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LinkedIn Advertising: The Key to More (and Better) B2B Leads

Presented on February 7, 2013

Business-to-Business (B2B) search marketing can be tricky. High costs per click, low search volume on niche keywords and long, complicated sales cycles can make generating quality, sales-ready leads at a low cost a difficult endeavor. While it’s important to maintain an integrated online marketing strategy that includes Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising and Search Engine Optimization (SEO), our findings indicate that LinkedIn Advertising is highly effective for online B2B lead generation. But, it’s largely unknown and not understood to most B2B marketers.

In this webinar, Search Mojo’s Janet Driscoll Miller and Sarah Lokitis will share some B2B LinkedIn Advertising best practices, which can help you better target your B2B audience and generate significant high-quality lead volume – for a fraction of the Cost Per Lead as other online lead generation tactics.

Presenters: Janet Driscoll Miller, President and CEO, Search Mojo and Sarah Lokitis, Social Media Manager, Search Mojo

Presented on February 7, 2013


Kari:

Welcome, and thank you for coming to today’s webinar; LinkedIn Advertising: The Key To More (And Better) B2B Leads.

I am Kari Rippetoe, Contact Marketing Manager at Search Mojo and I’ll be serving as your moderator for today’s webinar.

I just have a quick announcement. If you have any questions for presenters we will be taking some time at the end of the webinar for Q&A as always, so please enter your questions in the GoToWebinar questions box that you see at the right there. Also, we will be recording this webinar and you’ll receive a follow- up email when the recording is available, and that’s usually the day after or early next week. And then finally, if you would like to tweet about today’s presentation, please use the hashtag #mojowebinar.

And now I’d like to introduce our presenters for today. Janet Driscoll Miller is the President and CEO of Search Mojo, and she has nearly 20 years of marketing experience, and in addition to her work in search engine marketing Janet has a background in marketing communications. She holds a degree in public relations and communications from James Madison University. And she’s a frequent speaker at marketing conferences and writes for several blogs and print publications.

Sarah Lokitis serves as Social Media Manager at Search Mojo, advising clients on social media best practices for SEO, as well as strategizing and implementing social media advertising campaigns for both LinkedIn and Facebook. Sarah writes for the Search Mojo blog, Social Media Today, Social Media Examiner, and her own blog at SarahLokitis.com. She has presented at Search Marketing Expo, the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia, and Charlottesville Sheblogs.

And a little bit about Search Mojo; the company was founded in 2005 and specializes in all things search marketing, including SEO, pay-per-click, social media advertising, online reputation management, and content marketing. Search Mojo is headquartered in Charlottesville, Virginia, and we also have an office in Charleston, South Carolina. We’ve been featured in several marketing publications and blogs and we also speak at several conferences, including SMX, Marketing Profs, and Pubcon. And our clients include a variety of B2B and consumer brands, non-profit organizations, and educational institutions.

Now before I hand it over to Janet we just have a quick poll for you today, which I will load up for you now. And that poll is, what is your current average cost per lead, and so your choices are $50 or under, $51 to $100, $100 to $500, and yes, they get that high, or $500 plus. Or if you don’t know, then choose ‘I don’t know’. And I will give you just a few seconds to register your answer.

Okay, and I’ll go ahead and close that poll out now, and share those results with you. And so, many of you don’t know what your current average cost per lead is, but it does look like some of you are paying quite a bit, as well. So what Janet is going to talk about now are some of the challenges you may run into generating leads for your B2B company. Janet.

Janet:

Thanks, Kari. So, thanks again everyone for coming today. First of all I want to say, as Kari mentioned, Search Mojo is all about search. But one thing we started learning, probably about a year ago, was that we started to find that there were some challenges, particularly in the B2B space when it comes to search. And part of this is driven by the fact that Google AdWords specifically has been around for more than ten years now, and we’ve had a lot of saturation with the U.S. market. We’re seeing a lot more people bidding and so forth, so we’re having some definite challenges with bids being driven up, and the cost per lead being driven up for a lot of B2B firms.

But you know, one of the things that we’ll talk about today is demographics. And I’ve always felt like one of the biggest challenges with Google AdWords is you can’t really target people as well by demographic. There is some demographic level of targeting in Google, but it’s not really ideal for most of us. And I do believe Google may be trying to address this with things like Google Plus and trying to figure out more about people and the reasons that they search. But unfortunately I think it’s caused some real problems for a lot of B2B advertisers. We’re going to talk a little bit about that.

