Merged Marketing Podcast

179- Do Successful LinkedIn Ad Campaigns Exist? With Ben Lund

Have you harnessed the power of LinkedIn ads? In today’s episode, we explore the relevant subject of LinkedIn ads and their role in today’s business. We are privileged to dissect this with Ben Lund. so in this episode we ask a very vital question: Do Successful LinkedIn Ad Campaigns Exist? 

Ben’s journey from Rise Marketing Group to the present – Ben has always had a heart for marketing. In the mid-2000s, he got his break by working with Yahoo before proceeding to search ad campaigns. He materialized his yearning for entrepreneurship about 5 years ago and has grown from strength to strength.

How businesses can leverage LinkedIn – Ben qualifies LinkedIn as an interesting social media platform, especially for B2B businesses and other professionals. He lauds the flexibility of LinkedIn in the sense that you can target your B2B audience according to industry, revenue, and title, among other filters. Ben says that how a business uses LinkedIn greatly depends on its customer goals. While the platform may not be great for conversion-minded organizations, it is the go-to platform for awareness and consideration by the target audience. Interestingly, Ben points out that lead generation per conversion can be pricier for a business running paid ads on LinkedIn. True, LinkedIn would gladly chew your money on weekends because of the fewer people on it during that time of the week.

Industries highly successful on LinkedIn: Ben addresses himself on the million-dollar question of whether there is an audience on LinkedIn. He registers his doubts if the hospitality industry players like restaurants are on LinkedIn round the clock. He drops sound advice that you should note the availability of the audience on the platform before launching a marketing campaign. As primarily a manual media-buy platform, it does not provide for ad scheduling or automated betting.

Target audience conversion to business on LinkedIn: Our guest agrees with me that LinkedIn, compared to other platforms such as Meta, provides superior opportunities to narrow the target audience to paying customers. 

Document Ads in LinkedIn: Ben cites the new feature of document ads on LinkedIn as a game changer by the platform as a value addition to advertisers targeting clients who often stay in the ecosystem of LinkedIn. Its lead generation campaign is showcased in a document format uploaded for the user to view and download. It is an effective strategy for capturing a lead through a non-intrusive way to the user experiment. 

The mindset of LinkedIn users: Ben describes LinkedIn users as business-minded as opposed to the social mindset of Facebook users, for instance. This translates that a B2B marketer must factor in the target audience’s mindset when crafting messaging for LinkedIn. 

Best practices of nurture sequence on LinkedIn: Ben cautions that you should not be too “salesy” in your messaging but rather focus on delivering value. You may start with an automated email to start a relationship with the audience and follow it with a series of nurture sequence emails. He stresses the importance of focusing on the customer journey and letting the client sign up when they are most convinced of your value. 

Key Time Codes

  • (1:15) Ben’s journey from Rise Marketing Group to present 
  • (3:02) How businesses can leverage LinkedIn 
  • (6:00) Industries highly successful on LinkedIn 
  • (7:28) Target audience conversion to business on LinkedIn 
  • (10:44) Document Ads on LinkedIn 
  • (14:25) Mindset of LinkedIn users 
  • (16:00) Best practices of nurture sequence on LinkedIn
  • (20:26) Ben’s contact information
  • (21:00) Ben’s choice of brand representative

Transcription

[00:00:03.440] – Intro

You’re listening to the Merged Marketing podcast with me, Jason Hunt. The mission with this show is to discuss all things marketing, sales, and mindset. It’s my hope for entrepreneurs like you to get the most from your efforts so that you can focus on what you do best. Let’s go. You’re listening to Episode 179 of the Merged Marketing podcast. And in this episode, we’re talking about LinkedIn ads and whether successful LinkedIn ad campaigns actually exist. My guest on today’s show is Ben Lund. Ben has been active in the marketing industry since 2005, working at companies such as Monster, Yahoo, RIM Kaufman Group, Google, and now leads Rise Marketing group. We’ve explored LinkedIn ad campaigns in the past several third-partythe times for ourselves and for clients, and whether or not it works for businesses really depends. The consensus is out there in terms of whether it’s a good play for businesses, depending on their objective and the audience they’re trying to get in front of. Whether it’s LinkedIn paid ad campaigns, organic campaigns, or using a third party platform to automate conversations on LinkedIn, we.Explore all of these options in this episode. Without further ado, let’s kick them a chat with Ben Lund.

