In my last post, I outlined how to create a lead generation funnel on LinkedIn and discussed the benefits of nurturing potential customers until they are primed and ready to convert.
Now let's review some tips on how to optimize that funnel and get more out of your advertising spend.
Tiering Bids for Each Part of the Funnel: As I mentioned in my previous post on creating a lead generation funnel, if you're in a rush for data and results, an automated bid strategy will suit your needs. With this bid strategy, you will not waste time toggling bids in order to spend your full daily budget. If you're in the long game, however, tiering bids by campaigns with the manual CPC option will interest you. When you first launch a cold campaign (people first being introduced to your company and your offering), you want to bid as low as possible, at least until you have sufficient data to judge the quality of that traffic. By tiering bids, you bid low for cold traffic, medium for warm traffic, and high for hot traffic. How much you should bid for each campaign will be determined by your audiences and the data provided by LinkedIn. If you have other paid advertising costs (Google Ads cost per click bids, for example), these will be a good reference point for you. It's impossible for me to tell you exactly how much to bid for each stage of the funnel. To find the right bid for your campaigns, you'll use audience data, LinkedIn suggested CPC bids, and time to experiment with low and high bids. It takes time to figure out the right bidding options for each stage of the funnel, which is why automated bidding is the right choice for people in a hurry. But, by tiering your bids, you never give the platform more than the traffic is worth to you. Only time and experimentation will reveal the right bids amounts for your target audiences and industry.
Reviewing Company Demographics: For each funnel campaign, you should review the company demographics to ensure your ads are being seen by the right people. In terms of your cold campaign, regardless of whether you're using LinkedIn platform targeting or lookalike audiences based on existing customer lists, you should review the demographic data to ensure the companies seeing your ads are the companies you want. In terms of your warm and hot campaigns, some of the irrelevant companies from the cold campaigns may have slipped through and are now being targeted by these campaigns. Since your LinkedIn pixel is on your website, you may find some irrelevant companies being included in these campaigns. These could be marketing companies prospecting your business or companies run by families and friends. The exclusion lists you've created for each campaign will help ensure the right people are being passed through each funnel stage, but you should continue to review these demographics to account for companies not included in those audience lists.
Reviewing Job Title Demographics: Including job titles in cold campaigns is always a good idea. As a general note, I have always found specific job titles to pull in more relevant audience members than using job functions (CXO, Director, Manager, etc.). Even if you are using job titles, you should review job title demographics to ensure no oddities have slipped through. If you have not included job titles as part of your warm and hot campaign audience targeting, adding them usually helps to pull in more relevant traffic.
Reviewing Industry Demographics: Your business may have horizontal targeting when it comes to industries, or you may only focus on specific verticals. If you're in the latter category, you will want to review industry demographics to ensure no irrelevant industry is creeping into your targeting. I mentioned in my earlier post that the industry categories are limiting, which means some companies are using the best available option. If you're unsure about eliminating an industry from your targeting, I suggest reviewing the LinkedIn company pages of your best customers to see which industry they have listed on their company page. What you find may surprise you and will certainly inform this type of optimization.
Analyzing Relevance of Content Between Funnel Stages: After you have the right bid strategy set, you should see warm conversions (content downloads) then hot conversions (contact/demo requests) start to occur in the correct campaigns. If no one is downloading your content offers, they may not be closely linked enough to the initial content you are showcasing as part of your cold campaign. Remember: the goal is to encourage the right people to continue making their way through the funnel. At the top of the funnel, in the cold campaign, the content should be closely related to who you are as a business and how you help people. It should provide enough context for people to read and decide, "Yes, this is for me," or, "No, this is not for me." If your ad text is vague, you'll want to tweak it. If the content you're linking to is too broad, you'll want to choose an article that relates to your offering without being overly promotional.
Integrating Lead Forms into the Bottom of the Funnel: For usability and website experience issues, you may have trouble getting people to convert on your website. If low conversion rate is a problem on your website across all channels, LinkedIn lead gen forms provide a way around this. These forms lower the barrier to conversion by using profile data to pre-fill forms and allow users to convert without leaving the platform.
Determining If Your 3-Step Funnel is Actually a 2-Step Funnel: Yes, this goes against what I wrote in my first article about it being necessary to launch three campaigns with each campaign leading up to a final conversion. In some industries, your customers may not be ready to request a demo or contact you directly via your hot campaign. Certain leads could require a series of emails until they are ready to contact you. The final campaign (your "hot" campaign) might actually occur off platform in a series of lead nurturing emails through a tool like HubSpot. An email lead nurturing campaign is a powerful component of any marketing program, and one can work very nicely as the final step in a lead generation funnel.
While you might be anxious to get your campaigns operating at full potential, the most important part of campaign optimization is allowing sufficient data to accrue before drawing inferences from that data.
Achieving paid lead generation success on any platform takes the right balance of patience and persistence.