There are two core reasons that compel businesses to run ad campaigns on LinkedIn.
1. Exceptional B2B targeting
Despite the incredible targeting capabilities of Facebook and Google Ads when running Search, Display and YouTube ad campaigns, LinkedIn Ads is head and shoulders above them when it comes to targeting B2B users. The platform is up-to-date (for the most part) when it comes to job changes, promotions, job titles and the like. Professionals like you and I promptly update our profile.
Marketers can go in and build an audience that now stretches beyond geography. We can narrow our ad impressions with multi-layered targeting based on the size of business, vertical, job function, job title, seniority and more.
2. Accessibility and cost
Go back three, four, five years and many marketers would say that LinkedIn was “too expensive”. The minimum spend was relatively high, making it accessible only to the big brands. Over the years, the platform has opened up, providing SMEs the option to run small budget campaigns, where you can reach your perfect audience while being surgical. The platform gives those of us dealing with complex B2B scenarios a foot in the door.
Here are 5 LinkedIn Ads hacks we use as a part of our clients’ broader B2B digital marketing strategy.
1. Run lead generation vs. sales conversion InMail campaigns
First off, don’t sell on LinkedIn. Nobody wants the first interaction with a stranger on LinkedIn to be a sales chat. Most B2B sales cycles are long and the buyer journey is typically complex involving multiple stakeholders.
LinkedIn Ads are better suited to top of funnel campaigns aimed at generating a contact i.e. capturing a contact’s email address. With these campaigns, you’re essentially working towards:
- generating awareness about your brand
- getting the lead’s permission to send them more emails/contact them
- establishing authority as an expert in solving your buyer persona’s core problem
In this case, avoid sending an inMail campaign that sounds like:
We have launched Product X that solves Problem A and I’d love to give you a demo to show you what this can do for a business like [Company].”
Instead, send an inMail with a genuinely useful lead magnet. A better inMail could sound like:
We know businesses like [Company] have to tackle Problem A. To help you solve this issue, we’ve written this ebook – ‘10 Ways to Solve Problem A’.
It includes X, Y, Z from what we have learnt helping 100s of companies with Problem A. You can download it for free today via this link: #link.”
Now, it’s important to note that your lead magnet needs to be genuinely useful to the reader to get any cut-through. It represents your brand, authority and expertise.
2. Send InMails from ‘personal’ profiles vs. company profiles
We highly recommend sending an inMail from the profile of a team member from your business. B2B marketing is a lot about establishing and maintaining relationships. Sponsored InMails sent from a Company are simply impersonal. They include the logo of your business vs. a photo of the sender and as a result appear ‘colder’ than an inMail sent from another human.
A few pointers to squeeze out the value of this hack:
- Use the profile of a senior client-facing team member. Depending on your industry, it could be a salesperson, or a C-level executive.
- Make sure that the team member checks their inMails regularly, so you can keep track of any inbound enquiries that land as a result of a reply to the inMail.
- Ensure that the LinkedIn profile of the team member is professional, up-to-date and includes subtle branding elements that promote your business. This could mean a custom header image, a carefully crafted bio/job title and links to website assets under the media section.
The beauty of Sponsored inMails is that you get four hits at the cost of one. Naturally, I’m a fan of this ad format. When you send an inMail, the audience receives:
- A notification on LinkedIn
- The message on the platform
- An email notification
- The message within their email inbox
3. Double down on InMails with Sponsored Content and Dynamic Ads
Sponsored content is the native advertising that shows up on a user’s feed. It could be an image, carousel or a video with some text and a CTA. Dynamic Ads involve clever placements of the users photo with your company logo with text and a CTA.
Within the settings of Sponsored InMails, you also have the option to include a 250×250 banner ad that shows up along with the inMail. Ideally, this should include the same content and CTA as your inMail.
To maximise the impact of your ad, we recommend running Sponsored Ads and Dynamic Ads parallel to your inMail campaign. The creative, copy and CTA should be aligned with the inMail, so you’re hitting the same audience with the same message in multiple formats.
If you don’t have the budget for both Sponsored Content and Dynamic Ads, go with the former.
4. Choose wisely – Lead Gen forms vs. external Landing Pages
This makes for a good topic for debate.
