Advice from an Ex-LinkedIn Employee: How to Advertise on LinkedIn to Maximize ROI
Become a master at LinkedIn marketing and generate high-quality leads for your ad campaigns. Read our LinkedIn advertising guide for exclusive tips from an ex-LinkedIn marketer.
How can I generate more leads for my business or clients on LinkedIn?
This is the question we receive most frequently when it comes to marketing on LinkedIn. Most of our clients are looking for more leads and in their past efforts have found LinkedIn advertising to be too expensive or too foreign to fully pursue as an advertising platform for lead generation. However, 58% of B2B marketers say LinkedIn ads deliver the best value, according to eMarketer, so we know it is the right choice for your business’ marketing efforts. That’s where I come in. I want to use my LinkedIn expertise to help you understand and utilize LinkedIn advertising effectively and cost-efficiently so you can maximize ROI and generate the most leads for your clients. Read on for tips and tricks from a former LinkedIn marketer that will help you get started with your LinkedIn marketing strategy and generate qualified leads for your company.
But what about Facebook or Instagram? Everyone’s on those channels...
While Instagram users are scrolling through food photos and Facebook users are laughing at funny cat memes, LinkedIn members are scrolling through their LinkedIn feed to consume professional content. More than 575 million people are on LinkedIn, ready to network, and consume content that can better their business, their team, and their day-to-day jobs.
“There’s no clutter on LinkedIn — members are there to do business,” says Dan Slagen, head of paid marketing at Hubspot.
With digital marketing (especially on social media channels), it’s all about the right time and place. With LinkedIn, you already have intent baked in and are reaching prospects while they are in the mindset to be more productive, advance their careers, and connect with people who can help them in their day-to-day jobs and help their company. This by itself is a huge advantage to marketing on LinkedIn. So how can we use LinkedIn for advertising?
Getting started with LinkedIn advertising
The main ad types LinkedIn offers are Sponsored Content (native ads in the LinkedIn feed) and Sponsored InMail (message ads within the LinkedIn platform). Notable mention -- Dynamic Ads, which are useful because it shows your prospects' LinkedIn profile picture within your ad, making it feel more personalized. Once you set up a LinkedIn page and a campaign manager account, you can create your campaign using whatever format works best for your business’ marketing goals.
Setting up your LinkedIn marketing campaign in campaign manager
You can manage and optimize all aspects of your advertising efforts in campaign manager. Think of it as your advertising “dashboard.” There are a variety of tools that allow you to get a birds-eye view of your campaign, including ad format, filters such as the demographic makeup of who clicks on your ads, and the engagement your ad is generating (likes, shares, comments, and company page follows).
Read more about this campaign we ran in our Recruiting Case Study
Image or video ads
The first step to building your campaign is choosing what type of ad you want to produce. Your main marketing format options are Sponsored Content and Sponsored InMail. LinkedIn Text Ads are an option as well, however, they generally shouldn’t be used in marketing or advertising because images and videos are far more engaging. Next, you’ll want to create your ads. Think about what type of creative you’ll be running — image or video ads. LinkedIn optimizes for each, so you’ll have to split out by separate campaigns if you have both images and videos you’d like to promote.
Stand out with CTA's (call to actions) and high-quality creatives
Include a call to action where possible to increase the likelihood that someone will click on your ads. The CTAs we see perform best are: Sign Up Now, Register Today, Contact Us, and Schedule Demo. Don’t overthink this; it’s not necessary to include a 7 word CTA (not to mention how it will look from a UX perspective to your target audience).
Include high-quality, high-resolution imagery and/or videos to drive better results. Having a CTA in your image/video certainly helps (where it makes sense to). We often see campaigns fall short because of the imagery used, so remember that this is an important step in ensuring your brand awareness and how your target perceives your company.
The holy grail of LinkedIn advertising: targeting
Once your ad is created, you’ll want to determine who will view your ads, also known as ‘targeting’. What makes LinkedIn targeting unique to other social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram is the wide variety of targeting options. You can target your audience by all aspects of their career, ranging from as broad as company name or industry to as specific as job title, job function, and job seniority. The best performance usually comes from a combination of all these targeting options. Be mindful of boolean logic though; for example, you can’t target by job title and job function because a job title inherently has the job function in it (i.e. say you are targeting by job title: a senior marketing manager. That would be the marketing job function).
Let’s take another example: if you’re targeting Google as your company, there are 100,000 employees that will see your ad. However, LinkedIn allows you to further narrow your audience down by targeting Google marketers, Google engineers, etc. Taking it a step further, let’s say you only want to target managers, directors, etc. You can use seniority targeting to target managers, directors, VPs, and CXOs. Skills and groups are also a fantastic way to layer onto your current target. They unlock keywords that you may not have found by just using job titles. For example: if you target engineers, you are not targeting specifically for things like cloud computing, AI, and machine learning. With Skills and Groups, you can narrow it down specifically to your needs.
Creating a budget
Lastly, the least fun part, but an unavoidable aspect of any marketing plan: the daily budget. You can set your ad campaign budget by cost per click (CPC) or cost per send (CPS). CPMs (cost per impression) are too expensive for LinkedIn. And if you are unsure about what budget you should be testing for your ad campaign, we can help determine the right budget given your advertising goals.
Adam’s tip: CPL (cost per lead) depends on your target audience. For example, engineers are a costlier audience than, say, a journalist, so you might be on the higher end ($200 CPL) versus the lower ($25 CPL). This is important to keep in mind when scoping out budgets and performance expectations for your ad campaigns.
Test, test, test
You’ll want to run A/B tests to optimize your targeting and test out different messages, landing pages, lead forms, creatives, and CTAs to see which resonates the most. Create 3-4 variations of each ad and swap out the one with the lowest engagement or performance metric you are using as a KPI (i.e. Leads, CPL, Clicks, CTR, etc.) every 1-2 weeks with the option that is performing best. With any advertising, trial and error is a big part of the process. Create drafts, perform tests, and then create more drafts. See what works and what doesn’t and soon you’ll have the momentum of a successful LinkedIn marketing campaign and the leads to prove it. A properly executed B2B marketing campaign takes time. Generally, sprints can be looked at from a 90-120 sprint cycle where you should be building strategy, campaigns, ad copy, and setting your business up for success. After you have a solid strategy in place and you’ve done A/B tests to understand what drives the most value, you’ll begin iterating and optimizing to find new growth areas to capitalize on and get the results you’re looking for. Ultimately, you will be able to utilize LinkedIn marketing to its fullest capabilities and get the leads you have been missing out on.
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