The first thing is B2B often requires very niche-type of searches. Most of these searches, these search words that you’re looking at, have very low search traffic and have a very specific, maybe a very small set of targeted demographic users. It’s very common in different types of products you might find in the B2B world. And B2B tends to have low search volume because of that, because the higher an also the higher the prices of B2B product or service the smaller the target audience might be. So in many cases what you’re faced with here is you really want to get to a very small targeted group as a B2B advertiser, and sometimes what’s search is giving you unfortunately is a massive untargeted audience. And that’s not really the desire; but that’s really what you’re going for. And so, let’s talk a little bit about some of those challenges and why they’re challenges.

The first one is keyword demographics. Sometimes keywords have demographic overlaps between both consumer and business searches. Also true, I like to tell people, of government. People come to me and say, how do people in the federal government search for an IT solution? Like the same way somebody in business searches for an IT solution. They don’t raise their hand in a search and say, I’m looking for a federal IT solution.

So the same is true in consumer and business searches. We have a client who does defragmentation software. Well, that could be used for the home user or the business user. Who is searching for the word defragmentation software? So, there are lots of challenges there in these overlaps between if you’re a consumer or business user how you might be doing a search, even though the product you’re looking for might be very different in the end.

And so, a good example of that is the word battery testing, and we’ll talk about this throughout the next few slides, about the term battery testing. The term battery testing has 320 approximate Google searches per month. However, battery testing can mean a lot of different things, right? It’s a little bit broad as a term when you think about it, because it could mean consumers who are looking for information on testing their car batteries, or maybe their Duracell’s that they’re putting in their kid’s toys.

Or, there are other B2B types of offerings, as well, if it’s not a consumer it could be a B2B consumer battery testing, or consumer battery testing for a laptop battery. What’s the lifecycle of my laptop battery? Or even things like hybrid and electric car battery testing, which is obviously becoming more popular as more electric and hybrid cars are on the road. So the term battery testing, even though it only has 320 Google searches approximately a month, can really be touching a lot of different types of folks. And so we have to get it a bit more niche in our keywords to really understand who that person is who is searching.

Another problem we’ve seen out in the B2B industry is, again, here’s another term, social media management software. So, for one of our clients, they sell an enterprise level product, and the product has a 12-month or $100,000 minimum commitment. So, it’s no small product, and no small commitment. It’s really not focused towards consumers; it’s focused towards enterprise-level companies that want to manage their social media. So, a term like social media management software might however generate two different types of searchers. On the one hand it could be this guy that you see here who is working out of his parents’ basement, and he has a van, he has a Facebook page and a Twitter account, and so he’s looking to possibly find a better way to manage his Facebook page.

On the other hand the searcher could be searching for this term who is the chief marketing officer at Xerox. So, how do you know who that person is when they come in? You don’t when they do this search. And that’s what’s really challenging about a lot of these B2B words is, they can really be used by both consumers and business. If you only sell to businesses, that could be a real challenge.

One thing you also need to know about Google is they rank query results by query type. And Google really identifies three different main types of queries and how the algorithm ranks results is based on which type of query it is.

So the first one we’re going to talk about is navigational queries. These are intended to look at a specific page. So for instance, a brand search, like Home Depot, would be looking for a very specific page; maybe Home Depot, and its local locations near you. So, that’s one type of search. It’s very specific in a way because it’s looking for a particular brand in this case.

The second type is information queries, and an informational query seeks information on a particular topic. So, this is a type of query you might see from people who are trying to do research, and it could be broad or specific in the topic and the keyword, but the goal is clearly to learn something, and to get more information. And oftentimes results might be text, images, video; it might be nice universal search result on many different types of content so you can take a choice of what type of information you’re looking for. So, our term battery testing we’ve just been talking about fits into this informational query category.

The third, and this is probably the most informative, is transactional queries. These are queries that the searcher is trying to complete a transaction on the web for money or for free, for a product or service. For instance, the term may be battery testing services. It’s clearly identifying to Google, I’m looking for services, not maybe something else around battery testing. So, the user is looking for a resource, not information. So, not battery testing information, but battery testing services.

Then what happens once Google determines what type of query it is, it delivers results based on what it thinks the majority of people are looking for. And example, before we get too deep in this slide is an example I like to give people is the word apple. If someone searches for the word apple, what do they mean by that? Well, Google’s got to guess. Does it mean the fruit? Does it mean the company? Does it mean the Beatles’ recording company that they used to have? What does the word apple mean to most users? What are they looking for most? Because then what it wants to do is actually rank more of those queries towards the top to serve users better, and searchers better.

