Since Reid Hoffman launched LinkedIn from his living room in May 2003, it has gone on to become a social marketing behemoth. It now boasts over 500 million members and more than 260 million of them log into the platform every month.
Also, 40 million of these users are logging onto the platform daily. These sort of numbers cannot be ignored.
If you want to be reaching B2B leaders with your paid marketing, then you need to take a close look at the platform. I know it has worked for campaigns that we have worked on.
So let’s take a closer look at some of the kinds of ads you can run on LinkedIn and why I believe more people should be using the platform.
Consider this your blueprint.
Why LinkedIn Ads?
It Is Where Your Target Audience Is
LinkedIn is where a lot of the B2B leaders are.
According to LinkedIn themselves:
It is hard to argue against LinkedIn themselves. It is where people go to look for work-related content and make work-related connections. It is for professionals and used by professionals — daily.
Sure, this happens on platforms like Twitter and Facebook, but these platforms are full of family and friends as well. We all know too well that it is easy to get distracted by content and posts that are not work-related.
LinkedIn doesn’t have the laidback feeling that most social media platforms have. It is the social media platform for work.
If you want a good ROI for your B2B marketing, then I have found that LinkedIn ads are often better than Facebook or Twitter. So why do I prefer it over the other social media platforms for reaching B2B leaders?
Targeting Is Similar To Facebook, But It Is Easier To Reach The People You Want
While platforms like Facebook have some amazing ad targeting (location, language, education, custom audiences, behavior, recent purchases, and even what charities they donate to), it is still easy for your marketing to get lost in the noise and distractions.
As with Facebook, on LinkedIn, you can break down your targeting by company name and job titles and industry. So far it is the same as Facebook; is that what you are thinking?
B2B Leaders are time-poor, they have to make decisions fast and the due diligence researching the companies they work with can be stressful.
In a study with AIG, LinkedIn showed how they delivered their content to over 100 thousand professionals in a six month period, increased their followers by 270 thousand and enhanced the reach of their content with 68 thousand additional social engagements.
If there is one major downside to LinkedIn Ads, it is the cost.
According to this report — that analyzed 300 million dollars of ad spend — the average CPC for Facebook Ads was $0.97.
Adstage put together a report that analyzed 2.5 billion ad impressions and 3.4 million clicks in 2018. They found a CPC of $5.26.
Which Are The Best Types Of Ads You Can Use For Reaching B2B Leaders?
So what is sponsored content? As the name suggests, this is a way for you to promote the content that you and company create. It allows you to create a target audience and share it with them. Think of it like the sponsored posts on Facebook.
Sponsored content can come in the forms of (but not limited to):
If you are wanting to reach B2B leaders then showing your expertise in your field is a great way to do that. B2B leaders want to work with experts.
Benefits Of Sponsored Content
Allows you to upload engaging and click-worthy images.
It is easy to get started.
You can experiment with different images and different messages.
You can promote only the content that you want the B2B leaders to see.
It helps drive leads and build brand awareness.
You can use direct feed ads to test ads.
Using the LinkedIn insight tag, you can track leads and conversions.
Downsides Of Sponsored Content
One of the more expensive ways to use LinkedIn Ads.
Impression counts tend to be lower than Text Ads.
Conversion rates *can* be lower.
Best Practices For Sponsored Content
Thinking of getting started with Sponsored Content? Here a few of my top tips for getting the most from them.
Be specific with your targeting; you don’t want to waste money.
Make sure your headlines are no longer than 150 characters to ensure optimum engagement — brevity is key.
Repurpose your content as much as possible; you want to make sure you get as much as you can from everything you create.
Mix it up — use Slideshares, video, different images and never use stock photos.
The Sponsored Content landscape can be noisy; you need to make sure that you stand out from the crowd. When creating a Sponsored Content campaign, I like to recall Robert Cialdini’s 6 Principles of Persuasion, specifically Authority. If you have content that you are trying to promote and you have influencers that work at your business then try and bring them into the ads. If people can see that you have experts in your ads, then it is likely that they will click through. You could also reach out to influencers in your industry for quotes that you could add to your campaigns.
