How To Make A LinkedIn Advertising Strategy That Actually Drives Growth?

To make the most out of your LinkedIn ads strategy, I devised a method called A rapid-fire test.

There are three rounds in my rapid-fire test to reach the goal of this ultimate holy grail of the demand generation system.

  • Round one: Lead Generation Forms

Round one is all about the lead generation form. Here, as mentioned above, we are testing fewer variables, but some of the most important.

One of the most important things we are testing here is the gated content. This is the no.1 thing that will determine our CPL.

With this, we can test numerous different parts of it, from the way it is communicated (the title and the ad copy) to the creative (the way it looks).

The other things we will test is the ad creative, the copy, the targeting and the optimisations.

Once we are happy we are targeting the right people and they are converting into leads at a good cost, then we can use these numbers as a benchmark for round 2. 

  • Round two.

Round two then sends people to the landing pages and we can focus our attention on optimising the landing pages for the highest conversion rates possible.

We need to make sure that the opt-in page is converting at a similar rate as the lead generation form was converting on the platform. If it’s converting a little bit less it’s fine but it should be close to it.

  • The third round.

The third round is all about retargeting. Once we have people clicking on the ads, but not opting in, we can retarget them.

Although a little advanced, I would always retarget as aggressively as possible on numerous platforms.

I regularly recommend my clients to target prospects cold on Linkedin, get these super high authority individuals giving is their info and triggering our pixels, then retargeting on Linkedin, Facebook and Google Display Network (which is something like 90% of the web).

This means once we get a ridiculously high-value prospect engaging with us from Linkedin, we then follow them around on the platform they probably spend way more time on, Facebook and the rest of the web with Google Display Network.

Your ad is showing everywhere – on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google, which is 90 per cent of the web. At this point, it’s shown to the right people, and campaigns across the networks are optimized in a way that offers the best value for money.

It’s really important to be super aggressive with retargeting especially for the ridiculously high-value prospect which we paid for on LinkedIn. The reason why we go to Linkedin is to reach high-authority prospects at scale. We can do this with cold targeting (not possible on other platforms).

But once we have the prospect in our system, we can re-target them everywhere else. With sales-led B2B SaaS, we need to focus a huge amount of our efforts on the follow-up and retargeting as the pool of prospects is in the 1,000’s and not 100,000’s as in other market segments (marketing-led companies).

The Linkedin ads strategy I have developed sends a large amount of traffic to an opt-in page which we then redirect to a sales page and focuses a huge amount of energy on both retargeting (on other platforms) and on the follow up (email, LinkedIn message and phone call). This Linkedin ads strategy is specifically designed to drive demo’s and sales calls for sales-led B2B SaaS companies (also works for normal B2B).

Article by Philip Ilic,
B2B Growth Specialist.

In this article, I will expand on why LinkedIn can be extremely powerful for customer acquisition, help you understand the perfect LinkedIn ads strategy that will drive growth, and provide you with the most effective tips and tricks on how to get there using my rapid-fire test method.

Who Is On Linkedin?

This platform, which hosts over 700 million users, with 61 million senior-level influencers, and 65 million decision-makers, proves to be the perfect place for customer acquisition, especially if you run a B2B SaaS or sales-led start-up.

LinkedIn is such a powerful network where 4 out of 5 people drive decisions and where 80 per cent of B2B search for leads comes from.

Source: Linkedin

Some quick reasons why you should be using Linkedin to advertise:

  1. The targeting is laser-sharp. Linkedin has some of the most up to date data on where people work, their job titles, industry and even skills. With this, we can accurately target exactly the high-level individuals we need, be they the CTO’s, managers from the fortune 500 or Founders from start-ups.
  2. Scalability. It is the only platform that has a large pool of high-authority individuals who drive decision making. This means if we crack a customer acquisition strategy with Linkedin Ads, then we can scale it and turbocharge growth for B2B SaaS.
  3. It is predictable. This means once we have this system working efficiently with lower budgets, we can scale it to larger budgets at similar conversion rates (we may lose some efficiency). This is especially great when you are reaching out to investors as you can accurately predict how many leads, demos and customers you will gain based on the investment you put in.

