One method that marketers have turned to for the sake of accumulating email addresses to send to--for the sake of generating leads, particularly in the B2B world--has been, for some time, LinkedIn. Unfortunately, for brands moving forward, a new feature is going to make this possibility a lot more difficult, meaning that B2B and other marketers that have exploited the resource in the past are going to have to find new ways to mine the data they seek. At Site Impact, we’re always keen on keeping up to date on privacy restrictions as well as on methods of list building, so today we wanted to go over the new LinkedIn function, as well as the impact it may have moving forward.
The professional social media platform recently launched a new tool for all of its members, allowing them to opt-out of making their email addresses downloadable. Many brands (obviously, largely in the B2B marketing niche) have used exported email addresses from LinkedIn as a resource for finding and contacting potential leads for products and services, and this move is likely to be met with some consternation from those brands. The aim, according to LinkedIn, is to give their user base more control, and greater privacy; of course, in this era where data security and privacy have become major concerns for everyone, the function is not at all surprising.
Downloading email addresses from LinkedIn profiles of people in relevant professions and businesses is a very understandable tactic; it makes sense to use a social media platform that is business-geared, especially for B2B brands, to find the information to reach out to people who might have an interest in a brand’s offerings. But ultimately, the move doesn’t hamper brands as much as may originally appear. It does mean that brands will have to find new ways to get access to the email addresses that they covet.
Moving forward, those brands who have been using LinkedIn-provided email addresses will have to look into other avenues for prospecting, which means that in some cases they will have to get creative. Using the platform for more intensive efforts to connect with prospects will be one option--of course, LinkedIn’s advertising department will welcome those who want to use their functions accordingly. List buying will also likely go up, which means that brands interested in using business-related selects will have to be more careful about where they source their lists from and how they verify information.
The best option would of course be to work with an agency that already has such information available on a regular basis, that keeps an updated email list including selects such as industry affiliations. That way, brands can rely on the know-how and reputation of the agency to get access to a select group that will be more likely to view the new information favorably.
Overall, the LinkedIn policy--which defaults to opt-out--will definitely have an impact on SMB owners, and those B2B brands and marketers that have been relying on the ability to export emails from people working in specific industries and for specific companies. But overall there’s a silver lining: the platform remains a trusted resource for connecting with prospects, and brands still have a wide variety of options for getting email addresses for lead generation. Contact Site Impact to learn how we make lead gen easy for all of our clients.