778: The 3 Keys to Success with LinkedIn Ads w/ AJ Wilcox

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode we talk to AJ Wilcox, Founder of B2Linked.

AJ shares best practices around each component to a successful advertising campaign on LinkedIn.

He breaks down each step & where some companies miss the mark in each area: Audience, Message & Offer.

Want help developing your plan to become an influencer & thought leader?

Check out IMPACT SUMMIT on Oct. 13th in Salt Lake City.

B2B Growth listeners can get 15% OFF with the promo code: SWEETFISH.

Click here to connect with this guest on LinkedIn.

A relationship with the right referral partner could be a game changer for any BEDB company. So what if you could reverse engineer these relationships at a moment's notice, start a podcast, invite potential referral partners to be guests on your show and grow your referral network faster than ever? Learn more. At Sweet Fish Mediacom you're listening to be tob growth, a daily podcast for B TOB leaders. We've interviewed names you've probably heard before, like Gary vanner truck and Simon Senek, but you've probably never heard from the majority of our guests. That's because the bulk of our interviews aren't with professional speakers and authors. Most of our guests are in the trenches leading sales and marketing teams. They're implementing strategy, they're experimenting with tactics, they're building the fastest growing BEDB companies in the world. My name is James Carberry. I'm the founder of sweetish media, a podcast agency for BB brands, and I'm also one of the CO hosts of this show. When we're not interviewing sales and marketing leaders, you'll hear stories from behind the scenes of our own business. Will share the ups and downs of our journey as we attempt to take over the world. Just getting well? Maybe let's get into the show. Welcome back to the B tob grows show. We're here today with AJ Wilcox. He is the founder of B two linked Aj, how's it going today? Man, he doing so great. Logan, so great to hear from you also, and will, we've had this on the books for a little bit. I'm really excited to interview you today and have you on the show. Thanks for coming on. Oh you bat. I've been beinging your episodes. I'm just as a fan. I'm excited to be here. Awesome. We love to hear that. Well. Thanks for that, AJ. Hey, before we jumped into today's topic, AJ, on Linkedin ads, I'd love for you to give us a little bit of context, share with the audience why you're the guy talking about this today. Tell us a little bit about what you and the team at be too linked her up to these days. Sure. Well, I started to company about four years ago and it was because I was running the...

...world's largest linkedin adds account the most spanned worldwide. Had great relationships and they're at linked in and then every time I would do a search on Google for you know, how do you do this on Linkedin adds? How do you do that? There just wasn't anyone out there talking about it, sharing, teaching, training, speaking, and so I kind of had this entrepreneurial itch in the back of my mind going hey, maybe that could be you. So anyway, that's why we started it and were a small, Nimble Agency. There are only five of us and we are we are linkedin partners. I wish is pretty cool designation to have as a small agency, and you know, we get to run many of the world's largest linkedin adds accounts as well as many of the smallest. Wow, that's awesome. I love that story and it sounds like you know. Obviously it's a point of passion for you, which is what drove you to scratch that entrepreneurial itch that you saw there. So that's awesome. So let's jump right in. Aj I'd love for you to share with our audience the acronym that you recommend. Whether it's Linkedin ads or any other sort of digital ad platform, the this acronym of Ammo that you suggest is should always be your starting point. So tell us a little about the am and o of the ammo acronym that you recommend in starting any ad campaign. Sure thing. So when you're going after someone on social media it's a little bit different than going after them with search and so this acronym, I've found, is being really helpful for approaching any sort of social media campaign. The a stands for your audience. This is how you target your M is the message. It's how your how people are actually seeing your ads, and then the OH is your offer. As you may very well understand, when you're on social media you're not looking to do business with a vendor, and so if your offer is simply hey, click here to talk to our high pressure sales rep, no one's going to click on that ad and you'll just never spend any money. So it's it's a that offer being something really attractive that people are going to want to to gravitate towards and...