 

[00:01:17.050] – Jason Hunt

Ben, welcome to the show.

 

[00:01:18.540] – Ben Lund

Thanks so much for having me.

 

[00:01:19.870] – Jason Hunt

Ben, maybe start off giving a bit of context as to your journey to get to where you are today starting Rise Media Group.

 

[00:01:27.420] – Ben Lund

Yes, definitely Rise Marketing Group. Yes, journey. It’s funny. I graduated from U Mass Amherst, the School of Management in 2004, and I was actually meeting with their marketing club, just volunteering and speaking with a bunch of undergrad students. And we talked about career paths quite a bit. So this is fresh out my mind, but it’s always fun to have the journey. It’s almost referencing one of the David Burns lines from Talking Heads, like, how did I get here? But yeah, I always liked marketing. And then back in the early 2000s, internet was getting pretty big, and I wanted to merge both of those together, online marketing. I worked at various companies like Monster when that was a thing. I was just selling job postings, nothing glamorous, dial in for dollars for a couple of years. But then I got an awesome break working for Yahoo. This was the mid 2000s when people went to Yahoo as their portal to the internet and did their searches on Yahoo, took their horoscopes and all the other crazy stuff that people did on their website. From there, I really got into search ads. I worked with some awesome clients, and this was very manual search ad campaigns.

 

[00:02:33.830] – Ben Lund

You don’t have all the cool automated features that you have today. Then I worked at ad agency for a while, RKG since acquired by Merrill. Then I was at Google here in Cambridge, Massachusetts from 2014 to 2018. But deep down inside, I always wanted to jump into entrepreneurship. And thinking about it for years, I just took the leap almost five years ago. And yeah, the rest is history. We’re based right outside of Boston and really been enjoying the ride ever since.

 

[00:03:02.730] – Jason Hunt

Awesome. And the topic today we’re diving into is LinkedIn. Obviously, there’s a lot of platforms out there as an agency that we’re all using, but I want to dive into LinkedIn today specifically because it’s becoming more and more of a question as people go through problems with Facebooks and Instagrams. Is TikTok going to exist tomorrow? What’s left on the table when you look at social media platforms? One of the ones that’s glaring at me standing out is LinkedIn. I want to talk about how clients or how businesses can best leverage this platform to their.

 

[00:03:34.450] – Ben Lund

Ability or whether it’s.

 

[00:03:35.560] – Jason Hunt

Even worth their time. M aybe tell us a bit, Ben, on how you’re using LinkedIn today.

 

[00:03:40.300] – Ben Lund

Yeah. Even before I get into that, LinkedIn is such an interesting platform because for B2B, all professionals, for the most part, in the industry will vary a little bit, they’re on LinkedIn. That’s their social media platform. They check it out for updates and news and things like that. Linkedin has this golden carrot. They have that B2B audience, and then you can target any which way that you want by industry, company, revenue, title, all that good stuff. But then the question is, is it successful? And it can get a little pricey, but how we use LinkedIn? It really depends on our client goals. Now, if our client goals, like Ben, I want efficient conversions, unfortunately, I’m just going to say LinkedIn may not be the right channel for you. It’s very much an awareness and consideration type of play. Maybe good old fashioned Google ads might be better. So for LinkedIn, it really depends on their goals. Awareness, consideration, LinkedIn can do excellent and get in front of the right people. If you’re very conversion focused, there’s a bunch of different things that you can test. Some of the ones that we’ve had some success with are more like lead gen type ad campaigns or even most recently, Google added document ads, which have been pretty good.

 

[00:04:59.000] – Ben Lund

Now, it’s really great at getting that contact information, following up with these leads. Are they true leads? That is debatable. But I think that question marks is still very relevant, but it really depends on what the client goals are. And if the client’s like, I want super efficient conversions, I’m going to say LinkedIn may not be the channel for you. Let’s start off with some other ones.

