LinkedIn Advertising: would it work for your business?

Let’s cut straight to the chase for the people in a hurry. If you’re a B2B company, LinkedIn Advertising is most likely a good fit for you provided you have: a) a clear target customer in mind b) a clear goal c) enough budget. 

If you’ve replied ‘yes’ to at least one of the above and ‘not 100% sure’ to the others, carry on reading. 

What you will get: the necessary information to find out if you should explore and test LinkedIn Ads as part of your marketing activities, whether you’re planning to DIY or to hire someone for the job.

What you won’t get: a how-to blog going into super duper detail about every nook and cranny of the LinkedIn Ads Manager. It won’t overwhelm you with acronyms and fancy words either. 

Still here? Let’s get into it!

What is a Linkedin Ad?

You might have noticed scrolling through your LinkedIn feed that some posts show up with a ‘Promoted’ disclaimer just below the company name and number of followers. 

You might have also seen some ads on the right hand side column (although you’re forgiven if you didn’t, because they’re quite easy to miss), and the so-called InMail, a paid-for message that shows up straight in your inbox. 

Stabbing a guess you’ve received at least one unsolicited sales pitch (otherwise called a pitchslap) via LinkedIn InMail, so we’re betting you know exactly what we’re talking about here!

Companies create LinkedIn Ads to catch the attention of their ideal customer – and they believe LinkedIn is one of the places where said ideal customer spends time online.

Are LinkedIn Ads worth it?

Notice we just used the phrase ‘catch the attention of the ideal customer’ instead of ‘make sales’? If you really understand this, and you fit in the description we gave in the first sentence of this blog, LinkedIn Ads are most likely worth exploring. 

You might have heard before that the customer journey is not as linear as ad > website > enquiry > sale. That’s because you’re missing the know-like-trust factor at this stage. 

We’re stabbing a guess you don’t click on an advert from a company you’ve never heard of before and buy hundreds or even thousands of pounds worth of stuff straight away. So you can’t expect customers to do that when you are the one selling the stuff. 

LinkedIn Ads are just one step of the journey. Your other marketing activities have to be there to pull their weight too.

LinkedIn Advertising is (likely) worth it if you have:

A clear target customer. 

The moment you say your target customer is “Anyone who has a business” or similarly vague statements, you’re guaranteed to waste time and money. 

Why?

The more vague you are, the less you can be specific in your message (obviously!). The less the message is specific, the less it resonates with people. So you end up with something that never really hits the mark. Which leads to no results. 

Ouch. 

A clear goal. 

Now that we’re clear that ‘making more sales’ is not a goal, identify exactly what you want. 

Is it more quality content in front of the right audience? Is it giving away useful tools? Signup for webinars or face to face events?

Notice all these are goals that fit the beginning of the journey, and are designed to show your expertise and give people enough material to trust you know what you’re talking about?

This phase turns perfect strangers into people who are interested in what you have to say and the value you provide. 

It’s a fundamental step that increases dramatically the chances of generating enquiries from LinkedIn. 

Enough budget. 

You might have heard LinkedIn advertising is expensive, and as usual, expensive is relative. 

Sure, TheB2BHouse sets the average cost per click at $5.58 globally. You might hear that and think “Facebook is a lot cheaper!”

But remember: 

  • It’s an average, so it can vary massively 
  • The real cost depends on industry, seniority, how much competition you have in your niche
  • Every account is different 
  • The cost per click varies depending how compelling your message is 
  • It depends on whether you’re targeting the right audience
  • Company pages with 1,000+ followers have an advantage – high follower count is a trust signal 
  • It also takes into consideration how relevant your landing page is, in case of traffic ads

So how much should you spend to get started testing what campaigns work and what don’t? 

At the very, very minimum, $/€/£20 a day. But really, the faster you get the data, the faster you can make decisions on whether a campaign is work keeping or needs scrapping. 

The lower your budget, the longer it’s going to take, the more likely you are to either get tired to wait and think it’s not working, or make the wrong decisions because you don’t have enough data to judge it.

A decent website. 

Books and books have been written about this, and every SEO professional worth their salt is going to stress just how important it is to have a website working for you. 

Just to give a few pointers though: 

  • Design the website with mobile in mind.
  • Website load time below 2 seconds is fundamental. 
  • Make it easy for people to see how they can reach out. 
  • Click to call phone numbers are a must if you display your phone number.
  • Don’t hide your prices. 
  • Talk about their problems and the solutions to those problems, not about you. 

Website tracking. 

Goes hand in hand with a decent website. If all the above works like a charm but you don’t know where your enquiries have come from, you don’t know what marketing activity you’re doing is the one most likely to put focus and energy on. 

Disclaimer! 

We should know by now that a person gets in touch only after multiple exposures to your business, so just because one channel did generate the enquiry, doesn’t mean that other channels didn’t contribute. 

However, knowing where people tend to enquire the most from tells you the content on that platform can be more sales-centric. Pretty useful to know, right?

What are Linkedin Ads best for?

LinkedIn is the only platform which allows you to narrow down people by job role, company and seniority with laser precision. 

Of course it can’t be helped that some users are not active, or have moved on to another job and forgot to update their profile. Generally though, if you’re working in the B2B space or you’re trying to reach people in specific job roles in a specific industry LinkedIn is by far your best bet. 

Remember though; just because you reached the right audience, doesn’t mean the ad will turn into an enquiry. These people don’t know you. 

Approach advertising on LinkedIn as a way to match your most relevant and useful content and tools with the people who need it and will be grateful for the help. 

Spend enough so you can keep this audience warm by continuously sharing fresh content and new tools. 

Give, give, give. 

When the time comes, they’ll know you provide the service they need. 

How do you know if LinkedIn Advertising is working?

LinkedIn provides its own platform, called LinkedIn Campaign Manager, where they give you basic information about your LinkedIn campaigns, down to each advert you’re running. 

This is great, but only if you’re trying to measure what people do with your ad on LinkedIn. 

As soon as the person clicks a link to go (presumably) to your website, LinkedIn isn’t able to follow them and see how they behave. 

For that, you need to take your LinkedIn Ads game up a notch and install the LinkedIn tracking code, called Insight Tag, on your website, and configure it so it reports back to LinkedIn every time the person takes an action that is valuable to you. 

For example, if you’re sending people to a webinar registration page, and they sign up, the sign up button (or the thank you page they see afterwards) should be a meaningful action you track, so you can measure the success of that specific campaign. 

Test, track, refine, repeat. 

In summary 

If you’re targeting B2B companies, or even better, specific job roles or industries, LinkedIn Advertising is a good place to run paid advertising. As long as you’re clear on what you want to achieve, make sure it’s realistic, and have at the very least $/€/£20 a day, let’s get cracking!

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