LinkedIn’s Lead Gen forms are great – they sit within your Sponsored Content or Sponsored InMail. This has some pros:
- Your audience does not have to leave the LinkedIn platform to fill the form.
- You capture a lot of “hidden” public data of the contact – like their company, company size, domain etc. which is available to LinkedIn.
- You can integrate the form with most CRMs, making it easy to manage contacts.
- You don’t need to build a landing page on your site to run the campaign.
However, for some clients, we recommend leading the user to a Landing page. The benefits include:
- The user lands on your site and can be remarketed to using Google Display, YouTube, Facebook and LinkedIn as well.
- If the ebook/value proposition needs more explanation, adding this to a compelling Landing page will give you more conversions than short text on Sponsored content or a lengthy email.
- It’s likely that the user explores your website more, increasing brand familiarity.
- And most importantly, lead quality is generally much better from conversions on landing pages compared to Lead Gen forms. However, you should test this for your business.
5. Remind, reiterate, remarket!
LinkedIn Ads gives you the option to set up remarketing campaigns to a remarketing email list or to users that land on your website. Since users typically use the platform when they are in ‘business mode’ vs. when they use Facebook or Instagram, this provides a fantastic opportunity to get more eyeballs on your brand and value proposition.
We recommend setting up remarketing campaigns that further bolster the confidence in the services you are providing. The content could include testimonials, an explainer video, a feature in a news publication and the like.
These ads should be optimised for impressions and reach vs. conversions.
A single channel will rarely solve all your marketing challenges.
While LinkedIn Ads can provide you with a steady flow of contacts from your exact target market, conversions from LinkedIn doesn’t mean that they are ready to speak to your sales team.
It’s important you continue to nurture the fresh contacts with email marketing, display remarketing and when it makes sense, phone calls.
If you’re looking for a LinkedIn Ads agency to help launch and scale your B2B digital marketing campaigns, contact the Explosion Marketing team. We’ve run a range of B2B ad campaigns and have likely cracked the code to reach your buyer personas.
#1 What's Working Really Well Now For Email Marketing.
First up in order to use email as a marketing tool you need a growing healthy email list and the way you get that list has definitely changed quite a bit in the past few years .
You used to be able to get people to sign up for your newsletter on your website or even for an ebook or a white paper if you’re in a more b2b niche but people don’t really opt in for that kind of thing nearly as often as they used to.
Your potential customers are much more savvy than that now and they aren’t nearly as willing to give up their email address. This is why you need to use an upgraded lead magnet to build up your list in 2022.
I’m talking something that’s irresistible that promises a real tangible result or positive outcome not just extra information. So I want you to start with what you charge money for right what problem does that solve for your clients.
Then I want you to brainstorm the best way that you can help them achieve a similar result in a more DIY way or how you can help them get a quick win. Then get them started on the right path toward eventually working with you.
Let’s say you’re a dietitian. You could turn your knowledge into an online quiz that asks some of the maybe some of the same questions you would normally ask your full service clients and then in the end it’s going to give them a rough diet plan that’s semi-customised based on the answers that they provided.
That’s more of a D.I.Y version of what you do in a broad sense or you could go more
narrow in focus and show them just one thing right how to prep their meals in
advance with a meal prep starter kit type lead magnet.
See how much more actionable both of those lead magnets are than just an ebook called “Five things to know when planning your diet.”
Something like this promises information not transformation.
Think of the overall topic and title that promises an outcome and then give it a really irresistible title.
Next, you need to figure out the best format that makes the most sense for that content.
Some of the lead magnet types that i’m seeing the best results with right now are tool kits.
They package up a few different elements into one zip file, templates that people can just pop in their own unique details to get a finalised version of something that’s
ready to go or an online quiz that gets them moving in the right direction based on their answers.
Once you have them opted in for your new lead magnet what happens next leads us right into tip number two.
#2 Automate the delivery of that lead magnet and ask for a response
One of the biggest hurdles to effective email marketing is getting your emails to actually show up in your subscribers primary inbox.
Some leads separate out marketing emails from the more personal ones so they have things like gmail folders for these.
You can imagine if your email ends up in the gmail box it’s a lot less likely to be seen much less opened and clicked on .
