Many of us are familiar with LinkedIn’s utility as a networking tool, but have you ever evaluated LinkedIn as an advertising platform?
Many B2B SaaS companies have adopted LinkedIn as their primary marketing channel and are reporting great success in generating qualified leads. Fair warning, though, LinkedIn Ads are a whole different beast than Facebook or Google Ads.
For one, LinkedIn Ads are on the more expensive side. This means that if you don’t know what you’re doing, then you can accidentally blow through your whole advertising budget much, much faster than expected.
When it comes to failed LinkedIn Ads, there are a few mistakes that most B2B SaaS companies make:
- Their targeting was too narrow.
- They chose the wrong ad type.
- The ads budget was too small.
- The offer wasn’t enticing.
In this article, we’re going to explore everything you need to know to get started with LinkedIn Ads, including:
- - Why LinkedIn Ads are well-suited to the B2B SaaS niche.
- - The 4 steps you have to take before you launch your first ad.
- - The most important considerations when you set up your LinkedIn Ad campaign.
- - Whether you should run LinkedIn Ads in-house or outsource them to an agency.
Why LinkedIn Ads Work for B2B SaaS Companies
Here’s the truth about why LinkedIn is an underutilized marketing channel in the B2B SaaS space: most companies are afraid to try it. But why?
In most cases, it comes down to three simple words: it’s too expensive. But do you know what’s also true? You have a higher likelihood of finding and reaching your ideal B2B audience on LinkedIn.
Which other platform will categorize and break your prospects down by industry, company, and job title? Sure, other advertising platforms have some of this data built-in, but not nearly as much as LinkedIn does.
That’s the kind of sales intelligence you’d normally have to pay a lot of money for. For instance, Zoominfo, one of the most popular B2B Contacts Databases, can cost up to $10K a year! Yet, on LinkedIn, you get this targeting for free.
This breath of data can empower your SaaS company in two ways:
- You can shortcut the learning curve for understanding your audience, including their industry, which companies they work for, and what job titles they hold.
- You can laser-target your ads to highly qualified leads. Think of it this way: you’re paying a premium just to make sure that you’re not throwing darts in the dark. You’re reaching people who could actually see value in your product, and afford it too.
Another thing worth mentioning, LinkedIn Ads have come a long way. They didn’t have proper targeting in the past, so your ads were shown to a general audience. Next to that, they didn’t have quality scores, so you couldn’t monitor these to help you improve your ads on the fly.
All of this contributed to marketers losing money on the platform and deeming it a waste of time. Fast forward a few years, and LinkedIn has become the most effective channel for driving B2B leads.
What You Need Before You Start Running LinkedIn Ads
Now that you understand the significance of LinkedIn Ads in your marketing strategy, we’ll run through 4 non-negotiables you’ll need to take care of before sending your ad campaign live.
1. Understand Who You’re Targeting
To clearly define your target audience, you must first research prospects or existing customers and divide them into segments. The discovery process involves compiling data points such as age, location, language, industry, company sizes, job titles.
The first way to acquire this information is by analyzing the commonalities between your existing client base. The second way to build up this knowledge is to use content and traffic intelligence tools(e.g., BuzzSumo, Alexa, SimilarWeb). With these kinds of tools, you can:
- - Perform social listening to see what people like and dislike about your product and competitors.
- - Discover the overlap between your audience and those of competing brands.
2. Create An Irresistible Offer
While your SaaS company is built around a product, every ad campaign is built around an offer. An offer is complicated to define, but it’s essentially something valuable that people can either get for free or at a discount. This can refer to anything from:
- - Your product (e.g., free trial, coupons).
- - A piece of content (e.g., lead magnet, online course.
- - Tangible goods (e.g., swag).
- An event (e.g., training webinar).
To qualify as a good offer, it needs to meet two main criteria:
- - It solves a pain point for your target audience.
To take things one step further, you can also give your audience a good reason as to why you’re running the offer, which increases its perceived value. Reasons can include events such as:
- - Holidays (e.g., Christmas, Thanksgiving, Valentines Day).