...it's worth their time and energy. Then that becomes really important. So if you've got alignment between your audience, your message and your offer, your social campaign's going to go off without a hitch. Which of those three do you most often see people missing the target on? Aj So if you're talking about linkedin adds. Specifically. Linkedin's targeting is so good it's really hard to get your audience wrong unless you you yourself don't understand who your audience is very well. And then some companies that's pretty easy to be nebulous on. But the offer is by far the most important thing. In the majority of cases when someone comes to us, they a lot of times they'll say, hey, we are running ads that just are sending people right to a sales page and and we've got to convince them. Look content marketing. It's by far the best approach here. You show value first and then follow up and start a relationship and a conversation after that and lead them towards creating things like helpful webinars or guides, checklists, ebooks, that kind of thing. Gotcha. Okay? Well, as we were talking offline a little bit, you mentioned a recent client of yours that came on board and they were running ads already but not seeing the results that they wanted. You guys helped tweak one or a couple of these pieces of you know, audience, message and offer. Walk US through that scenario a little bit. You don't have to to name names or anything like that, but I think, you know, as we were talking of flying, it sounded like a good example that the audience could could take a few things away from. Sure, I think this one is actually pretty telling for how you all might approach your own social campaigns. So this client came to us and they were just a really good fit for for Linkedin ads. I mean had a high lifetime value and their customer was definitely on Linkedin. And so we started doing a lot of testing and they had something like for content offers already ready for us, and so we started doing like a rapid iterative testing on imagery, on headlines, on Intros, and we...

...found that through this rapid testing we could sway performance by five to fifteen percent either direction by just really doing a lot of testing. But what we found is, you know, five to fifteen percent on an expensive lead is still a fifth. It's still an expensive lead. And none of the offers they had were performing very well. But we had four different offers to go off of. So we just figured it was our problem and we were really worried about this client firing us because we were having cost per lead and like the hundred and thirty dollar range, which is not what we want to see. Yeah, yeah, then overnight they came out with a new offer and it was called the the definitive guide to on boarding, and we didn't think anything really of it, but we just kept doing what we were doing and testing. Overnight our cost per lead drop down to like twenty seven dollars from, you know, hundred and thirty something. We're literally for X that performance, which was nuts. And what we learned from that is, of course, your ad copy in the way that you present that the M and am Oh, the message is very important, but it doesn't hold a candle to the importance of what that offer is. If you have an offer that is so sexy, you can't help but but you know, gravitate towards it and you want to give your personal information in exchange for the content, that's when you've got a real winner. M I love that. So was the case here, the the common case that you mentioned earlier, where the other offers were a little too nails, or was it something different that that was the tweak into into this killer guy that led the better results for them and tweaking their offer? I think their past content just wasn't very interesting. I think they tried really hard. The visuals were good, but when you really boiled it down, it just it wasn't on subjects that really were super valuable. But the new offer, they nailed it and this is this has been a little while and that offer is still working better than than a lot of the other offers. So that's the power in creating a really solid content is it will actually live for a while. HMM. Yeah, yeah, and I think...

...you know, as you talked about, you know, it's tough to get the audience wrong. There's so much that you can do, whether it's linked in or facebook, to get hyper targeted, but if it's not paired with good creative and a good solid offer, then all of that hyper targeting just kind of goes to waste. Right. Absolutely, it's part of the triangle and you you lose one of the angles on that triangle and the rest kind of fall apart. Gotcha? Okay, well, tell me a little bit about who should and shouldn't be doing linkedin ads. What are some of the criteria that you guys look at as an agency specializing in this area? Aj of you know. When do you recommend, Hey, this is a good play for you, or maybe this isn't a good played walk us through some of the the qualification steps that you help customers think about in determining whether Linkedin ads are going to be a good strategy for them or not. First and foremost, you have to understand a few interesting nuances about linkedin adds. Number one, the targeting is amazing if you're in business to business or targeting professionals, because there just isn't anything else like it on the planet. You can get so laser targeted that it's silly. But for that targeting we pay a price, and boy do we. The average cost per click on Linkedin is usually between about six and nine dollars, whereas on facebook it might be fifty cents to two dollars, depending on what that offer and creative look like. So because Linkedin is more expensive than other platforms, what it means is you've got to have a bigger payoff on the back end to see a return on your investment or to see as large of a return on your investment. So what we've found is if someone has a lifetime value of their customer over about Fifteenzero dollars, they're going to be successful. Like it's total, no brainer, no problem at all. But if it's less than that, if you've got, let's say, your Sass software that you're charging, you know, thirty dollars a month and hoping to keep people around for a year, there's...

