How to Budget and Bid with LinkedIn Advertising

linkedin ads budget biddingLast week I talked about how to optimize your LinkedIn advertising and target your ideal audience. Now, I’ll talk about how to plan your budget and bid appropriately.

How to Set the Ad Budget

It’s possible that an ad could get a lot of traction and max out your daily budget. Here’s how this works. Say you bid $3 per click with a daily budget of $50. That means you can only get 16 to 17 clicks per day. ($50 / $3 = a little more than 16.) When this happens, you might want to increase the budget or put a hold on it to see if those clicks help you reach your conversion goal.

Or, you may find that your bid is too low that your ad is not getting shown to your target audience. In this case, try increasing your per-click bid and monitor the results. LinkedIn Ads are flexible – it’s easy to change things up. Setting an end date ensures you have the opportunity to check the campaign’s progress and do fine-tuning.

The way to figure out your budget is to know how much you want to spend. Then divide it up for the number of days you want to run an ad. The cost of print advertising and collateral can be expensive. If you’ve done print ads in the past, perhaps the low end can be your budget.

For clients on a tight budget, we set a daily budget of $25 to $50 per day depending on their bid per click. You might start at $75 for a couple of days to give yourself a good benchmark. See how many clicks you get and how many of those convert.

Studying the results gives you clues what to do next. Adjust your ad and lower or bump up the bid.

How to Bid

Bidding is simple because LinkedIn sets a minimum bid for you and suggests a bid range. I advise clients to bid more than the minimum and then add a few cents to prevent the bid from ending in a round number. By bidding $1.03 instead of $1, you’ll outbid all the $1 bidders.

Check the impressions daily to see if the ad runs. If the impressions are low, then it’s a sign to increase the bid until you see the number of impression you want.

A couple of caveats. The stats page for reporting ad results can be buggy. My team has seen summary numbers be off the mark. For example, one summary showed 54 clicks even though we knew we had more than 200 clicks.

How? My team had been monitoring the campaign every day. The initial daily tracking numbers were suspect. Needless to say, it caused a brief panic. Closer inspection of the individual campaigns revealed the expected numbers. Phew.

Stay on top of your results as soon as you start sponsoring updates or running LinkedIn Ads. You want to maximize your efforts with the necessary modifications. Remember your ABTs: Always be testing.

Still have questions? Schedule a free 15-minute call to talk about using LinkedIn to generate more leads.

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How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Ads and Sponsored Updates

Picture an active LinkedIn user. Perhaps, it looks like you. You interact in all the right Groups. You post regular updates under both your personal and company profiles. You even publish LinkedIn blog posts.

It’s possible to do all this and still not being making the most of your LinkedIn lead generation activities. All of these activities require the prospect be proactive: go to your profile or company page, visit the Groups you’ve joined, and catch your LinkedIn posts.

The challenge is reaching many of those prospects who don’t follow you and may not be proactive. They miss your updates, your comments in Groups, and your brilliance in your blog posts. There’s a way to fill in this gap. Do it with Sponsored Updates and LinkedIn Ads.

Rather than waiting for prospects to come to you, your blog posts go to them. The magic happens through LinkedIn’s powerful targeting options. You get more targeting choices than Google and Facebook.

Google ads appear to anyone who types a certain word combination. It easy for anyone to enter your ad’s word combination and not be the person you want to reach. That’s an ad wasted on someone who doesn’t fit your ideal client profile.

Facebook lets you select demographic information, but it’s more consumer-oriented than business.

As an example, here are Facebook’s targeting options:

  • Interests, such as autos, education/teaching, health and well-being, movies, pets, and sports.
  • Behaviors, based on the things they like to do or actions they take such as liking a certain type of business or how and what they purchase.
  • Education level, fields of study, and graduation years.
  • Connections, which indicates whether you want to serve ads to current or non-current connections.
  • Location, including countries, states, provinces, cities, zip codes, or post codes.
  • Demographics (age and gender).

Facebook can look for the following types of business purchases:

  • Business marketing.
  • Maintenance, repair, and operations.
  • Office and corporate gifts.
  • Training and publications.

While some of these options can prove useful, they lean heavily towards consumer behaviors and purchases. You can’t target by industry or job title, two important options for B2B technology companies.

As Image 1 shows, LinkedIn Ads lets you target by:

  • Job title and function.
  • Industry.
  • Company size.
  • Seniority.
  • Geography.

linkedin advertising

The other helpful thing about LinkedIn is that as you select each parameter, it shows you the estimated size of your target audience. You can adjust the parameters until you’re happy with the target size.

