[#SESDENVER] Is LinkedIn a Solution for Brands Tapped Out on AdWords?

Could LinkedIn advertising be an answer for brands that are “tapped out on Bing and AdWords”? According to founder of Righteous Marketing Robert Brady, when used correctly, the platform has the potential to be a powerful marketing tool.

In his SES Denver presentation, “The Four Cornerstones of LinkedIn PPC Success,” Brady said, “LinkedIn is a treasure, but you have to go on a bit of a treasure hunt to find success.”

The main objective of the hunt is targeting audiences. LinkedIn pay-per-click (PPC) advertising has excellent targeting potential because users post so much information about themselves, from geo-location to age and employment history. However, advertisers must be strategic in what they offer LinkedIn users.

“When someone is on LinkedIn, they are there for a purpose,” said Brady. Targeted marketing offering a service that adds value can be very successful when brands “put an ad in front of [LinkedIn users] when they are in a business mindset.”

But successful LinkedIn ads must get at a core need LinkedIn users have by evoking an emotion that serves as a call to action. Ads must also “have something to deliver” by giving an offer that is beneficial to the target audience.

As an example of targeted marketing that offered value, Brady used a small start-up he recently worked with that needed new users. They set up multiple landing pages testing different targeting methods and lured senior-ranking industry insiders by offering beta access to their site. Within one week, the start-up had seen a 24.97 percent conversion and had 390 new leads.

However, one pitfall of LinkedIn marketing, according to Brady, is “profile incompleteness,” wherein users leave out key parts of their histories, such as their job title. To combat profile incompleteness, Brady suggests businesses take a multi-angle approach by including different, yet related, targeting criteria. For example, if businesses want to target chief marketing officers (CMOs) who haven’t listed CMO as their job title, they should target “CXOs, job function, marketing” in order to hone in their reach.

Brady also recommends “parallel targeting,” or reaching customers by targeting a skill that isn’t normally what the company is known for but that is tangential to the products or services they offer. For example, using “Excel like you’ve never seen it before” as a tag line to draw attention to a parallel offer.

Other pitfalls Brady mentioned were flaws in the platform’s conversion timing, which is measured in Greenwich Mean Time, and also the fact that LinkedIn doesn’t yet offer in-house conversion.

But overall, Brady sees LinkedIn as a lucrative alternative to companies experiencing diminishing returns on more common platforms like Bing and AdWords.

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