The Missing Link? Using LinkedIn As An Effective Marketing Channel – Part Two8 min read

Part 1 of this blog series explored the effective marketing tactics that businesses can start utilising within LinkedIn to market their business more effectively for free. This part explores the paid advertising tactics that the platform currently has to offer, and why you might want to consider putting at least some of your marketing budget into these channels.

Whilst free marketing might always be the more desirable option to anyone in charge of a marketing budget, the problem with organic tactics is that they’re much harder to scale, and the reach is somewhat limited. You may have some wonderful content that you are posting, but unless you have lots of connections on the platform engaging with it, it’s not going to be seen beyond your existing network. In addition, you can’t specifically select who will see those posts from your connections. So if you have different personas and segments that your content is designed for, you cannot choose to only put that content out to them.

One of the core benefits that LinkedIn offers its advertisers is use of its mighty database. LinkedIn holds, by far, the largest number of professionals out there with a whole heap of member driven demographic information within it. Where members are creating their own accounts and self managing their activity, this data is highly authentic. For professional information, it also tends to be fairly up to date – people do tend to update their job titles on LinkedIn if they have changed, whereas they forget or simply don’t bother with Facebook!

Within LinkedIn’s paid advertising solutions, you can specifically target the people who you want to attract based on the information held within this database. This includes all the core demographic information that is entered when creating a profile, such as job titles, functions, education level, places of education, employers and location…etc. So if your target market is business owners in the food industry based in Oxford, you can use LinkedIn’s advertising tools to do just that.

In addition you can target people by their interests, by targeting members of LinkedIn groups or by their fields of study. Members of groups tend to be the more active LinkedIn users, and we’ve seen some good activity from targeting group members for a number of our clients. You can also target by some of LinkedIn’s own personifications including job searchers, business travellers and opinion leaders. Finally, just this week LinkedIn have started rolling out Matched Audiences where you can target people on LinkedIn by email address.

In short, lots of super targeted targeting options for professionals are available, that simply aren’t on other platforms

Ultimately, to engage with these audiences there are 3 tactics you can use on LinkedIn to achieve your aims:

1. LinkedIn Sponsored Content

Sponsored content gives you the opportunity to amplify your best LinkedIn Posts to a targeted audience. It therefore gives you the opportunity to reach the right people at the right time, with your best content at scale. Using sponsored content can help to increase the awareness of your brand and shape people’s perceptions about your business, products and services. It can also be used specifically to drive leads, either by pointing people to a website that is designed to capture those leads or by using LinkedIn’s own Lead Gen Forms where you can collect data from people with seamless pre-filled forms. As with normal positing, sponsored content is native to the browsing experience and will be incorporated directly into the member’s feed across all platforms.

Whilst you get to set your own daily budget, they do require you to apply a minimum of £10/day. That being said daily spend can still be less than this; you won’t necessarily spend this much per day. You also get the choice of whether you would like to set a max. cost per click (CPC) bid or a max cost per 1000 impressions (CPM) bid depending on your goal of leads/sales or brand awareness. Generally, you can expect to pay between £4 – £5 click per click on sponsored content – so you want to make sure that you are setup to capture and then follow up with any leads generated through this method!

Tip: Keep 2-4 sponsored content campaigns live at all times to promote content that might appeal to members who are in different stages of the buying process. Whilst your target market might share the same demographics, different content will appeal to those who are in the evaluation stage compared to those who are much closer to making a purchasing decision.

2. LinkedIn Sponsored inMail

Sponsored inMail gives businesses the opportunity to send highly personalised messages to the people that matter most to your business. Select the audience you would like to target from LinkedIn’s vast targeting options and then curate your message with a custom call to action button which will only be delivered when the members that fit within your targeting selection are active on LinkedIn. Out of all LinkedIn’s paid advertising solutions, sponsored InMail is the option for ensuring your message is prominently displayed – it will appear on the member’s homepage and in their inbox on all devices.

Sponsored inMail is ideal for promoting content downloads, inviting people along to events, and for driving conversions with targeted promotions. Again you need to be prepared to put a minimum £10/day budget onto the campaign, but this time around you specify a price you are happy to pay per inMail send. Typically these cost between 65p – 80p per send.

Tip: As with traditional emails, the impact of your message really starts with the preview of the inMail message. You want to give your reader a compelling reason to engage further with your content by applying a message subject line that concisely tells people what value they are going to get from the message, and then in the first lines of the inMail itself provides them with instructions on what you want them to do, and why.

3. LinkedIn Text Ads

Here at Digital Gearbox, our favourite form of LinkedIn Advertising lies with LinkedIn Text Ads. Whilst on first appearances they may appear to be a much more basic form of advertising, they are awesome for not only traffic generation, but also for allowing businesses to fine-tune which segments of their target audience are most responsive on LinkedIn, and also to test different messaging and offers. Text Ads are made up of a 25 character headline (including spaces) with an accompanying 75 character description (also including spaces). Images are optional, but if you want to insert one they are a mere 50×50 pixels in size – so really only space for a simple image or icon with minimal text. A website or landing page URL is also inserted into the ad, which the member will be taken to if they click on it.

The simplicity of their design does allow for the fast creation of multiple variants which is perfect for allowing for the management of ongoing split testing within each campaign to help you hone your messaging, and also for rolling out other ads to test other audiences. The ads themselves appear on the right hand side or at the top of the feed and a not at all intrusive. Again you get to set your own budget and control costs with CPC or CPM bidding – the minimum daily budget for Text Ads is £8 and the average cost per clicks tend to vary between £2 – £4 depending on the targeting.

Tip: Make sure that you set up some simple conversion tracking on your website to measure when your visitors from your ads person key actions on your website, that this is recorded and measurable. Set-up is fairly straightforward – you apply a LinkedIn pixel across your website, and then tell LinkedIn the URLs on your site which people arrive at after completing these key actions. Also, you want to be adding UTM tagging to your links to add campaign parameters to your URLs so that you can track traffic from each article easily in Google Analytics too.

Whilst there are additional paid advertising options that LinkedIn offer in Dynamic Ads and Programmatic Display Ads – I have not covered these as you need to specifically request these tools directly from LinkedIn and are not freely available for advertisers to set up themselves straight away.

LinkedIn offers an array of options for businesses and individuals to market their services both paid and organically. If your offering has the potential to appeal to professionals – whether you have budget to spare or not – there is always something to be done with LinkedIn.

The team at Digital Gearbox are adept across the LinkedIn Ads suite and have a wealth of knowledge on how to drive results from organic LinkedIn advertising, so if you need any further assistance with LinkedIn please do feel free to get in touch and we would be delighted to help!

Becky Hopkin

As MD Becky works to ensure Digital Gearbox’s values are being lived, and that our customers are receiving the best service possible. A self-confessed Disney fanatic, Becky loves spending down time with her golden Labrador, Nala, and her young daughter, Emily.

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