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Use LinkedIn Ads To Get New Leads and Sales

Use LinkedIn Ads To Get New Leads and Sales

by kobura02
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Learn to create a conversion focused LinkedIn advertisement.

1 – Start Here

How to Get the Most Out of your Execution Plan

Understand CVO

This is the most critical step in this Execution Plan.

Understanding the greater strategy or context in which LinkedIn advertising fits is the difference between being frustrated and distracted by LinkedIn and using it to successfully make money.

The greater strategy is called Customer Value Optimization or CVO.

Your first step is to understand how LinkedIn ads fit into the CVO strategy.

I urge you to begin by reading the article entitled, Customer Value Optimization: How to Build an Unstoppable Business  Read it multiple times.  Commit it to memory.

Print the CVO Process graphic that is available as a resource in the article.  Pin the CVO Process document to the wall next to your workstation.

Every time you lose your way with LinkedIn ads (or any other marketing tactic) look at the CVO Flowchart document.  It will remind you of the greater strategy and put you back on track.

Please, if you do nothing else with this Execution Plan, read this article now.

In the next step, we will learn how advertising with LinkedIn fits into the greater CVO strategy.

Understanding LinkedIn Advertising

LinkedIn offers many different options for advertising. In this guide, we are going to focus on LinkedIn Ads you can create from the Campaign Manager: traditional ads and sponsored updates. The traditional LinkedIn Ads that are available to everyone from small businesses to enterprises usually look like this.

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These ads can be commonly found in areas such as your main LinkedIn home page in the right sidebar…

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In the right sidebar next to search results…

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And at the end of pages throughout LinkedIn, such as a group’s activity feed.

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These ads can include text, images, and video.

Now you may notice other ads throughout LinkedIn – large banner ads, text link ads beneath your navigation bar, and those within emails sent from LinkedIn. These are all a part of premium display advertising. Unfortunately, most entrepreneurs and small businesses will not be able to use these based on the cost. The last reference to pricing was a copy of a response from the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions Team posted in the LinkedIn community forums, noting that the minimum budget for these advertising options started at $25,000 per quarter.

This is why we are focusing this guide on the traditional LinkedIn Ads and Sponsored updates found in the LinkedIn Campaign Manager.

2 – Prepare Campaign

Set Up Your LinkedIn Advertising Account

To get started with LinkedIn Ads, you will need to create an account. Start by visiting LinkedIn Ads, and clicking the Get Started button.

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Sometimes, you’ll be asked to enter your password again. Otherwise, you’ll be taken to the LinkedIn Ads Campaign Manager dashboard. Surprisingly, this is all you need to do. Next, you will go through the normal setup process for creating a LinkedIn advertisement.

Prepare Your Website to Track Goals

In addition to creating different ad variations, you will also want to consider tracking your results in Google Analytics. LinkedIn will track the impressions your ads receive and the number of clicks to your website. But unless you are using their Lead Collection bar, their analytics will not be able to track whether clicks from an ad lead to a conversion.

This means that you will need to track conversions in Google Analytics, or your own web analytics program. In Google Analytics, this will require you to first set up goals.

Check out this Office Hours presentation on Google Analytics:

For example, if you are creating an ad that leads to a sales page for one of your products, you would use the destination goal type  to tell Google Analytics that whenever a visitor lands on a specific page on your website, they have completed the goal of purchasing one of your products. This same goal type can work for mailing list signups (the goal URL will be your thank you for subscribing page) and lead form submissions (the goal URL will be your thank you for contacting us page).

In addition to setting up Google Analytics goals, you will also want to set up UTM parameters for the landing / squeeze page URLs you will use in your LinkedIn Ads. This will allow Google Analytics to show you exactly what a visitor clicked on to get to your website.

Required UTM parameters for Google Analytics are as follows.

    • Campaign Source – Use utm_source to identify a search engine, newsletter name, or other source.
    • Campaign Medium – Use utm_medium to identify a medium such as email or cost-per- click.
    • Campaign Name – Use utm_campaign to identify a specific product promotion or strategic campaign.

    Optional UTM parameters for Google Analytics are as follows.

     

      • Campaign Term – Use utm_term to note the keywords for this ad. (This is more applicable to Google AdWords tracking.)
      • Campaign Content – Use utm_content to differentiate ads or links that point to the same URL.