Advantages of Sponsored Updates

If your company already publishes updates on its Company Page, you can simply pick an update and turn it into a Sponsored Update. These appear in your specified target audience’s newsfeed, helping you reach a broader audience of people who may not otherwise see your content. Because Sponsored Updates are based on useful content, they have a greater chance of being noticed and read.

LinkedIn provides statistics on each company page update, so you can figure out which ones have more clicks and interactions and select those as Sponsored Updates. LinkedIn reports separate statistics for organic and Sponsored Updates so you know how your Sponsored Updates performed without the organic information skewing the data. Image 2 shows an example of Sponsored Updates reporting.

linkedin advertising

Advantages of LinkedIn Ads

For LinkedIn Ads, you have the option of doing either pay per click (PPC) or pay per 1,000 impressions. These contain a 25-character headline, a 75-character tagline, and a web address. You’re more likely to get a bigger bang from PPC when you think of them as a layer in building your online profile. However, you may not get many clicks because most people ignore text ads.

Say what? It sounds counterintuitive. But stay with me here. Most products and services are complex and need more than 100 characters to pull your prospect in. If you pay by click and bid just right, you can get your name out there in front of people you want to reach … free.

LinkedIn will let you know the number of impressions, or the number of pages your ad runs on as shown in Image 3. As a result, your brand will start seeping into your targets’ brains, thereby building name recognition for practically nothing.

linkedin advertising

It’s less complicated to play with the ad settings on LinkedIn than on Google. You can tinker with the target audience and how much you bid. You can also adjust total budget and end dates for running the ads.

What sort of audience would you target for your business?

Next week, I’ll talk about budgeting and bidding for ads on LinkedIn.

 

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Do You Make These 7 LinkedIn Profile Mistakes?

linkedin mistakesA prospect emailed me inquiring about my services. Promptly, I went to his company website to learn about their software product. Next, I checked out the About page to meet the people behind the company. It was a general description of the company. No names. No photos. Nothing.

So I did a search on the person who contacted me. The first item that showed up was his LinkedIn profile. His profile had his company’s logo, I clicked that to be taken to the company’s LinkedIn page. Bare bones. And only two of its employees were on LinkedIn.

After the initial search, I didn’t have a good feeling about this prospect.

It’s hard enough to obtain new leads. The last thing you want to do is for them to move on to someone else because your LinkedIn profile didn’t deliver.

LinkedIn ranks high in search results. Your profile as well as your company’s can affect whether others do business with you. A simple thing like having no photo could mean the difference between reading your profile and skipping it.

Don’t make these seven mistakes that are easily avoidable.

1. Don’t skip the professional photo.

One of the first things you want to on LinkedIn is to upload a good quality photo. People tend bypass profiles without one. If you don’t have a good one, try to find an older one that will suffice until you get a new one posted. If necessary, find a group photo that you can crop. Ensure the cropped image doesn’t show someone else’s hair or shoulder.

Eschew photos that show you having a good time. These don’t go over well on a professional network like LinkedIn. What may be OK to post on Facebook doesn’t always pass muster on LinkedIn.

Go to a professional photographer for a headshot with a blank background. This ensures nothing distracts from your headshot. If it’s a matter of time and cost, a mall photographer will work. It’s easy to get in with them and they’re more affordable. Some accept walk-ins. Here are more tips to improve your LinkedIn profile photo.

2. Don’t do unusual things with your name.

Some people enter their name in all upper case or all lower case. Some people use a company name on an individual profile. These compel people to click away. I’ve noticed that users who do any of these often appear lower on LinkedIn’s search results pages. I’ve run a few test searches and not one of these appeared within the first 15 pages.

Also avoid using symbols as some view them as spammy. Just enter your standard name with proper capitalization.

3. Don’t let your LinkedIn profile gather dust.

Outdated profiles list previous jobs as the current one. Some are even two or three jobs out of date. Whenever you change companies, jobs, or positions within the same company, make it a priority to update your LinkedIn profile.

You also want to refresh it when you win awards or accolades, volunteer with a nonprofit organization (it makes you look good because it shows you care), complete any type of education or certification, and get quoted in a publication (demonstrates expertise).

4. Don’t post improper updates.

Just like with photos, what you say in Facebook or Twitter may have no place in LinkedIn. This isn’t the place to discuss your favorite TV shows, post political commentary, or share religious beliefs. Here’s a good rule of thumb: If you wouldn’t say it in a business meeting, you shouldn’t say it on LinkedIn.

High quality status updates share relevant professional information that add value. It’s not a rant about a rude customer service rep or what was for lunch. You can share inspirational quotes and office-appropriate humor. When in doubt, leave it out.

5. Don’t talk about yourself and your company all the time.

Ever get stuck in a conversation with someone who goes on and on about himself and his company? What did you think? Most likely, you wanted to leave the conversation. Avoid pouring self-serving information in status updates, LinkedIn Group posts, and blog posts. Work to be a valued resource instead of a walking advertisement.