...just no way that you're going to see a return on that six to nine dollar per click investment to get to them originally. So we tell people when you're approaching Linkedin, you want to have a high lifetime value, you want to have a customer that is easily targetable by who they are professionally and and then you want to have just a great offer. Today's gross story is about a computer software and hardware for with a footprint of over one hundred thous and employees. This company was struggling to engage with partners across a variety of territories and sales focuses. So, with a goal of penetrating white space accounts and growing their premier partner base, this company implemented a solution rooted in data intelligence and channel enablement to engage with over four hundred partners. This resulted in one hundred and twenty two percent partner growth year of a year, coupled with an mql to esqo conversion rate of over seventy eight percent. So what was this magical solution that produced such amazing results? MRP politics. Mrp politics is an insights powered account based marketing platform with streaming predictive analytics baked into its core, integrating multi channel ABM execution. On these insights, mrp politics triggers display, email, direct mail and global inside sales in real time, helping the largest marketing departments in the world deliver the right message to their customers at just the right time. So could MRP politics work for Youtube? There's a real good chance. It could find out by visiting mrpfdcom or click the link in the episode description of this in you. All right, let's get back to the show. What about comparing Linkedin adds to other platforms? Obviously, facebook adds is the number one one that comes to mind. If people, you know, maybe have been and seeing success with facebook ads and they're thinking about doing...

...with Linkedin ads and they meet these criteria that you're talking about, Aj what are some of the things they should be thinking about? In let's start with the similarities. What's similar to using linkedin adds to using another platform like facebook ads. So facebook and Linkedin are very similar because you're reaching someone in on a social media platform with killer targeting. So facebook you. I'm a big FACEBOOK ADS fan. I would never tell someone that it was a bad platform they shouldn't use it. But over the last, you know, eight nine months, they've taken away a lot of our business targeting that's been so helpful. They took away job title targeting, they took away company named targeting. They recently, with all the kerfuffle that was in the news, they got rid of all their third party data sources. So we used to be able to say, well, Hey, we if someone is interested in marketing and they own a boat or live in a house that cost more than five hundred K, maybe their vp a above like. Those are the kinds of things you could say and you look, facebook is taken all those away. So business targeting on facebook has become very much like a shotgun approach where of course it's cheap, but you have to spread your net really wide and hope that some really like a tractive people land in that net, whereas on Linkedin it's very much like your sniper rifle. It's you know exactly who you're going after and so you just go after them and there's not a whole lot of nebulousness to it. HMM. Yeah, so a lot of those things that we were using for business targeting were part of those third party data sources that facebook cut ties with exactly, and then they took they got rid of some of the targeting around the information that they did have about you professionally, and hopefully at some point that comes back, but facebook has just become very weak for business targeting. Gotcha. Okay, so tell us a little bit more about some of the differences. If someone's used to using, you know, the facebook AD platform and now they're moving over to Linkedin, what are some of...