However, to reach the full potential of this platform you need to have the right LinkedIn Ads strategy set in place. You need to understand how LinkedIn ads work, how to set up the ads properly and how to optimise the platform.

A little later in the article, I’m going to provide you with my ultimate LinkedIn Ads strategy which I have developed after spending $100,000’s in ad spend for different clients (mainly B2B SaaS).

Linkedin vs Facebook vs Google

Whereas with Facebook we can get the cheapest leads and with Google, we can reach individuals with the highest intent (problem and solution aware); Linkedin is the only platform we can reach ridiculously high authority people (CEO’s, C-suite executives, managers from the mid to large businesses) at scale.

According to the latest data, Linkedin now has over 740 million users, out of which 61 million are senior-level influencers and 65 million are decision-makers.

To put things into perspective: a whopping 4 out of 5 LinkedIn members drive decisions in some form. And when we know that 80 per cent of B2B search for leads come from LinkedIn, we understand why this network is an ideal tool for lead generation.

This is the number one reason why we go to LinkedIn. There’s no other platform that can reach such authority at scale.

The second reason we go to LinkedIn over another platform is the Laser sharp targeting it offers. Whereas with Facebook the targeting is like a black art – we use lookalike’s and interest-based targeting, hoping that the algorithm will help us find the prospects we want to target – LinkedIn is is much more black and white.

On LinkedIn, we can target by job title, company size, and industry. LinkedIn can target leads with precision.

The third reason why we go to LinkedIn is that it’s super scalable.

Search vs Social For B2B

With a search-based platform such as Google, we can hit people up who have super high intent. I.e. they are both problem and solution aware. They are actively searching for a solution.

This is awesome, but actually, Google is not very scalable for B2B SaaS (mostly).

For example, let’s say the problem a person has is that they are overweight and they have decided the solution is to join the gym. So they are actively searching ‘gyms near me’

But for B2B SaaS this becomes a little more difficult for two reasons.

The first is that many B2B SaaS companies are in a new market segment so there is very little if any people searching for the solution. You may have an amazing solution, but people are not yet aware this solution even exists.

The second issue for B2B more generally, is that often the keyword search volume is very low. So there is only so much juice you can get from search.

This is why we have to use social to scale B2B demand generation.

The problem and solution aware segment in your market is on average only 2-4%. This is great, but if you only focus on this you will hit a roof very quickly.

The next part of the market is problem aware and not solution aware and is roughly 45% of your market segment. These people know they are overweight, for example, but they do not know if they should join the gym, get a personal trainer, or buy some supplements.

They are not solution aware yet which means they are not searching for a solution.

We need to approach this market segment in a very different way than we do with search and the only way to target them at scale is with social media (Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Tick Tok etc).

We should speak to their problem and slowly educate them on our solution. Help them on their journey from problem aware to solution aware rather than asking them directly to buy something from us.

This is why many google advertisers approach social ads in the completely wrong way. They are going straight for the ‘speak to sales’ type ad. But we must lead with value and educate them on how to solve their problems first. Build goodwill and brand awareness first.

Although this sounds like a roundabout way to get sales, if we get a large number of prospects going through this system, we can hit up a large segment of your market (up to 50%) with this approach from social media.

And for B2B businesses, Linkedin is most probably the best platform.

Now, when we went through the most important reasons why LinkedIn is better than any other network you might be eager to learn more about how to target your audience the best. Look no more, as you can sign up for my free course HERE that will teach you how to master LinkedIn targeting in no time!

The two most important questions to ask while crafting the perfect LinkedIn ads strategy.

Who are Linkedin ads for? Note, they are not for everyone, I tell more people that they should use another platform then sign them up as clients and push a LinkedIn ads strategy. Everyone thinks Linkedin would be great for them, but actually, it is a little more nuanced.

The two questions I ask when I have someone on the phone with me who is considering Linkedin ads are:

What is your lifetime value (LTV)?