6. Don’t neglect LinkedIn.

You’re too busy with your work and your personal life. That’s understandable. Many can relate. You don’t have to spend hours each day. You can do a lot of the 10-step LinkedIn Daily Action Plan in one hour each week. Start small. Schedule 30 minutes one day a week. Up it to an hour or two 30-minute sessions.

7. Don’t do the hard sell.

I’ve noticed an unhealthy trend on LinkedIn: spammy sales email messages. While anyone can send the hard-sell LinkedIn email, it usually gets deleted fast. Instead of trying to always be closing, work to build the relationship on LinkedIn. Ask yourself how you can add value to the person you’re contacting. How would you feel receiving the same message?

For more insights on what to do or not do on LinkedIn, you might like these 14 tips you must know about LinkedIn etiquette.

Don’t let a single opportunity go to your competitors because of these LinkedIn profile problems. They’re easy to fix and most take only a few minutes of your time.

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5 Reasons Not to Treat Your Essential LinkedIn Profile Like a Cheap Suit

linkedin profileA website had suits on sale for $100. Sounds too good to be true, right? A closer look at the description reveals the reason for the low price. They were made of polyester and rayon, cheap synthetic fabrics. This affects breathability, shape, and stiffness. And the buttons were a poor plastic.

Would you even spend $250 for a full suit on sale? Exactly.

The difference between a $250 and a $750 suit is enormous. It’s a no-brainer, right?

“The three biggest fashion mistakes are cheap suits, shoes, and shirts. Spend your money on something good.” — Donatella Versace

You can say the same thing about building out your executive LinkedIn profile. For most executives, working on their own LinkedIn profile is much like buying the $100 suit. An effective profile takes much more than entering information about your career. Like a finely-tailored suit, a professionally created LinkedIn profile will boost the results you get from it.

You could try sewing your own suit, but it’s most likely not going to be as sharp and well-tailored as someone who does it for a living. Just like you would invest in a suit, you’d want to do the same for your LinkedIn profile.

Still not convinced?

Here are 5 reasons you need a well-tailored LinkedIn profile.

1. It ranks higher in search engines.

People are researching you before they connect with you. Let’s do a little test here. Do a search for colleague’s name. Where does LinkedIn appear on the search results? For me, LinkedIn is the first entry. I search for five colleagues and their LinkedIn profiles always shows up in the top five.

I’ve yet to see LinkedIn fall below the fold when searching someone’s name. You may not control the search engine results, but you can control what your LinkedIn profile says. Don’t let it fold like a cheap suit because it lacks the best quality material.

2. It represents your brand.

Seeing someone wearing a suit from afar says the person made effort to go beyond jeans or slacks. But as people get closer to someone wearing a cheap suit, they’ll see its flaws. You know that people are looking you up and they’ll most likely end up on your LinkedIn profile. That’s half the battle.

Once they arrive in your little place on the professional network with hundreds of millions of members, you want to hold their attention long enough to take the action you want. After arriving, they’re sizing you up, checking for cheap buttons and bubbly shoulder lines. These are the kind of flaws found in a typical profile. These profiles don’t compel prospects to keep reading. These flaws are not as obvious as typos and grammatical errors.

3. It needs SEO, just like a website does.

Like wearing a poorly tailored suit, using the wrong keywords and phrases can affect whether your profile appears in searches and for the right people. You want your profile to show up when your ideal prospects are searching. And on the first page.

The difference between a $250 and a $1000 suit is the fit, fabric, tailoring, lining, and so on. The difference between a resume-type LinkedIn profile and a professional one is the content and setup – and whether opportunities come to you or slip by. Users sometimes become so focused on keywords that they forget to tell the right story with the right tone. Be sure to optimize your keywords on LinkedIn without sacrificing your story and purpose.

4. It makes your case.

Why are you the right person for [fill in opportunity]? LinkedIn profiles can include presentations, papers, and other useful media to make your case for you. You can’t be there to greet the prospect 24/7. So your profile has to do that for you and deliver what the prospect needs in order to move to the next step.

5. It is not just about you.

If you don’t make your profile about the person you want to reach, your profile can’t do its job for you. Depending on what your goals are in LinkedIn, a successful profile communicates what’s in it for prospects. This isn’t easy to do unless you’re a professional writer or marketer who specializes in LinkedIn.

“If you’re wearing suits and you want to create your own sense of style, get to the tailor.” — Matt Bomer

Yes, it’s possible to create a sense of style that reflects your brand with your profile. But there’s an art to making the right impression and getting prospects to take the action you want with your LinkedIn profile. A right-priced suit will help you with first impressions and last you a long time. Wouldn’t you say your LinkedIn profile deserves the same treatment?

