.
Is this ‘success’ as far as LinkedIn marketing is concerned? The industry lives on the platform, but does it actually ever move the needle of anyone’s marketing performance?
Treating LinkedIn as a formal marketing channel
Given the volume of maritime professionals on LinkedIn it’s time to start treating the platform as you would any other dedicated marketing channel.
When you create a marketing email, for example, do you quickly jot it down, send it out and then forget all about it, celebrating if you see it has had a few opens? If you engage in paid advertising then are you satisfied when your adverts are seen by a few people, or do you hold ‘success’ to a higher standard?
The same model should be applied to your LinkedIn efforts.
Gaining a handful of positive reactions to your LinkedIn posts is encouraging, but marketing success on LinkedIn means something more.
Attribution reporting: measuring the effectiveness of LinkedIn
Attribution reporting is the process of tracking where your contacts and sales come from and which marketing efforts contributed to those sales along the way.
In simple terms: which of your marketing efforts actually produced leads?
With the right tools and correctly configured attribution reporting you can see if someone who purchased from you in May did so because they read a blog you shared on LinkedIn in April, for example.
You can also assign a monetary value to the interactions which happened along the way, making it easier to see which marketing efforts are profitable.
Attribution reporting doesn’t stop at LinkedIn, but LinkedIn is a key area where we find marketing agencies are unable to tell maritime clients what sort of success they’re having on the platform. Accurate attribution reporting solves that problem.
Attribution reporting example: U-shaped attribution reporting for a large sale
There are several different models you can use with attribution reporting. Your choice of model will depend on the type of sales you make, your goals and your general approach to marketing. You can change between models on an ad-hoc basis to get different assessments of your marketing success.
A U-shaped revenue attribution model looks at how much you made from any given customer. It then looks back at that customer’s interactions with you and assigns 40% of the revenue to their first interaction, 40% to their last interaction and 20% spread across all interactions in between.
Let’s say you make a £20,000 equipment sale to a ship owner.
Using the HubSpot technology we use with our maritime clients we would be able to look back and see that the customer first came to your website via some paid advertising. They then revisited your website and read a blog. Finally, just before the sale they clicked a post on LinkedIn to read another blog.
The U-shaped revenue attribution model would say that your paid advertising generated £8,000 in revenue, your blog generated £4,000 and your LinkedIn post another £8,000. In this case you can put a monetary figure on how successful LinkedIn has been for you, alongside you other channels, such as your paid advertising.
Celebrating leads, not likes
Celebrating the leads your marketing generates, rather than the likes your posts attract, is generally a more sound marketing approach.
It’s the only one we use with our clients, because we can see exactly the impact LinkedIn is having on your most important KPIs; your lead rates and revenue.
As an industry we live on LinkedIn. But how many of us are doing something really useful whilst we’re there and could we ‘up our game’ to really make sure LinkedIn is a channel that generates marketing results that matter?