Ultimate Guide To LinkedIn Marketing
Social media marketing is a powerful tool in building brand awareness, connecting with customers, and generating qualified leads. While platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter might be the first options that come to mind, LinkedIn marketing is likely the most powerful tool in your arsenal (especially if you are a B2B marketer). That's because LinkedIn is the number one professional platform.
As an ex-LinkedIn employee, I know that LinkedIn users are more likely to be in the productivity mindset that would lead them to make a purchasing decision, consume content, register for a webinar, attend an event, or schedule a demo call. Why? Because, unlike the other platforms, these users are already seeking new business and professional opportunities so they are primed for your outreach.
An Introduction To LinkedIn Marketing
What is the benefit of using LinkedIn compared to Facebook or Instagram?
Is Advertising on LinkedIn Worth It?
Why Is LinkedIn so Much More Expensive to Advertise On?
Why LinkedIn Is a Better Choice for Your Social Media Marketing
What is the benefit of using LinkedIn compared to Facebook or Instagram?
While Instagram users are scrolling through food photos and Facebook users are sharing cat memes, LinkedIn users looking to consume professional content. More than 660 million people are already on LinkedIn, ready to network and consume content that can better their business, team, and day-to-day jobs. This is an excellent opportunity for brands to scale their content marketing using LinkedIn as a distribution channel.
“There’s no clutter on LinkedIn — members are there to do business.”
- Dan Slagen, Head of Paid Marketing at Hubspot
For digital marketing, particularly on social media channels, it’s all about the right time and place. On LinkedIn, the intent is baked in. Prospects are looking to be more productive, advance their careers, and connect with people who can help achieve business success. This, by itself, is a massive advantage if you are looking to generate leads for your business. For a deep dive breakdown on the different social media channels, check out our guide: LinkedIn Vs. Facebook, Instagram, Google, And YouTube.
Is Advertising On LinkedIn Worth It?
We believe so. In fact, we’ve seen positive ROI and results for most of our clients. For example, Llama Lead Gen was the core marketing partner for a company focusing on selling their SaaS software to HR and L&D teams at SMBs. We worked diligently with their team for 10+ months and our LinkedIn marketing efforts were responsible for generating over 2,800 leads with a 274% ROI.
Why Is LinkedIn Marketing More Expensive?
LinkedIn marketing is more expensive because the simple action of scrolling on LinkedIn indicates a user’s ambition and intention to make a business decision. Though you might drive fewer leads, the lifetime value of the leads generated will be significantly higher.
LinkedIn offers better targeting capabilities for business
Facebook’s ad manager has a breadth of targeting capabilities, but with LinkedIn, you can get specific with the types of employees or companies you want to target. Since most people don’t input information such as where they work or positions they’ve held in the past on Facebook, it is easier to create your optimal target on LinkedIn. You can target by job titles, job functions, industries, skills, groups, seniorities, and several other filters to reach your ideal prospects. For a detailed breakdown of targeting capabilities across the different social media channels, check out our guide on LinkedIn Vs. Facebook, Instagram, Google, And YouTube.
LinkedIn leads are higher quality
The platform’s distinct user mindset is highly sought after and harder to attract on other social media platforms. Consequently, LinkedIn marketing is much more effective compared to other social media platforms. Business professionals on LinkedIn are in the 'buying mindset' and that is the biggest reason the platform is 277% more effective for lead generation.
“LinkedIn is the #1 social network for lead generation for businesses - with Facebook 4th on the list behind Twitter.”
Why LinkedIn Is a Better Choice For Your Social Media Marketing
LinkedIn has become a critical platform for marketers. Businesses that are not focusing on their LinkedIn marketing efforts are missing out on expanding ROI and increasing conversion rates. Not everyone is a marketing expert, but the following information shows the potential of a well executed LinkedIn marketing strategy. If you want to learn more, are in need of LinkedIn marketing help, or advice on your next advertising investment, schedule some time to chat with an ex-LinkedIn marketer so we can assist.
How To Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile And Company Page
Tips for Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile
How to Set up a Professional LinkedIn Company Page
Tips Optimizing Your LinkedIn Company Page
Tips For Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile
Before setting up your ad campaigns, it’s important to optimize your profile and company page. People make swift judgments, so you only have a few seconds to impress.
Here are some updates you can make to your profile before you start with LinkedIn marketing:
Have an up-to-date profile photo and cover photo that are professional and high resolution
Adam's tip: Your cover photo is an additional space to advertise your company. You can design a banner on Canva for free, creating free advertising for anyone who lands on your page.