For instance, if the majority of results for the word “battery testing” in the top ten are informational or do it yourself type of words, then it thinks the consumer audience is looking for information to do things like test their car battery. And that’s likely what most people are searching for, because there are a lot more consumers probably in this space than there would be business users. So you can make the keyword phrase more transactional for a B2B audience, like battery testing services. You can get more specific, and we’ll talk a little bit later about the long tail and that concept; the long tail being a more specific search. And it only has a tiny fraction, the word battery testing services, of the search volume that the word “battery testing” has.

And you can see in the chart below, if you compare the orange line for battery testing versus battery testing services. But at the same time it’s much more specific to the B2B target audience, so that’s something to keep in mind. You don’t want everybody who’s looking for battery testing. They’re not going to be your target audience, but battery testing services, if you’re a B2B, is probably going to be more likely what those target audience people would be looking for.

So, even the best B2B niche keywords cannot always deliver as much results from a click-through perspective as you might expect. I think a lot of people are under the misconception that having a number one ranking on Google means you maybe get 100% of the clicks that come to that page. And that is absolutely false. I am constantly having to tell people. We work with a lot of colleges and universities, and I think that’s a real misconception that we see in people doing some predictions and so forth of what they’ll get when they rank organically for a particular word–or even in paid search. The reality is that even the most aggressive organic search click-through rates study says that the number one ranking on Google is only 36% of clicks; only 36%. Not even 50% of the clicks started with the number one, which is a bit of problem.

So, even if you do all that work to get to the number one listing you’re only going to get 36% of the clicks. Now, let’s apply this to our term battery testing. Battery testing, we know, gets about 320 monthly searches every month on Google. And so, if you take 36% of that 320, that’s only 115 clicks, and that’s just clicks. That’s not how many people converted, right? So that means you get 115 people may be coming to your site if you have the number one listing for the word battery testing on Google. And a range of recent studies actually indicated that 18% to 36% of clicks go to the number one spot. So it could even be lower than 36%, depending on the term. It could be even as low as 18% of people clicking on the number one result. So, know that even if you have the number one result, even for a broader term, it may not save you. It may not give you enough search traffic.

So let’s talk a little bit about the paid search problem with B2B. We talked a little bit about organic and how not everybody clicks on number one. What about the paid side? Well, on the paid side you have another problem. I mentioned that AdWords has been around for more than ten years now, and so, A, you’ve got a lot of people who have been bidding for a long, long time. And those bids have been driving up year after year after year, right?

The other problem is that there’s a lot of saturation in the U.S. market for AdWords. Almost everybody’s on it. And whether they’re experienced with using AdWords, and really strategic with it or not, you have everybody using it. And so the problem is you get a lot of people who may be what we call ham-fisted bidders. And I love the picture because that’s exactly–I love ham, so I would totally eat my hands off in that picture. But ham-fisted bidders, who are bidding basically on ego, and not on the results of the advertising brigs.

So, in other words, they’re not advertising based on click-through rates, or conversion rate, or anything like that. They’re bidding out of ego and desire to be number one. And when they do that, what happens is they drive up the bids for everybody, because they start driving up the bid to be number one, and people who are trying to outbid them, it drives all their bids up also. And so, the more expensive the B2B offering is the higher the bid, the minimum bid is going to be.

And the reason that is, typically speaking, is these ham-fisted bidders go in and they say, hey, I have a product that starts at $10,000 a month, ergo I can spend up to $10,000 a month for a click. It gets pretty ridiculous. That might be a little bit exaggerated, but that’s kind of the thinking that goes into some of this. And often times the people who are doing this ham- fisted bidding really don’t even know what they’re real return on their investment is, or what their cost or their profit margins are on these products. And so, it’s creating a real problem for all of the other paid search bidders out there.

The competition is also very high typically for a limited B2B audience who is searching. Now, below what you’ll see here is a list of keywords, many major types of keywords for several of our clients. And what you’ll see is, these are keywords we’ve pulled out of a study that was done in the search engine marketing roundup. And what we saw last year was that these are some of the most expensive cost-per-clicks in all of AdWords. We pulled some out that we know we’ve seen for our clients; they probably have targeted in the past.