The best thing you can do to make sure that your emails are delivered where you want them to be.
Don’t make the mistake of simply linking directly to your lead magnet once people opt in because it’s really easy just to set it up so that once they fill out their name and email and then press that submit button to just automatically redirect them to the lead magnet .
What you should do instead is set up a little email automation magic so you’re actually emailing it to them instead.
This keeps your list cleaner since people are more likely to use their primary email because you let them know that it’s going to be emailed to them.
Also something really interesting happens, when they open that first email from you that does a pretty good job of training their email system that they actually want emails that come from you now. This is not a foolproof guarantee that all your future emails are going to be routed to the primary inbox but it’s a good signal that’s going to at least help you out there.
What’s going to help you out even more here is you will actually encourage them to respond back to that email so end it with a question and a call to action. Then you can to respond back with an answer so when the email providers like gmail start seeing that your emails aren’t just being opened but they’re being responded to it’s another huge signal that your emails are not just spam they aren’t just promotions they’re truly person to email is important enough to go directly to the primary inbox.
#3 What should you be sending out to your list
First let’s talk about what won’t work.
Spamming your list with offers and promotion after promotion it’s really the thing that people think about when they think about email marketing right?
It’s annoying so just don’t do it!
Instead send out one weekly email that’s packed with value. I’m talking advice tips actionable strategies so you’re helping them not selling to them.
You’ve got some options in terms of what you’ll actually send in these emails so this does work best if you pair it with some type of content marketing strategy like if you are creating a weekly blog article, podcast episodes or video.
In this case you’d probably want to use your weekly email to drive them to that new piece of content with the email simply telling them why it’s important, how it’ll help them and then you’re just going to link over to the content itself on your website.
If you don’t make your own regular content you can do the same thing but with someone else’s content so in this case you’d be acting more as a curator pointing your subscribers to helpful content from around the web.
Once again, let them know why it’s important and even give your two cents on it.
Or, you could go even simpler and just deliver one quick tip or a piece of advice or action item in the email itself without having to link to anything and by the way a combination of
all these things is perfectly fine too.
#4 Pay Special Attention To The Subject Line
This is going to get your email opened. There are a ton of ways you can go with your subject lines but what I feel tends to work best is either going super direct letting them know exactly what they’ll learn inside like:
“Slow website? here’s the instant fix.” or using a bit more curiosity and mystery like
“My big fat fail and what it means for you.”
This creates curiosity in the mind of whoever reads it and a lot of people just can’t resist closing that open loop in their brain and they want to know what that failure was.
Once you’ve gotten people to open your email these next few tips are all about properly engaging with them.
#5 The Writing Style That Almost Always Works Best
I’m talking about casual fun copywriting when you’re writing your emails write more like the way you would speak out loud to a friend and less like you’re writing a term paper or a cover
letter when you’re applying for a job.
I don’t care if you’re a dog trainer or a lawyer your potential clients will always prefer being spoken to like a fellow human being not a faceless nameless number.
Be conversational, use short paragraphs and segue right into the next tip.
Personalize every email. It’s a really small gesture that can go a long way if you
And you can use first names in the actual subject lines and that can work even better.
Personalization can go way beyond just using your subscribers name and your email right. You maybe able to personalize emails based on how they entered your list in the first
Place, for instance if someone’s on your list because they bought something from you in the past you can send very different campaigns to that list versus the people who just opted in for a free lead magnet. That is what we call email segmentation.
This can be very powerful because you’re catering the content to people at different stages of your sales process.
BONUS #6: And then there is ...
Trust me here!
This is going to help you out in just about every way, from helping your emails go to the primary inbox to open rates to higher engagement click-throughs and finally sales.
Every email provider out there like Mailchimp and Active Campaign have these really
polished professional looking email templates that you can customize really easily.
BUT, my tip here is not to use any of them and opt for a minimal no design.
Why? Because people look at them as nothing more than promotional possibly even as spam so by formatting your emails in simple text they actually stand out by blending in with the more casual personal emails.
Remember the name of the game isn’t to sell, at least not directly, so don’t tip your hand too early by making your emails look like ads for your paid offers.