With Linkedin, I would say you need to have at least a $10,000 LTV or deal size to make it work. The reason why is that the Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) is higher. This does not mean your ROI is lower though, as we can reach bigger accounts with bigger deal sizes – but this depends on your business model.

Who are you targeting?

If you’re targeting someone who’s on another platform, it may be better to focus on that platform. However, if you’re targeting the C-suite to decision-makers, all the way up to the Fortune 500, then Linkedin may be the only place to reach these people at scale.

In some cases, a company might have two market segments where they might be targeting SMBs which we can target on Facebook, and larger accounts, which we can use Linkedin for.

How to make the perfect LinkedIn ads strategy that will drive conversions?

The dream B2B demand gen system is to send a high volume of cheap traffic to a landing page, have a large amount of them convert into actions i.e. scheduled sales calls, demos and trials. Then your sales team convert those demos and calls into signed contracts.

The reality for sales-led B2B companies is way messier though.

What I have found after running a ton of ad spend for close to 100 companies in the past couple of years is that traffic is getting more expensive and conversion rates from landing page-view to action (demo, scheduled call etc) is becoming harder.

The trick with sales-led businesses with high LTV’s is to get your Ideal Client Profile (ICP) to become a lead before asking them for an action. We must start with a lower friction offer to start with. This comes in the format of exchanging something of value for an email address and possibly a phone number.

Then we push the action with email, LinkedIn message, phone calls, and retargeting.

Check out my video here on youtube about how to convert leads to sales.

Remember this strategy is specifically for sales-led B2B businesses with high LTV’s. If you have ‘do a free trial’ call-to-action then you are more marketing-led. Talk to sales or schedule a demo is sales-led.

So the system all starts with this lower friction offer in front of your ICP. This lower friction offer, or exchange of value, is basically some gated content piece or lead magnet.

Landing pages vs Linkedin lead gen forms.

Ideally, we send traffic from Linkedin to an opt-in page that gets the lead then we send the gated content via email while redirecting the traffic to the ‘sales page’ which is asking for the action.

The reason why this makes sense is that it makes each click we buy from LinkedIn as efficient as possible. We buy one click and get 20-50% of those people giving us their personal info, and then a % of them who are redirected to the sales page book in a call.

The remainder of the leads are followed up with and retargeted, aggressively.

This is the most efficient and scalable system I have found from Linkedin ads for a sales-led business. With this system, we should be able to get your calendar filled with highly qualified individuals who have the authority to make decisions.

If you want me to build out this system for you please book a cal with me here.

But again, life is messier than this.

This sounds great right. But to get to this point is often much more complicated, and this is why people like me exist (Linkedin ad pros).

To get to this point we have to run a ton of tests and optimise everything so we can get the right conversions at each stage of the journey. It needs to become a finely tuned engine that drives growth.

This is why I have designed a process that I call a Rapid-Fire-Test (RFT) to build out the Linkedin growth engine.

An RFT is a bunch of tests that help us fine-tune this machine each test having an objective.

In my Linkedin RFT, we have 3 rounds with round 1 that utilises lead generation forms on Linkedin.

The reason why lead gen forms are great is that it keeps people on the platform and means we limit the variables we are analysing when it comes to optimising. Landing pages have advantages, but the drawback is that it adds a ton of variables we need to take into consideration, so we get to them slowly. Patience.

Lead generation forms have drawbacks though, this is why we do not exclusively use them. The main drawbacks are twofold.

Firstly lead gen forms are incredibly easy to fill out as they are mostly auto-filled, and it takes about two clicks from the prospect for them to submit their info. This is why they get advertisers a lower cost per lead (CPL) than landing pages. But they also get us lower quality leads.

Not lower in terms of authority, but lower in terms of exposure. The fact that lead gen forms are so easy to fill out means that the prospect barely has any engagement with you and your company. The touchpoint is very light.

So when it comes to follow-up many of the leads will forget they even signed up via the form.

The second downside of Linkedin lead generation forms is that they offer us less control.