      You can use the URL Builder tool from Google to quickly build these URLs. So, let’s say you are creating an ad with variations to get a targeted audience to your squeeze page to download an ebook. You could use the following UTM parameters.

      image011When you look in Google Analytics under Acquisitions – Campaigns, you be able to click on the guestbloggingebook campaign and see that you have received traffic from linkedin / ads as the source / medium. When you click linkedin / ads, you will see which ad variations specifically brought you traffic – and which traffic led to conversions.

       

      3 – Create LinkedIn Ad

      Create a Conversion Focused Ad + Variations

      To create a traditional LinkedIn ad that is conversion focused, you will start by clicking the Create an Ad button.

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      Next, you will start to create your LinkedIn advertisement.

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      Here, you will need to decide on your ad creatives and the landing pages they link to.  The ad format on LinkedIn allows you to have the following.

      • A link to your website OR a link to your company page on LinkedIn.
      • A headline of up to 25 characters, including spaces.
      • A description of up to 75 characters spanning two lines.
      • An image in PNG, JPEG, or GIF format with a max file size of 2 MB that will be resized to a 50×50 pixel square OR
      • A video linked from YouTube that is a maximum of 120 seconds.

      LinkedIn provides the following tips to help you create an ad that will lead to results.

      • An image can help your Ad draw more interest among your target audience. Ads with images get up to 20% more clicks.
      • Want to draw more attention to your Ad? Try making your headline into a question.
      • Keep it relevant. Make sure your ad destination makes sense with your ad copy.
      • Find what resonates best with your audience by testing multiple variations of your Ad campaign – try different images or headlines.

      The last tip is in reference to variations. You can create up to 15 different variations of your ad to do some serious A/B testing. LinkedIn will show different versions of your ad to your target audience and give you the click-through rate for each, allowing you to determine which ad variation gets the best results. This allows you to try different headlines, descriptions, images, and videos to see which combination leads to the most conversions. As you create each of your ad variations, you’ll see a preview of how it will look in the preview area.image017

      You can click on the Square, Tall, and Long options to see how it will look in different areas across LinkedIn and edit it appropriately.

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      Target Your Advertisement to the Right Audience

      Once you’ve created your ad variations, you will click next to start targeting your ad to the right audiences. You will have the following targeting options.

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      As you can see, this is an extensive array of specifications. You can choose to target your ads to:

      • Specific companies
      • Companies in specific industries
      • People with a specific job title
      • People with a specific job function
      • People with a specific seniority level
      • People who are alumni of specific schools
      • People with specific skills
      • People in specific groups
      • People by gender and age

      In addition to including people with the above specifications, you can also exclude people using the same specifications. As you narrow down your audience, you will see your estimated audience size change to the right of the targeting options.

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      The thing to keep in mind about audience targeting is that less is really more. You want your ad to only be shown to the people who are most likely to convert into subscribers, leads, and customers. If the audience size is low, that is OK. You don’t want to pay for clicks from people who aren’t likely to become a viable source of income for your business.

      Set the Budget for Your Advertisement

      Once you are finished with your audience targeting, you will need to set your budget for your ad.image025

      Your first decision is to choose between cost per click and cost per impression pricing. Because you will only receive conversions when people click your ad, cost per click would be the more obvious choice. If, on the other hand, you were looking to just get exposure for your ad, then you would choose an impression-based budget. After you choose CPC vs CPM, you will set your daily budget and duration of your campaign. You’ll also have the option to turn on Lead Collection through LinkedIn.

      This will be a bar that appears on your website and allows LinkedIn members to click one button to say they want you to contact them. If your goal is to get people on your list, however, this isn’t going to help. After you save your campaign, the last step for new LinkedIn advertisers will be to enter your payment information. Once you have submitted this, your ad will go live once it is approved.

      4 – Track Results

      Track Your Analytics in LinkedIn

      After your ad goes live, you can start monitoring your analytics in LinkedIn by going to the Campaign Manager and clicking on your campaign. LinkedIn will tell you the clicks, impressions, CTR, average CPC, and total spent per variation.

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      This can help you determine which variation is working best with your target audience. If one is getting clicks, and the rest are not, then you can easily choose which ones to leave on and turn off. If you are getting close to an even number of clicks on a few variations, you’ll want to look at Google Analytics to see which ones are actually leading to conversion if you set up UTM parameters to track each variation.

