Lead Gen campaigns on LinkedIn are a great way to generate qualified leads for your sales teams. Provided you do it right. What does that actually mean? Plan, test, optimize. I’ll go through my process, do let me know how you do it, ok?

Plan Before You Set Up Your LinkedIn Lead Gen Campaign.

Pretty obvious, right? But the actual strategy behind a lead gen ads campaign requires you to think of more than just the media plan. Unless you understand the broader picture your chances of running a successful lead gen campaign are slim,

In my experience there are a couple of aspects you need to analyze and decide before you open LinkedIn Ads Manager.

Think About Your Brand/Product And Answer These Questions:

  • is it a top contender in its market? how old is it, do people know about it and respect the brand as such?

If it’s not, you need to go back to the drawing board and decide if a lead gen ad is a good move at the moment. Maybe you need to consider building the brand and then try lead gen. Or else your offering must be very very strong, but more about that one later on.

  • what is your competitors’ offering at the moment? How does your brand/product/offer stack up against theirs? This is a great moment to revisit your value proposition (in case you need some inspiration on the topic, listen to this great Everyone Hates Marketers podcast episode with Hiten Shah, creator of KISSmetrics and Crazzy Egg, explaining how to find the right value proposition for your customers)
  • look at your customer persona and their pain points. Yes, again. Get in touch with your sales team and your customer support team to truly understand the client. Listen to your customers: check product reviews, both yours and your competitors and take a close look at the wording they use, you might find some hidden gems.

Create LinkedIn Audiences (Potentially) Ready To Buy To Leverage In Your LinkedIn Lead Gen Campaigns

You’ve see the sales funnel, right? You must have! Here, let me jog you memory with an amazing sketch I doodled on my own.

This tells us loud and clear that some people might not be ready to buy. They might not be in the market for your solution (yet), they might not have the budget, or external conditions might make them uncertain of when they can (re)start purchasing. What you can do to make sure your lead gen campaign is set up for success is try to identify the people who, faced with a good offer, might be convinced, LinkedIn allows for an array of possibilities, let’s look at some of them:

Customer lists

Go back to your friend, the salesperson, and get a list of potential clients, anything they can share with you might help> company name, job title/seniorities, etc. Talk with your salesperson about the decision-makers on the client-side and find out what department he works in, that way you can also leverage LinkedIn’s capability to target by function.

Pro tip: ask your friend about Sales Navigator, this sales tool for outreach LinkedIn is pushing. If they heard about it and use it to reach out to potential customers, get them to share the juicy data/lists they saved in there. Ask about their top performing tactics in Sales Navigator. Watch and learn from your friend, doing lead gen campaigns is as close as it gets to the sales process.

Custom list based on website traffic

You can retarget people who visited your website provided you have the Insight Tag installed (but you have that, right? you wouldn’t even dream of LinkedIn paid campaigns without installing the Tag…).

Pro tip: if your budget is small and you really need to target the audiences most likely to convert, identify the high-value traffic – people who visited the product page/requested a demo or downloaded a whitepaper. Retarget those and make them an offer they can’t refuse. What’s the offer? You tell me, you definitely know after all the hard work you put in when you planned your campaign and talked to your friends in Sales and customer support.

Test Your Offering And Audiences.

‘You know nothing, Jon Snow!’ (yes, GoT reference, stop rolling your eyes, it was a good show…). Much like Jon, we know nothing of how the campaign will perform and what would drive performance. I know this seems preposterous, but what about testing? Here’s how I’d do it.

  1. Write up 1-2 hypothesis on what might grab your audience’s attention. For example, you could say something in the lines of;
    • Our target audience wants to talk with product engineers.
    • Our target audience wants to read case studies.
  2. Figure out your ad creative format: you can leverage images, carousels, video, text ads, conversational ads etc. Depending on your offer, your hook (see #1) and your budget (#3) decide what you want to test out.
  3. Settle on a test budget and testing timeframe, for example, 5% of your budget to test during the first week.
  4. Analyze week 1 results in a team meeting and decide what you keep and what to get rid of.

Optimize Every 10-12 Days Or So.

Do NOT hurry to optimize in the first week. Let the algorithm do its magic and let the platform find your audience at the right time and place. If you are lucky you have some previous benchmarks> for example, for one audience I discovered I needed my key message to reach the audience at least 3-4 times to hit the sweet spot where they would be ready to convert. That’s why I believe for most products with long lifecycles you almost always need to run lead gen ads alongside brand or product awareness/engagement ads. That way you make sure your audience is not only aware of your offering, but they are considering your product.

And then you have the basics of any paid campaign:

  1. Pause underperforming creatives
  2. Twitch audience. Look at your campaign demographics and only keep the best performing
  3. Scale budget for best-performing tactics.

Last But Not Least, Your LinkedIn Lead Gen Campaign Is not Just Your Masterpiece. Talk To Your Friend, The Salesperson. Yes, again.

Ideally, you can have them join you weekly team meetings and get their live input and optimize your campaign to not only get leads, but get qualified marketing leads that the sales team can turn into clients. Only then will everyone be happy and your campaign be considered a success, horray!

This is it. My framework on how to plan, build, test, and optimize LinkedIn Lead Gen campaigns. Hope it helps. Would love to learn more from others and how others drive MQLs on LinkedIn.