Choose your tagline wisely: You can either choose your job title or a few relevant words you want to get across. Although a tagline is only so many words, it should quickly tell the story of who you are and what your skillset is.
Carefully craft your about/summary section: Make sure that you tell a story, but don’t make it too long; it should be short and sweet and to the point.
Add in you or your company’s featured publications: This can include blog posts, guides, whitepapers, webinar recordings, etc. Insert content that showcases you or your company’s work.
How To Set Up A Professional LinkedIn Company Page
If you haven’t already created a LinkedIn company page, here is how to do it. If you already have one, you can skip to the next step.
Click the Work icon in the top right corner of your LinkedIn homepage
Click Create a Company Page
Select the Page type you’d like to create from the following options:
Medium to large business
Educational institution (high school or university/college)
Enter your Page identity, Company or Institution details, and Profile details information
Check the verification box to confirm you have the right to act on behalf of your company in the creation of the page
Click Create page
Click Start to build out your Page
Tips For Optimizing Your LinkedIn Company Page
Personalize your LinkedIn Page URL
Choose high-resolution images (both your company logo and cover photo)
Choose a tagline and description that gets to the core of what your company does
Add some featured groups. We suggest choosing groups that are within your industry. I.e. if you are an IT consulting firm, choose groups such as ‘software developers’, ‘top IT software’, etc.
Similarly, join communities (hashtags around your industry topics). You can choose up to 3.
Setting Up Your LinkedIn Advertising Account
How to Set up a LinkedIn Campaign Manager Account
How to Link Your LinkedIn Company Page to Your Campaign Manager Account
How to Add a LinkedIn Page During Account Creation
How to Add a LinkedIn Page to an Existing Account
What Ad Types Does LinkedIn Support?
How To Set Up A LinkedIn Campaign Manager Account
Sign in to your personal LinkedIn account
Click Work at the top of your homepage and select Advertise
Add an account name, select the billing currency, and associate a LinkedIn Page on the welcome screen
Click Create Account
How To Link Your Company Page To Your Campaign Manager Account
When you create a new advertising account, the option to add a LinkedIn Page will be the last field available. You can search for your organization using the name or URL of your LinkedIn Page. When searching, a list of matching organizations will appear, and you can select the one that should be associated with the account.
How to add your LinkedIn company page during ad account creation
How to add a LinkedIn page to an existing ad account
Sign in to Campaign Manager
Click the correct account name
Click the Settings icon next to the account name and select Edit account details
Type the name or URL of your LinkedIn Page in the pop-up window
Click Save Changes
What ad types does LinkedIn support?
The two main ad types LinkedIn offers are Sponsored Content (native ads in the LinkedIn feed) and Sponsored InMail (message ads within the LinkedIn platform). With Sponsored Content, you can create images, videos, and carousel ad units. A newcomer is LinkedIn's Conversation Ads which act similarly to a Sponsored InMail but has conditional logic like a chatbot. For an in-depth guide on all of LinkedIn’s ad formats, check out our Ultimate Guide on LinkedIn Sponsored Content and InMail.
Growing Your LinkedIn
Choosing a Goal and Objective for Your LinkedIn Ad Campaigns
How You Should Choose Between Image and Video Ads for Your LinkedIn Campaigns
How to Create CTAs That Convert and High-quality Creatives for Your LinkedIn Ads
How to Decide on a Budget for Your LinkedIn Ad Campaigns
How to A/B Test Your LinkedIn Ads
You can manage all aspects of your advertising efforts in LinkedIn 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 ads are generating (likes, shares, and comments).
A campaign we ran for a SaaS HR company that was targeting recruiters. We achieved 112 conversions (demo requests) for them over 2 months. Read more about this campaign we ran in our Recruiting Case Study
Choosing A Goal And Objective For Your LinkedIn Ad Campaigns
The first step to building your LinkedIn marketing campaigns is choosing your objective. A campaign objective is an action you want your customers to take when they see your ads. This helps you to customize your campaign creation and deliver the best ROI for your stated goal. As you hover over the objectives, LinkedIn shows you the scenarios you’d want to choose each objective for.
Adam's tip: In our experience, the Lead Generation objective is far and away the best ad format to choose from.
Why is the lead generation objective the best?
When your target audience clicks on your ad, instead of driving to your landing page or website, a popup form on LinkedIn appears with all of your target’s profile information already pre-populated (pulled from their profile information). All your target needs to do now is click submit. You now have all of your target’s contact information within 2 clicks instead of 7 or 8 if they were to navigate to your website. 7 to 8 clicks are the average number we've seen to generate a lead from website visitors. Why is this so valuable? It takes the guesswork out of the equation, is a secure and reliable platform for them to be providing their details, and it’s just plain easy (for both you and your target).