 

[00:05:22.960] – Jason Hunt

Yeah, I think you hit the nail on the head there when you said.

 

[00:05:26.190] – Ben Lund

Cost.

 

[00:05:26.850] – Jason Hunt

It can be high. And case in point, you got to think about it, the pool of people on LinkedIn is not the same pool of people that’s on Facebook and Instagram. It’s much smaller. And if you try running any paid ads on LinkedIn, you’re going to want to shut them off on Friday at 5 PM because nobody’s texting them LinkedIn on weekends. But LinkedIn will happily take your money if you want to spend your money on weekends. I think you’re right. It is really for that top of funnel awareness and consideration, I think is one of the best places. If you’re running paid ads on the platform, lead generation for conversions can definitely be pricier. Are you seeing specific industries, Ben, that have been working better than others on LinkedIn?

 

[00:06:06.730] – Ben Lund

Not really any particular industries. I think it really just comes down to the goals and answering the question of is their audience on LinkedIn? For example, we work with a couple of food based clients and they want to get into restaurants and the hospitality industry. For restaurant owners, chefs and things like that, I don’t know if they’re necessarily on LinkedIn all the time. I think that might be a different beast, but I think before you launch any type of campaign, you have to ask yourself, is my audience on LinkedIn? And then you’re right and then also adapt to their behavior. So for example, you had a really great example, like maybe shutting down those campaigns Friday at five. Linkedin is not as sophisticated as other ad platforms like Google, where you can’t do ad scheduling and be like, Okay, let’s nix the morning hours. Let’s just serve from 9 AM to 5 PM. Even their automated bidding, they really don’t have much of an automated bidding, which is unfortunate. They’re starting to move into that direction. It’s very much a manual media buy. You just have to think of where your audience is. And in the LinkedIn campaign builder, it will give you insights in terms of how large your addressable audience is to see are they even addressable in LinkedIn?

 

[00:07:29.720] – Jason Hunt

Yeah, I find with LinkedIn, it’s more as Facebook and Instagram in a way where you don’t want to narrow down that targeting too much because you’re spending a lot more money than you want to. You want to try to have an open audience that you’re targeting and let the algorithm figure out the best user to put your ad in front of.

 

[00:07:47.310] – Ben Lund

However.

 

[00:07:48.620] – Jason Hunt

There is an opportunity to get that target right down to a job title or an actual business. That has a lot of benefits that Meta does not provide. If done the correct way, you can effectively get in front of people with, for example, LinkedIn inbox messages, which some might say is effective. I personally think they’re annoying and intrusive and don’t like them. But there is opportunity there to get in front of those decision makers that you want to get in front of, which, in my opinion, makes LinkedIn a very strong B2B play. Do you agree?

 

[00:08:19.310] – Ben Lund

Yeah, absolutely. And then you bring up messages. I tested inmail campaigns. This was years ago. And I feel like back then, it was actually pretty good because people weren’t really annoyed by it. They’re like, Oh, wow. Yeah, cool. I’ll chat with you. I didn’t realize it was a sponsored message. But now between sponsored and just organic outreach, I’m like, No, thanks. Not going there. But then LinkedIn rolls out some new opportunities to get there. Their document ad campaigns are actually pretty cool where it shows a preview of, let’s say, a PDF, and then to access the rest of it, enter your information. And I’ve definitely, even at Risewood, we tested a couple of campaigns for Rise Marketing group. We found some success. The follow up in terms of people who I was actually able to get in contact with. That’s a whole another topic. But we were able to draw some decent leads from that. To back up your point, definitely the play for B2B. And one thing that may not be a bad strategy for, let’s say, enterprise clients that has a sales team, sometimes LinkedIn could just give you some good air cover.

