How to grow your B2B business with LinkedIn Ads in 2021

Social Media Content Marketing Lead Generation 9 min read

If you have considered or are running LinkedIn Ads, you have probably discovered one simple truth.

They are incredibly expensive when you don’t know what you are doing.

This is why this expensive paid channel is so difficult to nail.

On the other hand, you know your target audience is spending time on this channel.

In this blogpost I want to cover:

  • The 3 misconceptions about LinkedIn Ads
  • The 3 elements to run successful LinkedIn Ads
  • The type of content you need to run LinkedIn ads.

This way you’ll get one step closer to running that successful LinkedIn ad.

The 3 of the misconceptions out there about LinkedIn ads.

1. LinkedIn clicks are expensive

When people plan their campaigns, they typically say a cost per click will end up costing them between 5-10€.

Personally, I have seen a bank in Belgium pay up to 97€ for one click.

On the other hand, I have also seen clicks as low as 0,64€ or entire campaigns running at a cost per click of 1-2€.

If you know what you are doing, LinkedIn doesn’t have to be stealing all your money at outrageous prices.

2. You can’t generate leads with LinkedIn ads.

When I ask companies how many qualified leads or sales they have received from LinkedIn ads campaigns I typically get a few of the following answers:

  • We don’t run Linkedin lead generation campaigns because they don’t work.
  • We tried gathering leads to book demos with us, but they didn’t work.
  • We have only tried to send traffic to our website to generate ‘brand awareness’.

Then I show them this screenshot:

A screenshot from a company within the HR market (one of the most competitive markets there is), gathering on average 150 leads per month using LinkedIn ads.

3. The cost per lead is too high with LinkedIn ads.

For the people that have gotten to the point where generating a few leads on LinkedIn is the case, they typically say: ‘the cost per lead was too high’.

For those, I show them the following screenshot:

A campaign that runs for about 3 months where we were generating leads at an average cost of 10€.

Or the following campaign where we generated 50 leads at 8€.

Without getting too deep into what ‘too high’ actually means, which differs from company to company, I just can’t believe that a constant cost per lead of 10€ is too insane to work with.

If you are still in disbelieve why your campaigns aren’t working or gathering leads isn’t possible, read on how to solve this or follow this free LinkedIn ads webinar.

The 3 elements of running a successful LinkedIn ads Campaign

When I revise a Linkedin Ads account, I typically tend to look at 2 big things:

1. The metrics of each campaign (CTR, CPC, CPL, CPM)

2. The O.M.A (Offer, Message, and Audience) of the campaign.

As mentioned in the Linkedin Ads Masterclass, the hardest part of running a social campaign is not:

- Setting up analytics.
- Setting up the campaigns
- Setting up naming conventions
- Picking or creating assets or visuals.
- Making the Landing pages
- Writing the copy.

The hardest part of running a social campaign is defining and tweaking your O.M.A based on data.

This is why if something went wrong, it’s mostly the O.M.A which isn’t right. Because anybody with some brains and a laptop can run a LinkedIn ads campaign. Not a lot of people know how to create a well-crafted O.M.A campaign.

O.M.A Framework LinkedIn ads - Ricardo Ghekiere

Running successful LinkedIn ads campaigns start way before setting up analytics or setting up the campaign in a proper way.

A great LinkedIn ads campaign consists of 3 things (O.M.A):

1. The right Audience (A)

This is the step where you define and segment clearly what audience you are going to target on LinkedIn.

It’s also the easiest step in the journey.

This is why most LinkedIn campaigns that are set-up targeting job titles, as this is the easiest thing that you can probably come up with.

The problem with this strategy?

Think about running ads like the stock market.

The more buyers there are for a Tesla share, the higher the price.

Now think about ‘the buyers’, as you the marketer, and ‘the shares’ as the people seeing an ad.

The more marketers targeting the same audience through job titles, the higher the price of the LinkedIn ads you want to run. Not just for you, but also for the other buyers as there are just a limited amount of people who can see your ad.

This is also one of the reasons why running LinkedIn ads is so expensive and why I recommend using different targeting strategies to reach your audience more cheaply.

2. The right Message (M)

This part consists of 3 big parts:

  • Creatives

What visuals are people seeing when watching your ads?

  • Copy

What copy are you writing to persuade them of your offer (see next step)?

  • Angles

This part is mostly confused with the copy part. Yet, one of the most powerful things to change within your message.