Don’t worry we’re going to be using your emails to make lots of money for your business, more on that further on, but for now you’re just trying to be memorable, helpful and earn lots of trust.
Just because you’re using plain text emails doesn’t mean there’s no room for some visual punch .
#7 Use Video And Gifs In Your Emails
If your email is linking out to a video that either you’ve produced or even if it’s from somebody else ( I really recommend not just using a simple text link but making it more enticing with a video thumbnail that actually has a play button on it.
Unfortunately most email providers don’t actually let you embed in a real playable video in your emails like you could if you just sent it to a friend but you can use your thumbnail and then using canva or photoshop you just add a play button graphic.
Then you’re going to link that whole image to the page where they can go and watch your video.
This is going to help your click-through rates go way up.
Even if there’s no video link I love using animated gifs in my emails .
if you know your ideal customer pretty well you probably know the kinds of shows they watch and what they’re into and that really helps.
I’ve actually got another great way to use Gifs that I’m going to get to this further on.
So up till now we’ve been using your emails to create a connection and build trust, but how exactly does that lead to profits for your business?
It’s all been leading to these next few tips so pay real close attention to me here.
#8 Use A P.S. In Your Emails
The first way you can use your emails to drive more sales is to use the full power of the P.S in all emails.
We’ve covered delivering value and tips and advice but what I haven’t mentioned is that you can actually use a soft cell technique at the very end of all or at least most of your emails.
So after you’ve signed your name and you say something like:
P.S if you need any help with this strategy or if you have any questions about it click here to set up a quick call with me I’m happy to walk you through it.
What I have done here is couched what’s essentially a call to action to set up a consultation as an offer to help.
I recommend that one-fourth of all your weekly emails have more of that direct sales focus. So, you help them out three times then you pitch them on how you can help them even more by working with you one-on-one or by buying this thing that you sell.
#9 People Love Stories
One of my secret weapons that I’ve started using recently in my sales emails is to sell with stories, This works by telling the story of a current or past customer who got a particularly great result or outcome based on buying what you’re trying to sell.
Try featuring four different client stories that each hit on a different result or objection when they’re considering your offer. As human beings our brains are just more wired to remember stories more than acts and figures.
I then inked to the client’s video testimonial inside of that email because I know the testimonial is going to do a better job converting than me just talking about it in the email.
Then make these stories come alive by choosing the best little short snippet for your video
testimonial , add a caption then turn it into an animated gifs that to embed right inside the email.
This not only breaks it up and adds some visual interest but it makes the story much more believable because now they can actually see the person rather than just having to take my word for it.
#9 Counterintuitive …AGAIN!
You have to keep your list clean.
Ok… you spend all this time trying to build your list now you’re telling me I need to “clean it.”
Unfortunately it’s part of the process and it’s critical that you do this .
Let me explain why.
As you build up your list you’re going to have people who are super engaged and open most of your emails and even maybe click through but then you’ll get those people who just wanted your free lead magnet and then they never open up another email after that.
The problem with those people is they’re dragging your metrics down.
These unopened emails make your numbers look bad!
For that reason you want to clean house at least quarterly and scrub anyone off your list who hasn’t been engaging.
This does mean something different in 2022 than in the past because remember how in the beginning of this article I brought up ios 15 and how they’re going to be skewing those open rates so we used to scrub people based on those open rates.
What I’m about to say may be controversial and this is completely up to you if you want to do it this way but what I’m going to be doing is kicking people off my list based on a combination of how recently you joined my list and how recently you’ve clicked a link inside my emails.
So if you’re less than three months old on my list you get an automatic pass you can stay but if you’ve been on longer than three months and you haven’t clicked a single link in those pat in the past 90 days you’re out!
I’m aware this is going to dramatically cut my email list because click-through rates are just way lower than open rates but ultimately I’m okay with this because if I’ve sent you 12 emails and you have not clicked through on anything.
What are the odds you ever will?
The obvious first step for making all this work is to start building your email list so if you clicked through to this article from my email, I’m going to share all my best tips for creating the right kind of lead magnet that’s going to get lots of opt ins so you’ll have lots of eyeballs on your emails followed by lots of paying customers and clients.
Keep an eye out for my next email that will show you how to build your email list.