 

[00:09:24.570] – Ben Lund

So if you have a targeted list of companies that your sales team is trying to infiltrate, they’re going to be cold calling, cold email, using their referral to get in there, do some targeted ads just to give them air cover. And your KPI isn’t going to be, Oh, did they sign up for a lead or whatever? It’s just going to be like, Am I reaching these organizations? And LinkedIn does some really great reporting on, Are you reaching the right people? They’re very transparent in that based off a job title or company. So that’s something I’ve been pushing our clients to think about that have sales teams of, Let’s do a campaign more for air cover for your sales team.

 

[00:10:02.040] – Ben Lund

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[00:10:45.620] – Jason Hunt

Tell me about document ads.

 

[00:10:47.300] – Ben Lund

How are they being used? How are.

 

[00:10:48.910] – Jason Hunt

You using them? Is this a new feature LinkedIn has added?

 

[00:10:51.980] – Ben Lund

Pretty new. They rolled this out in, I want to say it’s early Q4 of last year. I think what LinkedIn is doing is they’re realizing that people within the LinkedIn platform, it’s not as common where they click an ad, go to a landing page, then fill out information. Generally speaking, they’re on the go, they’re just looking at their phone. And I think LinkedIn is realizing that these users generally stay in the platform. They don’t really like to click outside of the platform. So I think LinkedIn is like, Okay, how can I add value for my advertisers by giving them information from users that don’t want to leave the ecosystem of LinkedIn? One of the iterations that they’ve done is they created a lead gen campaign where you can get their information, email, company, whatever attributes you’re trying to capture, but they showcase it in a document ad. And I think that’s a pretty sophisticated or savvy way of doing that because it’s a campaign that you target as you would any other campaign based off of different attributes. But the creative is unique where it’s not like a sponsored post. It would actually be a PDF or some type of document that you upload to LinkedIn.

 

[00:12:03.230] – Ben Lund

So you think any B2B client, they must have some type of best practice PDF of whatever it might be, and then they can upload it. And then the user, the LinkedIn user, will see an ad, but it’ll be like, Oh, download the top 10, whatever tips. And they can see the first page and then say, Oh, to download the rest, enter your information, and then they can automatically download it. So at Rise, we’ve tested this with a couple of different creativs. One is we released a PDF of which was top SEO tips for blogging because a lot of companies, they blog, but they’re really not that SEO optimized. We just provided a value add for it. And we’re actually getting some decent leads through that, at least contacts. Now, the follow up on actually getting in touch of them wasn’t as strong, but that could be a variety of issues or it could just be bad luck. That’s a cool campaign that they rolled out. And I think it’s really LinkedIn’s figuring out that users don’t really leave their platform that much and they still have to provide value for the advertisers. Otherwise advertisers are just going to ditch the platform.

 

[00:13:07.090] – Ben Lund

That’s just my mindset of probably what they’re thinking about.

 

[00:13:10.430] – Jason Hunt

Yeah, I think that’s similar in a lot of platforms, though. What I like there about that is it’s not intrusive. You’re not disrupting the user experience. You’re capturing that information on the platform. The easier it is to capture a lead, the less quality it’s going to be.

 

[00:13:25.320] – Ben Lund

That’s true.

 

[00:13:26.370] – Jason Hunt

Anybody’s run Facebook ads out there, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Those Facebook on ad lead forms that are easy to hop into with a click because your information is auto populated, but really they’re not a hot lead at all. And there’s no intent behind those users either. They’re not looking for what you have to offer similar to LinkedIn.

 

[00:13:43.160] – Ben Lund

Yeah, I asked Absolutely. So we can talk about Facebook lead dead ads for a while, but I feel the exact same. And who knows, maybe LinkedIn, maybe it’s similarly or the intent isn’t there, but capture their information, put them into some type of email newsletter or things like that that makes the most sense. Because you’re right, if they just download an article, they’re not ready to buy from you right now, but could be worth having some future conversation with or interaction in a digital perspective. Yeah, be prepared to obviously pay more for those.

 

[00:14:17.000] – Jason Hunt

Leads, like we said. But with higher paying leads is typically a little more quality. And the mindset, let’s talk about the mindset of somebody on LinkedIn, right? They’re typically on they’re in business mode. They’re not in casual sitting the couch, scroll through my Facebook or TikTok feed modes. I think the percentage of people accessing LinkedIn on desktop is significantly higher than Facebook. So just thinking about that, the mindset is in a different type of place. So there is an opportunity there. Yeah, absolutely. They’re definitely in that.

