Most savvy advisors know that LinkedIn is an excellent tool for networking with current and potential clients. But not as many are aware of how LinkedIn is also a powerful platform for lead generation. LinkedIn offers advisors a chance to advertise their services to a specific audience they may not reach through other digital advertising platforms. To take full advantage of LinkedIn advertising, implement these five tips:
1. Know Your Audience
Like all advertising platforms, you can’t succeed on LinkedIn without truly knowing your audience. If are advertising to an audience who doesn’t find your ads relevant, you’re simply wasting your ad budget. LinkedIn hosts many different targeting options to fit your needs. You can create a custom audience, retargeting audience or save previously used audiences to re-use in the future. LinkedIn also offers a variety of targeting criteria including demographics, interests and behaviors. Some of the most helpful options for advisors advertising on LinkedIn include:
- Age range: You’ll want to select different age ranges depending on your ad campaign. For example, if you are advertising college finance planning, you’ll want to target LinkedIn users at a specific age range who might be parents to a child in late high school. If you are advertising a retirement planning ebook, you’ll want to target to an older audience that is closer to retirement.
- Interests: You can target users on LinkedIn who are interested in financial planning. LinkedIn allows you to target members of specific LinkedIn Member Groups. Do some research to find some member groups that would be useful to target. Look for member groups that relate to personal financing, taxes, retirement planning, etc.
- Education and job experience: While advisors can’t use LinkedIn to target specific household income levels, you can still target users based off their education level and work experience (including job titles and years of experience) to help narrow down your audience.
- Exclusion audience: Be sure to also exclude certain targeting criteria, if needed. For example, when targeting by interests, you may want to exclude users who are looking for a job as a financial advisor so that they won’t be served ads that were made for potential clients.
2. Stay Consistent with Your Brand
Your brand should stay consistent across all outlets, including LinkedIn advertising. When building ads, ensure that you are choosing imagery and creating ad copy that stays consistent with your brand and company vision. This helps you accurately represent your offerings and helps build brand recognition. After all, even if someone doesn’t click your ad, they still may see it, and as they see ads on a regular basis, they’ll be able to recognize and recall your firm – not just your one specific ad. If you don’t stay consistent with your brand, your ads might not stand out from other firms targeting the same audience. While this doesn’t mean you should only create ads that look the same for different campaigns, it does mean that you’ll want to select ad copy, imagery and videos that stay true to your brand.
3. Know Your Ad Types
To master LinkedIn advertising, you’ll want to become familiar with your different ad options. Each option is slightly different and works better with in certain scenarios.
- Text ad: Text ads are LinkedIn’s pay-per-click (PPC) advertising option. These display on the side rail of a user’s desktop while using LinkedIn. These ads are easy to create, as they only require a short amount of copy and no selected image. Text ads will work best for an advisor wanting to generally promote their firm or promote a specific service that can be described in less than 100 characters (25 character max for headline; 75 characters max for description). You shouldn’t use text ads if you want to promote some sort of free content or build leads.
- Single image ad: Single image ads are just as they sound. They are a single-image ad that displays in a user’s newsfeed. These ads tend to blend in well since they look more like a LinkedIn post rather than an ad. These are the most basic type of LinkedIn ad formats and work well for a variety of scenarios. Advisors should select this format when advertising an ebook, promoting a specific service or promoting basic website traffic for a general awareness campaign.
- Carousel image ad: These ads work the same way as a single image ad but allow you to upload multiple images per ad. These types of ads are usually used by retail companies. However, advisors can still utilize these types of ads if they are wanting to appeal to a diverse audience. For example, if you want to promote a retirement planning ebook that contains information on how people of all ages can start planning for retirement, you could create a carousel image ad with images showing people at different stages of their life. That way, members of multiple age groups will feel more connected to your ad.
- Video ad: Similar to the single image ad, this ad type also appears in a user’s newsfeed and displays a video rather than an image. Videos are an incredible way to advertise your services, as they tend to capture attention better than a still image. These types of ads should be used when companies have a high-quality video to promote that compliments their ad copy. When using video ads, it’s important to note to keep videos short (under a minute, if possible) and include captioning for viewers who don’t have their volume on.
- Follower ad: These type of LinkedIn ads pull personal data from a LinkedIn user (their name and profile image) and promote a Company Page anywhere on the desktop. Advisors should use these ads when they are trying to increase their LinkedIn followers for their firm’s company page Getting more followers is helpful for networking, but be sure to regularly post quality content to keep your followers!
- Spotlight ad: Spotlight ads (also known as dynamic ads) are another form of personalized advertising on LinkedIn. Similar to follower ads, spotlight ads pull in members’ names and profile images to create a personal experience. The only difference between these ad types is spotlight ads allow you to enter in ad copy to promote a custom offering. Advisors can benefit from these ads when they have a specific offering or event that they can promote with short ad copy.
- Job ad: While most advisors probably won’t be using LinkedIn’s job ads as much, they can still be helpful if your in charge of any type of recruiting for your firm. These ads promote available job listings to attract talent that matches the specific targeting criteria you select.
- Message ad: Formerly known as Sponsored InMail ad, this ad format allows you to create ads that are delivered to your target audience’s LinkedIn messaging inbox. These ads are great if you want to send an invitation to one of your firm’s events or promote a webinar. Message ads can also be useful if you’re trying to cold message potential new clients. It’s an easy way to get a conversation started!
4. Do Creative Right
Even if you know your ad types and when to choose the correct one, your LinkedIn advertising strategy will still fall short if you’re missing the mark on ad creatives. “Ad creatives” refers to the copy and imagery of your ads. Besides ensuring that your messaging and imagery reflects your brand, you’ll want to create compelling copy and select images that will grab your audience’s attention. Some things to keep in mind:
- Copy: To create compelling copy, you must explain how your offerings will benefit viewers and why they can trust your firm to help them. It’s also important to include emotional triggers in your ad copy.
- Images: If you don’t work with a designer or photographer, be sure to select high-quality stock photos to use for your ads. Check out some of these free stock photo sites to get started. Try searching keywords that pertain to your content and match your copy. For example, if you’re promoting tax services, try searching “mature couple meeting with advisor” or “tax planning.”
- Videos: Videos on LinkedIn ads should always be short, sweet and beautifully captured. Low-quality videos shot on a shaky smartphone with poor audio look sloppy, and your audience will likely scroll past without a second thought. As we mentioned before, make sure to caption your videos, as many viewers don’t have their computer volume on.
5. Create Native Lead Generation Ads
If your main advertising objective is to collect leads (gated ebook download, event sign-ups, etc.) then you’ll want to select “lead generation” under “conversions” when creating your LinkedIn ad. By selecting this option, you’ll be able to create a custom form for users to fill out without having to leave LinkedIn. For example, a typical single image ad on LinkedIn provides details about a free ebook download and then hyperlinks users to a separate landing page outside of LinkedIn. This works just fine, but using a native lead gen ad typically generates a higher conversion rate because it doesn’t require users to leave LinkedIn to enter their info. With native lead gen ads, users can enter in their info quickly and get back to what they were originally doing on LinkedIn. Pro Tip: Be sure to use Zapier or some other type of workflow platform when using native lead generation ads to ensure that you are able to keep track of leads properly and move them into your CRM! LinkedIn ads are a simple and relatively affordable way to reach a wide audience, increase your firm’s visibility and boost lead generation. Be sure to implement the above 5 tips the next time you create a LinkedIn ad.
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