Not to mention, there’s a variety of ways that your target customers can get lost and even (dare we say) ‘bounce’ by visiting your website or landing page:
Slow page load times can deter them from even seeing your content
Confusing navigation once they land on your website or landing page
Data privacy concerns
In a time where bounce rates can be as high as 90%, and you only have 3 seconds to impress, keeping everything in one platform can help you achieve the leads you are looking to generate more effectively and efficiently on LinkedIn.
Some inspiration of lead gen form ads we’ve created:
How You Should Choose Between Image And Video Ads For Your LinkedIn Campaigns
The second step to building your LinkedIn marketing campaigns is choosing the types of ads you want to run. Think about what type of creative you have in your arsenal — 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.
Adam's tip: Choosing the video views objective can be a great way for a large audience of people to see your content, which you can then create a re-targeting campaign from in the future.
Drive Better Results With High Quality Creatives For Your LinkedIn Ads
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 essential step in ensuring your brand awareness and how your target perceives your company.
An ad we created for a cloud computing client to promote one of their case studies. We used simple, but compelling imagery while keeping messaging short and sweet.
How To Create CTAs That Convert
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, Register, 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).
An ad we created for an IT consulting client to promote a bot they created to manage the influx of PPP loans. We used the simple CTA (call-to-action) of 'Contact Us'.
How To Decide On A Budget For Your LinkedIn Ad Campaigns
Lastly, the least fun part, but an unavoidable aspect of any marketing plan: the budget. You can set your ads campaign budget by cost per click (CPC) or cost per send (CPS) for InMail campaigns. CPMs (cost per impression) is too expensive on LinkedIn. If you are unsure about what budget you should be testing for your ad campaign, read our guide on determining the right budget for your advertising campaigns.
How To A/B Test Your LinkedIn Ads
You’ll want to run A/B tests to optimize your targeting and test out different copy, 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.) with the option that is performing best. We recommend letting the A/B test run for at least 1 month to gain enough information to make an informed decision.
A properly executed LinkedIn marketing campaign takes time. We tend to see the best results when looking at our campaigns from a 90-120 sprint cycle. In the first month, we’re building the marketing strategy, campaigns, ad sets, ad copy, creatives, and scoping out the target audience to set your business up for success. At this juncture, you’re ready to launch your campaigns and run them for several months, optimizing to your intended performance. If you’d like to chat through your company’s LinkedIn marketing strategy and get the leads you have been missing out on, schedule a time to chat with an ex-LinkedIn marketer.
A campaign where we A/B tested the creative. We tested multiple elements including: the background image color, the CTA, and the copy used in each image. The subject and body were kept the same for testing purposes.
How To Target Your Ads On LinkedIn To Reach The Right Audience
What Is Ad Targeting and How to Use It on LinkedIn
Whom You Can Target With LinkedIn Ads
How to Use the LinkedIn Targeting Options Within the Campaign Manager
An Overview of LinkedIn Ads Targeting Options
What Is Ad Targeting And How To Use It On LinkedIn
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 and specificity of targeting options. You can target individuals based on the professional experiences they list on their LinkedIn profiles, ranging from company name or industry to their job title, function, and 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 at the same time because a job title inherently has the job function in it.
Who You Can Target With LinkedIn Ads
LinkedIn ad targeting options give you the ability to reach 500 million LinkedIn users, 80% of whom are responsible for a given business’ decisions. LinkedIn allows you to target by the following options: seniority or years of experience, company size, industry, function, title, groups, and many more facets.
How To Use LinkedIn Targeting Options Within Campaign Manager
Although job titles are the first targeting facet marketers think of when starting a campaign on LinkedIn, many other targeting options might be better for reaching your objectives. For instance, you can decide to target anyone with a job title of VP of HR or you can target by job seniority of VP, plus a function of HR, who also has a particular skill set of People Management, and is part of a relevant HR group. Rather than narrowing down to only one job title, you can cast a wider net. Oftentimes, this will yield you better results and a larger pool of people that will see your ad while still keeping your targeting specific.
Skills and groups are 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. If you’re having trouble defining whom you want to target, give the experts a call.
An Overview Of LinkedIn Ads Targeting Options
Before getting into the different methods of targeting, it goes without saying that you can target by location on any social media platform. You can target by region, country, state, city, or zip code. Here are some examples of when you’d use location targeting: to promote a specific event, serve a defined metro area, or to focus on a particular area for a localized campaign.