Choose only your strongest content. One of the issues I see with sponsored content on LinkedIn is that the people running the ads appear to have chosen the content almost randomly. If you have the budget to run ads, then you have the budget to create the content that your chosen audience would find useful. Don’t cut back on the content when you are paying to promote it.
LinkedIn Text Ads
If you have ever done any PPC, then the formatting of LinkedIn text Ads will be familiar to you. They work very much like paid ads on Google and Bing.
You can use Text Ads to drive traffic to either your website or your company page — just like the other ad formats.
Benefits Of Text Ads
You can set your budget and control costs.
It is super quick to get started.
It is easy to test and change the messaging to get the best ROI.
You can make sure that you are only reaching the right audience.
It can be cheaper than other forms of ads.
You don’t need a design team to help you make the ads.
Downsides Of Text Ads
Text Ads are a great way to dip your toe into LinkedIn advertising as they aren’t too expensive. If you think this is the best place for you to start then here are some tips for you.
Best Practices For Text Ads
Bucket your target audiences for maximum impact.
As with PPC, turn off any ads that are not performing well.
Never forget to include a strong CTA.
Make sure that you are conducting A/B testing.
Many people using LinkedIn Text Ads will be using the feature to target people by job title, yet they don’t create targeted copy to match those job titles. I think it is one of the most effective ways to bump up your CTR on your ads. When the ad copy is tailored to the person who is seeing it, they are more likely to click.
Similarly, you can make sure that you have tailored your landing pages in the same way. If the journey of the user from seeing the ad to clicking the ad and then landing on your specific landing page is seamless, then you are more likely to convert or convince. Consistency is key.
Sponsored InMail is one of LinkedIn’s more creative offerings. It allows you to send a personalized message right into other users’ inboxes.
It appears alongside any other messages your target audience receives but with a sponsored tag.
Benefits Of Sponsored InMail
As with other forms of ads, it allows you to hyper-target so that your messages are only reaching the right people.
Helps drive conversions through responsive CTAs.
Can be used to promote content like articles, graphics, and eBooks.
Unlike when they were launched, they are now self-service.
It is not as spammy as you might think — users only receive one Sponsored InMail every sixty days.
They allow for personalization.
Downsides Of Sponsored InMail
You need to choose who you send the message from carefully; there is no point it coming from a prominent member of your team that doesn’t check their messages.
They can be considered intrusive by the user.
They can take a long time to reach all of your desired users.
I believe Sponsored InMail to be one of the best ways to reach B2B leaders; it allows you to connect directly with them. Here are some of the best practices I use when creating a campaign.
Best Practices For Sponsored InMail
Focus on one CTA — you have a limited time to make an impact.
Make sure you are using the dynamic insertion functionality to include the name and job title of the person you are sending them to.
Make sure the subject line is to the point.
Think of Inmail like you would an email marketing campaign. You need to make sure that the message is personal and you have used the dynamic fields.
2.Inmail has the ability for you to add specific CTA’s as part of the InMail. If you work as part of a bigger company or at an agency, you can mine PPC data or CRO data to ensure that you pick the CTAs that have worked well in other campaigns.
3. Inmail allows you to create up to 100 variations of your ads. If you want it to be a success, then you need as many variations as you can put together. Start small and then see which messages and images are resonating with your audience — you can then tailor the ads as you go.
4. Make sure you are honing in on the people that matter to you. Define your goals before you create the ads and then use these goals in combination with the Job Titles section of the software
Other Ad Options
LinkedIn offers a range of other options in the form of Marketing Partner Ads, Dynamic Ads, and Video Ads but I have found the three mentioned above to the best way to reach B2B Leaders.
You have to tailor your messages, and you have to be smart about your targeting. You need to prepare and plan.
I believe a campaign that uses a mix of Sponsored Content, Text Ads and Sponsored InMail is the best blueprint for LinkedIn. Mix it up. Test. Try everything you can think of, and you will create a successful campaign.
With the right approach, the B2B leaders are within your reach and will respond to your marketing efforts.
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