And look at this; this is an example, I mean. This is an example, raid data recovery, and that’s a good B2B word, $64 per click. I mean, really, really expensive cost per click for a lot of these terms. So this is just a sampling of some of the ones we’ve seen from this particular report, and some of the ones that our clients may be using. And so, it makes it really challenging to see the ROI you’re looking to get when you’re having to pay $64 a click, and not everyone of course is going to convert either.

So, I mentioned the long tail. For years we’ve talked about the long tail, how awesome it is. We really believe in the long tail. And the concept of the long tail being the more specific the term, like I was saying battery testing services, the more likely you’ll pay less per click and so therefore you’ll pay less per conversion as well.

And so, the long tail tends to also identify better who the people are, what they’re looking for in their search keyword. But the growth of the low search volume keywords on AdWords is exponential, too. I mean, Google tells us, I think the stat was like 80% of the keyword searches that they see every day are new, and they’ve never seen them before. So every day there are new types of keywords and new long tail words that we can use, and there’s just a huge opportunity there.

However, the keyword long tail only exists when Google lets it. If you look to the left here, what you’ll see is a warning that you would get from Google if what they consider the search volume they consider is too low for a particular keyword. And Google doesn’t tell you how low that threshold is, it just decides it’s too low. Now, in my mind as an advertiser, if it’s less than one person, then it’s too low. Otherwise, if even one person searches on it I personally think my ad should show.

But the reason Google does this is they would rather push advertisers to more broad matched keywords and overly broad keywords, because they have high costs per click. And remember, Google makes it revenue from people clicking on ads. So they don’t want you to pay $.15 for a click and get very low volume. They would much rather you have to pay $64 a click for them, because as a public company they are accountable to shareholders and they have to continue to have their revenue increase. So this is a real challenge with Google, because they are making it tougher for B2B advertisers to really compete in a really cost effective way.

The other challenge is on B2B products and service pages. Not everyone is ready to request a quote or fill out a contact S form. This is a common mistake with landing pages; just asking everybody to request a quote. If it’s the first time I’ve ever visited you, I may not be ready to make that level of commitment and request a quote; which means that it leads to conversion rates being low on contact S and request a quote forms. So, if you’re paying $64 a click for the rate term that we talked about, and you may be only have a .5% conversion rate, that’s going to kill you from a profitability standpoint over time, because you’re not converting enough people to pay for that term.

So, it’s giving a lower, and the best way I think to address this and we do this quite a bit here at Search Mojo, and we do it a lot with our clients is having a lower friction, as we like to call it, digital asset as a way of bringing people in, getting them signed up, and then nurturing the lead over time. In other words, giving them a white paper, giving them a video, a webinar to sign up for, something that can bring them in and then we can nurture them over time. And that tends to work better in the B2B environment, and help improve your cost per conversion, and therefore at least get people in your database and enable you to market to them over time.

Now let’s put together the math for the B2B situation. What we know is, low search volume for a lot of the terms. They often have a high cost per click because of the ham-fisted bidders who are raising up the bids. It often has a low conversion rate because too many people ask for things like a quote immediately when they first meet the person on the landing page. They typically have longer sales cycles in many cases. And there’s a low close rate in some cases for these words as well. And so what it lends itself to is too few leads for too much cost. So the cost per lead is just way too high in many cases for paid search, and even sometimes for organic searches as well.

So let’s talk a little bit about another option, which is LinkedIn. We have a B2B client we’ve worked with for many years who had only until now traditionally used search PPC advertising on Google AdWords. And they had used that for about a 13 month period. And during that timeframe most of the ads were actually landing on contact conversions; reach out to us, etc. Doing that approach only delivered 145 form completions over 13 months, so not a very high conversion rate. Overall it was a $13 cost per click, so not a low cost per click either, and it ended up costing us over $600 per lead by going through Google AdWords with these terms. And many of the terms were some of the ones I was showing you that had such a high average cost per click.

Let’s converse and look at LinkedIn now. We started working with LinkedIn about a year ago, and we decided we knew LinkedIn could bring us some great demographic information, and something that Google is missing right now; at least not as thoroughly as LinkedIn or maybe Facebook. So we took a look at LinkedIn for our B2B clients, and we changed up the offer that we had. We said, let’s focus on a white paper and webinar signups. So again, low friction; digital asset, and we created custom landing pages for those. Within six weeks LinkedIn ads–six weeks LinkedIn ads–surpassed the lead volume of the 13 months of PPC–in six weeks. So we were already getting to more people and getting more leads partially because our asset was good, but also we believed because LinkedIn targeting was so good.

