The Anatomy of A Successful Sponsored LinkedIn Ad
Don’t put your head in the sand like an ostrich and just hope that your ads will suddenly begin to perform well. (Hope is generally not considered a good strategy.) Like anything, it takes work and I am going to show you a little .
Having spent years working to perfect LinkedIn Sponsored Ad campaigns through loads of testing, I am ready to share some of what I have learned with you to help you improve your results and hopefully get more leads or clicks.
Let’s get started…
Dos and Don’ts #1: Go Against the Grain
Rather than try and explain this through text, here is a little exercise. Go to your Home feed on LinkedIn and just start scrolling through the posts at a fairly fast speed. (Make sure to come back when you are done!). Stop when something catches your eye. Chances are the this is something that stands out about the graphic, text or both. Make a note of what types of posts or ads these are. Most likely they will not be images of people smiling in some obviously over posed and crafted image. Rather, I am guessing you stopped on ones with color, possibly illustrations or other “outside the box” graphics. Maybe something humorous, but most likely not your “run-of-the-mill” stock photo..
Don’t: Use a stock image that is the same old stuff everyone seems to pick. You know the ones, a bunch of people in a boardroom looking bored with a smile on their face, some abstract metaphor for a concept that nobody gets or a bunch of random words in a circle in different fonts and colors etc.
Do: Design an original graphic, that may incorporate a photo, either in-house or through a freelancer. Don’t skimp, the little investment could make or break the campaign. Theses type of graphics really stand out as most posts are straight photos or stock images that someone is trying to make fit into their messaging, and it is often hard to do. Be creative, have fun. If you don’t have the ability to create graphics, then dig deep for obscure, unusual or funny photos that will grab people’s attention
Try to be creative in tying in fun images to your message. This is often the most time consuming part of ad development, looking through hundreds of stock photos to find the right one. Look past the usual and you will have success.
Extra Tip: There is a lot of advice out there not to use text with graphics or pictures in ads. The data shows that these can often be a lot more effective as not many people read the surrounding text…which leads to #2
Dos and Don’ts #2:Text in Graphic
Anyone that does marketing knows the words you use can be a make or break a campaign. Let me say that again…the words you use can be a make or break a campaign. Here’s an example:
Our company has been doing a great job for 30 years.
For 30 years straight, 100% of our customers have given us a 5 star rating.
(A little over the top as an example, I realize, but you get the point.)
Don’t: Spend 2 minutes or just recycle the same old copy that hasn’t been getting you results.
Do: As with the ad graphic or photo, no matter the media or platform, choose your words carefully. Be as succinct and memorable as possible. Don’t have the budget or creativity to come up with ads that are “Madison Avenue” quality? No problem. Think of something that is catchy, but brief. I have found some of the best ideas come out of conversations with clients. As you, or your sales team, speaks with clients jot down things they say that catch your attention. Often these turn out to be industry buzzwords that others are also thinking about. Speaking of buzzwords, be aware of trending terms in your industry and try to stay ahead of the curve. Google Trends, a somewhat obscure Google tool, is a great way to find these trending words.
Also don’t forget to include a Call to Action (CTA) in your ad. One of the first rules of marketing is you have to tell your audience what to do. You can have the greatest catch phrase, but if it doesn’t tell someone what to do next, your click rate will be quite low. Examples of a CTA could be Free Trial, Learn More, More Info etc. Try to make this a prominent part of the design of the graphic with bold colors and as a way to set it apart.
Dos and Don’ts #3: Surrounding Text Above Ad
As of the writing of the blog (Feb 2018) you have 150 characters, including spaces, above the graphic to supplement your ad. In testing myriad of ads, I have not seen a huge difference in clicks when doing A/B testing changing this text (as opposed to when the graphic is changed). While I don’t have empirical data to backup my thoughts on why, I do believe the nature of the way people scroll their feed lends itself to being attractive to the visuals. The text is such a small part of the ad that it becomes a secondary piece of information. So, I would personally focus more effort on the graphical part. That being said…
Don’t: Ignore the text
Do: Put time into making it sound good, Try to use as much of the 150 characters as you have as a supplement to your graphic message and it will also cover more real estate on the page to have a higher chance of someone stopping on your ad. The character count includes the URL link, which I always recommend including in case someone prefers clicking links to graphics. I recommend using a URL shortener service like bit.ly or tinyurl. That way you can maximize the characters for copy and not a URL. Make sure to include a Call to Action!
Let’s take a look at all of these elements combined:
Good Luck and I am always happy to meet with people to discuss your ads and give my insights. Ping me and we can chat.