 

[00:14:48.400] – Ben Lund

Business mindset. And that helps because especially if you’re a B2B marketer, you’re reaching them in that right set verse on Facebook, they’re really they’re not in that same mindset, still can have a relevant ad for them, but it’s different. But yeah, I totally agree. Mindset has to be considered in the messaging and any type of landing page experience. Who’s doing your social media? Is anybody doing your social media? Why aren’t we doing your social media?

 

[00:15:15.470] – Ben Lund

Since 2016, my agency has been managing communities, creating content, and managing our clients’ social media platforms to keep them top of mind with their customers along with their prospects. Social media is probably somewhere on your priority list as a busy business owner, but it’s never going to be near the top. For us at Merged Media, we ensure your social media is at the top of our list, making sure you’re staying top of mind with those clients and prospects. If you want a creative and professional agency working on your social media, then go on over to merged. Ca and book a call today. That’s M E R GED CA. So let’s go on from the actual lead capture into a nurture. And do you have some best.

 

[00:16:01.030] – Jason Hunt

Practices that you deploy in terms of a nurture sequence? Because for us, typically right after the opt into a lead magnet or a white paper, or a video, there is a series of emails that’s going to follow up that opt in. Tell me a bit about how you deploy that. Yeah, definitely. It’s a fine line where you don’t.

 

[00:16:22.000] – Ben Lund

Want to inundate them and put them into a welcome series at 60 emails deep. And then by the way, email 24, they’re like, What the heck Ben? You got to chill out here. So yeah, I think best practices doing some type of automated email campaign, try not to be too salesy because they’re not asking you to be sold at that point. You’re just trying to start that relationship from a digital perspective. I usually advise clients to be value focused, so continue to give out value because they’ll be way more receptive to that than versus, Hey, sign up for a demo. And they’re like, What demo? I didn’t even ask for a demo. And then, of course, put in them and then have maybe three or four emails go out into some type of nurture series. And then throw them into your newsletter that you send out maybe every month or something like that. And of course, always be very full disclosure on your email marketing and opt out procedures and things like that because you never want to force a relationship or just stick someone into a funnel that they didn’t ask for. But I think it’s just best practices to always be considerate and think of yourself or put yourself in the user’s perspective, what makes the most sense and try to provide some good value knowing that they’re not going to sign up with you today, tomorrow, or the next week, or even maybe the next quarter.

 

[00:17:50.480] – Ben Lund

But you’re building up the brand and you’re building up that awareness of your company. And eventually, if they have a need, maybe they’ll reach out to you out to you.

 

[00:18:00.240] – Jason Hunt

Yeah, I think that’s important to the point you bring up about not selling through that nurture initially. Think about that journey. Somebody opts in for a lead magnet on top five ways to sell a house in real estate. Next thing you know, they’re getting inundated with, Hey, I’m the sales guy, by the way. You know what I mean? Hey, let’s have a consultation. Never works, especially putting an academy link in one of those follow up emails. Never works. So it’s really an opportunity to get somebody to know and trust you through that email journey.

 

[00:18:29.560] – Ben Lund

Take.

 

[00:18:30.170] – Jason Hunt

It as an opportunity to just provide that value. Inundate them with the value and the education because really that’s what they want in the first place when they opt into your lead magnet, for example.

 

[00:18:41.000] – Ben Lund

Yeah, totally. Something that you can test out if you are an incident like that. I don’t care what you say, I really need customers tomorrow and I want to focus on LinkedIn and that lesson awareness play or filling up the upper funnel. You can do some more direct messaging, but one of the things that I’ve seen work is having a strong offer with that. So say sign up and this could be an ad, sign up for free consultation. Who cares about that? People don’t care. But what I have seen some folks do, some B2B advertisers would work and then they’re like, hey, no commitment, sign up for a demo. We’re going to give you a $100 Amazon gift card or something like that. And then sometimes that can pique an interest, maybe for the wrong reasons, maybe not. But that’s just something that I think is worth exploring down the road where you’re like, hey, let’s chat. It’s not a fit, it’s not a fit, but I value your time and try this. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen that in play, but I’ve heard about that a few times. So worth a note.