When we send traffic to our landing pages, not only can we get the prospect to trigger our tracking pixels so we can retarget them on other platforms (this is becoming more difficult with the privacy-first web initiatives), but also we can redirect them to then take a higher-value action (booked sales call).

We start with lead generation in round 1 of our Rapid-Fire-Tests purely because they give us fewer variables to test and optimise. In fact, in this round, we test some of the most fundamental variables.

A Rapid-Fire Test: A Method That Will Help You Master Your LinkedIn Ads Strategy.

To make the most out of your LinkedIn ads strategy, I devised a method called A rapid-fire test.

There are three rounds in my rapid-fire test to reach the goal of this ultimate holy grail of the demand generation system.

Round One: Lead Generation Forms

Round one is all about the lead generation form. Here, as mentioned above, we are testing fewer variables, but some of the most important.

One of the most important things we are testing here is the gated content. This is the no.1 thing that will determine our CPL.

With this, we can test numerous different parts of it, from the way it is communicated (the title and the ad copy) to the creative (the way it looks).

The other things we will test is the ad creative, the copy, the targeting and the optimisations.

Once we are happy we are targeting the right people and they are converting into leads at a good cost, then we can use these numbers as a benchmark for round 2.

Round Two: Landing Pages

Round two then sends people to the landing pages and we can focus our attention on optimising the landing pages for the highest conversion rates possible.

We need to make sure that the opt-in page is converting at a similar rate as the lead generation form was converting on the platform. If it’s converting a little bit less it’s fine but it should be close to it.

Round Three: Retargeting

The third round is all about retargeting. Once we have people clicking on the ads, but not opting in, we can retarget them.

Although a little advanced, I would always retarget as aggressively as possible on numerous platforms.

I regularly recommend my clients to target prospects cold on Linkedin, get these super high authority individuals giving is their info and triggering our pixels, then retargeting on Linkedin, Facebook and Google Display Network (which is something like 90% of the web).

This means once we get a ridiculously high-value prospect engaging with us from Linkedin, we then follow them around on the platform they probably spend way more time on, Facebook and the rest of the web with Google Display Network.

Your ad is showing everywhere – on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google, which is 90 per cent of the web. At this point, it’s shown to the right people, and campaigns across the networks are optimized in a way that offers the best value for money.

It’s really important to be super aggressive with retargeting especially for the ridiculously high-value prospect which we paid for on LinkedIn. The reason why we go to Linkedin is to reach high-authority prospects at scale. We can do this with cold targeting (not possible on other platforms).

But once we have the prospect in our system, we can re-target them everywhere else. With sales-led B2B SaaS, we need to focus a huge amount of our efforts on the follow-up and retargeting as the pool of prospects is in the 1,000’s and not 100,000’s as in other market segments (marketing-led companies).

Final Thoughts

As LinkedIn is such an expensive platform we need to be vigilant with testing as many things as possible. If done correctly, it can actually be an incredible driver of growth for sales-led organisations. I would suggest you follow my three stage RFT strategy to drive the costs as low as possible and make this channel work for you.

Useful Resources & Tutorials

I hope you found this ebook helpful. Down below, I’ve listed some links to tutorials that you might find useful if you’re looking to set up LinkedIn ads.

How To Run Successful LinkedIn Ads in 2021 – a step by step 38-minute tutorial where we cover all the fundamentals of running LinkedIn ads.

LinkedIn Campaign Manager Tutorial – a 9-minute video that’ll give you a deep overview & bring you up to speed on how LinkedIn Campaign Manager works.

Lead Generation Forms (step by step tutorial) – this 10-minute tutorial will show you how to use lead generation forms & get the cheapest cost per lead.

Which LinkedIn Ads Objectives – Explained (2021) – in this 13-minute video, I cover how to properly use the right LinkedIn ads objectives to your advantage.

Philip Ilic

Philip Ilic

B2B Growth Specialist

Phil helps B2B SaaS companies with growth marketing and is a deep specialist in Linkedin advertising and paid social more generally (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn). He runs a paid social agency called Superlumen.co and is the founder of B2Bhero.co.

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