Are You Making These 3 Social Selling Mistakes?
Madeline has been in sales for her entire 17 year career. While primarily focused on B2B (business to business) products and services, she has also sold direct to consumers (B2C) as well. In her current role as VP of Sales for a well funded startup, she has been tasked with selling a new consumer electronics item that has revolutionized the world of couch potatoes…a robot that will get you a snack from the fridge just by thinking what you want (Snack Robot 3000)…to both reseller channels and marketing to consumers directly. While up for the challenge of a new product launch, she is a little wary as she has never sold B2B and B2C simultaneously. Trade shows and in person meetings were her usual mode of selling. Given her limited time and resources, she figured there has got to be a better way…enter Social Selling (or what she thought was Social Selling). Little did she know, she was breaking (IMHO) the Three Cardinal Rules of Social Selling and getting nowhere. Let’s take a look a where Madeline went wrong…
Social Selling Mistake 1: Selling on Social Media
The first thing Madeline did was went out on both LinkedIn and Facebook and posted a huge ad introducing this amazing robot, with a great offer, Buy 1 Get 1 Free. That’s right 2 robots to deliver your goodies, 1 for work and 1 for home! Who wouldn’t want to buy a $3,995 product right off social media? Guess what? She didn’t even get 1 lead, lots of clicks but no leads.
How many times have you seen a post or update on LinkedIn of Facebook similar to the one Madeline posted asking you to buy something? How many times have you clicked the link and purchased it? If you are like most people, you probably haven’t. Why is that? It could be a variety of reasons, but it boils down to, for the most part, these are not “transactional” platforms. People go to eBay, Amazon or Google shopping in buying mode. They are not in buying mode when checking on the latest family gossip or seeing who got promoted (or is looking for a new job wink-wink).
Social Selling Mistake 2: Pouncing Like a Predator
Despite not making any sales through the various ads Madeline posted at the now reduced price of $3,989, (hey it’s $10 off) she did get a few people who asked to connect with her on LinkedIn. After viewing their profiles, Madeline was very excited to see that they both looked like great potential customers due to both being in the food industry and seeing blog posts about their foodie adventures. Without skipping a beat, she immediately looked up their phone numbers and called both prospects…wait, she just violated another Cardinal Rule of Social Selling, Don’t Pounce!
Each lead should be treated as a long-term opportunity to slowly be nurtured. Just like with dating, you probably would not have too much luck if you asked someone to marry you on the first date. Trying to sell someone something when they aren’t ready will land you in the same position, a lost opportunity. Rather, let the relationship flourish. Take time to understand why they connected with you and what their needs are. Over time, if there is a true opportunity, you will be able to nurture the relationship to get it to a point where it may mature into a sale. So, if Madeline hadn’t pounced and played her cards right, she very well might have sold a couple of Snack Robot 3000s, instead she was left with two leads that ended up in the “closed-lost opportunity” pile.
Social Selling Mistake 3: Sales is a Breeze on Social
Madeline is really on a roll with her campaign, albeit a downhill roll that she really needs to turn around and get sales on track. Unfortunately, it looks like she will need to do some more Social Selling studying before she gets those sales numbers on an upward trajectory. Case in point, mistake number 3, making the assumption that selling is much easier on social networks. Let’s throw that notion right out the window. Madeline figured since all the data is right in her fingertips, she can easily pick out her best leads, reach out and they would be ready buyers.
Well, like most anything in life, things generally aren’t just handed to you (except maybe Great Aunt Gwendolyn’s surprise inheritance you received).
Madeline is right that the amount of data available at your fingertips through social is a sales and marketers dream come true. However, data is not useful unless you are analyzing and using it properly. Just like in traditional sales, if you have what looks like a good prospect “on paper”, it does not mean they are in need or ready to buy your product or service. Because of the deluge of content and interactions everyone sees on a daily basis, you really need to stand out and show your lead targets how you can help them. This means patience, providing real value through content and other educational efforts and building that relationship. You now have databases that probably would have cost tens of thousands of dollars to assemble a generation ago for the cost of a premium LinkedIn subscription. Use the data in an intelligent way, but make sure to sell the way you want to be sold to.
Alas, after months of frustration Madeline has found her stride, is no longer making the three mistakes. In fact, she just sold her first Snack Robot 3000, to none other than her college professor, who she had noticed had written a blog on healthy snacking. She began engaging with him via the comment section of his blog. He now gets all the healthy snacks he wants without ever lifting a finger.
Need help with your Social Strategies? We can help, give us a call at 415-439-0727.
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