And in four months LinkedIn ads delivered 217% more leads than the previous 13 months that PPC had. And for less budget; so less budget of all the 13 months we spent on a monthly basis, we spent less on monthly basis on this four months with LinkedIn than we did on a monthly basis with the 13 months of PPC. And we got more leads for that. It was fantastic; great cost per lead.

So what that ended up meaning is the cost per lead during this four months of LinkedIn ads was 94% lower than on PPC. 94% lower! And the cost for lead was on average about $35 overall, and some campaigns even got down under $20 a lead. Now compare that with what we talked about on the Google side for Google PPC; they were over $600 per lead. Yet on LinkedIn they were $35 to $20 a lead. And conversion rate was over 1,500% better than in PPC.

Now one other thing I want to note here is that anecdotally from our client and say look through the quality of the leads. That’s something we’re always worried about in B2B is quality. Anecdotally our clients said, even the quality of the leads is better. And we look at the name, we look at the companies, we’re looking at all these things, and anecdotally we can see even though we have a long sale cycle and we don’t know exactly how many sales we’re going to get out of the ad we can see these are much more qualified leads we’re getting through search. Why is that? Well, we are reaching the through our demographics. We were looking at who are the people who are like our customers? Right? Who are the personas that are like our customers? And then we went after those same people in LinkedIn, the same types of people, and that allowed us to track the right people for the right offers.

So, now I’m going to hand it back to Kari, who’s going to run quick poll.

Kari:

Yes, indeed we are. And our second poll for today is, have you used LinkedIn ads? And those are your choices there: yes, we’re currently running LinkedIn ads, we’ve tried them before but they didn’t really work for us; I’ve heard about them, but I’ve never run any campaigns; or, no, this is the very first time during this webinar that I have ever heard about LinkedIn ads. So, I’ll just give you a couple seconds.

Okay, great, and I will go ahead and close that out and share those results with you. And so, many of you, it looks like, over half have heard about LinkedIn ads. So I think that Sarah is going to have a lot of really great information to share with you about some LinkedIn best practices and a really good overview. So I’ll pass that over to Sarah.

Sarah:

Thank you, Kari. And thanks for answering that poll question. I hope in this next section I’ll be able to share some information that will give you a better understanding about the fundamentals of LinkedIn, and then some tips to improve the efficiency of those campaigns.

So, now that you know some of the PPC challenges, it’s important to pay attention if you’re a B2B company, it’s important to diversify the way you reach your audience or potential customers, like Janet said. Like LinkedIn can be used in conjunction with the PPC add campaigns to have the most effective costs per lead and efficiency. And in this case we’re going to recommend reaching out through LinkedIn ads. We showed a case study that shows impressive statistics with a really low cost per lead, and it’s really important to understand why LinkedIn is so effective; why are we letting you know that experimenting with LinkedIn ads could be great for you?

And if you haven’t had much exposure, they are especially effective because you can target two specific demographics, like Janet said, and specific professional groups. And in contrast, the social networks like Facebook users on LinkedIn are visiting the site with a really professional mindset, and may be more willing to receive those business messages that you’re sharing with them.

So, LinkedIn just announced in January that there are 200 million members. And while they’re really excited about that that doesn’t always mean active users, but it shows that LinkedIn is growing very rapidly, and has a lot of potential for you to track down your target audience and get your message in front of the people you care about.

People spend time on LinkedIn researching business news, companies and job searching, so there’s amazing potential for B2B advertising. And like Janet said, LinkedIn ads are fairly new, compared to Google AdWords, so there’s a little bit less competition with advertisers which may in turn show cheaper cost per click for some of these demographics.

Here’s another section of the infographic that LinkedIn provided. You can see that there’s amazing inventory to target on LinkedIn. This is only a snapshot, but it shows four million people in information technology and services, or two million people in financial services. So if those are the people you’re after, you can find them here, and it’s pretty powerful.

So some things to think about before you really get started with LinkedIn advertising, are that ads connected to your company page. So, if you’re advertising somewhere you need to be considering what you already have on that site. And I think last summer LinkedIn announced some new features and updates to their company page. So, really take advantage of filling in banners or relevant pictures or videos to show people more about who you are as a business. And these features can also continue to promote the products and services you’re offering within your LinkedIn ads.