Targeting by job title is one of the things that makes LinkedIn ad targeting so unique and valuable for marketers. You don’t get this ad targeting option on many other platforms other than Facebook (but how many people do you know that put their job titles on their Facebook profiles?). Job titles are very specific, so when you use these targeting criteria, you are filtering to a more narrow audience than you would by using other targeting options. For example, rather than targeting by ‘Engineer,’ you can target by ‘Senior Engineer.’
Targeting by job title is a double-edged sword, though. Titles are often vastly different amongst companies. An Account Manager at one company might be referred to as an Account Executive at another. Anyone who has worked at a company that has a sales team knows that these two titles mean two very different things when it comes to seniority and job function.
Another downside to targeting by job titles is that some companies create specific and unique job titles to be innovative (i.e., Chief Happiness Officer). There is no way for us to know exactly what a “Chief Happiness Officer” does at that specific company (although we can make an educated guess 🙃), so this leaves out part of our potential target audience. For all we know, a Chief Happiness Officer at one company may have the same job responsibilities as an HR manager at another company. We also run the risk of missing out on job titles because there is a cap in how many job titles you can choose in your target audience. You can only choose up to 100 job titles. To avoid missing out on reaching your target audience by only targeting by job title, here are some other LinkedIn-specific targeting options you can and should utilize when creating your target audience.
An example of a campaign where we used job title targeting to reach medical professionals, and higher-level decision-makers in HR and Operations.
What makes job functions such a powerful targeting option is that LinkedIn sorts each member’s job title into a specific functional area (Title: Marketing Manager, Function: Marketing and Seniority: Manager; Title: Software Engineer, Function: Engineering and Seniority: Individual Contributor). Let’s look at an example: Betty is an HR Manager, and Bob is a Leadership and Development Manager. They have different titles; however, they would both be classified under the HR job function (by LinkedIn’s classifications). By combining job function and seniority function, you can ensure you aren’t missing any job titles that you might want to target within your marketing campaign.
Job Title Vs. Function
While targeting by job title is very specific and what most advertisers choose to target by on LinkedIn, targeting by job function is incredibly smart and arguably more efficient. You can gain scale efficiencies by reaching not just the lead engineer but by reaching all engineers. You can then narrow down by layering on seniority, so if you only want to target VPs and above, you can do so.
Keep in mind: you can only target up to 100 job titles at a time, yet another reason why using function and seniority is such a valuable way to target. If you do have a very specific audience that you need to reach than job titles are the way to target (i.e., instead of reaching function=engineering, you are trying to reach a software application developer).
An example of how using function and seniority together can yield a larger audience size and better results than targeting by job title.
LinkedIn groups each of its members into the following buckets: Unpaid, Training (Interns), Entry-Level, Senior Individual Contributors, Manager, Director, VP, CXO, Owner, and Partner.
Function Paired With Seniority
Job function and seniority targeting on LinkedIn is a potent combination that many advertisers fail to utilize within their ad campaigns. Pairing job function and seniority together can expand your audience size to help you reach the qualified audience you are looking for and often achieves the same if not better results than targeting by job titles.
The function campaigns, when tested against the titles campaigns, had much higher CTRs across all campaigns.
Targeting by a person’s industry should not be confused with targeting by a job function. For example, if you want to target finance managers at education companies, you can use education as the industry and layer on finance as the function. In some cases, you might not know which title or function you want to target, but you do know you have a particular industry you need to target, and vice versa.
LinkedIn sorts each company by a variety of different company size ranges so that you can target anyone from self-proprietors, SMBs, startups, medium to large scale enterprise organizations, and more. Here’s the full list of company size ranges you can target by on LinkedIn.
You can target by any skill a person includes on their LinkedIn profile. This comes in handy when you have a specific functional area you’d like to target but want to narrow down to people who have a particular skill set (i.e., you want to target marketers but only those who are experienced in specific marketing software such as Marketo and Salesforce. You want to target HR professionals but only those who have leadership and development skills).
People list skills on their profile with no categorical grouping, so any skill you can think of is likely in play here. Be mindful that your scale and reach could be quite low if you only want to target specific skills in which people do not mention in their profiles. When choosing skills to target for we recommend gathering any keywords you might be using in your SEO efforts or for Google display/search campaigns.
LinkedIn groups targeting is similar to targeting certain interest groups on Facebook. If you want to target people who have attended a specific event, you can do so with LinkedIn groups targeting. You can also target professionals that are in a LinkedIn group centered around their interests. Groups can be a great way to target a highly engaged audience of LinkedIn users because most people that are part of groups engage with the platform more frequently, so you have a better chance of reaching them.