      Track Your Conversions in Google Analytics

      If you set up UTM parameters for your ad’s landing page links, and you have goals set up to see when you have made a conversion, you can go to the Acquisition section of your website’s Google Analytics profile to see your ongoing campaigns. When you select your campaign, you will see all of the different sources and mediums driving traffic to your website under that campaign.

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      This can help you compare how ad campaigns from one network to the next are working in terms of conversions. When you click on the traffic from LinkedIn, you should also see which variation has led to conversions (if you tracked variations using the utm_content parameter). To see the utm_contentparameter, you will need to select the Other dropdown to show it.image031

      Optimize Your LinkedIn Advertisement Using Variations

      After you’ve determined which variations of your LinkedIn ad leads to the most clicks using LinkedIn’s ad analytics and/or conversions using Google Analytics UTM parameters and goals, you can easily toggle the least favorite variations off at any time during your ad campaign. You can do this by going to your LinkedIn Campaign Manager, clicking on your current ad campaign, and clicking on the on/off toggle next to each variation.

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      This will give your other variations the chance to earn higher impressions, clicks, and conversions. You can also take your winning variations and create new ones off of them. When you hover over a variation, you will see the option to edit or duplicate it.

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      You can duplicate your best variations and try a new image or small text tweak to see if you can boost your clicks and conversions even more. Just be sure to also change the landing page URL’s UTM parameters to track the new variations if you are tracking them in Google Analytics.

      5 – Create LinkedIn Sponsored Updates

      Understanding LinkedIn Sponsored Updates

      The second option you can choose from to advertise on LinkedIn is Sponsored Updates.

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      LinkedIn’s Sponsored Updates are similar to Facebook’s Promoted Posts Ads. Whenever you post something to your LinkedIn Company Page, you can promote it to reach a larger audience using the same targeting options as shown earlier for a regular LinkedIn ad.

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      If you want to use Sponsored Updates, you will need to have a LinkedIn Company Page (and be a manager of it) as you cannot sponsor updates from your personal professional profile. To see if you have a company page, simply go to the company pages section of LinkedIn. In the top of the right sidebar, you should see any company pages you have access to as an admin under Manage Your Pages.

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      If you don’t have a company page for your business, you can create one using the Create button under Create a Company Page. You will need to have an email address from your business (you@business.com as opposed to you@gmail.com). Once you’ve confirmed your address using the link LinkedIn sends you via email, you can start creating your company page. To get your page started, you will need to fill in the minimum basic details including the following.

      • Company Name
      • Company Description (minimum 250 character description)
      • Company Type
      • Company Size
      • Company Website URL
      • Main Company Industry
      • Company Operating Status

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      Once you have filled in these details, your company page is ready to be used for sponsored status. You will also want to consider adding a logo, banner image, and additional details about your business to help others discover it on LinkedIn. While not required for using sponsored updates, it does make your business look better on LinkedIn.  At bare minimum, make sure to add your logo as that will show up next to your sponsored update.

      Craft a Conversion-Focused Sponsored Update

      Similar to updates on Facebook Pages, updates on your LinkedIn Company Page can be posted as text, text plus a link, or an image with text and a link.image045

      The downside to photo updates, like the one shown above, is that you might get charged for clicks when someone clicks on the photo instead of your link. This makes sponsored updates with a direct link (as shown below) the best because people will go to your website when they click on the photo, headline, or link.

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      To create an update with a link as shown above, go to your company page and paste your landing page URL in the Share an Update field. Be sure to include your UTM parameters if you are tracking conversions in Google Analytics.

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      After you the link to your squeeze or landing page, you will want to do the following.

      • Click on the title of your page and modify it as needed to encourage click through.
      • Click on the description of your page and modify it as needed to encourage click through.
      • Choose an image off of your page or upload one that will encourage click through.
      • Add a sentence of two above the link in the update box that will encourage click through.