Social Angles is what will define your copy and also the images you’ll be using.

The way I explain angles to other people is by thinking about something very regular in our life.

Blueberries.

Imagine you are running ads for a company selling blueberries online.

The offer is simple: “Buy 1, get 1 free until the end of the month.”

Now you could easily write a copy about this, but it’s the angles on how you will sell this offer that will make or break your ads.

Here are 2 angles:

1. Blueberries are one of the best fruits to eat for people who have troubles with pimples because of XYZ. Currently, we have an offer if you buy 1, you’ll get one free.

2. Blueberries are one of the best fruits for people getting into shape because of XYZ. Currently, we have an offer if you buy 1, you’ll get one free.

Now you can see that people with pimples will click on ad number 1 and people getting into shape will click on ad number 2.

Why?

Because of the messages of what the persona will get out of your offer. They talk about what the person will be able to do with your amazing offer to become this awesome person who can do great things.

Messages angles are therefore talks about one of the benefits your offer can deliver, instead of the offer itself.

Define them clearly to write better copy and create awesome images for your LinkedIn ads.

3. The Right Offer (O)

When I explain what is the right offer to advertise with, I always walk them through my supermarket story which I deep-dive into during my LinkedIn ads Masterclass.

The offer I got in my mailbox was the following: A booklet giving me an offer to buy one cucumber and to get one for free.

When you map this offer on the Fogg Behavior Model, you’ll notice two things:

1.  My ability to drive to the supermarket was not hard, but also not that easy to do. I had to pick up my keys from the table, drive 5 minutes in my car and go to the supermarket.

2. Even with this type of offer, my motivation to go to the supermarket was rather low. I mean: “why would I care to do drive to the supermarket just for an extra cucumber?”.

This offer missed its point when trying to make me take action.

Now let’s look at the next offer which was made by the supermarket. An offer my mother (on the picture) saw within the same booklet. The offer said: “Get a pump worth 109€ for just 29,99€. Only this Saturday”.

As you may see from the picture above, this offer made my mother move out of her couch on a Saturday morning, pick up her keys from the table, drive 5 minutes to the supermarket, stand in line for 15 minutes to eventually buy the pump.

Did her ability change if you compare it to the last offer? No.

Did her motivation change if you compare it to the last offer? Yes.

The best part?

This offer made didn’t just make her buy the pump, but also her entire groceries and of course, 2 cucumbers (which I was very happy with as you can see from the picture below).

This is why making sure that you tailor the offering across the entire buyer's journey is such an important thing to move people through your funnel.

One offering on your landing page, copy, or image can make or break your entire campaign. And no increase of soft metrics like CTR, CPC, or any other related metrics can make up for that.

One thing I want you to remember about setting up LinkedIn ads:

Products and offers are built to fit with channels. Channels do not mold to products.

In simpler words, you can’t change how your ads will be shown, how much you’ll be paying, who you can target. The only thing you can adapt is all the things you have an impact on.

Your O.M.A.

Now, let’s move on to the last piece you need to know to run successful LinkedIn ads.

3. The type of content you need to run LinkedIn ads.

When it comes to running social ads, you’ll notice that most companies are running the wrong type of content towards what is called ‘cold audiences’. People who aren’t aware of your solution or even the problem they are facing.

To better understand which ads to run on Linkedin, you’ll need to have a look at the content friction funnel.

This simple graph shows the difference between 3 different audiences:

1. TOFU (Top of The Funnel) Audience: People who are not aware of the problem you are solving and are not aware of your solution.

2. MOFU (Middle of The Funnel) Audience: People who are aware of the problem you are solving, yet not aware of your solution.

3. BOFU (Middle of The Funnel) Audience: People who are aware of the problem you are solving and are aware of your solution.

The mistake I mostly see when running audits for LinkedIn ads accounts is not taking a funnel-based approach to your ads.

Marketers or salespeople think that running Linkedin ads with testimonials to book a demo with their salespeople towards an audience who has never heard about you or your solution makes sense.

These ads are great if you are running retargeting ads to people who you have helped before or are stuck in a deal stage. Not when running cold ads to people who have never heard about you or don’t even understand what problem they have (and you are solving).

When it comes to running LinkedIn ads towards a cold audience, focus on running ads with content that relates to the MOFU or TOFU audiences.

This is how you’ll nail your next campaigns on LinkedIn.

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