Adam's tip: LinkedIn provides an estimate of how many people are a part of a specific group, so you can use these numbers when building your audience. You only get to choose 100 groups, so choose wisely, and choose groups that are large enough to warrant targeting so that you can scale your advertising campaigns.
A campaign where we wanted to target professionals in specific groups related to 'process mining'.
LinkedIn associates certain interest-categories with one another based on the feed data it receives from people posting and how each member engages with the posts. These interest groupings can be as broad as “businesses and management” or as specific as “business intelligence software.” Targeting by interests is good to use in conjunction with the other ad targeting options mentioned above.
ABM (account-based marketing) lists
LinkedIn is the only social media platform that allows you to upload a company list. All other platforms allow for email list uploads only. Company list targeting allows for a myriad of scale. For instance, instead of just being able to target Jim Halpert, who is a Senior Sales Manager at Dunder Mifflin, you can expand your reach by targeting all Sales Managers at Dunder Mifflin (👋 Hi Dwight) and then layer on seniority to target only the higher-level sales leaders at that same company. This gives you more reach than possible with other platforms that do not have this option.
Company list targeting becomes incredibly valuable to scale if you only have a list of client prospects’ emails, emails from an event, or emails from your customer relationship management platform. How?
You can ‘comma-delimit’ by their work email in your email lists to create a company list from scratch. Now, instead of only targeting Dwight Schrute at Dunder Mifflin Paper company, you can target all Assistant to the Regional Managers at Dunder Mifflin (although I doubt there will be more than one Dwight Schrute and god help us if there is). You can upload these company lists to LinkedIn, which will extend your reach further than just uploading your standard email lists (targeting by an individual email).
Keep in mind: you need at least 300 objects (companies or emails) to upload each list on LinkedIn. LinkedIn also has specific account targeting templates for which you can download here.
Negative targeting (or exclusions)
A handy and often forgotten way of targeting (on any platform) is to exclude certain targeting options. What do we mean by this? Let’s say we wanted to set up an ad campaign tailored to reaching architects. Once we add the phrase ‘architects’ into campaign manager, we’ll most likely be targeting ‘software architects,’ when in fact, we want to target people who design buildings. Sometimes we can get more scale by exclusions rather than inclusions. Let’s say we want only to target large enterprise organizations. Rather than including company sizes of 10,000+, we can try excluding any company sizes fewer than 10,000. Sometimes the increase in scale from excluding won’t be the case, and it depends on what targeting facet you are excluding, however, this is an excellent method to test to see if you can acquire more scale by excluding rather than including.
‘Company growth rate’ and ‘company categories’ are newer, targeting options that LinkedIn recently introduced. I wouldn’t suggest using them in your LinkedIn marketing strategy as your only targeting facet, but these are good to layer onto your already well-built out target. Let’s say that you want to target start-ups that have a specific round of funding (i.e., Series A). You can’t directly target that, but you can get as close as possible by targeting a particular growth rate (i.e., +10% YoY). If you only want to target Fortune 500 companies, you can do that by targeting company categories. Within company categories, there is also the option to target specific popular lists (i.e., Forbes lists).
Frequently Asked Questions About Targeting On LinkedIn
Regardless of what targeting criteria you ultimately go with, the right combination of targeting options will get you the scale and reach for a successful LinkedIn ad campaign. If you’re still unsure of what targeting options to choose in your ad campaigns, you can call on the experts! Schedule a time to chat and create a targeting plan that works for your marketing goals.
Now That You Have Successfully Set Up Your Campaign(s), What Comes Next?
What ROI Can You Expect From Your LinkedIn Ads?
What is a Good CPL?
How Can I Generate More Leads for My Business or Clients on LinkedIn
What ROI Can You Expect From Your LinkedIn Ads?
ROI is dependent on a variety of factors, but our clients usually get triple the benchmark CTR, lower CPL compared to the LinkedIn benchmark, and much higher qualified leads. See how we produced 937 qualified leads on LinkedIn in the first two-quarters of our engagement for a B2B SaaS client of ours.
What Is A Good Cost Per Lead (CPL)?
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.
For an in-depth guide on budgeting, check out our guide on How To Budget For Your Digital Advertising Campaigns.
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 pursue as an advertising platform for lead generation fully.
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.
Ready to take your LinkedIn digital
marketing efforts to the next level?
Struggling to gain quality leads, trying to kickstart your marketing efforts, or looking for strategic advice to market your product or service on LinkedIn? Save time, money, and resources by hiring Llama Lead Gen as your LinkedIn marketing expert.