January 13, 2017 Neil Vidyarthi

Just Try It. Run a LinkedIn B2B Campaign in 10 Steps.

It can seem daunting to start advertising on LinkedIn. Our clients are sometimes unsure about its potential, and we’ve found the easiest way to prove it works is to run a quick test campaign.

But don’t take our word for it, just take a look at some of these examples.

  • LinkedIn more than tripled Facebook and Twitter in visitor-to-lead conversion rate at 2.74% to Twitter’s 0.69% and Facebook’s 0.77%.
  • In one of our major B2B campaigns, we found LinkedIn attracted 50% of all leads and 80% of our Enterprise level leads for a SaaS business.
  • Social media B2B management company Oktopost’s gets 80% of their social leads from LinkedIn.

But while these numbers might be impressive, they are just numbers, after all. The best way to prove that LinkedIn B2B advertising is worth it is to just try it for yourself. So read on as we’ve distilled it down to 10 steps to launching your first B2B LinkedIn campaign.

1. Locate your company’s best piece of content

Inevitably, your company has some content that they use in the marketing or sales process. Ask your sales team what piece of content builds serious interest in the early stage of the sales cycle, and use that. Ask the marketing team what piece of content has worked well in other campaigns. Use that.

2. Figure out the target audience for this piece of content

Who are you going to target? It should be someone who ideally is a buyer or decision maker for your product or service.

What are their job titles? Interests? Where do they work? What is their seniority? What company industry? If you have, or are able to build, a buyer persona that represents the centre of your target audience, you will find much more success at reaching prospective buyers with the right message.

3. Research your audience and content topic

Use Buzzsumo to research against your content’s topic to find out what other types of articles people are reading. Here’s a Buzzsumo search for “email automation”. If this works out for you, sign up for their premium account and you’ll gain access to the “Content Analysis” section that can help you look at stats like ideal length, format and day to share your content. Take a look at a sample content analysis for “coca cola” below.

This type of content analysis will help you decide which piece of content is the best fit for your audience, and whether you should make any changes to ensure it is effective.

4. Set up the campaign

Set up a new campaign in LinkedIn using the “Sponsored Content” option. These are native ads that show up in users news feeds with a “sponsored” tag on them.

Then create your advertising account and associate it with your company’s profile on LinkedIn, if you have one. Otherwise, they’ll guide you on how to create a new company page.

5. Create an ad

First you’ll have to create a new ad. Do that by clicking the “Create new Sponsored Content” link in the top right.

Below is an example of an ad for our agency. Yours should look something like this. Ensure you add a “direct sponsored content name” that is easy to understand, so that later, when you have fifty ads, you can distinguish one from the other.

Add a URL to the end of the post that directs visitors to your content download landing page where you can collect client details. We recommend bit.ly so you can track clicks and other information. Set up analytics on your landing page so you can determine which clicks are coming from LinkedIn.

Create your first ad, and then create three more different styles of ads with different calls to action. Ideally, use Snappa.io or Buffer’s Pablo to make a quick thumbnail image for the ad. Use creative copy sourced from the marketing or sales team. You’ll be able to try a whole lot more later, so don’t spend too much time making it perfect just yet. Try four separate ideas. Questions work well. Use an interesting fact from your piece of content. Address the problem points of your target audience.

After that, ensure you click the checkmark on the left to actually select the ad for your campaign, then click the ‘next’ button to move on to the next step.

6. Target your audience and set your bid

LinkedIn has an amazing targeting ability allowing you to precisely choose the roles and type of company. Target based on the information you gathered in your research in Step 2. For more information on how to target, read our tips on LinkedIn Targeting.

Once you’re done with targeting your audience, click next and you’ll come to the bid setting page.

For now, set the bids to the defaults and click next.

You’ll come to a payment area where you set your credit card then launch the campaign.

7. Run the ads

Run the ads for a week, then look at your campaign dashboard to see how the ads have performed. Specifically, ensure you have over a few thousand Impressions, and then check your ads to see which one has the highest click through rate (CTR). That’s the key metric.

Read more about reading the dashboard here.

8. Iterate the ads

Create new versions of the best performing ad by creating new ads using the method in step 5. Pause the other ads setting the green “Status” button to off. Now you should have a series of variations on your best performing ad. Let those run for another week.

9. Collect the data

Take a look at the results of the second generation of ads. Discover the best performing ads by clicks and CTR.

Go look at your content download numbers, and if you have analytics set up, you can check which of the downloads came from LinkedIn. If not, approximate the number of downloads by looking at the bump over the previous week when the campaign wasn’t running, or another reference week.

10. Present the Results and Repeat

Now you’ve got your first proof that LinkedIn has generated clicks and downloads. Some ads worked better than others, so use that information to plan another campaign. You probably want to present to your sales and marketing team to talk about opening up a new channel for leads so they’re ready to nurture the opportunities.

Now, use what you’ve learned to plan new campaigns: test new audiences, new creative and new budget sizes to attract a whole new swath of leads.

Bonus Tips

  1. Install the LinkedIn Insight Tag (like the Facebook Pixel) on your landing page to improve your attribution and determine who’s clicking your link and then downloading.
  2. Leverage the Audience Insights tab in LinkedIn to see what kind of users actually downloaded your content. Compare that to who you thought would download it. Discover something new about your potential customers.

Still Skeptical?

When we first pitched LinkedIn ads to a major B2B SaaS client of ours, they were skeptical of whether it would actually attract B2B leads. We started with a few quick tests, iterated on the successful ad placements, and in a few months, LinkedIn was driving a record number of content downloads by their target audience. It’s not just us. B2B businesses are finding LinkedIn to be the leader among social media networks at attracting quality, relevant leads.

It makes sense – LinkedIn is a professional social network that has been doing everything it can to become the nexus for marketing and sales connections. In their words, they are evolving into the “one source for content for professionals” where you can get educated on your industry, your competitors and your skills. It’s a great place to demonstrate your value to potential clients. Give it a shot — we hope you have success getting started with a quick LinkedIn campaign.

Still not sure whether social media even works for B2B? Read this.


Tagged: , , ,

About the Author

Neil Vidyarthi Neil is the Co-founder and Content Distribution Strategist at Insightful. He believes that inspiring storytelling is crucial to a healthy business and culture. When not spending time with his family, he enjoys film, novels and Japanese culture.

Neil is the Co-founder and Content Distribution Strategist at Insightful. He believes that inspiring storytelling is crucial to a healthy business and culture. When not spending time with his family, he enjoys film, novels and Japanese culture.

Contact Us

Get in touch and let's strategize on how to use content marketing to achieve your goals.