And another thing to be aware of, before you even start with that first ad spend on LinkedIn really take some time to consider who your target persona is. Who are you trying to reach with these ads? And without understanding the correct end goal it’s hard to write ad copy or provide an offer to reach these people you care about. So take a moment, or maybe a few moments to understand who your ideal client or company is. I know some sales departments have their dream client, the person that they know that their product will be perfect for, but they just can’t get in front of, or they don’t have that connection to get the conversation started. So you can get in front of them with LinkedIn ads.

You can also think about who you currently sell to now to get some insight into who your best audience would be. Are you typically selling to managers? Are you selling to companies with more than 50 employees? All of that sort of demographic targeting about the company and about the person is really useful for LinkedIn ads. And within sales, your conversation with the owner of a company might be different than a manager of a finance department.

So now that you’ve spent some time to define who your persona is, take advantage of the awesome targeting options for ads in LinkedIn. This is a screen shot of how you can potentially reach the right audience, and you can fill out the locations on at least one or up to ten different countries or specific states if you’re targeting in the U.S. You can fill out the company names, different job titles, functions, seniority, company size, and even skills and age, if that might be a relevant statistic for your industry.

And I want to take a moment to focus on the groups targeting. And so, this is a gold mine for LinkedIn ads, because the people who are involved in groups have a clear understanding of the power of LinkedIn for networking and learning things about the industry in general. And so, these people are more likely to sign in to LinkedIn and from that 200 million member count that LinkedIn announced there are probably more active and would be more receptive to your ad. If you think about how much you use LinkedIn, if you’re the kind of person who has set up their profile because somebody told them it was important, and you kind of forgot about it, you might not be a part of groups and be as involved in the network.

So, before you write any ad copy you can figure out who your audience is, and you may even want to test a few combinations of campaigns. In maybe one campaign you could target the groups, or you could target the company and title targeting, or a combination of the two to really find the most relevant target audience for your lead generation campaign on LinkedIn.

Also, what’s really cool about LinkedIn is that they offer this function–we’ll all call it LinkedIn Suggests–in which you can start searching for different job titles, because what you call something at your company might be different from another company’s naming conventions for their job positions. So take time to mind those people. And you can also change your targeting audience at any time because you might find that something is resonating more with a particular audience.

All right, so there are also different advertising options. I think our main focus today is really the self serve ad option, which allows you to have the budget you would like to spend as well as driving a cost-per-click campaign, so only spending for the people who are really interested in converting. But I just wanted to show you there are also other options for display and social ads, which requires a much larger commitment. So if you’re just really experimenting and getting your feet wet, I would recommend maybe experimenting with the self serve ads before you jump into that big display buy.

So, what to expect. If you’ve been using Google AdWords, LinkedIn ads work in a similar way that you target location, set a budget for clicks, and then your ad competes on LinkedIn pages with other advertisers. But there are several differences. LinkedIn requires a minimum $10 budget per campaign, and at least a $2 per click bid for each ad. And there are no options for day parting. And there are also options for having company or personal accounts. If you’re representing your brand I would encourage you to always set up a company account, because that will connect through your ad as well if the user is looking for more information.

And then as with any ad campaign, monitor which ads are the most effective. LinkedIn ads says a good click rate is .02% or higher, which might be a little shocking if you’re used to Google ads. But remember that these are display ads. You’re pushing your message out there and just hoping that something that you say will strike someone’s interest.

And then there is Q word freedom. So you’re targeting people, not keywords, so there’s more freedom with your ad copy, for example. And like Janet said, if somebody’s looking for social media marketing software on Google AdWords it’s reaching a broad audience, with LinkedIn ads you can work to narrow out the audience that isn’t the right fit for your product or service, which is pretty exciting.

All right, so LinkedIn text ads appear in various places on the site. You may have seen these before on the right-hand side. These are screen shots from what I see in my LinkedIn platform. And you’ll notice there isn’t much real estate to capture with LinkedIn ads. There’s a very small image; a 25 character headline and 75 character body copy, so again, every character and space in the image counts. There’s a lot happening on LinkedIn, so you need to draw interest by keeping your message clear and to the point. You can have punchy ads, and include questions or call outs so the people you’re targeting, all set to drive their interest.

And I’d also say that come prepared with several ad variations, and images, to see which resonates the best. If you’re looking through these six examples I have here, which one stands out to you? What makes them attractive? And start with about two to three ads per campaign. To really get it started you can set up some A B tests and only change the images between each of the ads, and really see what call to action performs the best for the target audience, and go from there.