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How to Connect with Top Influencers Using LinkedIn Updates

Everyone wants to connect with influencers. That’s because when they do it, visits to your website, article, [fill in the blank] explodes. Being associated with them can increase exposure for your brand and boost engagement with your clients and prospects. Before any of that happens, you need to build the relationship with your industry’s influencers.

Make a list of industry influencers you want to target. Don’t think of the big ones like Richard Branson, Bill Gates, and Mark Cuban. Think smaller. Look for people with a good-sized following, but not in the millions or hundreds of thousands.

You’ve probably noticed some people have the influencer logo on their LinkedIn profile like Bill Gates does.

linkedin influencers

These are the ones you probably don’t want to target because they have too big of a following. Look for influencers like Glen Hellman. To find out how many followers they have, select the down arrow icon next to “Connect” or “Send a message” and select “View recent activity.”

linkedin influencers

The number of followers appears in the top right corner.

If you for work a financing software company, you might want to connect with journalists and influencers in finance and software. If your company has many managed services providers (MSP) for clients, then you’ll want look for MSP influencers.

After you’ve created a list of influencers, check their LinkedIn activity. Do they consistently publish blog posts? Do they post status updates on a regular basis? Are their last few posts or updates recent, or are there gaps between updates? You’ll have a better chance with influencers who consistently post to LinkedIn.

Your goal is to find:

  • Industry influencers.
  • Influencers in your clients’ industries.
  • Journalists who cover your targeted industries.

Once you’ve identified influencers, check for the following:

1. How many followers do they have? The more followers they have, the more challenging it might be to connect. On the other hand, the more they have, the more likely they spend a lot of time on LinkedIn and might be open to connecting with you. (Of course, if they have fewer than 200 connections, you might give them a pass.)

2. Do they publish blog posts? If yes …

  • How often do they publish?
  • Are the last few posts consistent? Or has it been months between posts?

3. Do they post status updates? If yes …

  • How often do they post updates?
  • Are the last few updates recent? Or has it been days or weeks between updates?

The ones you want to target satisfy at least two of the three requirements.

Now you have a final list of influencers to target. Time to get busy. Here are some ways to connect with influencers through status updates.

Share an article or blog post the influencer wrote

We all love it when people link to our content. Influencers are no different. Link to the influencer’s article in your update. Try to add the influencer’s name as the next image shows. Enter the @ symbol followed by the person’s name. Select the name if it shows. Sometimes it won’t show depending on the person and your connection to that person.

linkedin influencers

This creates an active links to the influencer. Add a sincere comment explaining why it’s a worthy read.

linkedin influencers

Share an article or blog post that quotes the influencer

Watch for articles quoting the influencer. Like the first suggestion, link to the influencer’s name and write a comment. Perhaps, even share one of the influencer’s quotes.

Share a presentation, video, or other media from the influencer

LinkedIn users can add media to their LinkedIn profiles. This can be presentations, videos, papers, and other media. Share those in your LinkedIn update. You should be able to link to the resource. The way to share the resource varies depending on the source. For SlideShare presentations, select the LinkedIn SlideShare logo as the next image shows and it’ll open the SlideShare outside of the profile. You can copy the URL from there.

linkedin influencers

If it’s a YouTube video, select the Share icon as shown in the next image to get a link to the video. If it’s a blog post or a web page, you’ll be able to select “Read Original” to get the link there.

linkedin influencers

Comment on an influencer’s LinkedIn status update or blog post

Leave a meaningful, sincere comment on the influencer’s status update that says more than “Great article!” and “Thanks!” Add your own insights or spin on the topic mentioned in the update. This will get you noticed.

Do this with the influencer on a regular basis, but not too often. You don’t want them to feel like you are stalking them. The right frequency depends on how often the influencer posts updates.

Share the influencer’s update

If you believe your connections will benefit from an influencer’s update, share it. When you share, add your own thoughtful comments. And, if appropriate, mention the influencer by entering the @ symbol followed by the person’s name to make it clickable. 

Like the influencer’s update or blog post

For times when you don’t have valuable insights, just like the update. Better to like than say something hollow.

Ensure you have recent LinkedIn updates

Before you go liking, sharing, or commenting on an influencer’s update, make sure you have some recent updates posted. An influencer who notices your like, share, or comment, might visit your profile and check out yours. Be ready! The updates don’t have to mention the influencer. They simply should show value.

What other ways can you connect with influencers using LinkedIn status updates?

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    I have been running a marketing and PR firm since 1994. I love marketing and I love helping people grow their businesses. This blog lets me share what I've learned about marketing to help you generate more leads and sales for your company.
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