...the things that are going to be vastly different or different in some way or maybe that you know, they're not ready for not thinking about. What are some of the differences that you maybe help new clients think about as they're getting, you know, exposed to a new AD platform? One of the first things that you'll notice is linkedin is much, much simpler than facebook. facebook started out fairly simple, but I kind of refer to it as a Frankenstein platform where they just kept so rapidly coming out with new features and they would just kept chunking them onto the platform. And and now they're trying to figure out a way that makes sense for both young and experienced advertisers to figure the platform out. Linkedin is very much just simple. It's whereas on facebook you have campaigns and then add sets and your ads underneath, on Linkedin it's just very simply. You have campaigns and adds inside of them. The targeting is very straightforward, the budgeting is very straightforward and there's just there's not a whole lot of bells and whistles to worry about. Gotcha. Okay. What are some other things that you recommend for for folks as they're thinking about getting started with Linkedin ads? If folks out there are have not even approached it, they're hearing you say these things about okay, if I'm thinking about my ACV, I'm thinking about I want to have better business targeting. Maybe this is the direction I should go. What are some of the first things they should do to kind of get their ducks in a row before they they sign up and get going? Well, very much. Think of your offer, think of what you can put out there to get people's attention. What we've found is as long as you're solving a major pain point for them professionally or satisfying a major curiosity. One of those two things, it almost doesn't matter what format your offer takes, whether it's a free in person event, whether it's a sixty minute free Webinar, whether it's a forty page ebook or a one page checklist. It's if you're promising to solve one of those pain points for them, doesn't matter how you do it, you're probably going to have good...

...performance. So in your offer, think about what that that pain point is that you're trying to solve and then come out with the best format that helps relay that permission. Yeah, coming back to where we started the conversation, right, that that offer. It's a three pointed triangle, but that offer so often seems to be the weakest point. That you need to start there and then work on the other two, because if that one falls, fall at it seems like you're kind of setting yourself up for failure. Exactly. Yeah, on Facebook, your your audience, the A and AMMO can be one of the bigger struggles, just because it's harder to target professionals on facebook, but on Linkedin. We generally see that that the Oh is the biggest pinpoint the offer you got him. Well, Aj this has been great advice for our audience. We're big users of Linkedin and you know, we've talked on the show a lot about how to get better organ Agreech so I love that you're adding to the conversation on how we can use linkedin even more effectively. Completely agree with you in the targeting and things like that. I appreciate you sharing some of your insights and things that you have helped your customers with and lessons you guys have been learning in the linkedin add platform. If people listening to this would like to shoot you some follow up questions or stay connected with you in any way, what's the best way for them to go about doing them? And I'll share with you a little secret. If you go to be two linkedcom, it's our website, and fill out the contact form, you're not going to go to a sales rep you're not going to be put into a newsletter marketing automation workflow. You're going to go directly to my inbox and I refuse to sell. So feel free to ask me anything. Obviously, sales pitches aren't awesome, but I thing you want there and you'll just be getting straight to me. The other thing is I re apply pretty frequently on twitter, so my handle is will cox Aj, so if you reach out there, I'm more than happy to answer anything any questions you have about the platform. Awesome. Well, thanks for that insight or two to get in touch with you, AJ, and thanks again for coming on the show man. Hey, thanks, Logan. Sure apreciate you give me access...

...to your audience and I hope you all go out and have a ton of success on like the nats. Awesome. Thanks. Aj. Becoming a thought leader doesn't just happen. If you want to build a strong personal brand and extend your reach online and offline, you need a plan. Want help developing yours, check out impact summit. This one day event is bringing together best selling authors, professional athletes, influential CEOS and emerging entrepreneurs, all for one purpose, to equip you to lead, influence and inspire. Whether you're looking to build a lasting legacy with your business or extend the reach of your brand. Impact Summit speakers will share inspiring stories and practical lessons to help you on your way. Did we mention a session on launching and growing a podcast. You guessed it, you'll hear from sweet fish media's own James carberry during that session. You won't want to miss all of these influencers and leaders coming together in Salt Lake City on October thirteen. Ready to learn more? CHECK OUT INFLUENCER INK DOT Co. Impact summit be to be growth. Listeners can get fifteen percent off the price of their tickets for this event by using the Promo Code Sweet Fish. Sweet Fish, so use that code, get your tickets today and get ready to grow your brand and your influence at impact summit. Two Thousand and Eighteen.

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