- - Customer successes (e.g., first-time purchases, email signups).
- - Company achievements (e.g., anniversary, user milestone, new product launch).
3. Build a Landing Page
A landing page is simply the page your audience is being driven to. Your landing page has two primary tasks:
- Reinforce why prospects should take advantage of the offer.
- Capture their contact info and send it to your CRM. This way, you can nurture and follow up with these prospects later on.
Contact info is captured through a form that prospects need to fill out to claim your offer. After they fill this out, then they’ll receive the offer itself or confirmation via email.
When it comes to designing contact forms, you should keep the following in mind. While you can use your form fields to gain more targeting insights about your audience, you should still keep your form fields to a minimum. This is because the less information prospects have to fill in, the more likely they are to submit it.
Here are some of the standard form fields used by most B2B SaaS companies:- Name
- Company Name
- Job Title
Only use fields that are relevant to your targeting needs. Of all of these, only the first two are non-negotiable. People don’t usually like to fill in more than 2-3 form fields. But the more valuable your offer is, the more willing they will be.
As far as building the actual landing page, you can use a landing page builder like Unbounce or one that comes with existing marketing tools like HubSpot and Mailchimp.
4. Set Up a Lead Nurturing Sequence
With your offer and landing page ready to go, you need to think about how you’re going to convert these leads into customers. That’s where email sequences, also called autoresponders, come in.
Write a series of emails that are automatically sent to your prospects over a few weeks to build a relationship with them. These emails should continue to provide helpful solutions to their problems, including introducing your product to them in a way that’s not salesy.
Now and then, your email should prompt the recipients to reply if they’re interested in your solution. And this is when your sales team steps in to close them.
Tips for Creating Your LinkedIn Ad Campaign
So you’ve done all the prep work. Now comes the time to create your LinkedIn Ad campaign. We won’t be going into the nitty-gritty details here because LinkedIn has already written up a bunch of step-by-step resources here. Instead, we’ll be exploring some big picture considerations and best practices for your LinkedIn Ads.
While LinkedIn offers various ad types, B2B SaaS companies will only have use for three of those. They are:
- - Sponsored Content: The most general type of LinkedIn Ad, Sponsored Content, is simply a post that you promote to your target audience. This post can either be one you’ve already published to your Company Page or one that isn’t public.
- Message Ads: In contrast to Sponsored Content, which appears in New Feeds, Message Ads appear in user inboxes. Best used when you want your ad to appear more casual and conversational.
- - Text Ads: They can either appear in LinkedIn’s header or the sidebar area. Best suited for brand awareness rather than lead generation.
There are two broad ways to target your audience on LinkedIn:
- - Warm traffic: People who know your brand but aren’t customers yet. With LinkedIn’s Insight Tag installed on your site, you can retarget LinkedIn users who’ve visited high-intent pages on your site, such as your pricing or free trial page.
- - Cold traffic: People who’ve never been exposed to your brand. You can target these users by Job Title and Seniority level. Again, your sales reps will probably have a good idea of what job titles you should target by.
Budgeting for LinkedIn Ads isn’t much different from the other major platforms. All you have to do is:
- - Set the total budget, usually by day.
- - Select your bid type, which can be automated (Automated Bid) or controlled manually (Maximum CPC Bid).
Just keep in mind that LinkedIn Ads, on average, cost $6.59 per 1000 impressions, which means that if you want to reach 1 million users with your campaign, it could cost upwards of $6K. Knowing this, it’s only worth investing in LinkedIn Ad campaigns if your customer lifetime value is double or triple the ad spend.
Should You Run LinkedIn Ads On Your Own?
Digital advertising is one of the best ways to acquire new customers for your SaaS company. But business owners often struggle to decide whether they should do this in-house or outsource this to an agency. The benefits of hiring an agency include:- Expertise, which translates to better results.
- You’ll free up time to run your business.
- It’ll cost less compared to hiring a full-time specialist.
If you still decide to take this in-house, then we hope the tips above help guide you toward generating a positive ROI. Need help with your LinkedIn Ads campaigns? Discover how HookLead can help!