 

[00:19:37.340] – Jason Hunt

I think something else, there’s platforms out there as well that integrate with LinkedIn during automation and automated messages. But as you said earlier in the show, people are numb to it. So you got to be careful and make it seem as authentic as possible. A platform of this, particularly Salesforce, which I’ve had experience with, where you set up all the automations and you build your connections, and then you put them through that process of potentially becoming a lead somehow, some way. But you can use those. But like I said, just be wary because you don’t want to seem like a bit of a spammer.

 

[00:20:09.510] – Ben Lund

Yeah, totally. And the B2B audience is that folks are going after. Oftentimes, it’s a very niche audience based off of the business. And you don’t want to upset all of your potential clients, depending on how large your addressable audience is.

 

[00:20:23.940] – Jason Hunt

100 %. Awesome. Ben, before we take off here, I want our audience to know the best way for them to get in touch with you if they have any questions.

 

[00:20:32.230] – Ben Lund

Yeah, definitely. Check us out Rise Marketing group, RiseMKG. Com. Definitely do a fair amount of in advertising. But again, it has to align with clients goals. And I feel like we do a really great job of setting expectations. You never want to oversell. Usually it’s the other way around where I’m putting a ton of caution to them. Hey, LinkedIn is expensive. Yes, your audience is there, but let’s think about your goals and the best way to do this. But if anyone wants to chat further about that, more than happy to set up some time.

 

[00:21:01.760] – Jason Hunt

Awesome. Ben, we end every episode with the same question. That question is this, if you could choose one person, dead or alive, to represent your brand, who would it be and why?

 

[00:21:09.840] – Ben Lund

Oh, my gosh, that is a meowser. That’s a big question. I should have thought about this or given some thought in advance. I can answer that, but I will throw it out there. Some person who is very much data driven because that at the end of the day, that’s driving future strategy. We launched every campaign based off of best class marketing acumen, all the best practices. But at the end of the day, the data is going to let you know what’s working, what’s not, and data never lies. And that’s really what fuels our future. I apologize. I might have to think about this one for a little bit and maybe we can add to this down the road.

 

[00:21:46.170] – Jason Hunt

You know what? This is Episode 179 and I’ve never let somebody off the hook without giving a name. So I’m going to have to put down Ben Lund. Okay, there.

 

[00:21:54.580] – Ben Lund

We go.

 

[00:21:56.160] – Jason Hunt

Yeah, I’ve had a couple of people pick themselves, which is totally cool.

 

[00:21:59.480] – Ben Lund

Okay. Yeah, believe me, I don’t have a big ego, so that wasn’t my first choice. But I got to think about this. I apologize for that.

 

[00:22:08.450] – Jason Hunt

I look forward to your follow up email. Awesome. Ben, thank you so much for your time.

 

[00:22:15.240] – Ben Lund

I really appreciate it. Thank you.

 

[00:22:17.420] – Ben Lund

Real quick, guys, if you are active on Instagram or TikTok, I encourage you to go on over and give my personal profile a follow @jhunt official, JAY, HUNT, OFICIAL. Over there on Instagram and TikTok, I’m posting my favorite highlights from the Merged Marketing podcast, along with some of the highlights from my speaking engagements overseas as well as locally. Ton of value. Go on over and check it out @jhanofficial. I’d like to thank you for listening to the Merged Marketing podcast and I invite you to subscribe so you never miss an episode of the Merged Marketing podcast. One of the best ways to do that is to add us to your Instagram @mergedmedia. M E D M E D I A. Go on over there, give Merged Media follow and subscribe and never miss an episode. Thank you so much for listening. We’ll talk to you soon. Thank you.

Did you enjoy this episode? if so please check out our previous episode on How To Build Your Brand on TikTok with Megan Thompson.

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