      The goal is to make sure each element of your sponsored update is geared to make your target audience click and convert.image051

      Once you’re finished with your update, click share and it will go live on your LinkedIn Company Page.image053

      Now, you’re ready set up your sponsored update advertisement. You can do this in two ways. First, you can refresh your company page and click the Sponsor update button.image055

      This will take you to the LinkedIn Ads Campaign Manager. If this button doesn’t appear, you can also go to the LinkedIn Ads Campaign Manager, Create a New Campaign, and select Sponsored Update.image057

      Next, you will name your campaign, select the company page your update was posted on, and then check the update you want to sponsor.image059

      Beneath the update, you can preview what your ad will look like to desktop users and people on mobile devices. Click next to continue.

      Target Your Sponsored Update to the Right Audience

      From this point on, setting up a sponsored update ad will be just like setting up a traditional LinkedIn Ad. You will have the following targeting options.image061

      As you can see, this is an extensive array of specifications. You can choose to target your ads to:

      • Specific companies
      • Companies in specific industries
      • People with a specific job title
      • People with a specific job function
      • People with a specific seniority level
      • People who are alumni of specific schools
      • People with specific skills
      • People in specific groups
      • People by gender and age

      In addition to including people with the above specifications, you can also exclude people using the same specifications. As you narrow down your audience, you will see your estimated audience size change to the right of the targeting options.

      image063

      Again, the thing to keep in mind about audience targeting is that less is really more. You want your ad to only be shown to the people who are most likely to convert into subscribers, leads, and customers. If the audience size is low, that is OK. You don’t want to pay for clicks from people who aren’t likely to become a viable source of income for your business.

      Set the Budget for Your Sponsored Update

      Once you are finished with your audience targeting, you will need to set your budget for your ad.

      sponsored-update

      Your first decision is to choose between cost per click and cost per impression pricing. Because you will only receive conversions when people click your ad, cost per click would be the more obvious choice. If, on the other hand, you were looking to just get exposure for your ad, then you would choose an impression-based budget.

      After you choose CPC vs CPM, you will set your daily budget and duration of your campaign.

      After you save your campaign, the last step for new LinkedIn advertisers will be to enter your payment information. Once you have submitted this, your ad will go live once it is approved.

      Track Your Conversions in Google Analytics

      To ensure you are getting the results for your sponsored update, you will want to track conversions for your ad in Google Analytics. Since sponsored updates do not come with variation options, you will just want to monitor how much you are spending for your sponsored update ad campaign in the LinkedIn Ads Campaign Manager and how many actual conversions you are receiving through Google Analytics. If you did not set up Google Analytics Goals and UTM parameters for your URL (as discussed in the Create a Conversion-Focused Ad + Variations portion of this guide), then you will have to rely on the data provided by LinkedIn on impressions and click through rate to determine the success of your ad.

      6 – BONUS

      BONUS: Advertise to Your LinkedIn Network on Facebook Ads

      Do you want to get more advertising opportunities with your LinkedIn audience? If so, then you’ll want to take advantage of Facebook Custom Audiences and your professional LinkedIn network. Facebook allows you to upload data (such as email addresses) to your Facebook Ads Manager to create custom audiences. To do this, just go to theAudiences section of your Facebook Ads Manager, click the Create Audience button, and select Data File Custom Audience.image067

      It will then ask you to import a .CSV file for your custom audience. You will get this file from LinkedIn using the Export LinkedIn Connections option. This will export all of the information for the 1st degree connections you have on your LinkedIn professional profile.

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      Next, you will open the .CSV file and delete all columns except for the email address column and save the .CSV file. Then upload it as your Data File Custom Audience.image071

      Once you have done this, you will need to wait until Facebook imports the data and matches it with profiles in their database. You will receive a notification when this process is complete.image073

      Now, you can create Facebook ads targeted towards your LinkedIn connections. You can do this in the traditional Facebook Ads dashboard by choosing your LinkedIn Connections custom audience and then selecting any additional targeting criteria as needed.

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      You can also select your custom audience when creating Facebook Ads using the Power Editor.image077

      As a word of advice, I wouldn’t mention anything in the ad that suggests you are targeting your audience based on your connection on LinkedIn. No one you advertise to needs to know how he or she was chosen to receive your ad on Facebook. Some members of LinkedIn are strongly against the use of their exported contact information outside of the LinkedIn network, regardless of the fact that LinkedIn is the one that gives you the tools to export that information.

      7 – Conclusion

      Takeaways

      Congratulations! By now, you should know how to effectively generate new mailing list subscribers, leads, and sales using LinkedIn Ads and Sponsored Updates.

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