So, some LinkedIn ads best practices; a helpful tip is to include a call to action. You really want to show the user what they’re going to get by clicking the ad. If they’re downloading a white paper, people need to be reminded of what you want them to do. Just a quick, read more, or sign up now, might be all they need to really get started.

And also test different images. In my experience bright colors and smiling faces do extremely well. So try to have a clear uncluttered image so it’s easy for people to understand what is going on. And unless you have a very well-known brand or you’re working to gain brand awareness, your logo might not be the best way to attract attention, at least when getting started.

So then, another tip is to be aware of the color scheme on LinkedIn. It’s pretty much blue, light gray, so you don’t really want to blend into this layout. Try testing different colored borders or different color images to see what works best.

And then a reminder to match your offer and copy to your target audience, and then to your landing pages, as well, so that when a user clicks they are understanding where they are going and what you’d like them to do.

Another thing is, like Janet said earlier, really test different offers. A lower commitment-type of offer might do best to work for lead generation, because they might be more interested in downloading a white paper and learning about who your company is before they say, hey, I want a quote, or hey, I need a free trial of your product.

So then, let’s see, monitor your click through rate on LinkedIn. There are some performance metrics, but remember that LinkedIn does not have conversion tracking, so you’ll need to rely on Google Analytics or your web analytics tool to determine the actual effectiveness of your advertising performance. And so, here I show the Google Analytics URL builder to show you how you can track down to what ad variation you are advertising on.

So, coming through the end; once you get all these LinkedIn ads, it’s really exciting. But you need to be prepared to handle all these incoming messages once you direct them off the site to fill in information. So one thing that we recommend is having a marketing automation tool. I believe Janet mentioned this earlier, to really nurture the lead from the opportunity to the sale.

If you aren’t familiar with marketing automation, we definitely have more information about that. But if LinkedIn is bringing in the leads you want to take in the information about your customer that they are filling in through the form on your site, so just pay attention to what your angle will be and how you can determine ROI.

To clarify, the image on the left should be with marketing automation, sorry. And the image on the right should say, without marketing automation, so that marketing automation can really pull all the information together so your sales department can nurture these leads and also know more about them.

So, thanks for listening. We shared a lot of information, so I’ll pass the mic back to Kari to get us wrapped up.

Kari:

Great, thank you so much, Sarah. And just a reminder about our next webinar, which will be on February 21st, and that will be presented by Janet and also by Michelle Doty, who is a social media specialist here at Search Mojo. And they are going to be talking about graph search, Facebook’s big announcement from a few weeks ago. And is it really a Google search killer? What is it going to mean for marketers? Come to our webinar, and find out some more. You can register today at Search-mojo.com/graph- search.

So, just to let you know about a way to contact Janet directly, you can reach out to her and start a conversation. There’s her email address and her phone number. And there is both Janet’s and Sarah’s contact information, as well as their social media information.

And now we will go into a little bit of Q&A here, and just to start out with a really simple one for you, Sarah. You were talking about setting up LinkedIn ads and there are character limitations. Can you run down really quick the character limitations on LinkedIn versus like a Google AdWords ad?

Sarah:

The LinkedIn ad character limitation is 25 character headline, and 75 character body copy, which I believe is very similar to the Google Ad. The body limitation I believe is 70 on the Google ad. So it’s pretty similar, but you do have more freedom to experiment with the ad copy you use, because there’s not a visual quality score that LinkedIn is looking for between your ad and your landing page, and searcher query, like on Google.

Kari:

Great, and Janet, this might be a really good one for you, actually. Are there any best practices, since you started out this webinar talking about PPC, so what can you do to maybe combine PPC with LinkedIn ads?

Janet:

That’s a great question. And we do this quite a bit, because again we’re a search marketing firm. We still believe in search. I don’t want to put down search altogether and just say go all LinkedIn. But LinkedIn is very helpful. So one of the things that first of all I would say, you definitely want to advertise on your brand name. We talked about the queries that are around your brand name. Those are going to be prioritized. And you’re probably going to show for those. And what studies have shown is that if you have both the ad and the organic listing for a particular word, typically your brand name, you’re going to get more clicks than when you have both. So that can help improve the number of clicks you’re going to get, as well. I still would say, advertising your brand name if you can, or any of your product names.

The other thing I would say is that you should experiment. It doesn’t mean be, because not all search queries are bad, and not all keyword search is bad for B2B, but where you can and where you can be specific and where you can get your ads shown definitely consider trying different things in your PPC to make sure that you’re getting to the right group.

