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6 Steps to Setting Up Your First LinkedIn Ad Campaign

linkedin-400850_1280LinkedIn’s ad platform is a powerful tool for small business owners who want to reach other businesses or working professionals. LinkedIn is a space where more than 450 million professionals go to network online, so it’s probably in your best interest to take advantage of LinkedIn advertising to get in front of your target customers.

In this post, we will cover 6 steps to setting your first LinkedIn ad.

Develop a Strategy

You’ll be able to get more sophisticated with your strategy as you go, but the first step is to approach your LinkedIn advertising strategically. What are your intentions? What do you want your potential customers to do? Where will they land when they click? What will be their path to conversion? Are you promoting an event? Looking to boost your brand awareness? Will you drive traffic to a sales funnel with a free opt-in offer and a nurture sequence?

In other words, what’s the plan? Your LinkedIn ad campaign will only be as successful as your overarching strategy. Be honest with yourself and be sure to have a solid foundation in place before getting started, so you don’t waste time or money.

Select an Ad Format

There are 2 main types of LinkedIn ad formats: Sponsored Content or Text Ads.

Sponsored content is similar to a Facebook boosted post. A sponsored content ad enables you to promote an update that you’ve shared to your LinkedIn company page. If you choose to sponsor content, your blog post, SlideShare, video, or article will show up in the newsfeed of your target audience, piquing their interest and inviting engagement.

Text ads include a headline, description, and a 50×50 image. You’ll want to choose this option if you’re looking to capture the attention of your target audience and give them a compelling reason to check out your offer. Text ads are budget friendly, easy to set up, and effective.

Other options include Sponsored InMail, Display Ads, and Dynamic Ads. Sponsored InMail is generally a pricey option, but it gives you the ability to send a personalized advertising message directly to users’ InMail box with 100 percent deliverability. Display ads are highly targeted banner ads, which are best for companies that have a budget to put towards increasing brand awareness and visibility. Dynamic ads, which are best for boosting your followers, are highly customizable, pull user names and images from profiles, and include a call to action button.

Most small businesses start with sponsored content or text ads.

Identify Your Ideal Customer

As with other forms of digital advertising, the power of LinkedIn ads lies in your ability to specify exactly who you want to reach. If you haven’t gone through the exercise of identifying who your ideal customer is, now it the time to get crystal clear about demographic information, key traits, motivations, desires, and challenges.

The customer you’re trying to reach might share characteristics with your established customer base, or you may choose to do research on other potential target markets using LinkedIn data.

You’ll have the opportunity to target based on information users share in their profiles, including location, company, industry, company size, job title, job function, years of experience, seniority level, professional skills, professional organizations, education, and more.

So if you’re trying to reach Human Resources Directors at mid-sized companies in Atlanta to sell your consulting services, but you’ve been wondering how to find the right people and get in front of them, here’s your chance.

Set a Budget

Determine what your budget is, taking available funds and projected ROI into consideration. Keep in mind that LinkedIn ads can be more costly than other social media platforms, but the return may be greater. Before spending any money, the LinkedIn ad platform will allow you to estimate your total investment and price range based on your target audience and adjust as necessary.

When you set your budget, you’ll have the option to select cost per click (CPC) or cost per thousand impressions (CPM). For direct response campaigns, you’ll most likely want to use CPC, which allows you to specify the maximum amount you’re willing to pay each time someone clicks on your ad. For brand awareness, you may prefer to use CPM, which will allow you to specify the maximum amount you’re willing to pay each time your ad is shown one thousand times.

Include Powerful Creatives

As with all advertising platforms, you’re competing for attention. Remember that LinkedIn users are there to search for job opportunities, connect with other professionals in their industry, do research, and engage in conversations related to their profession.  So consider how you can be compelling within that context without seeming out of place or inappropriate.

Use strong punchy copy that grabs attention, demonstrates your industry insight, and speaks directly to your ideal customers’ needs or desires. And include eye-catching relevant images that stand out and help to convey your message. Avoid using your logo for the image, and instead opt for high-quality photography or graphics.

Test and Tweak

Unlike traditional advertising, where you dish out a hefty sum, get locked into a campaign, and take a gamble on your results, LinkedIn advertising provides real-time analytics, which enables you to measure performance from the start.

Monitor and test your ads, and make adjustments as you go to improve your results. Each campaign provides an opportunity to include more than a dozen ad variations; and while you’ll want to start small and work your way up, this option can provide a wealth of feedback about your audience preferences. Try different images, videos and messages to see what gets the best results.

It may take some experimenting and patience to get hang of LinkedIn advertising; but if you’re in the B2B market, it’s worth the effort. You may notice that click rates are lower than other traffic-generating sources, but you may also find that the conversion rates and ROI tend to be higher.

Setting up your first ad is simple with step-by-step instructions; the trick is hanging in there and learning what works best for your business.

Need help getting started or improving your LinkedIn ad campaign? Give the team at Solamar a shout.