The other thing I would recommend is we use a lot of re-targeting. Google has a great re-targeting platform through its display network, the content network, and what you can do is once those people click in through LinkedIn, then you can mark them with a cookie. It’s one of the thing we do, and we put them in a particular bucket, a particular persona bucket.

For instance, if I’m targeting IT managers versus marketers, and for a particular asset, I’ll put them in a particular bucket and that way I can retarget to them outside of LinkedIn long term through Google. And that’s really powerful, as well. And even if they don’t convert that first time on LinkedIn, as long as I got them cookied in some way and I can pull that information down into my site form, for whatever asset they used signup for, I can then still bring that information into my marketing automation system, and then nurture them over time.

So, there are a lot of ways these two, Search and LinkedIn can really work together to get you the most information about a particular target, who is coming in, to help you nurture them over time. And that’s something we really encourage here; you really want to think about not just the one-hit sale, or the one-hit conversion, but you want to make sure that you’re bringing as many people into your pipe who are qualified in a way to be in that pipe as possible so you can continue to talk to them over time.

Kari:

And for either one of you I think having to do a lot with marketing automation, but how many offers or assets do you think you would need for LinkedIn ads? And maybe that might come down to how you want to nurture them and what you want them to do, but what would you think about that?

Janet:

I think Kari should answer that question.

Kari:

Maybe I should.

Janet:

Well, what I would say is that it really varies. You definitely want to test different ads, and this is true with either PPC or LinkedIn; different types of offers, because you know we’ve seen in some cases, for instance, I read an article in B2B Magazine a while back that said, white papers are the end all be all of conversions, and they’re going to drive the most conversions. But then I did a test with one of our clients and a video did a much better job than a white paper. So, you can never say definitively this one type of asset does the best. Not even within your organization, one white paper might do better than another white paper. So, you can’t really restrict it out that way.

One of the things we recommend is instead of thinking about what are the quantities of assets I need, it’s more of thinking about mapping out who you’re trying to reach first. Right? So, Sarah showed you a picture with lots of different people with question marks on their heads, and on that particular slide she was saying, who are your customers? And that’s where really a lot of this starts; understanding who your customers are, and then making personas out of them. Who are they? What drive them? And different people may be involved at different stages of the buying process.

So if you’re selling an IT product, you might have an IT manager who is involved in the research phase and wants to learn more, but at the buying phase it may, depending on the price of your product, you may know that the CIO has to be involved in the actual purchase, because it’s an enterprise level sale. So you need to think about those stages, and map the type of content messaging to those people as you try and reach them in LinkedIn.

So you can’t just blanketly say you need five assets, or you need ten. You need to think about who you are trying to reach, what is the right message for them, and what is the right content type that they’re going to absorb best in. It could be an infographic. It could be a white paper; it depends on who you’re talking to. So think all that through, map it out, and then start making those offers through LinkedIn and test, and see which ones do the best.

Kari:

Okay, and this next one might be a really good one for Sarah, actually, because I think we get this question a lot and it’s a good one from clients. And they might want to use LinkedIn for this. But, is LinkedIn ads; what do you think about using it for direct sales?

Sarah:

I think Janet just talked about that, really picking out a low friction asset is the best for LinkedIn. Because, unless you are a really familiar brand they might not just go to your site and make a purchase right away that day. So, offering them different kinds of assets, maybe through the buying cycle that Janet was identifying. Maybe a white paper to begin with, and then moving toward something that requires a high time commitment might be more effective. So I would stray from going for the direct sale for the B2B audience at first.

Kari:

Great, and another good one for Sarah, actually, because you talked a lot about how the ads can be connected to your company page. So, someone wants to know, can you put a re-marketing tag on your LinkedIn page?

Sarah:

I don’t know if you can put a LinkedIn re-marketing tag on your LinkedIn page per se, but you can run ads directing to your LinkedIn company page, if you’re looking for more of an awareness and want to nurture them first by showing them who you are. You can place videos on your LinkedIn company page.

And you can also make targeted status updates toward the different types of people who are following you on your LinkedIn company page to make it as relevant as possible.

Kari:

Excellent, well, thank you both for presenting this webinar today. And thank you all for coming to today’s webinar. As I mentioned at the beginning, we are recording this. We will make the recording available to you, either tomorrow, or at the beginning of next week. So, keep an eye on your inbox for that. And don’t forget to sign up for our next webinar about graph search in that search-mojo.com/graph-search. Thank you very much for coming, and we’ll see you again soon.